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Are Direct Vent Propane Heaters Safe?

by Jefferson Ebasan May 07, 2021 3 min read

What is a Direct Vent Propane Heater?

A direct-vent wall furnace is a self-contained enclosed combustion heating appliance that warms interior air by circulating it around a sealed chamber and vents combustion byproducts outside the building. They are not linked to ductwork and are permanently fixed to the structure of a house.

This means they don't need a chimney and can be mounted on almost any exterior wall. Direct-vent wall furnaces use gravity to circulate warm air, but some models also have a rotating fan. They're a great alternative to a central furnace if one isn't available, and they're usually less costly.

Is it Safe to Use Direct Vent Propane Heaters?

The fact is that Direct Vent Propane heaters are incredibly safe, cost-effective to run, and have been shown to meet today's stringent air quality requirements when properly sized and maintained. And as long as customers demand energy-efficient goods, vent-free appliances have a bright future.

Will a Propane Heater cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete gas combustion and is often caused by inappropriately adjusted appliances. Propane appliances that are properly maintained will create an "ideal burn" during combustion, posing no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Does Direct Vent Heaters deplete the room's oxygen supply?

All gas-burning items that draw combustion air from the living room "take oxygen" from that space (Gas ranges are vent-free units). Our products' owner's manuals, as well as your local code official, will advise and educate you on the need for make-up combustion air.

The ODS (Oxygen Depletion Sensor) on vent-free heaters automatically shuts off the gas supply if the oxygen level in the room falls below 18 percent. This is above the ANSI-recommended safe levels (American National Standards Institute). Is it possible to use unvented propane heaters with this in mind?

Checklist for Using a Space Heater Safely

  • Read the manufacturer's directions and warning labels before using any space heater.
  • A space heater can never be left unattended. When you leave a room or go to sleep, turn it off.
  • Keep a three-foot "kid-free zone" around space heaters, and don't let children under the age of 13 play in a room with a propane space heater.
  • Space heaters can never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothes, or thaw pipes; they are only intended to provide supplementary heat.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your house, as well as outside all sleeping areas; test them once a season, and replace them according to the owner's manual for your equipment. Consider installing propane leak detectors as well.
  • Check that space heaters are appropriately mounted and placed; keep them at least three feet away from anything that may burn, such as papers, clothes, and rugs.
  • Never use an outdoor heating system (such as an outdoor grill or an outdoor space heater) indoors! They are unable to ventilate the indoor room safely. Even avoid using a gas-powered oven for heating (for the same reason).
  • Have your propane space heater and other propane-powered appliances serviced and inspected at least once a year by a specialist.
  • Get your propane space heaters professionally built by someone who knows how to attach and ventilate your device correctly. Installation of a propane direct vent space heater is NOT a do-it-yourself project.


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Jefferson Ebasan
Jefferson Ebasan

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