Can I run a propane heater indoors?

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Forum topic by birdsmouth posted 10-20-2014 01:17 PM 1912 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 1395 days

10-20-2014 01:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: heat winter garage propane

My question is – can I safely use an infrared, ventless, propane powered heater in my garage workshop given that the byproducts of propane are Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide (and water vapor)???

It’s starting to cool off here on Long Island NY, and I’ve been trying to solve the heating issue before my first winter in the shop truly starts.

I can’t run a gas line to my shop. It’s about 700 square feet, and uninsulated. I am just finishing up a layer of pink foam insulation + a layer of masonite on the floor so the concrete won’t suck all the warmth out of my body. The space has electricity, but I don’t have enough amperage to run an electric heater along with other tools.

A friend suggested I use an infrared propane powered, wall mounted heater. So I looked into it, and bought this one on amazon:

I had gotten mixed up. When the heater arrived, I realized I had ordered a natural gas model.

After some hand wringing, I decided to get a conversion kit for the heater, so that I can just change up the fittings and use propane. Went off to Home Depot today to buy the kit, and talked with someone there who gave me pause. The guy working in the heater section informed me that propane heaters can’t safely be used to continuously heat an indoor space because they give off Carbon Monoxide. He said they are sold as indoor heaters, but are only supposed to be used as a temporary solution or secondary heat when the power is out.

The heater I purchased (and all the others of that type in this product line/brand) is specified as indoor use only. It is vent-less.

I’ve read so many posts about the use of infrared heaters in shop environments like mine, but not once have I seen anyone mention the Carbon Monoxide issue. Can anyone clear this up for me?


2 replies so far

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2907 days

#1 posted 10-20-2014 03:37 PM

The guidelines that I’ve read for ventless heaters say that sealed working spaces must have an outside source of ventilation when using ventless heaters due to the carbon monoxide risk, as well, they should be used for no more than 4 hours at a time. Also something to consider about this type of heater is that they put a significant amount of moisture into the air, I’ve heard stories about walls dripping from the moisture released from these. Why not put a vented propane heater in? They are fairly simple to install and you won’t have to worry about the CO or moisture.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2517 days

#2 posted 10-20-2014 04:42 PM

There are multiple downsides to those type of heaters. All the ones I’ve seen have a CO monitor that shuts them off before (supposedly) before the levels get dangerous. That aside, they have a definite odor problem that I found very disagreeable. But the worse was the moisture. After about 2 hours of run time I actually had the dripping problem, from the roof decking. I shut it off, dismounted it, and gave it to Goodwill. A vented heater may cost a little more, but would be preferable…..if you don’t want to spend that kind of dough go with an electric space heater, the better models are a lot safer than the $10-$15 models.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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