How to Repair Your Mr. Heater Little Buddy Portable Heater

by | Dec 7, 2013 | 93 comments

How to Repair Your Mr. Heater Little Buddy Portable Heater

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My Buddy Portable Heater. They're cheap, safe and easy to use. Highly Recommended!

My Buddy Portable Heater. They’re cheap, safe and easy to use. Highly Recommended!

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.
Littlebuddy1

Remove the four Phillips heads screws as shown (top and bottom – two on either side) See both arrows in the picture.

 Pull out the bottom back side of the sheet metal panel.

Pull out the bottom back side of the sheet metal panel.

Littlebuddy3

The top is held together with the small tabs. Pull up on the sheet metal back panel to remove it. See also picture below.

Littlebuddy4
Littlebuddy5

Looking into the heater from the back side after the back cover is removed.
Locate the pilot orifice gas supply tube.

Littlebuddy6

Use two wrenches – one to steady the joint while loosening the gas tube nut with the other. Do not just reef on it with a pair of pliers or something! Use two wrenches. Wrenches are 11 and 12 millimeters.

Littlebuddy7

Gas tube nut removed. Do not bend the gas tube. Gently shift it over slightly when removing the orifice in the next step. The orifice is next in line.

Littlebuddy8

Use two wrenches to remove the orifice.

Littlebuddy9

This is the orifice. Inside the tiny hole in the middle is a crystal film and the orifice is precision drilled into the film. DO NOT POKE anything into the orifice or you will surely destroy it!

Littlebuddy10

Use alcohol to soak the orifice for 10 minutes.

Littlebuddy11 (1)

Orifice soaking in alcohol – allow it to air dry. Do Not blow high pressure air into it.

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.
Happy Heating

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93 Comments

  1. Richard

    Really good information.
    Thanks for the detailed explanation.
    Cheers,
    Richard

    • Bob

      Your welcome Richard!

  2. Myddy

    I’ve been debating getting one of these, I’m glad you got to post this- I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. When or if I do get one I am definitely going to recheck this post again and get a filter!
    I feel like knowing how to fix things yourself is 90% of saving money. Businesses don’t want you to know how to fix things, especially easy things-that’s where they make their money! Either you buy a new one or pay to have it fixed. I’m trying to learn to be more DIY and learn things!

    • Bob

      Myddy, if you are in cold country the Buddy heaters work really well!! Their biggest problem is that they work too well. You can’t leave them on for very long before the van get too hot. But that is a good to have when it’s cold!! In a tent or RV they are perfect!
      Bob

  3. Rick

    I bought one of these but have never used it with a large tank. Do you have to put Teflon tape on the extension hose and filter connectors ?
    Great post. Thanks

    • Al Christensen

      No. Teflon tape is not necessary.

      • Jef

        There is a yellow tag attached to my 12 foot hose and it says that you should use teflon tape.

    • Bob

      Rick, no, you don’t have to do anything beside buy the hose and the filter. The connection to the heater is exactly the same as the green bottles and bulk propane bottles don’t need it when screwing into them.
      Bob

  4. Sameer

    This is very good information! I love my Mr. Heater. On high it will warm up my van comfortably in under 5 minutes then I turn it on low for the cold mornings in the desert. I want to switch from the 1# bottles to a tank to save money. Great information! I will order the hose and filter.

    • Bob

      Sameer, it may be overkill to get both, but I think it’s worth it.
      Bob

  5. Al Christensen

    Another indicator is that you keep pushing on the pilot button and get not pilot light, or you finally get one after pushing a dozen times or more.

  6. CAE

    Are there National Forests in FL that let you stay 14 days at a time, free of charge? I saw that St Petersburg is about 80F today.

    • Bob

      CAE, yes there are a few. I know the Ocala NF does allow dispersed camping. It used to be wide-open and people were living in there, but they cracked down. Now it is more restricted but you can still dispersed camp. You’ll have to contact the Ranger station for the details. Their websites give very little info so I suggest calling instead. Here is the page on dispersed camping, I think it is restricted to those few designated areas. http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/ocala/recreation/camping-cabins/?recid=32295&actid=34
      You will have to check on each Forest for its rules and restrictions.
      Bob

      • goldcityguy

        There is free dispersed camping in Ocala national Forrest and several very cheap primitive camping areas. During hunting season you are only allowed to camp in designated areas but there is plenty of places to disappear. Just stay on numbered roads to avoid getting stuck.

        • Bob

          goldcityguy, thanks for that information! I knew there was I just didn’t know many details. Thanks!
          Bob

    • Al Christensen

      But that 80 degrees comes with 80% humidity, which would trigger the endless discussion about air conditioning a van. 😉

  7. DougB

    Probably the very best piece of advice here is not to poke things into the gas orifice, mainly because that would be the thing I’d be most tempted to do! Very helpful article. I’d add to give a quick look at the filter’s sealing surface before installing it. Hit a bad one as I did, and there’s plenty of excitement until 10 seconds after you turn off the main valve at the bulk tank.

    • Bob

      Thanks Doug!

      • ROGER

        THANKS SO MUCH FOR POSTING THE INFO ABOUT THE CLOGGING ISSUE. I PURCHASED ONE OF THESE FROM A GARAGE SALE AND FOUND OUT IT DID NOT WORK WHEN I GOT IT HOME. YOU GIVE ME HOPE! VANDWELLING INTRIGUES ME. HOPE ALL IS GOING WELL THIS NEW YEAR.

        • Bob

          Thanks Roger, I hope you get it working!
          Bob

  8. Openspaceman

    I’ve debated using a big bottle instead of the little canisters but I don’t want to take up the space and I’ve only gone thru about 10 of them in the last 3 months….and I’ve been thru some cold nights. So my heating bill is averaging $7 a month, not to bad but I know a big bottle would last all winter. I’m going to save this info if I ever change my mind or go way off grid for an extended period.
    Thanks for the info.

    • Bob

      You can get smaller bulk bottles, but they are more expensive.
      5 gallons (standard barbeque bottle): around $30 at Walmart or less at Sams.
      2 1/2 gallons (half the height of 5 gallons) around $50
      1 gallon bottle (very small, tucks in anywhere) $60
      I’ve owned them all and never had a problem refilling any of them. The 1 gallon is so small you CAN find room for it. Ace Hardware sells them but most local stores don’t stock them. But any of them can order it for you and get them delivered to the store. Amazon and ebay both sell them.
      To me the many advantages of a bulk bottle make it a no-brainer. The bottle is good forever and the hoses are cheap and can be replaced every 3-4 years so in the long run it saves a lot of money.
      Bob

  9. Joe

    This may be a dumb question, but can’t the small canisters be refilled?

