Can You Burn Propane Indoors?

Propane may not be as common as natural gas anymore, but it still has its place as a fuel. Depending on where you are in the world it may be more or less common. The point is that propane can be a valuable asset if you’re looking for an option during emergencies.

Still, there are more myths when it comes to propane than answers. A lot of people warn about the dangers of even using a device powered through the burning of the gas. This is the kind of subject that everyone acts like they know anything about it, and what happens is a bunch of lies being spread out.

So, before the winter comes and you want to use that propane heater or stove indoors, it’s good to make sure that it’s okay or not to burn it indoors. If you’ve ever heard about the dangers of burning propane indoors, especially because of the CO that is formed from the incomplete combustion of the propane gas, it’s good to know about the actual risks.

CO is a poisonous gas that is colorless and odorless, which makes it even more dangerous. When you burn propane indoors CO poisoning is a possibility if you’re not careful. Now, there are a few steps that you can take to make everything safer.

So, to answer the question, can you burn propane indoors? The answer is yes, but you have to take precautions to avoid any problems. It’s sort of a yes and no kind of answer since it depends on each situation. According to science, the main threat that you face when burning propane indoors is the chance of incomplete combustion that produces CO (carbon monoxide) gas.

Obviously, when you take that into consideration and the fact that natural gas-powered devices are so common nowadays, it may raise the question of why even bother using those devices. Still, they do have their place, especially during emergency times like brutal, cold weather.

No matter what is the use, propane can be burned indoors, as millions of people who make use of it every day will tell you. Now, to make everything safer, it’s better to take the right measures to make sure everything is good. Those precautions are not so different from the ones that have to be taken in the case of natural gas since any flammable substance is a potential threat to your well-being.

So, taking all this into consideration depending on what you’re going to use, you may need different measures and different devices. For example, if you intend to make use of a stove, you’re going to need different things than if your goal is to use a heater.

Propane heaters are very common during winters in isolated regions where the weather is quite rough all year long, but especially during winter. In those cases, it’s even more important to make sure that it’s safe to use propane indoors because of the isolation.

So, to make sure what you need in each case and how to safely burn propane indoors, just keep reading below.

The Case For Stoves

The first thing that you should check before using a propane stove is whether or not the specific model you intend to use is for indoors or outdoors use. Once you have done that, you can worry about using the stove indoors.

Now, even with the indoors stove, you should take some precautions. You can burn the propane indoors in the case but you still run the risk of CO poisoning. For your safety, the best you can do is to acquire some equipment that will help you detect any possible leak.

So, the first thing that you should do is to position the stove near a window. In the case of a possible leak, the first thing that you should do is to open the windows, which in this case if the stove is near a window will facilitate everything. So, position the stove near the kitchen’s windows if at all possible.

Then, make sure that you have a vent fan, or exhaust hood if you prefer, that can be turned on right above the stove. This mechanical fan will help disperse the propane gas much more quickly in the case of a leak. Besides all the other more common uses such as the ventilation of the kitchen and cleaning of the room, this mechanical fan can also make the difference in the case of a propane leak.

So, if you have the stove indoors but make use of the exhaust hood, you reduce considerably the chances of having any problems with CO poisoning and any leakage. Still, there are other things that you can do to make everything safer.

So, the most important thing that you should do is to make sure that the stove is intended for indoor use, is near windows, and has a ventilation system set up. This way even if a leakage happens, you can still safely make sure that the gas gets dispersed. Also, remember that if a leakage actually happens, after opening the windows you should leave the house.

CO poisoning makes you drowsy and you don’t want to lose conscience. So, the best you can do is to leave the house after you turn off the gas, open the windows, and turn on the exhaust hood. Lastly, call the firearm.

The Case For Heaters

Now, when it comes to propane heaters, it is even more dangerous. This is because the ratio that the heater burns the propane makes it even greater the chances of CO leaks. This, of course, can still be avoided and there’s no reason not to use propane heaters. All you have to do is, again, take the right precautions.

In the case of propane heaters, is even more important that you take the recommendations of whether or not to use it indoors seriously. There are heaters for indoors and outdoors use. In the case for outdoor heaters, they are commonly used at work sites and football sidelines. The ratio that they burn the propane would very quickly release a great amount of CO inside a room. For this reason, you shouldn’t under any circumstance make use of them indoors.

Still, there are a few models that are okay to use indoors. They are intended for temporary use. So, even with the indoors heater is still advisable that you do not use it for a long period of time.

