thoughts on drinking, life and mixing the two.
Cigar smokers, bartenders, and even chefs will use a butane lighter or torch for various things, since they are handy, clean burning and very hot. I always had a lot of lighters around, whether for lighting up a good cigar, flaming an orange peel or lighting some 151. After years of using butane lighters, I became frustrated, because whether I spent ten dollars or one hundred on a lighter, after a while they would stop working. After a little internet research I discovered that without care these lighters will clog and fail. I have put together what I think is a proper butane lighter maintenance routine. I believe purging and cleaning are the keys to dependable function. Over the years, I have discarded some pretty cool lighters that could have been revived if I’d just known these techniques.
- Purge the lighter of all fuel and air. Purging completely before every refill can really improve the performance of your lighter. This helps to relieve the buildup of gunk that will develop from old fuel and to ensure a clean fill. Use the back-end of a wooden match to press down on the fuel valve on the bottom of the lighter. The wood won’t damage the valve. Keep pressing the valve until you can no longer hear fuel escaping. Pause a few seconds before turning the lighter upside down and purging again to remove excess air.
- Hit the burner area of the lighter with some blasts of compressed air to remove char and debris.
- Wet a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and gently clean the burner/torch area. This will remove any fuel solids that have formed and may be gumming up the works.
- Refuel the lighter. To do this, flip the lighter upside down, hold the canister pointing down towards the lighter, and mate the nozzle with the lighter. Press down and count to five for a normal lighter or longer for a large one, some even suggest a series of three second burst. Once the lighter is full it will feel cold and butane may begin to splash back onto your hand.
- Let the lighter rest until it returns to room temperature before attempting to light.
Repeating this process every time you refill should ensure proper lighter function for years.