Can You Use a Portable Propane Heater Indoors?

Indoor propane heaters can fulfill many purposes. They will provide heating to places that the HVAC system of your home does not reach, such as a sun porch, garage, workshop, or shed. They are also helpful if you want one room to be just a little warmer.

Due to the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning, you can’t use any propane heater indoors. There are, however, several propane heaters that have been designed to use explicitly indoors. It is essential to ensure that you have the correct propane heater and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure your safety.

Since outdoor space heaters’ development, many people have wanted the same efficient heating inside their homes. Also, many people have made the mistake of bringing the outdoor heater inside, which can be dangerous. For indoor use, it is best to use propane heaters designed for this.

Is it Dangerous to use a Portable Propane Heater Indoors?

There are some propane heaters you can use indoors. Propane heaters are available in two different types: indoor and outdoor. For indoor use, the models should be safe.

As long as you follow some essential safety tips, propane heaters are easy and safe to use. Let us go over these safety precautions now:

  • Make sure you still have good ventilation in your room if your heater needs to be vented. Propane is flammable, so you need to exercise caution when choosing and using your favorite propane heater.

    With plenty of ventilation in a room, such as a garage and a carbon monoxide detector, you can bring them inside, but the heaters that are meant for outdoor usage should never go inside.
  • Double-check what type of propane heater you use. The smoke your heater may produce is treated very differently depending on whether they are indoor and outdoor propane heaters.

    It can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if you’re using an outdoor-only propane heater anywhere without good ventilation.
  • Get the right size: If the indoor propane heater is used correctly, there will be no danger. Choose a propane heater that’s the right size for the room you want to heat.
  • Invest in a heater with safety features: An indoor propane heater should have features such as a low oxygen monitor, overheat safety, and automatic shutdown if it’s tipped over.

    Indoor heaters are designed for closed areas, so the carbon monoxide they produce has nowhere to go. Indoor heaters come with automatic shut-off switches to solve this problem.

    These switches are linked to oxygen sensors; the heater shuts off automatically if there is not enough oxygen in the room. This prevents carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Ensure that your propane indoor space heater is mounted away from people’s walk and is on a non-flammable surface.

    Keep your heater safely placed away from flammable items such as furniture, curtains, doors, bedding, and towels. Make sure the wall material is not combustible if you use a wall-mounted room heater.
  • Please do not move it when it is on: Turn it off if you need to move it and wait for your indoor propane heater to cool down.
  • Never leave it unattended: If you have to leave the room for a longer time, turn it off. Watch how it burns as well. If it has a yellow or an orange flame, turn it off immediately instead of a blue one.
  • Follow instructions: Make sure you follow all manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it and maintain it. If you notice anything uncommon, stop using it and get a professional to check it out.

Do You Need Ventilation When Using a Portable Propane Heater?

When you’re using an indoor propane heater, you must have proper ventilation. Propane heaters can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, so ventilation is a must to avoid buildup.

When the heater uses propane, it burns the oxygen in the room and replaces it with carbon monoxide. Propane heaters can quickly burn all the oxygen in the room, so proper ventilation is needed to ensure new oxygen supplies.

Have Your Heater Checked Out Regularly

It would be best if you had your propane heater regularly tested by a credible expert. This inspection should guarantee proper combustion and ventilation and a search for any obstructions, gaps, and ill-fitting seams on your propane heater and ventilation system.

Get Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors should be mounted everywhere in the house, especially near the sleeping areas, if not in them. One step further is to interconnect all the alarms to make a sound when one alarm goes off.

But an indoor propane heater has all the safety measures required to be used in the house. Burning propane usually results in the production of carbon monoxide.

However, by natural air currents, carbon monoxide is quickly carried away. Outdoor propane heaters don’t need the same functions that affect the carbon monoxide emission they make because it carries away in the air. Before it can build up to anything near a dangerous amount, the wind can blow it away.

Can You Leave a Portable Propane Heater on All Night?

It would be best if you never left a propane heater on while sleeping. The same rules apply if you want to leave it unattended. The best thing you can do is turn on the heater a couple of hours before going to sleep and then turn it off before lying down.

When you’re sleeping, you’re not aware of what is going on around you. If the heater accidentally falls over, it can cause a fire hazard. You will not be aware of this until the last moment.

For this reason, you should always choose a propane heater that has an automatic shut-off switch if it falls over. Another great feature is a timer. With a timer, you can set it to choose how long the heater should run, and it will turn itself off.

If you leave the heater running for a whole night, you also risk overheating. If the propane overheats, it can cause circuit breaks, which can also lead to fires. With carbon monoxide alarms, you should also have smoke detectors mounted.

What Portable Propane Heaters are Safe to Use Indoors?

1. Rinnai Vent Free Propane Heater – Best Overall

With protection firmly in mind, the manufacturers developed this powerful propane heater. There would be no issues for this unique model to heat spaces over 1000 square feet.

This model is 99.9 percent efficient, like most ventless heaters. It is also one of the safest propane models on the market. It provides many safety features, such as a tilt switch that, should the heater fall over or become disconnected, automatically and instantly disables the gas supply.

If your power or its flame cuts off, the system also turns itself off. An Oxygen Depletion Sensor prevents asphyxiation that will keep track of the oxygen levels in the room. If it senses that the oxygen levels are too low, it will turn off.

This model is a perfect choice for those with small children since the heater surface remains cool, and there is an option to lock the control panel. There is also no pilot light to keep track of, but rather an automated form of ignition to protect you and your family.

