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Propane Heaters

Updated on October 14, 2009

Propane heaters are useful, not only in and around the home, but particularly anywhere that you'd need a portable heater. Ideal places for using propane space heaters, for example, are in fishing or hunting lodges, garages, tents when camping, and also around the home.  A smaller propane heater is generally quite a bit cheaper to run than an equally sized electric heater, and being portable they easy to move around from place to place, or store when not in need.  It's not as easy to find a regular gas heater that is portable, usually the portable heaters are either powered by electricity or propane gas.

Of course, not all propane heaters are small and portable. There are also many industrial sized heaters around that are powered by propane, or as it's also known as, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas.)  There are also some areas that send around LPG trucks to fill up big external propane gas tanks, so homes can have central heating or more permanent heaters such as a propane fireplace heater also run on LPG. 

Propane Space Heaters

'Propane space heater' is a general term that applies to a propane powered heater that is specifically designed to heat up a particular space or area. These are often portable, and come in varying sizes.  When deciding on what size of propane space heater to buy you should know the general area that the heater needs to warm, and take into account other conditions that may affect the heaters ability to heat up a room such as whether the room is insulated, how high the ceilings are, how much non-covered window area is there, etc.  Garages are often not insulated, and thus you would need a slightly more powerful heater for your garage than you would need for a similarly sized room in your home.

Propane heaters light up quickly and generally are pretty efficient at heating up an area in a fairly quick time, depending on the actual size of the heater.  While not all propane space heaters have a fan, generally the larger sized ones do as it is needed to propel the heat out into the room and warm all the surrounding air. 

Propane space heaters have been used to heat up garages, a greenhouse, spare bedrooms, studies, any room in the house that is not on the central heating circuit.  They're also great for using to heat up a small fishing or hunting lodge, especially if these are located in more uninhabited regions. They're also somewhat helpful for heating up stables or barns, though you do have to make sure they're place in an area where they can't be knocked over and far away from flammable materials.  

If you're ever likely to be in a situation where you may need temporary or emergency heat, and need it quickly, you really should invest in a propane space heater as they're generally cheap to buy and easy to store. A smaller, portable heater that could be used to heat up a moderately sized room would cost anywhere from just under $100 to $150.

Propane Garage Heaters

I'll take a moment to discuss propane garage heaters in more depth. Of course any propane space heater would work just as well in heating up your garage as any other room, however if you're looking for something to specifically heat up your garage there are a few things that you may like to note.

Many propane garage heaters are specifically built to actually mount up in the wall, similarly as a wall air-conditioning unit would fit. They are bigger units and are suitable for heating a two or three car garage. Naturally they are a bit more pricey, ranging in the $500's usually, but if you are able to afford it they are well worth the cost, especially if you use your garage as a work place or spend any amount of time in there.

"Mr. Heater" makes a few different propane garage heaters, with the majority of them able to be wall mounted. Wall mounting, or dropping the heaters from the ceiling gives you a lot more work space and keeps the heaters well out of the way of moving vehicles (we hope!)

ProCom also sells a propane garage heater, 28,000 BTU and guaranteed to heat 1000 square feet. It is not mountable however, but the price is quite a bit less with it selling on Amazon at present for around $200.

I spend a lot of time working in my garage, as it also doubles as my workshop, I keep my tools there and my work bench, etc. and I know that it's important to have a warm area when you're working on home improvements, or fixing items. I would recommend your heating up your garage during winter if you spend any time at all in there as it makes for a much more pleasant working environment. It's really not a luxury to invest in a propane garage heater.

Propane Patio Heaters

It goes without saying that the most popular patio heaters available today are the propane patio heaters.  You can move them around outside wherever you like, they are usually built with a large base that is big enough for a propane gas cylinder, and their mushroom like shape is perfect for generating heat downwards. 

We recently invested in a couple of propane patio heaters for our pool area. Now, even in winter, we can sit out around the pool and enjoy spending time outside.  We improved our pool area a lot last summer and thought it was a real waste to not use it during those cooler, dry winter nights. Now we can. We actually bought four propane patio heaters, so we have enough to mingle in amongst out outdoor furniture. 

The heat generated from these mushroom type heaters comes down in a circular radius and the mushroom type head or dome reflects the heat out and around. The patio propane heaters we have don't have a fan--few do as it would be a waste--so you do have to sit fairly close to the heaters. But as they're easy to move it's fairly simple to just wheel them around the furniture and place them close to where people are sitting.

We don't leave our propane patio heaters out in the rain, but store them under shelter when not using them.  While they would probably do okay if left outside, I'm concerned that the weather and rain would cause them to deteriorate and rust.  

Propane Heaters and Safety

Of course, no article can be complete without giving the usual warning that one has come to associate with propane heaters.  Many people have been accidently killed by using these type of heaters in small, enclosed spaces.  Propane heaters give off carbon monoxide, and thus are not suitable for rooms without adequate ventilation. If you're going to use a propane gas heater, make sure there's a regular fresh supply of oxygen coming into the room, and be sure that the model of propane heater you buy specifies that it is designed for indoor use if that's where you're planning on using it.


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