Tech Tip: Kerosene Forced Air (KFA) Portable Heaters Not Firing

Posted on: December 28th, 2016 by Mi-T-M | 29 Comments
Industrial Equipment Tips

For the Mi-T-M Pressure Washer Certified Technician.

If your Kerosene Portable Heater is not firing, there could be a couple reasons causing this issue.

Possible Cause #1

If you are trying to light your KFA Portable Heater and you notice little or no air pressure registering on the pressure gauge, there may be an issue with one of the following components:

1. Air filter



2. Air hose

Portable Kerosene Heater Air Hose



3. Air pump rotor

kerosene heater air pump rotor


– Check to make sure the air pump filters are clean.

– Check for a hole(s) in the air hose that connects the air pump to the burner nozzle. If you do not find any holes, remove and inspect the air pump rotor for cracks and damage.

– Replace the air hose or air pump rotor based on the root of the cause. When replacing the air pump rotor, you must set the proper gap at the top of the carbon rotor. To do this have the rotor in place and the outer steel ring loose, then place the .004 inch gauge between the top of the rotor and the bottom of the outer ring. Tighten the bolts in the steel ring.

– Next, rotate the air pump rotor clockwise and recheck the .004 inch air gap every 1⁄4 turn from the same top location.

– Reset the outer ring if any locations are less than .004 inch.

Possible Cause #2

If the proper air pressure is registering on the pressure gauge (see heater decal for proper pressure) and the heater sprays fuel, but you still cannot light up your KFA Heater, there may be an issue with one of the following components:

1. Control board

kerosene heater control board


2. Igniter (which is mounted underneath the fan pictured below)

kerosene heater igniter



Disconnect the igniter wires from the control board and check for voltage on the control board. The voltage will need to be checked within 1 – 3 seconds of turning the heater on/off switch to the on position. The voltmeter should read 120 volts AC. If there is no voltage, you will need to replace the control board. If voltage is present on the control board, that means that your igniter is more than likely the issue and you will need to replace it.


29 Responses

  1. steven carr says:

    I have a readyheater pro 155.has been completely serviced,filters air fuel,spark plug new and gapped,air psi set to 5.2 psi,checked for air leaks,new hoese air fuel,tested ign ok, new nozzel.will not fire hot (60 deg),fires cold fine(30 deg).will fire with torch held near spark plug and run fine.any ideas?

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Steven,
      You can contact Jeff Riesberg or another member of our service team a 1-800-553-9053. They should be able to help you out. Thanks!

  2. sam west says:

    I have a JD ac 215 for about 2 years very hard to start says E1 tried it yesterday could not get it to start ,took hood off and fan has hard spots turned it by hand (it was unpluged) when turned back on it did finaly started .Today the same thing has not had over 5 gal of kero since new.could it be air pump rotor clearance.

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Sam,
      Sorry for the delay in response. It’s probably best to have you get some advice from one of our service techs. Please give us a call at 1-800-553-9053 and we’d be happy to help. Thanks!

  3. Mark says:

    I have a Master MH-75T-KFA, a 75KBTU heater that looks exactly like the one above (except no display on circuit board)
    I have no spark, have replaced spark “plug”, that did nothing, and when I remove wires from circuit board to check output to igniter, I get 82VAC. Getting 119VAC at cord thats plugged into the heater.

    Now, is this circuit board failure, or should I still be looking at igniter?
    Im guessing its the board, but wondering if anyone else has seen this? It seems odd to me that it isnt either 0V or 110V, but in the middle.

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hello Mark,
      It sounds like a bad board, if you want to test the igniter you can simply hook it up to 110 volts and see if it sparks. Feel free to give our customer service team a call at 1-800-553-9053 and they will be able to assist you further.

  4. Mark says:

    Thanks for the help, and especially the test procedure. I replaced the control board and it fired right up. I thought when I was getting below 110 out of the connector with the blue wires that it was the problem, but no way to know for sure. Now I do!
    Saved me from unnecessarily replacing the igniter.

