A couple of weeks ago on The Cigar Authority Podcast, Mr. Jonathan explained lighter care. Since that show the amount of emails coming in requesting that information in an article/editorial format has been overwhelming. As a result, Mr. Jonathan has decided to give it to you as only he can…
GAS is the most common problem in three ways. The first is that it’s not turned up enough or it’s up too high. The second is that the lighter has not been bled prior to filling. Third is you are burning cheap fuel. Only buy the fuel that has its seal at the top of the can. Never use fuel with the seal down the side.
When its time to bleed your lighter, and refill it, do not shake it or the can of butane. Butane cans have a mixture of butane and propellent. Propellent doesn’t combust and its much less sensitive to temperature changes so you can fill your lighter in almost any weather. When you mix the butane and the propellent you are injecting non combustible propellent into your lighter and reducing the pressure in the can without getting all the butane. Simply HANG your lighter up side down and depress the fill valve until the hissing all but stops. then hang the can of premium butane up side down, line up the fill stem and the fill valve, and pump the fuel until the lighter is full. Butane liquid is heavier than the propellent gas and will sit at the bottom of the can so the propellent can push it out. Lighters with metal housings tend not to light right away after re-fueling. You will notice that they get real cold…this is a by product of the butane changing from a liquid to a gas and back to a liquid. Putting it in your pocket or holding it tight in your hand will bring the lighter back up to room temperature and allow for good combustion. These lighters are not ideal for cold weather use.
If your lighter is still not lighting you may be having an OXYGEN issue. This can be too much gas coming out of the jets and blowing the flame out. but it can also be that you are blocking the air vents with your hand as you are lighting or the air vents could be blocked with dust and lint. A quick inspection and cleaning of these vents can get you back up and running.
For most of you, your lighters are now working. If they are not I have a couple more pro tips for you.
Most jet flame lighters use an electrostatic SPARK for ignition because flint produces a fine powder that would eventually clog the fine jets of your lighters. As you press the button a mini lightning bolt shoots out of the igniter, across the combustion chamber, and grounds out in the actual jet. If your lighter lights it has spark. If it lights and goes out or has a weak flame you don’t have a spark issue. If you are lighting intermittently, your igniter could be grounding out or “back sparking”. This happens on older lighters that have burned through the tip of their igniters causing the metal housing of your lighter to be closer than the jet inside. Back sparking is both easy to see and easy to fix. Taking your mini flat head screw driver gently bend the igniter toward the jet that is the closest. You only need to move it a fraction of a millimeter to be effective.
Like anything mechanical there is a learning curve. Assuming that you have done everything correct. Your lighter has been bleed and refilled. You put it in your pocket for 10 minutes to warm up. It has spark, clean air vents, and plenty of gas coming out of the jets. You can test that it should be lighting by introducing another flame to the lighter and seeing if it stays lit. Failure to light on its own in this case, is most likely, that not enough fuel is being let into the combustion chamber before the spark. Try letting the fuel run for a second before ignition. By adjusting your TIMING with your lighter you can help guarantee a light almost every time.
No lighter is going to light every single time you strike the striker. Most lighter issues can be diagnosed using my G.H.O.S.T. method. Check the GAS to see if it is it turned up or down enough and do you have fuel. HANG the lighter up side down without shaking it or the fuel to bleed and refill. Check the OXYGEN supply are the air vents clean and clear? Do I have SPARK? Is my TIMING correct?