How to tell if your heater is for outdoor or indoor use only


Your heater is something that you must have during the cold days. There are many types of the heater with thousands of different models. While electric heaters are useful for their efficiency and safety, propane heaters can save you, even more, money and serve you well when there is a power outage.

But there are still things to learn about these propane heaters. One of those is whether you can use it indoor or outdoor.

Unlike electric space heaters, a propane heater is a fuel-burning heater which means it can work without a power outlet by propane fuel.

There are various sizes and models of propane heaters for different usages. Propane heaters are common in rural areas where there is constant power cut or in spaces which are not frequently used such as garage, basement, car and so on.

The risks

When using a propane heater, you need to be aware of the differences between an outdoor and indoor heater. So, you can prevent yourself from getting Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning or fire hazard.

Know the differences between an outdoor and indoor heater helps you prevent from getting CO poisoning

Image source: Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs

So many accidents have occurred because of fuel-burning heaters. For that reason, it is important to know how to use them as well as strictly follow all the safety rules.

Usually, you do not use a propane heater as the primary source for your daily heating. It is still recommended to use an electric heater if possible because they are much safer and less hazardous to your health.

People tend to store a propane heater in their house for spaces where electric is not available or when there is a power outage. So before buying one, ask yourself how are you going to use it?

Are you using your propane heater indoor as a substitute for your electric heater or heating system?

Or do you just need something to keep you from shivering while working outside?

When you have determined how you are going to use it, ask your seller to sell you exactly what you are looking for. Because propane heaters are just plan B for your house, people tend not to pay attention while buying them. This could mean the line between life and death.

It is also important to tell all of your family that this heater is for indoor or outdoor use only. You can even use a marker or something to mark it, thus everyone will know.

They look different

Specifically, mount the heater on a propane tank or a forced-air heater (with a tube that looks like a small canon). These heaters are originally for outdoor on football fields. They mainly use a radiant heating method which can be dangerous when you bring them inside.

Outdoor heaters use a radiant heating method which can be dangerous when you bring them inside

Image source: Restoration Hardware

Dangerously, the heat comes from these heaters is adamant and hot as it focuses at one spot. This means that if these heaters continually point at one spot, the objects will eventually be overheat and thus starting to burn.

Also, these propane heaters emit a lot of pollutants and Carbon Monoxide which cannot be used indoor without a proper air ventilation system. Carbon monoxide has been linked with permanent brain damage and memories loss. CO ruins your body’s blood and oxygen circulation and can cause you to feel nausea, headaches in a short time.

Frequent exposures to the combustions can also damage your lungs and gradually poison you. So if you start to feel like under the water all the time, it might be time to check your heater for any product defects.

On the other hand, propane heaters, which are designed for indoor-safe, use convection heating. This means that they will not focus the heat at one spot and heat up the objects.

Instead, the fan will distribute the warm air through the whole room. These convection heaters are not good for outdoor use because it is impossible to heat up the whole atmosphere outside and the warm will fade quickly. So they have to use radiant heating to warm up objects and people.

But inside your house, there are many objects in the room, and people cannot always be sitting in front of the heater. Therefore, convection heating will help to distribute the air evenly without leaving small cold spots in the room.

Here are the safety tips of how to use your propane heater indoor safely:

Make sure that you read and follow the instructions strictly. You also need to consider where to use and to place your heater for maximum efficiency.

Your indoor heaters will always have their safety features which mean that the heater will automatically shut down under certain circumstances. For example, when there is smoke in the room or when the oxygen level is too low or when it falls. Look for heaters that can raise an alarm that goes along with these safety features. People tend to leave their heater unattended; that is also when accidents occur.

Only buy heaters that you have tested with a reliable testing laboratory (UL or CSA). Although you would have to pay more for them, they are worth your peace of mind.

You must not place anything close to your heaters, especially flammable objects. The safe distance is one meter.

As your heater uses fuel, you should place your heater where no one is likely to bump into it. You should place it on the floor instead of on a chair or a table. Also, keep your heater out of reach of your children and pet. Propane heaters are quite hot in touch and emit more pollutants, compared to other heaters.

Only turn your heater on if you are using it. There is no need to turn it on in advance as they provide you with supplemental heat.

Stay warm and be safe!

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