Home & Garden

Interior-rated portable propane heaters

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 28th, 2017 12:03 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 25, 2010
105 posts
15 upvotes
Eastern Ontario

Interior-rated portable propane heaters

Can anyone recommend good portable propane heaters rated for indoor use?

We are buying a house at the end of February, but the furnace is condemned and won't be replaced until the following week. The property management company currently taking care of it is heating it with electrical space heaters.

From the time we take possession until our furnace install date, we need to keep the place from freezing. We *can* buy a bunch of little electric heaters, but I'd rather invest in a few propane burners I can use in my shop later down the the road. I know the Mr Heater Big Buddy is rated for indoor use, but I'd probably have to buy two or three of them.

I have 2 full 60-gallon propane tanks and a third half-full one I would use for this... and there's a filling station less than a km from the new house.

Edit: The house is ~2500 square feet with two stories and a full basement.
16 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
13002 posts
9929 upvotes
Edmonton
All I can say is be mindful of the amount of moisture given off by the propane heaters. Both in the house and in a garage.

C
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
18711 posts
21394 upvotes
GTA
You're insurance may not cover your house if it's full of gas heaters and burns down, so be sure to check with them. If they do cover it may increase your rates. Electric heaters may also have the same concern with your insurance. I know mine asked if the house had any electric heaters.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 25, 2010
105 posts
15 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Well, I've already discussed it with insurance, and they consider the house 'unheated'. There's nothing wrong with small electric heaters (and that may be the best way to go).

My expectation is to probably buy a 18000 BTU 'Mr Heater Big Buddy', then 'spot heat' some specific areas with electric heaters. Depends how many electric heaters I can beg / borrow / steal from family and friends.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 6, 2010
15363 posts
9905 upvotes
Toronto
Your electricity will be high. One word. Salamander. It will fly through propane, but is temp regulated. I have never used one for longer than off/on for about 8hrs, at most heating 500sqft. These things are not intended to be used as heat source replacement, more of a need heat so I can finish the job and go home and also need to be used in a well vented area. I got mine via princess auto on the dirt cheap. Do you not have any alternative sleeping/living arrangements instead of trying to heat your house this way? My furnace passed on Family Day 2013 on a Friday morning when I was going to work. I didn't know that it was dead until I got home and the house was freezing. New furnace was installed that weekend, but 2 days using space heaters and the sort is not what I would want to do again. The amount of heaters/usage that you will need to keep all that area comfortable is not worth the risk. I strongly suggest you look at alternatives if you have that option. Hotel even.
Last edited by koffey on Jan 24th, 2017 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
DYI difficulty scale:
0-joke
10-no joke
Member
Mar 1, 2011
454 posts
114 upvotes
Stoney Creek
I used a big buddy and my gas fireplace to help maintain heat in my home when my furnace died late on a Friday night and the repair wasn't going to be done until Monday. Coldest weekend of the year, outside Temps were minus 26 Celsius. I would recommend getting a fan like you would use for cooling in the summer and use the fan to help move that heat around the house. After 64 hours with the furnace down my inside temperatures using the fireplace and a single big buddy had dropped down to 54 Fahrenheit I had shut both heaters of in the middle of the night Saturday and Sunday for about 6 hours while I slept. House is 2 floors approx 2500 Sq ft.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 25, 2010
105 posts
15 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Ok, just to clarify - we are not living in the house. We are merely taking possession, and we need to keep the pipes from freezing for a period from the Friday (when we get the house) until the Monday or Tuesday (when the new furnace will be installed). At some point a month or two later, we will actually move there once some renovation work is done.

@BigBacala thanks for listing your experience. I'm thinking of getting a Big Buddy and an array of electric heaters. I just want to make sure none of the water pipes freeze during the interim!
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
18711 posts
21394 upvotes
GTA
One easy idea to help heat the house is to turn on all of the lights using 100W incandescents. That's basically a 100W electric heater for each bulb. If you have 20 or 30 lights that 2-3kW of safe and easy heating.
You should also shut off your main water and drain the pipes. Or you could leave the taps on to help prevent freezing.
If the HVAC blower still works, you could run that to help distribute the heat.