    • Bob

      Joe, yes they can be refilled and the adapter is pretty cheap. Here is one for $10 from Amazon.com:
      http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-F276172-Propane-Adapter/dp/B000AMC5WO/
      I know several people who use them and are very happy with them. It’s very difficult to get the green bottles 100% full. usually it’s 50-80% full. You need a pressure difference to get them totally full so some people put the green bottles in the freezer or refrigerator overnight and then they get full.
      I guess I don’t see the point. Why not just hook it up to the bulk bottle? The only reason I think I would get one is to use the smallest Buddy heater. They put out less heat so they would work better in a van, but they have legs and the green bottle is the back leg so its difficult to use it on a bulk bottle.
      Bob

  10. Joe

    Thanks for the response. After commenting, I googled it and came up with the same info. I did see a board where someone was killed refilling one. There are also laws about transporting refilled “disposable” 1 lb bottles.
    Research it carefully if anyone planning on doing that, please.

    • Bob

      I agree Joe, I’m not a slave to the rules but the little green bottles were built to be used one time and to use them repeatedly seems like it is stretching safety to far, I wouldn’t do it and if I did I wouldn’t keep the bottles inside the van.
      Bob

  11. Don M

    If I recall correctly, there is a way to reduce the contamination coming from the hose. I have seen it myself when using a 20# cylinder and hose on a small grill designed for the 1# disposables. Basically, if you unscrew the hose while there is still pressure in it, that creates the problem. But if you shut off the gas at the cylinder, and let the device run the hose dry, the crap doesn’t get expelled. This is from the internet, so it must be true, lol! Actually it’s from reviews on Amazon for the filter.

    • Bob

      Don, thanks for that tip, its easy to give it a try and see if it helps.
      Bob

      • Kerry

        I have run into the clogged orifice problem, with my refrigerator, while dragging a travel trailer around Alaska. When I stopped for a refill, the tech. pulled the cover off and showed me where and how to remove and clean the clog. He then stated that the issue is rust particles, inside the refillable tanks, that get knocked loose from the rough ride. Don’t know if he is wrong or right, or even if it’s possible to get debris, rust etc…. falling of the inside walls of the tank, but in fifteen years of RVing, I have had to grab a wrench and give the nozzle a good alcohol bath on several occasions.

        • Bob

          Hi Kerry, my spam filter marked you as spam and I’m not sure why. It should learn now that you aren’t.
          It makes sense that was rust because you have a low pressure system with a regulator, so it can’t be the same problem we are having with the Buddy heaters. The people I know with the heaters plugging up have new tanks, so I doubt it is rust in their case. The Buddy is a high pressure system so it’s most likely the hoses, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be rust or dirty fuel either one.
          Either way, the filter should solve that problem.
          Bob

  12. Al

    I have been using a little buddy for two winters now exclusively to heat a 32′ handicap FEMA trailer. I have had no issues yet. Run from 100lb tank outside the trailer. Filtered since it was new. I find this to be very cost effective and efficient means to satisfy my needs. Thank you for this post it was very informative and I am sure that in the future this knowledge will come into play.

    • Bob

      Your very welcome Al. This wasn’t a “sexy” post but for those of us who rely on Buddy Heaters, one day it may be a life-saver.
      Bob

  13. greg

    i have mine hooked up to a 20 pounder i have 2 diffrent tanks and one is new and one is older and when i turn them off gas still comes out i never had this problem befor and i can smell it and i will burn the gas out and 5 minutes and can light the pilot light again it will burn out then i can do over do you know why

    • Bob

      Greg, your letter isn’t completely clear. If you turn an appliance off there is still gas in the line so if you turn it back on then the gas in the line still comes out. If you mean you turn off the valve to the tank then it is the same thing, there is still gas in the line and gas will keep coming out until the line itself is empty, then it will stop. The way to stop that is to turn the valve to the tank off and leave the appliance on. It will burn all the gas in the line off and then go out and no more will come out until you open the valve again.
      I don’t understand your question about the pilot light. Ask your question again and be very specific what you are using and what your doing to what, especially the tank and the appliance.
      But, remember I have never owned an RV and know very little about them or their appliances. I live in a van not an RV.
      Bob

  14. matt

    Hi there. Someone left me a Little Buddy heater- maybe an older one because there aren’t screws, but tabs instead.
    It seems my pilot orifice is clogged as well. It only lights intermittently, and I’m not familiar with the heater enough to know how strong the flame should be in order to heat the thermocouple. Regardless, after heating it up some, when I go to light the heater, the pilot goes out and nothing happens. I have blown compressed air through it, based on another thread, so I hope I haven’t ruined the orifice. I didn’t poke anything thru it, just blew it out with a fair amount of pressure.
    Do you think it would be worth still doing what you have suggested?
    I’m only using the 1 lb. bottles right now because I already have them and I knew this heater wasn’t working to begin with or else someone would not have left it in my shop (probably thinking that I could fix it). My next step was going to be getting a completely full 1 lb. bottle, to make sure it’s not from lack of pressure, but I’m thinking that I should try your remedy first, as long as I didn’t ruin the orifice.
    Any thoughts? Much appreciated.

    • Bob

      Matt, I’m sorry but i really don’t have any help to offer. I borrowed that post from someone else and I know nothing about the Mr. Buddy Heaters myself. I’d say you have nothing to lose by trying what he suggests. My guess is that Mr. Buddy sells parts for it, maybe if it doesn’t work you could try to replace the thermocouple. Although it may not be replaceable.
      I wish I could be more help.
      Bob

  15. Joel Gibbs

    My question is about the Mr. Heater filters. Is there a way to flush ut the filter when it gets clogged. I know Mr. Heater says you should replace the filter annually and it only costs about $10. But I hate our throwaway culture, especially sincein these days of being environmentally friendly, especially since I enjoy nature and the outdoors while camping with my heater, and because my Scot blood hates waste. And I like to fix things instead of throwing them out.
    By the way, I did a little research on the reason why a filter is needed with a bulk tank. There are a lot of opinions on this, but the more authoritative sources say the contaminant comes mostly or entirely from the hose (contrary to an earlier post about rust). The rubber they use to make the hose contains an oil that keeps the hose flexible, which is essential because without it the hoses would quickly crack and leak, a very dangerous situation. But when propane passes through the hose, or especially when it sits in the hose if you don’t burn the gas off after shutting the tank valve, an oily sticky goo precipitates in the hose. This explanation is supported implicitly in the Mr. Heater website FAQs where it says you don’t need the filter if you use their special oil-free hoses (if the problem were in the gas or tank [e.g rust] then using a special hose wouldn’t solve the problem). The problem is that the special hoses cost about three times as much as one filter, and are hard to find ( though I found the reference in the Mr. Heater FAQs, I couldn’t even find it in their product list). So you can buy three filters for the price of one hose. Since you should replace a hose at least every three years, it’s basically a wash.

    • Bob

      Joel, you’ve basically got it right, the hose is the source of the contaminants. But the reason is that all portable appliances are high pressure devices (they don’t use a regulator) and the hoses are intended for low pressure devices that use a regulator. The high pressure pulls the oil out of the hose.
      Amazon sells the special hose but what I have heard is that it really doesn’t work, you still should use the filter. So why spend the extra money for the hose?
      That’s another way the Olympian Catalytic heaters are better, they are low pressure heaters and never have this problem. Thay also burn much cleaner and are much safer. But they cost twice as much.
      I’m not aware of anybody trying to clean the filter. I think I would just replace it at the beginning of very heating system unless it got very little use.

