Whether you’re out camping or need to light your cigarettes, a lighter comes in very handy. But if you buy tons of disposable lighters, you’re doing your part in polluting our already suffocated waters. Thus, the need to refill.
In this article, we will dabble on how to safely refill a bic lighter. Some say it couldn’t be done. But we say you can! And here is a safe and proper way to do it. We will also discuss the things that you have to know when you own a bic lighter.
What Are Bic Lighters Made of
The reservoir of BIC lighters is made from Delrin. Compared to regular lighters, Delrin allows for more room for gas with its thin structure. But albeit the thinner material, this is a high-grade resin that can withstand impact. So in case it falls, it will not shatter easily as other lighters will.
What Kind of Fluid Do Bic Lighters Use
What is inside a bic lighter?
Bic lighter makes use of butane. Butane is a liquified petroleum gas and is pressurized. It’s a colorless and odorless gas. Since it’s highly flammable, there were questions raised if butane is safe to use.
It’s a different type of fuel used by lighters such as Zippo. Zippo lighters use a heavy naphtha fuel, which is almost similar to kerosene or the fuel used for jet engines. Since it’s not pressurized like butane, it’s less flammable.
Albeit butane being more flammable, it’s still considered one of the safest fuels to store for use indoors and outdoors. Thus, to be able to use and store butane safely, you have to follow several safety guidelines.
How to Safely Use and Store Butane
Alternating, all types of gas fuel can pose a health hazard if not used and stored properly. That’s why extra caution should be practiced when refilling your lighters, whatever brand it is, and whatever type of fuel they use.
Below are simple steps that you can practice to ensure safety when using butane at home and outdoors.
- Avoid inhaling butane when you are refilling your lighters.
- Store butane canisters away from any source of flame or heat. The pressurized can easily explode when subjected to heat or placed near an open flame.
- Never light a cigarette when you’re using butane.
- Use only advisable containers for storage.
- Store butane away from food or any drink. And keep it in a well-ventilated area.
- Storage containers should be sealed and properly labeled.
- When you’re refiling a container, ground and bound the container to prevent an explosion.
- Either wash or throw away any clothing material that has been in contact with butane. Take note that sometimes it can start a fire in the washing machine.
- Keep out of children’s reach.
How Does a Bic Lighter Work
Before refilling a bic lighter with butane, it’s important to get to know the mechanism of the lighter first. Most likely you already know how it works. So you just need to familiarize yourself with the parts and the mechanism.
The spark wheel is the serrated metal wheel. You might be familiar with this already as this is the one that you flick to ignite the lighter.
Take note that when you roll down the wheel, it will strike a piece of lint. This creates that spark that will ignite the gas from the fuel. Thus creating a flame.
The Ignition button will release the gas from the valve. When you flick the spark wheel with your thumb, the ignition button is pressed and you have to hold the ignition button until the flame comes out. The ignition button is also referred to as the fork.
The flint supplies the material for the ignition. And it is controlled by the flint spring.
These springs control the opening and closing of the valve that contains the gas.
The valve regulates the flow of the fuel.
How to Refill a Bic Lighter at Home
Lighters such as BIC lighters are essentially disposable items. Once it runs out of fuel, you have to toss it into the trash bin. But many may not know yet that it is indeed refillable. And you can refill it in your own homes.
And here are simple steps on how to.
- Gather the materials that we will be needing. Secure the items below.
- A flat screwdriver or a butter knife
- Paper clip, wire, or a tack
- The empty BIC lighter
- Lighter fluid
- Extra flint
2. Ensure first that your BIC lighter is empty. Never refill your layer if it still has fuel. And you can check it by flicking the spark wheel several times. If it does not light anymore, it’s out of fuel.
3. Another way of checking if the lighter is empty is by holding a source of light over the lighter.
4. Pry open the metal part from the sides off. You can use the butter knit or a flat screwdriver. The hood shield should be able to come right off.
5. Then look for the guard. Point the lighter away from you so it will not hit your face. You may also use the butter knife or flat screwdriver to pry open the guard.
6. Now it’s time to remove the spark wheel. Extra caution should be practiced because you don’t want the parts to be damaged. It’s easy to find the spark wheel. It’s the wheel that you flick to generate a flame.
7. Remove the flint and the spring.
8. Look for the flame adjuster and turn it off counter-clockwise 10 times.
9. Press a wire of tack or paper clip. under the fork. We need to keep this part open as this is where the gas is released from the valve.
10. Get your butane fuel. And attach the nozzle front of the lighter fluid to the opened fork. Press it to refill the Bic lighter.
11. One refueled, close the open valve by pulling the wire off the fork.
12. Return the flame adjuster and turn it clockwise ten times.
13. Return the spring in the flint back on. Though you may need to replace the flint since it’s bound to wear and tear. The flint delivers the spark to the lighter. So by the time the lighter runs out of fuel, the flint would have needed replacement too.
14. Return the spark wheel and ensure it is assembled properly. You may also opt to put the child safety guard on.
15. Attach the metal hood back.
16. Check to see if it works by flicking the spark wheel.
What to Do if You Have Exposed to Butane Gas
Because sometimes no matter how careful you are, accidents are bound to happen. And in case it does, here is what you should do.
- In case butane got into contact with your eyes, flush them with running water for 25 minutes. Make sure the whole surface of your eye is washed
- If your skin gets in contact with the lighter fluid, wash it with warm water asap.
- If you have inhaled the gas, go to a well-ventilated area. But if there is already irregular breathing or worse it stops, call medical assistance asap. You may get artificial respiration until help arrives.
Though serious, these situations are very unlikely to happen if you use butane with caution.
What to Do With an Empty Bic Lighter
If you cannot refuel your BIC lighters, you have to dispose of them properly.
Make sure that your BIC lighters are empty before disposing of them. Never throw lighters with liquid fuel in the trash, this is a fire hazard
If there is still a bit of fuel left in your BIC lighter, dispose of them and take them to a hazardous waste collection site instead.
Can they be recycled? Yes, they can be recycled. However, lighters have metal and plastic parts that can be difficult to disassemble for recycling.
How Long Does a Bic Lighter Last
Full-sized BIC lighters can burn for an hour if used continuously. Though it’s not really standard practice to burn a lighter continuously. And if you do, the top part will actually start to deform in just twenty minutes.
Smaller BIC lighters, on the other hand, can light continuously for about twenty minutes.
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Is It Safe to Refill a Bic Lighter
The brand discourages recycling or refueling your empty Bic lighters. But when done properly and you know how to easily disassemble the parts, it’s still safe. Just take note that the parts of a lighter can easily deform or get damaged while you are prying them off, so you really have to be extra careful to not damage them.
Refilling the Bic lighter from the top is possible. But extra caution should be observed, especially when you’re handling any fuel gas. And if you are not that confident, better not refuel it. The cost of refilling a bic lighter is indeed cheaper than buying a new one. That’s why a lot of people resort to refueling their BIC lighter instead. And you don’t want to add up to the plastic waste.
We have tossed in safety tips as well on how to handle lighter fluid properly. Take note that it is a flammable substance so you have to be very mindful when refilling your BIC lighter.