If you do run some gas heaters, be VERY careful about entering the house without ventilating it. It will be full of CO2 running in a closed house.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
11479 posts
6660 upvotes
Paris
I don't think the MR Heater big buddies are legal for use inside in Canada or the northern states. In some southern states you can have unvented gas fireplaces inside as the houses are sealed so poorly.

But even if you CAN use these inside they have CO2 sensors in them so they might turn off on you.

In any case, having illegally used a mr heater inside my garage (before getting my properly vented furnace) I wouldn't leave them unattended for more than 15 mins.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 25, 2010
105 posts
15 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
I found the same concerning the Mr Heater heaters for indoor use.

Sounds like my best bet is to drain the water lines the first day to minimize potential freezing issues, and do the best we can with electrical space heaters until the new furnace is in. With luck, we'll get a warmer spell at the end of February!
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
18711 posts
21394 upvotes
GTA
BrianV wrote: I found the same concerning the Mr Heater heaters for indoor use.

Sounds like my best bet is to drain the water lines the first day to minimize potential freezing issues, and do the best we can with electrical space heaters until the new furnace is in. With luck, we'll get a warmer spell at the end of February!
So how are the current owners keeping the house warm until you take possession?
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Deal Addict
May 10, 2011
1475 posts
523 upvotes
Ottawa
If you are not living in the house I don't think running a bunch of propane heaters inside the house is worth the trouble and the risk. The only thing that will freeze are the water pipes, and even that will take a while to happen in the coldest weather.

The real question is, if the furnace is condemned, then what is the current owner is doing to prevent the pipe from freezing up?

I suspect your "problem" can likely be solved by simply putting a small space heater in the basement near the water pipe coming into the house and shut off the water main.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 25, 2010
105 posts
15 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
csi123 wrote: The real question is, if the furnace is condemned, then what is the current owner is doing to prevent the pipe from freezing up?

I suspect your "problem" can likely be solved by simply putting a small space heater in the basement near the water pipe coming into the house and shut off the water main.
The current property management company has about 10 small electric space heaters plugged in around the house.
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2003
4681 posts
4392 upvotes
Toronto
My understanding of "interior" propane heaters is that they still need ventilation and aren't meant for a typical sealed, finished house. They are okay for a house under renovation/construction where there are a lot of air gaps (e.g. windows not installed and plastic covering window openings isn't sealed air-tight, etc.) or detached garages (gaps around garage doors allow air in).

I like csi123's suggestion of just shutting off the main, drain all the water inside the pipes (there should be a screw on the main to loosen to drain all the pipes above it) and put one space heater there.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 29, 2013
1608 posts
1281 upvotes
Ontario
BrianV wrote: Ok, just to clarify - we are not living in the house. We are merely taking possession, and we need to keep the pipes from freezing for a period from the Friday (when we get the house) until the Monday or Tuesday (when the new furnace will be installed). At some point a month or two later, we will actually move there once some renovation work is done.

@BigBacala thanks for listing your experience. I'm thinking of getting a Big Buddy and an array of electric heaters. I just want to make sure none of the water pipes freeze during the interim!
Is there any way to change/extent the closing date to Monday when the furnace is scheduled to be replaced even if you have to pay more for the electricity used? It does not hurt to ask.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
4196 posts
3410 upvotes
Toronto
Go buy 10 electric heaters and put them where the current ones are. You're talking about spending under $1000 for heaters and electricity. Return the heaters when you're done or sell them in Kijiji.

Drain the plumbing. That's a no brainer and I'd almost be surprised if it isn't drained now. Put plumbing antifreeze in the p-traps and toilets. You don't want them cracking and you need them full to keep sewer gas out.

If not draining the plumbing then run the faucets on a trickle.

Top

Thread Information

There is currently 1 user viewing this thread. (0 members and 1 guest)