      • Joel Gibbs

        Thanks for the response. Didn’t know the part about low pressure vs. high pressure, but I I was wondering why I don’t have this problem with my lanterns. I use a high pressure regulator on my Camp Chef stove, but I figure whatever oil gets sucked out probably gets blown out the burners easily and burned. Does this make sense? Or am I coming up my high pressure regulator?
        Thanks

        • Joel Gibbs

          Curses, spell-checker! Meant “gumming” not “coming.”

  16. Tye Andrews

    I have used a Buddy heater for the last 2 months. It’s been pretty cold this winter here in Indiana so I purchased the “green” one. I live in an 83 Dodge conversion van. Up until now I have not had any issues and it’s been just what I needed. But now I find that my heater will “flame up” and blow out the pilot light. I have used the fuel filter and hose that were suggested by the company. Remember that the hoses have a male 1′-(20 thread)on the tank end and a 3/8′ male fitting on the heater end) I first purchased the wrong hose and quickly realized these are different from your standard propane grill hoses because of different fitting sizes.
    I’m grateful for the shutoff valve because I have awoken several times and the heater is out but the valve is still in the “on” position.
    It seems to me that the pressure fluctuates for some reason.
    I’m going to try cleaning it when it warms just a bit, till then I will just keep lighting it.
    I’m hoping spring is finally here!!!!!!

    • Bob

      Tye, sorry abot your troubles with your Buddy. You’re using the Big Buddy and I’e never used one of them so I’m not familiar with them. Cleaning it should be the same so give that a try!!
      What an awful winter you’ve had! I’m really glad I’m in the desert this year.
      Bob

  17. Stealth

    I followed your directions to a ‘T’ and my Buddy is ‘all fired up’ again! Thanks!!

    • Bob

      I’m very glad to hear that Stealth! They are too expensive to be replacing all the time! Keep warm this winter!
      Bob

  18. Dick Waskey

    My BUDDY HEATER starts to light and then as the flame begins to spread over the ceramic it looks good, looks better and then boom! A small “Crap your pants” type of an explosion and all goes out. Do you know what’s wrong and if so, can it be fixed?
    Thanks,
    Dick

    • Bob

      Dick, I’m sorry, I don’t. Did you try to clean it using this method?
      Bob

    • Bob Dobbe

      My problem, is the pilot flame is too big, and burns yellow on the end. I have two others, and they burn blue, and don’t go out as easy as this one. This one is a Little Buddy, model MH98X. The others ones are older and have a seperate sparker button (much better in my opinion) Orifice probelm? Regulator? Or?

      • Bob

        I’m sorry Bob, I have a Mr Buddy but rarely use it so I know almost nothing about how they work. I’m afraid I can’t be of any help.
        Bob

      • Tye Andrews

        I suspect it is an orifice problem Bob Dobbe.

      • Rose

        my buddy is doing the same thing right now…so I have taken it out of the rv to work on it. The too long noisy pilot flame with orange tip and going out unexpectedly.
        Your fix?

      • Rose

        your heater was in the batch of recall by mr heater

    • Rich Ostlund

      My portable buddy had a good pilot but the ceramic pad won’t stay lit. It pops every few seconds like it’s getting done gas and then it stays in for a second or so and goes out. I have cleaned the pilot tube with an alcohol swab. That seems to have made the pilot flame stronger but still the ceramic doesn’t stay lit. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

      • Bob

        I’m sorry Rich, I really don’t know enough about them to make any suggestions.
        Bob

        • bebod

          I use my Little Buddy to heat my portable ice fishing shelter. Suddenly I started having problems with consistent gas flow. It would fare up (more than normal for the valve setting) and then wane and possibly go out, or flare up again. Very inconsistent. Even the pilot flame would flare like a torch and blow itself out. It was attached to a 20# tank without a filter. I attached a 1# bottle with the same result. I assumed it was a valve problem. So I started using my backup.
          After a few weeks I tried it again. Now the pilot seems to work perfectly but goes out as soon as the pilot button is released, no matter how long I hold it down. I know that sounds like a thermocouple problem but what a coincidence! Any comments would be appreciated.

          • Bob

            bebod, I wish I could help but I really know very little about them, that was a guest post, I didn’t write it.
            Did you try doing what the article describes, that’s what I’d do.
            Bob

    • hank hill

      Teflon tape is cheap. Use it and stop long term seepage of the propane.

      • Bob

        Thanks Hank!
        Bob

    • sujorlast

      I have a Portable Buddy (purchased new back in March) It’s been used part time inside a RV as supplemental heat during colder months up north.
      At the same time I purchased the new type of hose that doesn’t leach oil into the fuel stream.
      The heater was working great no problem until recently it started randomly shutting off. So I cleaned the pilot tube and around the ODS sensor. Seemed to work a little better, but would sporadically shut down or go between a lower and higher btu all by itself.
      After partially dismantling I removed the pilot ignition assembly and cleaned it up. Then cleaned the pilot orifice.
      Works much better now, but when first started and cold it has shut down a few times. Once warmed up everything seems to be working ok.
      One thing I notice while opening up the case, is some sort of pitting type of corrosion, darker than normal rust, in specific areas. Existed heavily between the two plates that are part of the pilot assembly.
      After disassembling the pilot/ign. assembly, it took a while to scrape off the areas with this black corrosion. Appears to be a corrosion caused by the lpg gas and salty air. Not your typical rust type of corrosion, cause from moisture and salt.
      Also cleaned off a lighter color pitting corrosion from the bottom case plate that holds the tip over valve (was cleaned off then painted), Plus a few small areas on the near upper portions of the aluminum used inside the case, which was cleaned and sprayed with silicon.
      The corrosion isn’t visible on any of the brass parts, only the steel and aluminum alloy metals that are part of the case and pilot / ignition assembly.
      Gas lpg heaters must be more susceptible to corrosion from one climate to another.

      • Bob

        Sujorlast, sounds like you did a great job with it!
        I hope after all that it was running good at last? Where did the salt come from?
        Bob

        • sujorlast

          After the cleaning it’s running much better than before. Most of the time it seems to run normally. A few times after turning on the heat output fluctuates, heat output goes up and down without turning of the control knob. After several+ minutes of running starts to settle down. I’m still monitoring to try to determine the cause. Possibly the ODS is faulty or something to do with the flue?
          One drawback with this heater, there are no individual parts available for the pilot, ignition and ODS assembly. If e.g. the ODS thermocoupler fails the entire assembly needs to be replaced.
          Some gas heaters are designed so individual parts such as the pilot, ignition and ODS can be replaced as separate items. It would probably cost around 5 to 7 dollars to replace an ODS vs $16.00 to ~$25.00 for an assembly.
          I live next the Pacific Ocean where it rains quite alot throughout the year. The salt comes mostly from the sea through the humidity in the air.

