Torpedo Heater Keeps Shutting Off [8 Reasons To Fix]

A torpedo heater can be your excellent choice to boil down the frigid condition of a specific area. The advantage of having a torpedo-style heater is- you can adjust it to point the heated air in a specific direction.  Therefore, this type of heater is portable and simple to set up.

However, torpedo-style heaters tend to fail often. Sometimes, the torpedo heater keeps shutting off due to several issues. Wrong pump pressure, improper fuel, and defective control board are some of them. 

The good news is- you can easily fix those issues as we will provide effective solutions to solve them. Above all, we also include the maintenance guide to take care of your heater properly. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this article. 

Why My Torpedo Heater Keeps Shutting Off?

This chapter will help you discover what makes your Torpedo heater faulty and what initial steps you should take to solve those issues. 

Issue 1: Wrong Pump Pressure

Low air pressure or wrong pump pressure can be the caveat that prevents your heater from turning on. Due to this issue, your Kerosene Torpedo heater may ignite but its main PCB assembly shuts off the heater after a short period. 


Adjusting the pump pressure will be an easy fix for this issue. Before customizing the pressure, ensure you run the heater on its high setting. 

First off, set the BTU Control switch to High. Then, you should pull out the pressure gauge plug from the End Filter Cover. Now, install an accessory pressure gauge that fits your heater. 

Afterward, turn on your heater and let the motor reach its highest speed. Use a flat blade screwdriver to adjust the pump pressure. If you want to increase the pressure, set the relief valve to clockwise. To decrease the pressure, turn the relief valve counter-clockwise. 

Finally, stop your heater. 

Issue 2: Dirty Air Output, Air Intake, Or Lint Filter

Your Torpedo heater will start malfunctioning, or it keeps shutting off if the Air Output, Lint Filter, or Air Intake get dirty. You should clean these pieces of equipment after every 500 hours of operating your heater. 


Wash the Air Intake of your heater with soapy water. To clean, disassemble the air intake first. Regarding this, use a medium Philips screwdriver and unscrew the heater by removing the screw from each side. Then, remove both the upper shell and fan guard from the heater. Next, wash the air intake system. 

When cleaning the Air Output or Lint Filter, turn the air pressure gauge count-clockwise and remove it. Using the same screwdriver, unscrew the end filter cover. Now, rinse both the Air Output and the Lint Filter. 

If necessary, you can replace all these three accessories (air intake, air output filter, and lint filter). And finally, put everything back into their place and reassemble the unit. 

Issue 3: Dirty Fuel Filter

Dirt may form on and around the fuel filter over time. If there is dirt in the fuel filter, it may clog the fuel line. Also, the dirt in the fuel filter may damage the power switch wires.  Consequently, your kerosene-operated torpedo heater may shut down or won’t turn on.  


After a season or two, we recommend you clean the fuel filter or replace it if needed to avoid unusual issues. To change or clean the filter, follow the below steps.

  • Use a medium Philips screwdriver and unscrew and pull out the side cover.
  • Detach switch wires from the power switch and take the side cover apart from the unit.
  • Remove the fuel line from the filter neck.
  • Pull the fuel filter and wash it evenly. If required, change it with a new one. 
  • Then, connect the fuel line with the filter neck.
  • Replace the switch wires to the power switch
  • Reassemble the side cover again.

Issue 4: Photocell Assembly not Properly Installed

Not seeing any flame on your heater! We bet you fail to install the photocell assembly properly. You can easily fix this issue by adjusting the photocell position. In the solution part, we will provide the solution on how to place the photocell rightly. 


Whether you place the photocell assembly correctly or not, you should disassemble your heater to check that. In this case, take the side cover apart by unscrewing. Now, head over to detach the switch wires from the power switch. 

Also, don’t forget to disconnect the wires from both the circuit board and the photocell. This time places the photocell both in the brackets. Finally, connect the wires to the circuit board. 

