Tips for Filling and Maintaining your Torch Lighters
by David "Doc" Diaz
Revised Thursday, November 24, 2011
In this piece, I want to include some of my own experiences with torch lighters. I am a lighter collector, of sorts. I probably own more lighters than the average cigar smoker and I have found that butane torch lighters can be very finicky. Many people report problems with their torch lighters, from short flame, to inconsistent lighting, to not working at all. If you are careful to observe some simple practices, I think you can reduce the majority of your problems with lighters. Also in this article, I will provide the steps I use when refilling my lighters.
Some Helpful Tips
Buy Good Butane
The most important tip I can give you that will make a huge difference is to use top quality butane. There is no advantage to getting butane at bargain basement prices. The best butane will burn clean and will keep the jets in good working order. I buy butane that has been refined a minimum of five times, but you can use butane that is triple-refined (or above). You will usually see the number of refinings on the outside of the butane cannister.
Bleed the Chamber before Refilling
When filling your lighter, be sure to bleed or purge out all excess butane and air from the lighter. You don't want air bubbles to remain in the fuel chamber. Use a very small screwdriver to push in the valve. I have found that turning the lighter right-side-up (with refill valve pointing toward the ground) helps bleed the last bit of air out.
Don't Push the Flame too Close to Cigar
When you use your lighter, be sure to keep the jets away from the ash on your cigar. My brother-in-law has a nasty habit of pushing a torch flame lighter right into the foot of the cigar, which runs the risk of getting ashes into the lighter jets and clogging them up, not to mention burning oneself. I've warned him many times but he continues to burn the hell out of his fingers and eyebrows because he doesn't believe me that the flame is 2-inches long and he doesn't need to put the lighter too close to the cigar. In fact, torch flame lighters give the greatest heat at the very tip of the flame, so don't jam the flame into the foot of your cigar.
Cleaning the Jets
If your lighter is not lighting properly, try blowing into the jets. Sometimes ash or other particles can temporarily clog the jets and blowing can help expel the debris. You can also purchase a can of compressed air for this purpose. Put the extension nozzle down into the jet chamber and give it 3-4 good blasts of air.
Use Your Lighters Frequently
Finally, lighters need to be used and lit periodically so that the jets continue to function properly. If you own more than one or two lighters, remember to use each of them periodically to keep them in good working order.
Refilling your Torch Lighter
Step 1. First locate the refill nozzle and flame adjustment screw (photo 1).
Step 2. Drain all existing fuel from the lighter using a pen, small screwdriver, or some other small pointed object by depressing the fuel refill nozzle (photo 2). I have found that turning the lighter right-side-up (with refill nozzle pointing toward the ground) helps get the last bit of air out.
Step 3. Turn the flame adjustment screw all the way clockwise to shut off all fuel flow (photo 3). You should see a plus (+) or minus (-) sign near the adjustment screw, which corresponds to open and shut, respectively.
Step 4. With the fuel refill nozzle on your lighter pointing up, press the can of fuel straight down into the nozzle. Be patient, a lighter does not become refilled in 2 seconds. Take your time. It will take 15-seconds or so to fill the lighter chamber. DO NOT pump the fuel can into the lighter. On some of the less expensive lighters, this could cause the tank to rupture.
Step 5. After refilling, let the lighter rest until it reaches room temperature. The fuel is cold when refilling and will expand as it reaches normal temperatures. You can also wrap your hand around the lighter to allow your hand temperature to warm the fuel.
Step 6. Turn the flame adjustment screw ½-turn counter clockwise(toward the + position) and try to light the lighter. Keep turning the screw open in small increments until the lighter lights and is at the desired flame height. Make minor adjustments as necessary.
About the Author
David "Doc" Diaz is the publisher and the editor of the Stogie Fresh Cigar Publications. He has served as an educator, researcher and writer and has taught in the Health Education and Health Science field for over 30 years. He possesses an earned doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. Doc is a Certified Master Tobacconist (CMT), having received this certification from the Tobacconist University and is a member and Ambassador of Cigar Rights of America (CRA).blog comments powered by Disqus