          • Dan Kam

            Hi, thanks for sharing this article! I have read about this whole issue where the oil in the hose clogs up the orfice. I have the “Little Buddy” which is is the smaller version that sits on top of a 1lb propane bottle. I used 1x…for maybe 30 minutes. Since then, it was been stored the last 10 months in my garage all boxed up. I tried it yesterday, pilot lights but I’ve held the button for minutes numerous times and it will not stay lit!! I’m really disappointed! Any ideas? I’ve only used propane from a bottle…so what gives?

            • Bob

              I’m sorry Dan I really don’t know what else to do. Have you opened it up and tried this procedure with it? That’s what I’d do.
              Bob

    • Marc

      Thank you for all info
      I am little frustrated I should have bought the right connection and filter
      Hope I can fix it

      • Marc

        What moderation please

    • Marc delmas

      Thank you for all info
      I am little frustrated I should have bought the right connection and filter
      Hope I can fix it
      Following your info I am at the air drying stage and should put back it all soon I have to cook the Xmas dinner now no time this will warm up my rv.

      • Bob

        Marc, if you have an RV you might consider upgrading to the Big Buddy. It puts out more heat but it also has a Quick Connect that goes directly to your RV propane system and so you don’t need the filter. It should solve this problem of plugging the orifices.
        Bob

        • Marc delmas

          Many thanks bob
          I will do that and use the the one in the shop.
          They are on sale now in Vancouver.bc
          Thank you again!

          • Bob

            Sounds good Marc.
            Bob

    • Jerry

      I know you don’t know much about the Mr Buddy heater, but maybe you know about the flame on these type heaters. I have an old one over ten years old. I had to take it apart last year and soaked the orfices. I did get the pilot to light and turned it on low. The flame seems to be dancing all around the ceramic grating. The grating turns red at the top and starts down, all the while the flame is dancing. Then it seems to concentrate on a space a little above and to the left of the pilot light (which is in the center). I turned it off, and it left black carbon stains where the flame was concentrating. It was producing heat, but I shut it off because of the abnormal flame. Do you have any idea what is going on? Could I have damaged the main orfice? All I did was soak it.

      • Bob

        I’m sorry Jerry, I really don’t know enough to even begin to help you. I wish I could be more help but I have never had a MR Buddy apart and I just don’t know.
        Bob

    • scott burress

      I used my Mr buddy for the first time this weekend ice fishing. I was very impressed I used two one pounds tanks while I was out without a problem. When I got home I put a third tank on so I could use it in my garage. I tried three different tanks but I couldn’t it to lite. The igniter works and there is spark. I don’t believe I cross threaded anything. I can’t take it back to fleet farm where I bought it because it’s used and I don’t have the box it came in. I don’t want to have to pay shipping to send it to Ohio and have more in shipping costs then I paid for the unit. Any ideas on what might be the pro lem.

      • Bob

        I’m sorry Scott, I don’t. I must admit I’m hearing more and more stories like yours that they just stop working for no reason at all. I’m starting to wonder if it’s not quality control on their part.
        Bob

    • David Erik Finn

      Brand new to van-living. Portable Buddy worked when needed last year, then put into storage for a year. Just took it out and no pilot light. Cleaning per your post right now…
      20min later…
      Done. Still not working. Any suggestions? Using hose (replace it?) and standard grill tank.

      • Bob

        David, did you use a filter? They really must have one. If the cleaning doesn’t work, I’m sorry, I don’t know anything else that will help.
        Bob

    • Kristen

      I thought I was going to have to go through this and rebuild my mr heater cuz it was messing up so bad. It would light 1 out of every 20-30 times or so (the pilot would light and go out when trying to light it) and when it would light it would run for a few minutes and go out on its own, ugh so frustrating. I have the recommended filtered hose and a 20 lb tank on mine. Anyways I got so angry with it a sledgehammer came to mind but then it hit me, it was something so stupid…. the left side door got kicked and busted when someone tripped over it a long time ago and it doesn’t latch anymore, it came open a wee bit causing the heater to be tilted left just the tiniest bit. But that tiny bit made the pilot light move a hair to the right and that 1/64″ of extra space between the pilot and the thermocouple caused it to not heat the thermocouple enough and so it kept shutting itself off. I put a piece of duct tape to hold the door tightly closed and it started the first time after that and I haven’t had a single problem since !!! unbelievable that such a little tiny thing could cause such a huge problem.
      PS try sticking a shim under the left hand side of your heater and see if that helps before taking it apart

      • Bob

        Kristen, thanks so much for sharing that with us, it may save someone else a lot of frustration!
        Bob

    • Skipperlee

      What ever you do, don’t connect 20 lb bottle to quick coupler with out a regulator. Bomb….

      • Bob

        Thanks for that warning Skipperlee!
        Bob

    • Rick

      I have been using a mr heater buddy for a year. Lately it has started to exhaust similar to kerosene smell. It gives me a headache. I just read about the filter here. Would that correct the problem. It seems to burn well and lights easily. The smell is the only problem.

      • Bob

        Rick, I’m sorry but I don’t know the answer to that. However, the price of a new one is so little that I would NOT take any risks and I’d not take a chance on the old one. I’d suggest you get a new one.

    • Jay

      I’ve done all the things that you recommended, I removed and cleaned the Pilot orifice and now have a strong pilot flame, I checked for fluid in the gas lines, I installed a Mr. Buddy filter in the gas line and I replaced the gas hose with a “Mr. Buddy” gas hose and the heater still shuts off unexpectedly.
      Any thoughts?

    • Garey

      Thanks Bob on cleaning the pilot orifice with alcohol. Knock on wood its now lighting, staying lit and working fine. Thank you so much.

    • Garey

      Thank u Bob. Cleaned the pilot orifice in alcohol, reassembled n now pilot lites n stay lit n my Mr Heater knock on wood is working fine. Thank you much. U saved me the cost of a new one.

    • Lawrence

      What causes one side of the heater to work but the other half not to light fully

    • Mark Nomad

      Heaters are soo important and almost always needed. Great read!

    • Christopher Walton

      Hi Bob!
      Thank you so much for this incredibl information!
      Will this work on the Mr. Buddy? The bigger model.
      Thanks, Christopher

    • Steve

      Very helpful. After I got the pilot orifice out, I could see through it and thought it was clean. I re-installed it but still had the same problem. Then I remembered I could be looking through the crystal and not seeing the orifice. I did the alcohol cleaning and re-assembled and all is wonderful
      Thanks
      Steve

    • Mairathon

      I would have never done it myself. My choice is always to call the pros.

    • Beth

      Hi, great article!!! I live part time in a literal barn on a pkece of my familys property. No toilet, sink, shower, AC or heat, just my little Buddy heater. Thank God for my friend who bought it for me in trade for some yard work.
      I have one question…this “plastic”that migrayes from the hose to the heater and plugs it up, does that mean the hose will eventually end up leaking or become co.promised otherwise? I honesgly dont have $10 to buy the filter, but im also not wanting to end up having some sort burning accident because the hose went bad😐 Im thinking the hose MUST be deteriorafing somehow if internal plastic is migrating.
      Anyhow, hoping you respond! Have a great day/night!!!

