Setting Up Your Patio Torch

Setting Up Your Patio Torch

Prepping Your Patio Torch

Congratulations! You made it to summer, if you are anything like all of us here at H Potter, summer nights are often filled with evenings spent on the patio in the company of friends and family. But these summer nights shouldn’t settle for the same old glare of fluorescent lighting found on most patios and what says summer more than setting up your patio torch (or torches) when the sun goes down. So how do you do that if this is the first patio torch you have ever owned? What  should you know about the canister, the wick, the fuel? Why won’t the torch light? How safe is the torch? While we can not cover every conceivable question in this one short blog post, let’s jump in here and go over some general knowledge we would love to share from our longstanding experience selling and using patio torches. 

The Components Of Your Tabletop Torch

First things first, the torch itself. Most patio torches consist of the same three parts, the canister, the wick, and the snuffer or cap. The canister is oftentimes simply the base of the torch, it serves as the receptacle for whatever oil you plan on burning in the torch. More often than not the canister is the entirety of the base and will not need to be removed from any of the housing around the torch itself, however, in certain torches the canister will be removable from the base itself before the oil can be added to the canister. 

The Canister: Storing Fuel

The torch wick is the second necessary part of any patio torch. The wick is often connected to a cap piece that allows it to be placed on top of the canister with the majority of the wick soaking in the fuel and about a half to a quarter of an inch of the wick sticking out from the cap. Torch wicks have traditionally been made from cotton, a material that absorbs the fuel and burns for some time, however, most modern torches come with a fiberglass wick that both lasts longer and produces less smoke while burning.

Cap & Wick: Starting the Fire

The final piece of a torch is the snuffer cap. The most simple piece of the torch, the snuffer cap is often included to help extinguish the flame from the torch. The snuffer may be either attached to the wick and cap itself, or may be simply removed without being attached to the cap as one whole piece. Use the snuffer to cut off airflow to the torch and safely extinguish the torch after use to keep all of your outdoor gatherings safe.

The Snuffer: Putting Out the Flame

Ok, now that we have covered the essential elements of patio torches, what’s the next step? The next step to enjoying your new outdoor lighting is to get it lit! While this appears like it should be the easiest part, let’s talk about what we need to do before getting outside and lighting up the night. The very first thing to do is pick out fuel for your torch. The majority of torch fuels are made from paraffin oil, a highly refined form of petroleum that burns cleaner than older forms of lamp oil which would typically produce thicker smoke. Another popular form of torch fuel is citronella oil, made from the citronella plant, this fuel is particularly well loved during the summer months for its ability to deter mosquitos in the immediate area. So before lighting your torch make sure to decide which oil you will be burning in the torch and especially consider using citronella or another bug deterring fuel if you are in a location that has plenty of unwelcome insect guests.

Lighting Your Tabletop Torch

Now that you have picked out the right fuel for your torch, it’s time to charge the wick and light the torch. Begin by filling the torch canister with your fuel, the canister should be full but not so full that you are unable to place the wick into the fuel without the oil overflowing from the canister. Before placing the wick and cap back on the torch, make sure about ¼ to ½ of an inch of wick are exposed from the cap, too much or too little wick and the torch will either burn out too fast or not light at all. Once you have an appropriate amount of wick exposed, place the wick and cap back on the torch and allow the wick to sit for 5-10 minutes depending on the amount of fuel remaining in the canister. Letting the wick stand for a few minutes will allow the wick to soak up the fuel, if you are having issues with the wick lighting, consider allowing the wick to sit for several more minutes before trying again and if that doesn’t work make sure you have filled the canister with fuel. Once you have the wick lit, the torch should burn until it is no longer able to draw fuel through the wick.

Letting the wick stand for a few minutes will allow the wick to soak up the fuel... if that doesn't work make sure you have filled the canister with fuel.

No More Steps!

Congratulations on setting up your very own patio torch! Make sure the torch is always placed in a safe location where it cannot be tipped over and provides a minimal fire risk, and always keep torch fuel, canisters, and wicks out of the reach of children. Now get back to making memories on your back porch and hosting summer get togethers with friends and loved ones.

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