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Save Money with these Portable Propane Heater Tips

Updated on January 6, 2011

Six Tips to Save Money With Your Portable Propane Heater

Here are six money-saving hints to follow when using a portable propane heater. They are:

1) Use the right propane heater hose so you don’t ruin your portable propane heater.

2) If you’re using a propane tanker larger than 20 lbs., you may need to buy a customized hose.

3) Propane suppliers are short-filling tanks. Buy your propane from a dealer who uses a scale to get your money’s worth.

4) Save money by using the 20 lb. tank.

5) Buy the right propane heater for back-up in a power outage.

6) Older propane models are still being sold, so be sure you buy the newest model.

All these points are covered below, with more detailed info at the embedded links.

Not all propane heater hoses are created equal

Some hoses need a fuel filter to hook up to a 20 lb. propane tank and some don’t. If you use the wrong hose accessories, an oily gunk can form and damage your heater’s regulator and control valve. This propane residue can make your propane heater operate poorly or even stop working completely.

The three most common hoses are:

a) The 12-foot rubberized propane hose. This hose needs a filter.

b) The 12-foot propane hose with regulator and quick disconnect. This hose does not need a fuel filter.

c) Plasticizer-Free green hose. This hose doesn’t need a filter.

Use the correct hose and your propane heater should work well and be maintenance free for years.

You can read detailed reviews and instructions for these propane hoses at this article about propane heater accessories.

Customized Hoses

Buyers have complained that commercially manufactured propane hoses don’t always hook up to larger propane tanks. That means a trip to your propane dealer or hardware store to make-up a custom propane hose. So check your propane tank and heater fittings to make certain a store bought hose will work.

Short-filled Propane Tanks

The big propane dealers are in court defending themselves against charges of short-filling tanks. The class action lawsuit alleges that they filled tanks to only 15 lbs. and never informed buyers of the short-fill. Typically, a tank is filled with 17 to 18 lbs. of propane to allow for expansion.

“When you’re paying more for less it affects people in the long run and it affects their pocketbooks,” said Eric Gibbs, an attorney representing a California man in a case filed against FerrellGas on June 4 in the U.S. District of Kansas.

The solution is to get your tank filled by a propane seller who uses a weight scale so you know you’re getting a properly filled tank.

The 20 lb. Propane Tank Saves Money

Hands down, you save money by hooking up your portable heater to a 20 lb. propane tank.

You’ll pay about twice as much for portable 1 lb. propane bottles as opposed to fuel for a 20 lb. tank.

The small tanks have their purpose. For example, the portable tanks are certainly easier to carry to your ice shanty or your hunting shack in the bush. But if you have a permanent situation, such as using your portable heater to heat a room in your house or as emergency back-up, the 20 lb. tank is the way to go. Be certain to pick the right propane heater hose.

Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater

A Back-up Heater for Power Outages

The portable propane heater can keep you toasty warm when a storm knocks out the power.

Without power, your portable electric heater is nothing more than decoration. And goldfish can't swim in frozen tanks.

In a power outage, you can hunker down in a single room with the Mr. Heater-MH18B-Portable-Big-Buddy portable heater, and get about 100 hours of heat from a single tank of propane. Follow this advice:

This portable heater has three power settings - 4,000 BTU, 9,000 BTU and 18,000 BTU.

Start this portable propane heater out at 18,000 BTU for a half hour or so to get the room to 60 degrees. Now cut the BTUs in half to 9,000 BTU for another hour and the room will be warm enough for shirtsleeves. Finally, use the lowest setting - 4,000 BTU - to maintain the temperature at your comfort level.

If you’re running the small 1 lb. propane bottles, figure that they’ll run the Big Buddy from 3 to 12 hours depending upon the BTU setting. And of course it’s portable while running the small propane bottles so you can move it room to room, wherever you need it.

It’s always a good idea to buy a four-pack of the small bottles as a back-up in case your tank runs out.

You can read a detailed summary about this propane heater here.

Buddy Propane Heater for Camping

Portable Propane Outdoor and Camping Heater

The small Mr. Buddy heater is the perfect outdoor propane heater for camping, fishing or hunting, but be careful which one you buy.

There are three different models of the “Buddy” heater for sale. Two are older models and cost more than the newest Buddy. The older Buddy was subject to a recall a few years back. Some of these older models are still floating around. Look for the designation F232025. This is the newest Buddy model and should cost about $79.95.

Go here to read about this Camping Heater.

This smaller version of Big Buddy, called the Mr. Heater Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Portable Radiant Heater, weighs only 10 pounds so it’s easy to carry to your hunting shack or ice shanty. It has two settings - 4,000 BTU and 9,000 BTU.

It has a low oxygen shut-off and also shuts down if knocked over. So it’s good for tent camping or maintaining heat in your truck, RV or small trailer. Be sure to crack open your shanty door a bit so moisture doesn’t form and coat everything in ice.

It’s rated to heat 200 square feet of space and can run on a 20 lb. tank with a propane heater hose.


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    • whitton profile image

      whitton 7 years ago

      Nice Hub. These are some great tips to consider.


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