    • H M Swofford

      Probably a silly question, but out of the box and using the small green bottle, how much heating time do I have? I understand if there is a thermostat turned on high, the times is reduced. But in general, how long does the fuel last from a green bottle? Thinking of buying one of these for when power goes out for a day or 2 here in Ga. Not expecting to heat a whole house, just a room or two until power is restored. Need to know how many bottles to have on hand, or if going with the Big Bottle would be better. Looking forward to your reply.

    • Shaylee Packer

      I will have to invest in this fuel filter. We were out camping last week, and our heater went out, it was not a fun experience. It would be so amazing if this filter would cause this not to happen again.

    • Sam

      Hi Bob, do you know why my Mr heater buddy pilot sensor is getting dirty? every few days carbon will start to build up on the top of the sensor tip, i can see the carbon coat turning red on the flame, the heater is working, but i clean it every few days.

    Table of Contents

    93 Comments

    1. Richard

      Really good information.
      Thanks for the detailed explanation.
      Cheers,
      Richard

      • Bob

        Your welcome Richard!

    2. Myddy

      I’ve been debating getting one of these, I’m glad you got to post this- I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. When or if I do get one I am definitely going to recheck this post again and get a filter!
      I feel like knowing how to fix things yourself is 90% of saving money. Businesses don’t want you to know how to fix things, especially easy things-that’s where they make their money! Either you buy a new one or pay to have it fixed. I’m trying to learn to be more DIY and learn things!

      • Bob

        Myddy, if you are in cold country the Buddy heaters work really well!! Their biggest problem is that they work too well. You can’t leave them on for very long before the van get too hot. But that is a good to have when it’s cold!! In a tent or RV they are perfect!
        Bob

    3. Rick

      I bought one of these but have never used it with a large tank. Do you have to put Teflon tape on the extension hose and filter connectors ?
      Great post. Thanks

      • Al Christensen

        No. Teflon tape is not necessary.

        • Jef

          There is a yellow tag attached to my 12 foot hose and it says that you should use teflon tape.

      • Bob

        Rick, no, you don’t have to do anything beside buy the hose and the filter. The connection to the heater is exactly the same as the green bottles and bulk propane bottles don’t need it when screwing into them.
        Bob

    4. Sameer

      This is very good information! I love my Mr. Heater. On high it will warm up my van comfortably in under 5 minutes then I turn it on low for the cold mornings in the desert. I want to switch from the 1# bottles to a tank to save money. Great information! I will order the hose and filter.

      • Bob

        Sameer, it may be overkill to get both, but I think it’s worth it.
        Bob

    5. Al Christensen

      Another indicator is that you keep pushing on the pilot button and get not pilot light, or you finally get one after pushing a dozen times or more.

    6. CAE

      Are there National Forests in FL that let you stay 14 days at a time, free of charge? I saw that St Petersburg is about 80F today.

      • Bob

        CAE, yes there are a few. I know the Ocala NF does allow dispersed camping. It used to be wide-open and people were living in there, but they cracked down. Now it is more restricted but you can still dispersed camp. You’ll have to contact the Ranger station for the details. Their websites give very little info so I suggest calling instead. Here is the page on dispersed camping, I think it is restricted to those few designated areas. http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/ocala/recreation/camping-cabins/?recid=32295&actid=34
        You will have to check on each Forest for its rules and restrictions.
        Bob

        • goldcityguy

          There is free dispersed camping in Ocala national Forrest and several very cheap primitive camping areas. During hunting season you are only allowed to camp in designated areas but there is plenty of places to disappear. Just stay on numbered roads to avoid getting stuck.

          • Bob

            goldcityguy, thanks for that information! I knew there was I just didn’t know many details. Thanks!
            Bob

      • Al Christensen

        But that 80 degrees comes with 80% humidity, which would trigger the endless discussion about air conditioning a van. 😉

    7. DougB

      Probably the very best piece of advice here is not to poke things into the gas orifice, mainly because that would be the thing I’d be most tempted to do! Very helpful article. I’d add to give a quick look at the filter’s sealing surface before installing it. Hit a bad one as I did, and there’s plenty of excitement until 10 seconds after you turn off the main valve at the bulk tank.

      • Bob

        Thanks Doug!

        • ROGER

          THANKS SO MUCH FOR POSTING THE INFO ABOUT THE CLOGGING ISSUE. I PURCHASED ONE OF THESE FROM A GARAGE SALE AND FOUND OUT IT DID NOT WORK WHEN I GOT IT HOME. YOU GIVE ME HOPE! VANDWELLING INTRIGUES ME. HOPE ALL IS GOING WELL THIS NEW YEAR.

          • Bob

            Thanks Roger, I hope you get it working!
            Bob

    8. Openspaceman

      I’ve debated using a big bottle instead of the little canisters but I don’t want to take up the space and I’ve only gone thru about 10 of them in the last 3 months….and I’ve been thru some cold nights. So my heating bill is averaging $7 a month, not to bad but I know a big bottle would last all winter. I’m going to save this info if I ever change my mind or go way off grid for an extended period.
      Thanks for the info.

      • Bob

        You can get smaller bulk bottles, but they are more expensive.
        5 gallons (standard barbeque bottle): around $30 at Walmart or less at Sams.
        2 1/2 gallons (half the height of 5 gallons) around $50
        1 gallon bottle (very small, tucks in anywhere) $60
        I’ve owned them all and never had a problem refilling any of them. The 1 gallon is so small you CAN find room for it. Ace Hardware sells them but most local stores don’t stock them. But any of them can order it for you and get them delivered to the store. Amazon and ebay both sell them.
        To me the many advantages of a bulk bottle make it a no-brainer. The bottle is good forever and the hoses are cheap and can be replaced every 3-4 years so in the long run it saves a lot of money.
        Bob

    9. Joe

      This may be a dumb question, but can’t the small canisters be refilled?

      • Bob

        Joe, yes they can be refilled and the adapter is pretty cheap. Here is one for $10 from Amazon.com:
        http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-F276172-Propane-Adapter/dp/B000AMC5WO/
        I know several people who use them and are very happy with them. It’s very difficult to get the green bottles 100% full. usually it’s 50-80% full. You need a pressure difference to get them totally full so some people put the green bottles in the freezer or refrigerator overnight and then they get full.
        I guess I don’t see the point. Why not just hook it up to the bulk bottle? The only reason I think I would get one is to use the smallest Buddy heater. They put out less heat so they would work better in a van, but they have legs and the green bottle is the back leg so its difficult to use it on a bulk bottle.
        Bob

    10. Joe

      Thanks for the response. After commenting, I googled it and came up with the same info. I did see a board where someone was killed refilling one. There are also laws about transporting refilled “disposable” 1 lb bottles.
      Research it carefully if anyone planning on doing that, please.