  5. Barbara Mountain says:

    I purchased the JD ac 215 January 30, 2020 for outdoor use. It worked well for a few days but pump pressure soon became unstable dropping from 9.0 to 7.0 or less. If it only falls to 7.0, it will continue working but poorly. It necessitates someone watching it all the time. Moving the intake filter briefly returns the pressure to 9.0 but it soon falls. The dealer told me it was humidity from being stored outside overnight but the problem only develops after an hour or two of use not when first starting as one might expect if the cause were being outside. It has been returned to the dealer more than once where they say it continues running unsupervised but that doesn’t mean the pressure is correct. Can anyone suggest a solution?

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Barbara,

      We have a customer service tech replying to the email listed above. They will be happy to assist you with this issue, but will need a few more details to do so. If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-553-9053.

  6. Alex says:

    I have a Dyna-Glow Delux Professional 180k-220k BTU heater. The air pump rotor disintegrated, so I replaced it. I am still not getting fuel out the nozzle, there are no blockages in the fuel filter or lines, and the guage shows no air pressure. What’s my next step?

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Alex,

      Recheck the rotor installation, the 4 small vanes may be installed incorrectly. Next would be to re-gap the rotor at .003 on top dead center. Hope that helps!

  7. Howard shaff says:

    Heater shows 0/1 red light on fuel gauge but has 1/2 tank of fuel no response after supplying power. Shows E-4 on error code

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Howard,

      Could you let us know what the model number is on the heater? The fuel gauge lights you are describing seem a little unfamiliar, or feel free to give us a call at 1-800-553-9053 and we’d be happy to help you trouble-shoot it.

  8. Micheal says:

    The dealer told me it was humidity from being stored outside overnight but the problem only develops after an hour

  9. Ben says:

    I have a Protemp-125t, works great as long as I leave outside cover open, if I closed it heater shuts down & his to E1 status.

  10. Frank Davino says:

    My Mastercraft 115K btu heater will not fire. Pump fan works and is set for 5.1psi of pressure. No kerosene is being sent to the glow plug which is lighting. Any suggestions on how to get it going?

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Frank, Check to make sure the fuel filter and nozzle aren’t plugged. Also check the fuel line for cracks to make sure it’s not drawing air. Let us know if you have any further questions & feel free to give us a call at 1-800-553-9053.

  11. Colin says:

    I have a DXH185KT that I am struggling to diagnose. Pump pressure is set at 6.8 according to the specs. I have replaced fuel filter, electrode, fuel air aspir. nozzle, as well as the air filter housing cover. Still will not ignite with the top cover on. I can take the cover off start and then screw the cover on, and it will run all day with no issues.

  12. Dave says:

    Same problem with a JD 215 heater as above. Purchased in spring of 2019 as had JD 190 that functioned perfectly 2015 to this day. The 215 would sometimes start and then others not and did not heat as the 190 does and would shut down with an E1. So I finally got around to take it apart and found that it was the air pump rotor binding up causing not to start. Put it back together and now the motor and fan turns freely but the pressure is low at 4 lb and after a while stops with an E1. So think I need a new rotor and casing or???

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Dave, the rotor needs to be adjusted to .003 clearance. Please contact our Product Support Team at 800-553-9053 if you’d like us to walk you through it.

  13. Nathan says:

    Hi, I have a brand new Heatstar 210. Actually the 2nd one this week. After starting it and setting the temp, it seems to work fine. But after a few hours it shuts down and won’t start. I followed all instructions to the letter but still won’t start. I noticed some fuel leaking out the front of the burner so tipped it to drain the puddle inside and now I’m letting it sit for a cpl hours to dry out. I’m running furnace oil in it and set the temp to around 50F. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  14. Dave powell says:

    Master MH-140T-kFA does not want to fire below about 32 degrees, and when it does it’s spitting fuel out while it’s on. E1 error. Any ideas?


  15. A virdell says:

    I have a duroheat kfa heater I plugged into a 220 v plugin with a rv plug that make 220v to a 110v connection and heater turned on and ran for about 5 seconds then turned off and now it does not turn on at all I checked fuse on board and it looks fine to me what else can I check or did I fry the board completely?

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