Propane is an energy source generally considered safe, clean, and reliable. Commonly known as LPG or liquefied petroleum gas, propane is also colorless and non-toxic. Normally used to heat water and space, propane likewise serves as fuel for forklifts and farm irrigation machines. Propane autogas has been developed as well to power regular automobiles.
When it comes to propane heaters, these are often used by overnight campers to keep themselves warm. However, a propane heater can also be used indoors and is perfect for keeping you comfortably warm during winter.
How Long Do Propane Heaters Last?
Propane is a popular alternative energy source and one of the most widely used heating options nowadays. This is because the gas is quite versatile as it can be used to heat water, cook food, and keep your place warm.
When using propane heaters regularly, they should last between 5 and 15 years, depending on how they are stored, used, and maintained. The size of the tank can also determine how long the heater will last. A 20-pound propane tank, for example, can last for up to 10 hours.
Dangers of Using Propane Heaters
Propane is generally safe, but when used to heat your home, there are several risks involved. These include the following:
1. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is produced when propane is burned. It can happen when carbon monoxide takes over the body system, replacing the oxygen found in the red blood cells. While carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas, it’s also dangerous when inhaled, especially at high levels. It can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which has flu-like symptoms, including headaches, weakness, nausea, and sleepiness. In some cases, brain damage and even death can take place. This makes carbon monoxide poisoning difficult to diagnose.
Propane is a highly flammable gas. It is also heavier than air and tends to sink to the ground. When the gas sticks to your home’s nooks and corners, it can ignite a fire when it comes into contact with a spark or static electricity.
If the conditions are right, a propane heater can explode. The boiling temperature of propane is -44 °F. Beyond this point, propane, which is stored as a liquid, can turn into gas. This will cause pressure to accumulate in the storage container, resulting in an explosion of the propane cylinder. The released gas can ignite a fire once it mixes with the air.
Since propane is heavier than air, it can get into tight places if it leaks out. If this settles near heat sources, such as an open flame, it can result in an explosion. There are three areas in the propane tank where a leak can occur: the pressure regulator, the connection hose, and the shutoff valve.
Propane Heater Safety Tips
Propane space heaters are great for winter, but it is important that you know how to use them properly. Below are some safety tips you should remember when using a portable heater.
1. Create a Space
Because they use open flames to produce heat, opting for outdoor propane heaters is definitely safer. However, if you are heating a room in a house using a propane heater, ensure good and proper ventilation in the area.
2. Open a Window
Propane heaters require oxygen to breathe. If they are operating at high pressure in a small area, the heater could be consuming too much oxygen. To let in fresh air and keep you safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, open your windows and doors.
3. No Overnight Operation
It can be dangerous to keep your propane heater running for long periods. This is especially true at night while you sleep. To ensure your safety, turn off both the heater and the gas supply before going to bed.
4. Install a Detector
A carbon monoxide detector with a digital display is a good choice to ensure that you are safe if you’re using propane heaters indoor models. This can show your current carbon monoxide levels at home and sound off an alarm when the concentration becomes too high.
5. Proper Heater Placement
Keep your heater away from children and pets, but place this in an area that isn’t subject to a lot of foot traffic. It should also be kept far from flammable items and your carbon monoxide detector so that you can have a better reading of CO levels at home.
6. Check for Leaks
Inspect the connections and hoses of your propane heating system every time you connect these to the fuel supply. Also, listen carefully for gas bubbles and touch the cylinder gently to check for extreme cold. If you suspect a leak in the connection or the cylinder, do not turn on the heater. Get a professional to check if this needs to be replaced or repaired.
7. Get Safety Features
When buying a propane heater, look for safety features like an automatic tip-over shutoff, an oxygen sensor, and a secure propane tank guard. Newer propane heater models are also portable and have a safety feature at the bottom that cuts off power if the heater is dropped accidentally.
8. Check for Damage
Propane tanks should be free from rust and dents. The hoses, meanwhile, should be flexible and free of cracks. Otherwise, a leak is likely to spring.
While propane-based heaters are reliable and safe, there is a certain degree of risk involved when using them. Thus, while you can count on them as an alternative way of heating the home, several preventive measures should be taken to ensure your safety and that of your family.
Some of the steps that can be taken are quite simple to follow in exchange for a secured home. These can include checking the propane tank for any signs of damage and ensuring that there are no loose connections that can lead to a gas leak. For all other precautions that seem too complex, you can always ask for the help of heating system experts.
If you have propane heating problems, feel free to contact DunRite Heating & Air, Inc.
Propane gas is safe, but if not managed properly, it can cause a disaster. Keep this from happening. Get expert assistance from DunRite Heating & Air, Inc.
Our professional HVAC repair San Jose team is always ready to check your propane heater if you suspect that there’s something wrong with it. Call us and we’ll assure your safety.