      • Bob

        I agree Joe, I’m not a slave to the rules but the little green bottles were built to be used one time and to use them repeatedly seems like it is stretching safety to far, I wouldn’t do it and if I did I wouldn’t keep the bottles inside the van.
        Bob

    11. Don M

      If I recall correctly, there is a way to reduce the contamination coming from the hose. I have seen it myself when using a 20# cylinder and hose on a small grill designed for the 1# disposables. Basically, if you unscrew the hose while there is still pressure in it, that creates the problem. But if you shut off the gas at the cylinder, and let the device run the hose dry, the crap doesn’t get expelled. This is from the internet, so it must be true, lol! Actually it’s from reviews on Amazon for the filter.

      • Bob

        Don, thanks for that tip, its easy to give it a try and see if it helps.
        Bob

        • Kerry

          I have run into the clogged orifice problem, with my refrigerator, while dragging a travel trailer around Alaska. When I stopped for a refill, the tech. pulled the cover off and showed me where and how to remove and clean the clog. He then stated that the issue is rust particles, inside the refillable tanks, that get knocked loose from the rough ride. Don’t know if he is wrong or right, or even if it’s possible to get debris, rust etc…. falling of the inside walls of the tank, but in fifteen years of RVing, I have had to grab a wrench and give the nozzle a good alcohol bath on several occasions.

          • Bob

            Hi Kerry, my spam filter marked you as spam and I’m not sure why. It should learn now that you aren’t.
            It makes sense that was rust because you have a low pressure system with a regulator, so it can’t be the same problem we are having with the Buddy heaters. The people I know with the heaters plugging up have new tanks, so I doubt it is rust in their case. The Buddy is a high pressure system so it’s most likely the hoses, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be rust or dirty fuel either one.
            Either way, the filter should solve that problem.
            Bob

    12. Al

      I have been using a little buddy for two winters now exclusively to heat a 32′ handicap FEMA trailer. I have had no issues yet. Run from 100lb tank outside the trailer. Filtered since it was new. I find this to be very cost effective and efficient means to satisfy my needs. Thank you for this post it was very informative and I am sure that in the future this knowledge will come into play.

      • Bob

        Your very welcome Al. This wasn’t a “sexy” post but for those of us who rely on Buddy Heaters, one day it may be a life-saver.
        Bob

    13. greg

      i have mine hooked up to a 20 pounder i have 2 diffrent tanks and one is new and one is older and when i turn them off gas still comes out i never had this problem befor and i can smell it and i will burn the gas out and 5 minutes and can light the pilot light again it will burn out then i can do over do you know why

      • Bob

        Greg, your letter isn’t completely clear. If you turn an appliance off there is still gas in the line so if you turn it back on then the gas in the line still comes out. If you mean you turn off the valve to the tank then it is the same thing, there is still gas in the line and gas will keep coming out until the line itself is empty, then it will stop. The way to stop that is to turn the valve to the tank off and leave the appliance on. It will burn all the gas in the line off and then go out and no more will come out until you open the valve again.
        I don’t understand your question about the pilot light. Ask your question again and be very specific what you are using and what your doing to what, especially the tank and the appliance.
        But, remember I have never owned an RV and know very little about them or their appliances. I live in a van not an RV.
        Bob

    14. matt

      Hi there. Someone left me a Little Buddy heater- maybe an older one because there aren’t screws, but tabs instead.
      It seems my pilot orifice is clogged as well. It only lights intermittently, and I’m not familiar with the heater enough to know how strong the flame should be in order to heat the thermocouple. Regardless, after heating it up some, when I go to light the heater, the pilot goes out and nothing happens. I have blown compressed air through it, based on another thread, so I hope I haven’t ruined the orifice. I didn’t poke anything thru it, just blew it out with a fair amount of pressure.
      Do you think it would be worth still doing what you have suggested?
      I’m only using the 1 lb. bottles right now because I already have them and I knew this heater wasn’t working to begin with or else someone would not have left it in my shop (probably thinking that I could fix it). My next step was going to be getting a completely full 1 lb. bottle, to make sure it’s not from lack of pressure, but I’m thinking that I should try your remedy first, as long as I didn’t ruin the orifice.
      Any thoughts? Much appreciated.

      • Bob

        Matt, I’m sorry but i really don’t have any help to offer. I borrowed that post from someone else and I know nothing about the Mr. Buddy Heaters myself. I’d say you have nothing to lose by trying what he suggests. My guess is that Mr. Buddy sells parts for it, maybe if it doesn’t work you could try to replace the thermocouple. Although it may not be replaceable.
        I wish I could be more help.
        Bob

    15. Joel Gibbs

      My question is about the Mr. Heater filters. Is there a way to flush ut the filter when it gets clogged. I know Mr. Heater says you should replace the filter annually and it only costs about $10. But I hate our throwaway culture, especially sincein these days of being environmentally friendly, especially since I enjoy nature and the outdoors while camping with my heater, and because my Scot blood hates waste. And I like to fix things instead of throwing them out.
      By the way, I did a little research on the reason why a filter is needed with a bulk tank. There are a lot of opinions on this, but the more authoritative sources say the contaminant comes mostly or entirely from the hose (contrary to an earlier post about rust). The rubber they use to make the hose contains an oil that keeps the hose flexible, which is essential because without it the hoses would quickly crack and leak, a very dangerous situation. But when propane passes through the hose, or especially when it sits in the hose if you don’t burn the gas off after shutting the tank valve, an oily sticky goo precipitates in the hose. This explanation is supported implicitly in the Mr. Heater website FAQs where it says you don’t need the filter if you use their special oil-free hoses (if the problem were in the gas or tank [e.g rust] then using a special hose wouldn’t solve the problem). The problem is that the special hoses cost about three times as much as one filter, and are hard to find ( though I found the reference in the Mr. Heater FAQs, I couldn’t even find it in their product list). So you can buy three filters for the price of one hose. Since you should replace a hose at least every three years, it’s basically a wash.

      • Bob

        Joel, you’ve basically got it right, the hose is the source of the contaminants. But the reason is that all portable appliances are high pressure devices (they don’t use a regulator) and the hoses are intended for low pressure devices that use a regulator. The high pressure pulls the oil out of the hose.
        Amazon sells the special hose but what I have heard is that it really doesn’t work, you still should use the filter. So why spend the extra money for the hose?
        That’s another way the Olympian Catalytic heaters are better, they are low pressure heaters and never have this problem. Thay also burn much cleaner and are much safer. But they cost twice as much.
        I’m not aware of anybody trying to clean the filter. I think I would just replace it at the beginning of very heating system unless it got very little use.

        • Joel Gibbs

          Thanks for the response. Didn’t know the part about low pressure vs. high pressure, but I I was wondering why I don’t have this problem with my lanterns. I use a high pressure regulator on my Camp Chef stove, but I figure whatever oil gets sucked out probably gets blown out the burners easily and burned. Does this make sense? Or am I coming up my high pressure regulator?
          Thanks

          • Joel Gibbs

            Curses, spell-checker! Meant “gumming” not “coming.”

