How do Propane Heaters Work?
You can purchase propane heaters that sit on the floor or attached to a wall. The wall-mounted models seem to have become the most popular for people as they don’t turn over easy and they cab heat several rooms at once. For this article, we will talk about the wall installed propane heater.
The wall heaters seem to be the ideal pick for being the safest for your indoor supplemental heating. It is vent free, so you do not have to provide a flue or chimney. These type of heaters don’t require electricity and are great when the power goes out so you can continue to heat your home.
A propane heater is considered to put out what is called ‘blue flame heating.’ In other words, your heat is spread around much like your central heating system. Your ‘Blue Flame Wall’ heater, however, will burn at 99.9% efficiency but will operate on propane only.
Propane gas will require at least a 100-pound tank or even more significant that has a two-stage regulator that is adjustable. This tank can be purchased from your local gas company.
Let’s do a quick run through of how your propane heater works. Your heater has a pilot light which has to be lit, and in this case, it uses the ignitor. Then push on your gas control knob lightly and move it counterclockwise toward the ‘PILOT’ word.
The pilot light is there to keep a small flame burning continuously, and it uses almost no fuel. Its purpose is to light your main burner fast instead of having to light your propane heater from scratch every time. Push down on the control knob.
While you have your control knob pressed down, push down on your ignitor button until the pilot light shows a flame that you will be able to see coming from your pilot light between the bricks of the front grill.
Most propane heaters have an element. Usually, porcelain (the bricks) that spread the flames out in a pattern across your heater and they will help distribute your heat from the fuel.
The spark is brought about by using a specific material, usually a quartz crystal. Because this quartz crystal carries the properties to develop electrical potential if pressure is applied; it is held in a device that will allow a spring-loaded hammer to hit it. The action will generate a spark, and ignite the propane.
Keep your control held down for about 30 seconds after your pilot light lights then release the control knob.
The thermostat on some of the models will sense the temperature of the room. There will be times your room might exceed the temperature you have set. If that is the case, your burner will shut off. The burner will cycle back later; once the room temperature falls below the temperature, you had set and kick to ‘on’ and begin heating your room.
Your control knob can be placed to any comfort level you desire between (5) “HIGH” and (1) “LOW.” For the manual valves, they will remain burning at the setting you placed until you manually turn them to OFF.
Be sure to check the pattern of your flame daily when you are using your propane heater and have your heater checked at least once a year by a qualified service agent.
NOTE: Ambient flame burners will produce both a yellow and blue flame for you. If you have an abnormally high amount of yellow colored flame, it could be caused by dust in the air, pet hair, or dander, etc.
If this should happen, it is simple to clean. Take a drinking straw, turn off your ventless propane heater, use the drinking straw to blow through in the area of the pilot light and across your porcelain bricks. It will not be forceful air blowing across some of the more delicate parts, but enough to clean the dirt and debris from where it could be causing problems.
If there is an excess amount of Mercaptane in your propane (also known as methanethiol which is harmless but added to your gas to smell like rotting cabbage to make a gas leak easier to detect), it could result in a yellow or orange colored flame.
Propane is a compressed gas produced to use in heaters and grills and burns clean. The upper third part of the fire might be bright yellow when you are using propane. If your heater is set to use natural gas, there might be slight tipping of yellow on your flame.