If you are like me, you would probably say that a propane heater should not be used indoors.
It would seem pretty obvious. A heater that burns dangerous gas in the house? I’m thinking no.
But I would be wrong.
A little research reminded me that natural gas is used inside of the house in some fashion every single day.
The Central heat and air system burns gas, the oven in the stove uses gas (unless you have an electric stove top). Gas burning dryers are also very popular.
So it is definitely not a new thing to use gas to heat and cook inside of the house.
Can you use a propane heater indoors?
Propane heaters can be used indoors provided that they are specifically marked and rated for indoor use.
Indoor propane heaters have extra precautions to guard against carbon monoxide poisoning.
Propane is actually a very clean burning gas and with the right precautions, it is a very economical way to heat a room.
But remember, Not all propane heaters are built the same and they are not all intended to be used indoors.
What’s the difference between an indoor propane heater and an outdoor propane heater?
Indoor propane heaters come with tighter safety precautions to prevent CO2 poisoning.
Oxygen Depletion sensors monitor the air quality as the heater is operating. If the oxygen level in the room becomes too low, it causes the heater to automatically shut off.
You probably have carbon monoxide detectors already in your house.
Because it is the law.
Household carbon monoxide detectors are required in any room that has a fireplace or heater, as per the carbon monoxide safety act.
Smoke detectors are also required.
This may be a reminder to check the batteries and make sure all your CO2 detectors are fully functioning.
Propane gas itself also has an extra layer of protection because of the way it is sold.
Because Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless, additives that create a smell like rotten eggs are added to propane so that a leak can be easily identifiable.
The smell will alert you to turn the propane heater off immediately so you can identify where it is leaking and have it fixed.
Outdoor propane heaters are meant to be used in open air surroundings.
It is because propane dissipates very easily in the open air.
And because of this, there is no possibility of CO2 build up.
Can you use an outdoor propane heater indoors?
It is not recommended to use an outdoor propane heater indoors ever.
They are all so much more powerful and hotter than you need to have inside of the house.
Just a brief look at the amount of BTUs that each uses makes it pretty obvious.
The average indoor propane heater is around 5,000 to 30,000 BTUs whereas an outdoor patio heater is around the 46,000 BTU mark. Forced air propane heaters can get up there in the 60,000 BTU range.
Quite a significant difference in the amount of power between them.
Should you use an outdoor propane heater in the garage?
You definitely start to get into a gray area when you are talking about using a propane heater in an area that is typically more open than the inside of the house. But it is not so open that it qualifies for being outside.
Propane heaters are not one size fits all. And neither are garages.
If you have a small garage and intend to keep it closed while you are working, then using an indoor propane heater will probably suffice and be a much safer option.
If you have a larger garage, then having a larger heater is going to be a better option. But remember as the size of the heater increases, the more ventilation that you will need will increase.
And having a heater so big that you have to keep the garage door open to use it is probably not the result you were looking for either.
Keeping these items away from a heater is the utmost of importance.
But if you have a large garage that is well ventilated, there are certainly options available for you.
Forced air propane heaters can heat up a room as large as 3000 square feet.
Ceiling mounted propane heaters can also be a great option to keep the heater off of the floor and away from debris and combustibles that are often found in shops and garages.
Propane heaters can literally be found in just about every size for everyone’s needs.
Can you use a propane heater indoors?
Propane heaters can be used indoors as long as they are marked for indoor use.
Indoor propane heaters are outfitted with safety precautions to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning that outdoor heaters are not.
Indoor propane heaters that are intended to be used inside of a house are much smaller and do not create nearly the heat as an outdoor heater would.
An outdoor propane heater is specifically intended for use in the open air. And it does not come with the same carbon monoxide precautions.
But there is a grey area.
Propane heaters are very popular for use in garages.
Garages tend to be more open and have better ventilation than inside of the house.
But they are not so open that they do not warrant any type of safety precautions.
Garages are not all one size and neither are garage heaters.
And as the heaters get bigger and hotter, there tends to be less information provided on the CO2 safety side.
There seems to be a built-in acceptance that you are smart enough not to put too big of a heater into, too small of a space.
Ventilation is the key.
I think that the smart money is on using carbon monoxide detectors anywhere that you have a propane heater burning.
Regardless if it’s a small indoor heater, a full size outdoor heater, or a heater that you are using in the garage.