Issue 5: Bad Electrical Connection 

Your Torpedo heater shuts off after several minutes if the wire connection between the photocell and main PCB gets damaged. Indeed, improper or faulty wire connection is the culprit behind the issue you encounter.


Check the wire connection and see whether you can notice any visual damage on the wire or not. We recommend you hire a certified electrician to do this task for you. 

Apart from these five issues, defective photocells or dirt photocells are responsible for preventing your torpedo heater from turning off. The best bait to solve these issues is to replace the photocells with new one. 

3 More Issues That Keep Your Torpedo Heater Shutting Off

Discover other problems that occur with your heater to prevent it from functioning properly. 

1. Low-quality Fuel or the Fuel Tank Is Empty

First off, make sure the fuel tank of your Torpedo heater is full of high-quality kerosine. If the heater remains empty, you will never turn on the heater. Similarly, low-quality kerosene will block the orifices by leaving a large amount of debris & dirt. 

On the other hand, if you own a propane-powered torpedo heater, check the propane level. If needed, fill the fuel tank with propane. 

2. Defective Pilot Light or Igniter System

Some older versions of torpedo heaters have a pilot light to ignite the fuel.  If your existing heater has a pilot light, you can find it near the orifice. Its colors will be solid blue if the pilot light functions correctly. If the pilot light goes out, we bet the thermocouple of your heater gets defective. So, replace the thermocouple with a new one. 

3. A Faulty Control Board

Just like other electric appliances, torpedo heaters also have a control board to operate the heater smoothly. If the control board gets defective, your heater will just fail or not function entirely. So, we recommend you call the manufacturer’s customer service to replace your control board.

Torpedo Heater Maintenance Guide

No matter where (the brand) your Torpedo heater comes from, you can run it for a long time if you maintain it properly. Follow and perform the below maintenance guide to let your heater function for years to come. 

  • Ensure you clean the fan blades at least once per year. Use a damp cloth to pick away dirt and debris accumulated on the fan blades. 
  • Inspect the spark plug after 600 hours of operation. Take a wire brush and clean the spark plug if needed. Don’t forget to check the gap between its terminals. Make sure the gap between each terminal is 0.140″. 
  • Clean the fuel filter two times each heating season. You can use 1-K Kerosene to tidy up the fuel filter.
  • Make sure the photocells are clean and no dirt is accumulated there. 
  • Also, don’t hesitate to clean the nozzles at least once per year. You should use compressed air to blow out dirt and debris from the nozzles. 


Why does my kerosene heater keep going out?

Your kerosene heater keeps going out if you don’t lift the wick high enough. You should get a heater wick if it’s short to burn. 

How do I stop my paraffin heater from smelling?

You can effortlessly stop your paraffin heater from smelling by placing a pan of water on the heater. 

How do you clean a forced air propane heater?

Follow the below steps to clean a forced air propane heater.

  • Turn off the heater first. And clean the dirt and debris from the outside of your heater, its vent holes, and grids. 
  • Grabe a wire brush and suck away dirt & debris from the tight corners of your heater. 
  • Unscrew the nuts and bolts that hold the heater cover together. Then, rinse the inside of your heater with warm water. 
  • Gently clean the interior parts of the heater.
  • Finally, back the heater cover into its place and tighten the screws. 

Can torpedo heaters burn diesel?

We think torpedo heaters may burn diesel. However, we recommend you not to put diesel in your torpedo heaters as diesel produces a lot of smoke and fumes. 

What burns hotter diesel or kerosene?

Undoubtedly, kerosene burns hotter than diesel as kerosene has a bit lighter viscosity. 


Whether your torpedo heater comes from Mr. Heater or Reddy, it will start malfunctioning and keep shutting off if you use improper fuel. Therefore, a faulty control board, bad wire connections, and defective photocells are some culprits that prevent your heater from turning on. 

We suggest you apply all the solutions we provided to fix the issues. Also, don’t forget to maintain your torpedo heater properly to avoid further heater problems like heater not staying lit or won’t turn on. 

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