    16. Tye Andrews

      I have used a Buddy heater for the last 2 months. It’s been pretty cold this winter here in Indiana so I purchased the “green” one. I live in an 83 Dodge conversion van. Up until now I have not had any issues and it’s been just what I needed. But now I find that my heater will “flame up” and blow out the pilot light. I have used the fuel filter and hose that were suggested by the company. Remember that the hoses have a male 1′-(20 thread)on the tank end and a 3/8′ male fitting on the heater end) I first purchased the wrong hose and quickly realized these are different from your standard propane grill hoses because of different fitting sizes.
      I’m grateful for the shutoff valve because I have awoken several times and the heater is out but the valve is still in the “on” position.
      It seems to me that the pressure fluctuates for some reason.
      I’m going to try cleaning it when it warms just a bit, till then I will just keep lighting it.
      I’m hoping spring is finally here!!!!!!

      • Bob

        Tye, sorry abot your troubles with your Buddy. You’re using the Big Buddy and I’e never used one of them so I’m not familiar with them. Cleaning it should be the same so give that a try!!
        What an awful winter you’ve had! I’m really glad I’m in the desert this year.
        Bob

    17. Stealth

      I followed your directions to a ‘T’ and my Buddy is ‘all fired up’ again! Thanks!!

      • Bob

        I’m very glad to hear that Stealth! They are too expensive to be replacing all the time! Keep warm this winter!
        Bob

    18. Dick Waskey

      My BUDDY HEATER starts to light and then as the flame begins to spread over the ceramic it looks good, looks better and then boom! A small “Crap your pants” type of an explosion and all goes out. Do you know what’s wrong and if so, can it be fixed?
      Thanks,
      Dick

      • Bob

        Dick, I’m sorry, I don’t. Did you try to clean it using this method?
        Bob

      • Bob Dobbe

        My problem, is the pilot flame is too big, and burns yellow on the end. I have two others, and they burn blue, and don’t go out as easy as this one. This one is a Little Buddy, model MH98X. The others ones are older and have a seperate sparker button (much better in my opinion) Orifice probelm? Regulator? Or?

        • Bob

          I’m sorry Bob, I have a Mr Buddy but rarely use it so I know almost nothing about how they work. I’m afraid I can’t be of any help.
          Bob

        • Tye Andrews

          I suspect it is an orifice problem Bob Dobbe.

        • Rose

          my buddy is doing the same thing right now…so I have taken it out of the rv to work on it. The too long noisy pilot flame with orange tip and going out unexpectedly.
          Your fix?

        • Rose

          your heater was in the batch of recall by mr heater

      • Rich Ostlund

        My portable buddy had a good pilot but the ceramic pad won’t stay lit. It pops every few seconds like it’s getting done gas and then it stays in for a second or so and goes out. I have cleaned the pilot tube with an alcohol swab. That seems to have made the pilot flame stronger but still the ceramic doesn’t stay lit. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

        • Bob

          I’m sorry Rich, I really don’t know enough about them to make any suggestions.
          Bob

          • bebod

            I use my Little Buddy to heat my portable ice fishing shelter. Suddenly I started having problems with consistent gas flow. It would fare up (more than normal for the valve setting) and then wane and possibly go out, or flare up again. Very inconsistent. Even the pilot flame would flare like a torch and blow itself out. It was attached to a 20# tank without a filter. I attached a 1# bottle with the same result. I assumed it was a valve problem. So I started using my backup.
            After a few weeks I tried it again. Now the pilot seems to work perfectly but goes out as soon as the pilot button is released, no matter how long I hold it down. I know that sounds like a thermocouple problem but what a coincidence! Any comments would be appreciated.

            • Bob

              bebod, I wish I could help but I really know very little about them, that was a guest post, I didn’t write it.
              Did you try doing what the article describes, that’s what I’d do.
              Bob

      • hank hill

        Teflon tape is cheap. Use it and stop long term seepage of the propane.

        • Bob

          Thanks Hank!
          Bob

      • sujorlast

        I have a Portable Buddy (purchased new back in March) It’s been used part time inside a RV as supplemental heat during colder months up north.
        At the same time I purchased the new type of hose that doesn’t leach oil into the fuel stream.
        The heater was working great no problem until recently it started randomly shutting off. So I cleaned the pilot tube and around the ODS sensor. Seemed to work a little better, but would sporadically shut down or go between a lower and higher btu all by itself.
        After partially dismantling I removed the pilot ignition assembly and cleaned it up. Then cleaned the pilot orifice.
        Works much better now, but when first started and cold it has shut down a few times. Once warmed up everything seems to be working ok.
        One thing I notice while opening up the case, is some sort of pitting type of corrosion, darker than normal rust, in specific areas. Existed heavily between the two plates that are part of the pilot assembly.
        After disassembling the pilot/ign. assembly, it took a while to scrape off the areas with this black corrosion. Appears to be a corrosion caused by the lpg gas and salty air. Not your typical rust type of corrosion, cause from moisture and salt.
        Also cleaned off a lighter color pitting corrosion from the bottom case plate that holds the tip over valve (was cleaned off then painted), Plus a few small areas on the near upper portions of the aluminum used inside the case, which was cleaned and sprayed with silicon.
        The corrosion isn’t visible on any of the brass parts, only the steel and aluminum alloy metals that are part of the case and pilot / ignition assembly.
        Gas lpg heaters must be more susceptible to corrosion from one climate to another.

        • Bob

          Sujorlast, sounds like you did a great job with it!
          I hope after all that it was running good at last? Where did the salt come from?
          Bob

          • sujorlast

            After the cleaning it’s running much better than before. Most of the time it seems to run normally. A few times after turning on the heat output fluctuates, heat output goes up and down without turning of the control knob. After several+ minutes of running starts to settle down. I’m still monitoring to try to determine the cause. Possibly the ODS is faulty or something to do with the flue?
            One drawback with this heater, there are no individual parts available for the pilot, ignition and ODS assembly. If e.g. the ODS thermocoupler fails the entire assembly needs to be replaced.
            Some gas heaters are designed so individual parts such as the pilot, ignition and ODS can be replaced as separate items. It would probably cost around 5 to 7 dollars to replace an ODS vs $16.00 to ~$25.00 for an assembly.
            I live next the Pacific Ocean where it rains quite alot throughout the year. The salt comes mostly from the sea through the humidity in the air.

            • Dan Kam

              Hi, thanks for sharing this article! I have read about this whole issue where the oil in the hose clogs up the orfice. I have the “Little Buddy” which is is the smaller version that sits on top of a 1lb propane bottle. I used 1x…for maybe 30 minutes. Since then, it was been stored the last 10 months in my garage all boxed up. I tried it yesterday, pilot lights but I’ve held the button for minutes numerous times and it will not stay lit!! I’m really disappointed! Any ideas? I’ve only used propane from a bottle…so what gives?

              • Bob

                I’m sorry Dan I really don’t know what else to do. Have you opened it up and tried this procedure with it? That’s what I’d do.
                Bob

      • Marc

        Thank you for all info
        I am little frustrated I should have bought the right connection and filter
        Hope I can fix it

        • Marc

          What moderation please

      • Marc delmas

        Thank you for all info
        I am little frustrated I should have bought the right connection and filter
        Hope I can fix it
        Following your info I am at the air drying stage and should put back it all soon I have to cook the Xmas dinner now no time this will warm up my rv.

