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Propane Heater

Ranjan Shandilya Oct 27, 2018
If you are planning to buy a propane heater, then you need know its advantages, proper handling methods, and safety precautions taken while using them.
Propane heaters are excellent options for inexpensive heating. Although setting up the heater along with the cylinders and the hosepipes may seem expensive initially compared to electric heaters, but you will save much more in the long run as propane gas is very cheap compared to electricity or any other gas.
If you intend to purchase a large size propane heater, then get a professional expert to set it up. Ensure that Teflon tape or any thread sealing compound is not used when connections are made between the heater head and the fuel tube and also in the connections between the regulator-hose assembly to the fuel tube.
Also, ensure that the warranty is for a minimum of one year and covers all the accessories and knobs that control the flow of the propane gas.
Propane heaters are also used for tankless heating of water. A propane burner directly heats the water before it is released at the faucet. Although the venting system required is very complex, the advantages of a propane tankless heater are immense and they work out cheaper when compared to conventional heaters.

Types of propane heaters

  • Ventless Propane Heaters: These are small heaters that do not require external venting system as the amount of exhaust gas produced is very less.
  • Vented Propane Heaters: In these heaters, the direct wall vent draws air from the outside to the sealed combustion chamber and also vents the exhaust gas directly outside.
Portable propane heaters are economical and easy to use. They can raise the temperature by 25°F in a small area depending on the size of the heater. It would be unwise to expect the heaters to turn a cold winter day into a warm spring day, but they sure can provide pleasant warmth if you want to enjoy your early morning coffee on the patio.
While purchasing portable heaters, ensure that you buy a unit that comes with a stainless steel burner with good aesthetic looks, is weather resistant, and can be assembled quickly. Look for units that automatically shutdown when tilted or the flow of the gas is interrupted.
You will require a heater that produces a minimum of 40,000 BTU of heat. As these heaters require a propane cylinder, pulling and hiding extension cords will not be an issue any longer.

Propane Heaters and Carbon Monoxide Deaths

When a propane heater is lit, it consumes oxygen and produces carbon monoxide as a by-product. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that combines with hemoglobin in our blood. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache and nausea. On prolonged exposure, it can cause cardiovascular collapse, coma, and eventually death.
Deaths related to carbon monoxide are normally seen when people go out camping with indoor propane heaters. Inside closed tents, there is no outlet for carbon monoxide and no inlet for oxygen. Further, campers, having spent the entire day hiking fall asleep immediately unaware of what is happening and some unfortunately never wake up.
It is advisable to get a carbon monoxide detector installed in your garage or green house where the propane heater will be used extensively. These days propane heaters fitted with oxygen detectors are also available, setting off an alarm when the oxygen level falls under a pre-determined value, hence indicating a rise in carbon monoxide levels.

Safety precautions

Some of the safety precautions that you should take while handling propane heaters are:
  • In case of a leak, cut off the gas supply immediately. Next, extinguish any open flame that is present around the appliance. If you can still smell gas then call your gas department or the fire station immediately.
  • Always place the heater on a stable level surface.
  • Check for any leaks with soapy water after the initial assembly and every time the cylinder is replaced.
  • Do not move or touch the heater while it is hot or is burning. Let the heater cool for 45 minutes before you attempt to move the fan.
  • Corrosive or combustible materials should not be used to clean the heaters. If required use warm water with soap.
  • Use only those regulators and hosepipes that provided by the manufacturer.
  • Do not spray aerosols near the heater while it is in use.
Remember to keep flammable objects away from the heater. Ensure that there is sufficient ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide concentration from building up in the room and you have yourself a cheap and efficient heater.