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Propane Salamander Heaters: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking for an alternative way to effectively heat large outdoor spaces or provide temporary heating inside your home with lower energy costs, especially during inclement weather, then you might want to try using a propane salamander heater. 

Source: homedepot.com

When it comes to propane salamander heaters, you have a wide selection of options available, ranging from portable indoor propane heaters, 

Before you decide, it’s important to know everything there is to know to ensure whether or not getting a propane salamander heater is best for you. So read on. We’ve provided everything you should know about Propane Salamander Heaters. Ready? Let’s dive in.

What is a Propane Salamander Heater?

Salamander Heaters, also known as “salamander furnaces”, “torpedo furnaces”, or simply, “salamanders”, are high-energy portable forced-air or convection space heaters. They run using propane or kerosene as their fuel or heat source, hence the name “Propane Salamander heater”.

The name “Salamander” for this type of heater came from an interesting origin. According to a legend, salamanders are depicted to have an affinity with fire as they were believed to have an ability to control and survive fire as they are often seen coming out of wooden logs even after being thrown on a fire.

As a result, traditional wood-burning stoves commonly used in Spain or Portugal are referred to as a “Salamandra.”

Modern salamander heaters were developed by W.L. Scheu from Scheu Manufacturing Company, which is a manufacturer of space heating equipment, excluding electric and air furnaces. Salamander heaters were made to provide warmth for construction crews working in inclement weather and were introduced back in the 1940s. 

How a Salamander Heater Works

A Propane Salamander Heater uses propane as its fuel source, also commonly known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is virtually an odorless and colorless gas condensed and stored into a liquid form. Using this type of fuel source helps lessen the fumes and smell a salamander heater emits compared to what kerosene or diesel salamander heaters do. 

The propane fuel is stored in a propane tank and is attached to the salamander heater, which is then burned and converted into a gas to generate heat. It uses a fan to produce heat by pushing cold air through a heating element, such as an open flame or electric coil.

This process is the reason why salamander heaters earned their alternate name torpedo furnaces as they shoot hot air out and provide quick heat into the component like a torpedo.

The fan speed of propane salamander heaters can be controlled manually or automatically, depending on the specific model. They also feature an ignition that is operated by pressing a button to turn the heater that provides a small flame on the pilot light. Other salamander heater models need a matchbox to light up manually.

Also, some salamander heater models are already built with automated thermostats, which are temperature control features that help sense and regulate the heat accordingly. Moreover, propane salamander heater units come in a wide selection of sizes, shapes, BTU ratings, wattages, and heat settings options.  

Propane Salamander Heater Pros and Cons

Benefits

Propane salamander heaters have gained popularity as they can provide higher heat and instant warm temperature even in large areas, both indoors and outdoors, like construction sites, patios, warehouse areas, workshops, or well-ventilated spaces. 

They use propane as a fuel source, a clean-burning fuel with a lower carbon content that provides fewer carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions compared to other fuels, such as gasoline, kerosene, diesel, fuel oil, and ethanol.

It also emits no soot and creates low levels of air toxins, making it more environmentally safe than other fossil fuels. The use of propane also reduces the chances of contaminating groundwater or soil and eliminates spills or leaks because it dissipates and becomes a vapor. Also, propane also has a distinctive smell that helps alert users in case of a leak or spill. 

Using propane salamander heaters also provides reduced energy costs as propane burns slower per hour, which makes this type of space heater last longer than other space heaters that use natural gas. They are also a good alternative to electric heating due to their cheaper costs, flexible usage, and convenience as they are stored in tanks, easy to get a hold of, and refilled. 

Moreover, propane Salamander heaters are also portable as they come in different sizes, which provides the flexibility of buying decisions that fits your preference and needs. Most models also have handles or wheels, making them easy to pick and transport wherever it’s needed. 

Disadvantages

Chances of carbon monoxide poisoning are high if incomplete combustion of propane occurs as it can produce carbon monoxide, which is a toxic and harmful substance, especially in poorly ventilated areas.

In case of leaks or spills, propane poisoning—a fatal situation can also happen if inhaled. Accidentally touching liquid propane can also result in injuries similar to frostbite. 

Using a propane salamander heater also poses dangers as it is a fire and explosion hazard since propane is flammable. Leaks or spills, especially when they are near or in contact with other flammable materials, can cause fire and explosion in a poorly ventilated area.

Dents, rusts, ruptures, or high pressure in propane tanks can also result in an explosion if the propane tanks are mishandled or in poor condition, such as leaks or spills.

Care and Safety Tips

When choosing a propane salamander heater, you have to take into consideration its components to ensure the maximal performance of heaters that suits your preference and needs. It includes the ignition, heat settings, safety features, and portability.

Before using, make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s manual or instructions, which will serve as your guide for troubleshooting and safety precautions.

Your propane salamander heater should also have sufficient clearance and be placed away (at least 3 feet away) from combustible materials, such as wood, plastic coverings, canvas, fabric, towels, or furniture to prevent fires. The space should also have proper ventilation with windows and doors to open as a source of fresh air, especially when the salamander heater is being used.

It’s also a good practice to inspect your salamander heater regularly to prevent accidents. Check the system, including the hoses, fuel lines, or connections for any leaks or spills and if it is working properly. When changing propane tanks, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s manual. 

Your propane salamander heater should also have safety features, such as a tip-over safety switch, high-temperature safety guard, automatic shutoff, low oxygen sensor, or overheat protection features. You can also install carbon monoxide detectors where your heater is placed to prevent poisoning when there are leaks.

Moreover, only use your propane salamander heater when needed and never leave it unattended. When not in use, disconnect any fuel source and tubes to reduce the chances of spills and leaks. Make sure to store the heater properly and in an upright position. 

Are Propane Salamander Heaters Worth Buying?

Propane Salamander heaters are an excellent choice for providing heat both indoors and outdoors, even to large workspaces like construction sites and warehouses. If you’re planning to purchase one for your home, they are worth buying as they are portable and readily available, not to mention they also help reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

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