        • Bob

          Marc, if you have an RV you might consider upgrading to the Big Buddy. It puts out more heat but it also has a Quick Connect that goes directly to your RV propane system and so you don’t need the filter. It should solve this problem of plugging the orifices.
          Bob

          • Marc delmas

            Many thanks bob
            I will do that and use the the one in the shop.
            They are on sale now in Vancouver.bc
            Thank you again!

            • Bob

              Sounds good Marc.
              Bob

      • Jerry

        I know you don’t know much about the Mr Buddy heater, but maybe you know about the flame on these type heaters. I have an old one over ten years old. I had to take it apart last year and soaked the orfices. I did get the pilot to light and turned it on low. The flame seems to be dancing all around the ceramic grating. The grating turns red at the top and starts down, all the while the flame is dancing. Then it seems to concentrate on a space a little above and to the left of the pilot light (which is in the center). I turned it off, and it left black carbon stains where the flame was concentrating. It was producing heat, but I shut it off because of the abnormal flame. Do you have any idea what is going on? Could I have damaged the main orfice? All I did was soak it.

        • Bob

          I’m sorry Jerry, I really don’t know enough to even begin to help you. I wish I could be more help but I have never had a MR Buddy apart and I just don’t know.
          Bob

      • scott burress

        I used my Mr buddy for the first time this weekend ice fishing. I was very impressed I used two one pounds tanks while I was out without a problem. When I got home I put a third tank on so I could use it in my garage. I tried three different tanks but I couldn’t it to lite. The igniter works and there is spark. I don’t believe I cross threaded anything. I can’t take it back to fleet farm where I bought it because it’s used and I don’t have the box it came in. I don’t want to have to pay shipping to send it to Ohio and have more in shipping costs then I paid for the unit. Any ideas on what might be the pro lem.

        • Bob

          I’m sorry Scott, I don’t. I must admit I’m hearing more and more stories like yours that they just stop working for no reason at all. I’m starting to wonder if it’s not quality control on their part.
          Bob

      • David Erik Finn

        Brand new to van-living. Portable Buddy worked when needed last year, then put into storage for a year. Just took it out and no pilot light. Cleaning per your post right now…
        20min later…
        Done. Still not working. Any suggestions? Using hose (replace it?) and standard grill tank.

        • Bob

          David, did you use a filter? They really must have one. If the cleaning doesn’t work, I’m sorry, I don’t know anything else that will help.
          Bob

      • Kristen

        I thought I was going to have to go through this and rebuild my mr heater cuz it was messing up so bad. It would light 1 out of every 20-30 times or so (the pilot would light and go out when trying to light it) and when it would light it would run for a few minutes and go out on its own, ugh so frustrating. I have the recommended filtered hose and a 20 lb tank on mine. Anyways I got so angry with it a sledgehammer came to mind but then it hit me, it was something so stupid…. the left side door got kicked and busted when someone tripped over it a long time ago and it doesn’t latch anymore, it came open a wee bit causing the heater to be tilted left just the tiniest bit. But that tiny bit made the pilot light move a hair to the right and that 1/64″ of extra space between the pilot and the thermocouple caused it to not heat the thermocouple enough and so it kept shutting itself off. I put a piece of duct tape to hold the door tightly closed and it started the first time after that and I haven’t had a single problem since !!! unbelievable that such a little tiny thing could cause such a huge problem.
        PS try sticking a shim under the left hand side of your heater and see if that helps before taking it apart

        • Bob

          Kristen, thanks so much for sharing that with us, it may save someone else a lot of frustration!
          Bob

      • Skipperlee

        What ever you do, don’t connect 20 lb bottle to quick coupler with out a regulator. Bomb….

        • Bob

          Thanks for that warning Skipperlee!
          Bob

      • Rick

        I have been using a mr heater buddy for a year. Lately it has started to exhaust similar to kerosene smell. It gives me a headache. I just read about the filter here. Would that correct the problem. It seems to burn well and lights easily. The smell is the only problem.

        • Bob

          Rick, I’m sorry but I don’t know the answer to that. However, the price of a new one is so little that I would NOT take any risks and I’d not take a chance on the old one. I’d suggest you get a new one.

      • Jay

        I’ve done all the things that you recommended, I removed and cleaned the Pilot orifice and now have a strong pilot flame, I checked for fluid in the gas lines, I installed a Mr. Buddy filter in the gas line and I replaced the gas hose with a “Mr. Buddy” gas hose and the heater still shuts off unexpectedly.
        Any thoughts?

      • Garey

        Thanks Bob on cleaning the pilot orifice with alcohol. Knock on wood its now lighting, staying lit and working fine. Thank you so much.

      • Garey

        Thank u Bob. Cleaned the pilot orifice in alcohol, reassembled n now pilot lites n stay lit n my Mr Heater knock on wood is working fine. Thank you much. U saved me the cost of a new one.

      • Lawrence

        What causes one side of the heater to work but the other half not to light fully

      • Mark Nomad

        Heaters are soo important and almost always needed. Great read!

      • Christopher Walton

        Hi Bob!
        Thank you so much for this incredibl information!
        Will this work on the Mr. Buddy? The bigger model.
        Thanks, Christopher

      • Steve

        Very helpful. After I got the pilot orifice out, I could see through it and thought it was clean. I re-installed it but still had the same problem. Then I remembered I could be looking through the crystal and not seeing the orifice. I did the alcohol cleaning and re-assembled and all is wonderful
        Thanks
        Steve

      • Mairathon

        I would have never done it myself. My choice is always to call the pros.

      • Beth

        Hi, great article!!! I live part time in a literal barn on a pkece of my familys property. No toilet, sink, shower, AC or heat, just my little Buddy heater. Thank God for my friend who bought it for me in trade for some yard work.
        I have one question…this “plastic”that migrayes from the hose to the heater and plugs it up, does that mean the hose will eventually end up leaking or become co.promised otherwise? I honesgly dont have $10 to buy the filter, but im also not wanting to end up having some sort burning accident because the hose went bad😐 Im thinking the hose MUST be deteriorafing somehow if internal plastic is migrating.
        Anyhow, hoping you respond! Have a great day/night!!!

      • H M Swofford

        Probably a silly question, but out of the box and using the small green bottle, how much heating time do I have? I understand if there is a thermostat turned on high, the times is reduced. But in general, how long does the fuel last from a green bottle? Thinking of buying one of these for when power goes out for a day or 2 here in Ga. Not expecting to heat a whole house, just a room or two until power is restored. Need to know how many bottles to have on hand, or if going with the Big Bottle would be better. Looking forward to your reply.

      • Shaylee Packer

        I will have to invest in this fuel filter. We were out camping last week, and our heater went out, it was not a fun experience. It would be so amazing if this filter would cause this not to happen again.

      • Sam

        Hi Bob, do you know why my Mr heater buddy pilot sensor is getting dirty? every few days carbon will start to build up on the top of the sensor tip, i can see the carbon coat turning red on the flame, the heater is working, but i clean it every few days.