Cigars 101

“Cold-filling” butane lighters

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Q. Sometimes I have a problem getting my butane lighter to fillproperly whenI have to refuel it.Any suggestions?

A. First, make sure you’ve released all of the excess air from the lighter. Air bubbles are a common problem which can prevent the flame from igniting properly, or can prevent the lighter from filling completely. Using the tip of a large paperclip to depress the filling valve will help release all of the remaining air in the chamber.

But the following tip from one of our readers, Ray Woolums in Indianapolis, may also come in handy: “Plastic lighters will sometimes crack when filled while warm. I find the lighters refill more efficiently when chilled.”

So, the next time you have to refill your butane lighter, remove (or “bleed”) all the excess air as I described above, put it in the freezer for about half an hour, then fill it. Just make sure you give it enough time to warm back up to room temperature before lighting your cigar.

Because the pressurized butane is so cold, even if you fill your lighter at room temperature, you should always wait a few minutes before lighting-up. Holding the lighter in your hand for a couple of minutes will also do the trick.

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Heidi LeBlanc
3 years ago

– Ray Woolums stated: “Plastic lighters will sometimes crack when filled while warm. I find the lighters refill more efficiently when chilled.”

If it cracks when filling it warm, then simply don’t fill it when it’s warm. It only needs to COOL. The issue is how plastic fails because of the RAPID transition from temperatures which have a GREATER difference. So, letting it cool down will decrease that gap / temperature difference. There is no substitute for time. (Well, that’s mostly true.)

– You summed it up: “… put it in the freezer for about half an hour, then fill it. Just make sure you give it enough time to warm back up to room temperature before lighting your cigar.”

The reason we fill it warm is because we are impatient. I’m as guilty of this as the next person, so putting it in the fridge for 30 minutes, and then waiting another 10 minutes for it to warm up, is good advice, but it probably won’t become very popular. ;)

– You advised: “Because the pressurized butane is so cold, even if you fill your lighter at room temperature, you should always wait a few minutes before lighting-up. Holding the lighter in your hand for a couple of minutes will also do the trick.”

And THAT (what you just suggested) is actually the BEST advice.

Basically, be patient, and only fill and light at room temperature.

Now, if I could just learn to practice what I preach…

Wanda Childress
2 years ago

I just tried to put butane in my lighter and all of a sudden the lighter started turning into ice what does that mean please help me is it bad stuff what did I do wrong???

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and Executive Editor of Cigar Advisor. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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