In the case of heaters, there isn’t much of a difference in regards to the precautions that you have to take when compared to the propane stoves. You should keep it in a place with an efficient ventilation system. Even the fireplace can be a good helper.

The important thing is to make use of it as a temporary thing and that your house has a ventilation system. Even if you don’t have a real ventilation system, at least have an ODS device and lots of windows.

Above all else, it’s important that you have a way for the chemicals that are released as the gas burns to circulate. So, read the packaging to make sure that the heater is appropriate for indoor use and that you turn it off before going to sleep.

Ventilation System

As mentioned above, when it comes to burning propane indoors, it is crucial that you have a ventilation system in place. Now, the truth is that you should have a ventilation system even if you’re using natural gas. A ventilation system reduces considerably the chance of CO poisoning and other problems that can happen because of the burning of fuels and gas indoors.

Obviously, there are other benefits of having a ventilation system like the control of air quality and etc. The important thing here though is that you have a safe environment to burn propane indoors.

So, after you’ve checked whether or not it is safe to use the specific propane-powered device indoors, the next step is to check whether or not it’s possible for air to flow indoors. This is when the ventilation system becomes so crucial for the safety of it all.

Now, someone will probably tell you that they know someone who uses propane stoves, for instance, all the time without all the precaution and nothing happens. The same way that people will have an interesting story to tell you about someone who burned propane and had an accident. In both cases, you shouldn’t let that be a decisive factor.

The truth is that if you have an efficient ventilation system, you’ll be fine. The great risk of CO poisoning is when all the carbon monoxide accumulates and has no way to disperse outside. That’s when things can get problematic. Apart from that, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Open The Windows

Again, as mentioned above, it’s imperative that you have a ventilation system or any method that allows the gas to exit. This is why, if you don’t have any mechanical system of ventilation, you should have as many windows as possible. Especially near the device.

Those exits not only make sure that the CO gets dispersed but they keep the oxygen levels up to a certain standard that is ideal for your health. Most of the cases of CO poisoning caused by propane indoors use is due to a poor ventilation system and closed spaces.

Obviously, if you’re burning propane in a heater during a cold winter, you won’t be able to open the windows since you don’t want to freeze to death. That’s why the ventilation system becomes so important. Now, since there are houses that lack a modern ventilation system, you should have the windows, the exhaust hood, and the fireplace to help you send all the gas outdoors.

So, remember that if at all possible, you should have the stove near a window and the heater near the fireplace and even a window as well. In the case of any suspicion of CO release you should open the windows.

In the case of propane stoves, it is even recommended that you have the windows opened when you’re cooking. This way all the chemicals that are released when you’re burning the propane get dispersed anyway. Also, remember to pay attention to the stove’s flames. If they’re too weak or too strong it’s a malfunctioning sign and you should not use it.

ODS (Oxygen Depletion System)

This really simple device can save lives. An ODS is a simple, small device that detects the ideal oxygen levels for human survival in a room. This means that if at any point there’s too much CO in the room, the oxygen levels will drop and you’ll be warned.

The oxygen depletion system or sensor won’t solve the problem, which means that it won’t release the CO outdoors but it will warn you. Considering that CO is a colorless and odorless gas, this device can save lives. Obviously, the ODS alone is not enough. You still need all the other things such as the ventilation system, but it makes your house much safer.

Now, the ideal place for you to install the ODS device is near the propane-powered object. In the case of the stove, you should install it in the kitchen. This way, it will detect any problem much faster. You should also make sure that the equipment is functioning properly.

Lastly, if the ODS system alerts you about the oxygen levels, the procedure is the same mentioned above. You should turn off the device that is burning the propane, open the windows, check the ventilation system, and leave the house immediately. Afterward, check with the firearm, if it’s safe to return to your house.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see, it is safe to burn propane indoors as long as you take some measures to ensure safety. Being as realistic as possible, it may look like you have to take too many precautions, but you still have, or at least should, do the same if you use natural gas. It’s true that the risks are smaller of CO poisoning, but it doesn’t mean that they’re inexistent.

1 Comment

  • Avatar Recon says:

    where I live we dont have a natural gas line to houses. Everyone has large propane tanks out by the house. We use it for cooking as well as a propane fireplace for heat. Every house in the country has at least one or two large tanks. We also have a whole house generator by generac that runs on propane. So I dont see it as rare. Must be more the norm in my area.

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