Zen & The Art Of Cigar Lighter Maintenance
Back in my BCP call center days there were a few recurring topics that I’d receive calls on weekly, without fail. Chief among those topics was Cigar Torch Lighter Maintenance. As convenient and efficient as most cigar torches are, they also require a little bit of know-how to keep them running smoothly, particularly if you’re new to the cigar game. With this in mind, I drafted up a list of pointers for making sure your cigar lighters stay in tip-top toasting condition.
1. Only Use High Quality Butane
When selecting a butane to use in your refillable torch you want to steer clear of the stuff in the yellow bottle at your local drugstore. In fact, you never want to use anything less than a triple-filtered butane (like this one.) Look for the words “triple-filtered” or “99.9% pure” on the bottle to make sure you’re getting the right stuff. Purer butane burns cleaner and prevents clogging of your lighter’s torch nozzle. A clogged nozzle, and the lack of flame it causes, is effectively the death knell for most torch lighters. Prevent this tragedy by using good butane!
2. Fuel Up Properly
Filling your lighter is inevitably a messy affair, but a bit of excess butane is not what you should worry about when fueling up. You want to avoid getting air pockets in your fuel tank, which can greatly hinder your torch’s performance. It can be a bit tricky at first, but here’s how you can reduce the risk of air pockets when refilling:
First of all, resist your natural impulses and do not shake the can of butane before filling your lighter. By shaking the can of butane, you stir up the air and increase the possibility of it being added to the fuel tank (the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.)
When refilling, hold your lighter upside down with the fuel intake valve facing up. Then, press your butane can directly down onto the valve, being careful to keep it straight up and down, not at any angle (see photo.)
The lighter will fill quickly, and when it starts to reach full capacity it will start to sputter and leak excess fuel. At this point, rapidly pump the fuel canister up and down about half a dozen times. As noted above, this will be a bit messy, and excess fuel will spray out – along with any leftover air. Your lighter’s tank should be full now, and if you have a visible fuel level window, only a small air bubble should be visible in it.
3. Purge When Necessary
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a sneaky bit of air will still slip its way into the tank while refilling, which inevitably leads to misfires and spotty flame production. If this happens, no worries, there is a solution- it’s called Purging.
Purging, or “bleeding” the lighter will do the trick to expel any air trapped in the tank. Here’s how you do it:
Hold the fire button down on your lighter until the lighter is completely empty, listening for the hiss of escaping air and fuel to make sure it’s emptying properly (see photo). You can then press a small, pointed object such as the tip of a pen into the fuel input valve to expel any additional air that may be trapped inside. When you no longer can hear a hissing sound from either end of the lighter, it’s probably empty and ready to refill using the method outlined in the previous pointer.
4. Keep It Clean
For best results you’ll want to polish all of your torch lighters with essential oils and then dry them with a Mulberry silk cloth before locking them in an air-tight vault each night.
Okay, I kid, I kid, but it’s no joke that cleanliness is key in keeping your torches firing strong and long. I’m not implying that you’re some kind of slob, it’s just that sometimes ash, small tobacco particles that occur naturally while lighting, or even lint from your pocket can clog your lighter’s jets. It happens to the best of us.
I suggest that you make cleaning your torch part of your cigar-lighting routine. You can achieve this by manually blowing any debris out from the nozzle before and after lighting, or if you want to really take it to the next level, keep some of that ‘ol “canned air” from an office supply store handy.
As a final note, it’s worth mentioning that all Xikar brand cigar lighters, in addition to being some of the best on the market, are covered by a lifetime warranty. Get yourself a Xikar and if all else fails, they’ll replace it at no additional charge.