Whether it’s for a tent, a single room or a whole house, a propane heater can do the job, and do it safely, if proper precautions are taken. As with any device, which uses any type combustion, proper ventilation is required to insure the safety of the user.
Small propane heaters are widely used by campers, ice fishermen and others needing heat outdoors. The small, propane heaters, usually attach to a one-pound propane tank and uses a burner, often reflected by a metal dish to distribute heat, provided at about 5,000 BTU. Since 1990, there have been 31 deaths attributed to the unsafe usage of a propane heater.
Larger units are available, which can produce up to 15,000 BTU of heat, and are generally used in larger structures. However, regardless of size of the propane heater, proper ventilation is needed to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide, a tasteless, odorless and colorless gas, which replaces oxygen in the blood stream and may cause serious injury or death.
Properly Install Whole-House Furnaces
People living in rural areas and those with the benefit of a natural gas pipeline often turn to a propane heater for their home. Propane gas is stored in a pressurized tank outside the house and is fed to the furnace as needed. Most homeowners have their propane heater installed by a professional and it is properly vented, decreasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, it is a good idea to equip the home with a carbon monoxide detector.
There are also propane heaters, which are used in construction for warming a house under construction during colder months. This type heater generally throws a burning flame into the air, warming the building site. Care must be taken with their use, as not only the danger of carbon monoxide exists, there is the added potential for fire.
While propane heater manufacturers are doing a far better job of cautioning consumers on the dangers of their use, as well as discontinuing production of those not meeting safety standards, there are still numerous propane heaters in use today that were not being sold for several years.
While a propane heater can offer affordable, portable options for when a heat source is needed, certain precautions should be taken to insure the safety of the user. A simple precaution of proper ventilation, even in a tent or ice fishing house, can make the use of this type heater much safer.