Winter is here, and it’s time to get out your Mr. Buddy Heater. But what if it won’t run? Today we have a guest post by Les Doll who has a blog called http://www.rverscorner.com/. He recently did a post on repairing Little Buddy heaters and he graciously is allowing me to reproduce it here. If you vandwell in a cold area, one of the best things you can have is a Little Buddy Portable heater because they are cheap, safe and reliable. But they have one problem; they need to be used with a fuel filter if you are going to connect them to a bulk bottle, otherwise their orifices will plug up. Les is going to show us how to clear the plug if it does happen. But first let me explain the problem.
The Buddy heaters are a camping appliance designed to be used with the little green 1 lb bottles. The green bottles are a high pressure item designed to be screwed directly into the appliance. The problem arises when people use a conversion hose to connect them to a bulk bottle, like a 20 pound bottle used on barbeque grills. That reduces the cost of the propane by 75% but plugs up the orifices in the heater. That happens because bulk bottles use a regulator to reduce the pressure for low pressure items and hoses are designed to be used in a low pressure system. They have a plasticizer in them that keeps the hoses flexible. But when you take off the regulator and connect them directly to a high pressure camping appliance through an adapter hose, the high pressure pulls the plasticizer out of the hose and that is what plugs up the Buddy Heater.
To get around that, Mr. Heater designed a simple $10 fuel filter that everyone using a Mr. Buddy Portable Heater should have. It is supposed to eliminate the problem, but like Les says, it doesn’t always work. Mr. Heater also makes a special hose designed to be used with the portable Buddy Heaters that they claim allows you to not use the fuel filter. Personally, I recommend you use both, their fuel filter and special hose. As I’m writing this the hose is $35 but if it keeps your Buddy heater from plugging up, it’s well worth it! Here are links to where you can get them on Amazon.com. If you buy them from these links I make a few cents and it won’t cost you any more.
Mr. Heater Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater
Mr. Heater Fuel Filter for Portable Buddy and Big Buddy Heaters
Mr. Heater Hose for the Buddy Series
How I Repaired My Buddy Portable Heater by Les Paul
I love my Little Buddy! But, lately, it would not stay lit or would go out immediately when the gas valve was turned up. Here is what I did to fix the issue:
Pilot Outage Repair
If the pilot light will not stay lit when the control button is released or goes out while the heater is in operation, the pilot orifice may be partially blocked.
Disclaimer: all procedures should be performed by a licensed technician – the following is what I did to clean the pilot orifice.
Reassemble in reverse order. Before replacing the back cover, install the propane tank and test fire the pilot. Spray a soap solution on the fittings to check for leaks. Any bubbles will indicate a leak – if so tighten the fittings slightly more and recheck.
Your Little Buddy should light up and hold the pilot flame – and then remain lit when the gas valve is turned up. If not, then you likely have a different problem.
By the way, you are using the filter, aren’t you? Mine has never been operated without the filter and still the pilot plugged up. Without the filter it would have been a lot sooner … just saying.