2. Heater Portable Propane Heater – Budget Pick

Mr. Heater’s portable propane heater is a handy device that is small, lightweight, and highly effective. It is one of the most common portable propane heaters on the market and is very affordable. The heater will warm up areas of up to 225 square feet, and you can add a propane supply of your choice.

The Oxygen Depletion Sensor is a great feature that we appreciate. This sensor, located inside the heater, will track oxygen levels in the surrounding air and, if it senses low oxygen levels, will automatically shut down the heater.

The auto shut-off feature enables you to use it in poorly ventilated environments. Still, we also suggest that you not use the heater for extended intervals in cramped or enclosed spaces.

An accidental tip-over protection mechanism would automatically turn off the gas supply and shut down the burner as soon as the device falls on its side or lifts off the ground.

The tip-over sensor is a big deal if you have pets or children in the room because they can accidentally knock over this small propane heater. The tip-over protection prevents them from getting hurt and will also stop nearby items from catching fire.

The heater puts out 4000 BTUs of heat per hour on the low heat setting, and in the high heat mode, 9000 BTUs per hour. The fold-down handle helps you to store the heater away if you’re not using it. It’s also effortless to use.

3. Dyna-Glo Blue Flame Heater

The Dyna-Glo heater is one of the best propane heaters for home use because it is fuel-efficient, compact, and has a decent source of up to 1000 sq feet of heating. Besides, you don’t need electricity to operate it, making it a great heater to use when the power is out.

This heater can also be freestanding or mounted on the wall. The required hardware and brackets for wall mounting are included. This heater is also perfect for recreation vehicles. The heater is vent-free, so the cost of getting it vented outdoors does not need to be included.

It burns liquid propane, and it can burn on a low setting of 24,000 BTUs, a medium setting of 27,000 BTUs, and a high setting of 30,000 BTUs. It uses those outputs to heat a room to 1,000 square feet.

With the blue flame technology, the heater warms up and circulates the air. You can even upgrade the heater with an optional fan for improved circulation.

4. Heater Portable “Big Buddy” Heater

Similar to the budget pick heater, this Mr. Heater portable heater is a bigger version. Despite its name, the heater is no more significant than any other portable hand-carried propane heater on the market.

However, it is interesting that adding two ceramic heat exchanger plates and dual swivel type gas regulators effectively doubles the heating efficiency of its smaller counterpart.

You can put two one-pound detachable propane bottles, or you can use a single one-pound bottle to run it. If you want to connect an external propane source, the heater will accept gas from the propane tank through fuel hoses attached to its swivel regulators. The heater can burn from 4,000 to 18,000 BTUs.

The heater fits with a forced convection system that speeds up the heat distribution rate. This forced convection device consists of an electric fan behind the ceramic heat exchanger plates and powers up by D-cell batteries mounted in the lower back frame.

This heater is rated for up to 450 square feet and is an excellent choice for any room heating. A tip-over safety mechanism and an Oxygen Depletion System are included in the heater. The heater will also automatically shut off if the pilot light goes out.

5. Martin Direct Vent Propane Wall Heater

If you want a propane heater to mount on the wall, the Martin Heater is a perfect match. Martin is a premium brand that will undoubtedly provide you with a long-life service.

This heater is an 80000 BTU unit specially built for indoor use as it can be wall-mounted. It has a built-in thermostat that allows you to monitor the heat dispersion accurately. There is also a low and high change for the thermostat to maintain the heating rate.

Direct vent gas heating technology provides secure and clean energy production, which is economical in the long run. The heating grills are made of aluminum with a glass-ceramic window for protection and high build quality.

6. Dyna-Glo Infrared Vent Free Heater

This heater runs on liquid propane, and its infrared technology operates to warm up objects first by radiating heat. It goes up to 18,000 BTUs and can heat up to 700 square feet per hour. It has low, medium, and high heating variables, which help provide excellent customizable heating options.

Electricity is not required to run the heater, making it a reliable choice for backup heating in case of emergencies. An optional fan comes with it that increases the amount of square footage that the heat can cover. The heater is very quiet. It is also sold with optional base legs to provide a more comfortable mounting surface.

The technology it uses does not require extra chimneys. It runs with 99% efficiency by running only on propane. It is the number one choice if you want to lower your heating bills. The heater offers you warm up only one room, where you spend most of your time, without wasting energy.

The heater is equipped with the ODS and also a carbon monoxide detector. It has an auto shut-off system. It is very lightweight, which makes it easy to install. The heater also comes with all the necessary brackets you need to mount it on the wall.

7. Heater Corporation Heater

This heater has a BTU capacity of 20,000. It is a liquid propane heater that can heat up to 500 square feet of space. The blue flame burner is suitable for even convection heat, and at total BTU, it has a run time of 21 hours.

It has an automatic shut-off system for low oxygen, which means that it is programmed to shut off itself if it detects carbon monoxide or low oxygen levels.

There is no need for external power for this vent-free heater. It is perfect for power outages. You can also place it on a wall with brackets or the floor with additional legs. Both are a part of the kit.

People use this heater in rooms that are generally not warm. Heater Corporation is a blue flame heater, which warms the air instead of radiating heat. Since the heat rises and warms the area from the ceiling down, it can also get into narrow spaces.

The heater is super easy to operate. It is battery-powered, which is in your purchase. Heater Corporation comes with a thermostat, which allows you to choose the perfect temperature.

8. Cedar Ridge Hearth Infrared Heater

This heater is unique because it can use both natural gas and propane gas. When using natural gas, the Cedar Heater reaches 25,000 BTUs, but the heater has 24,000 maximum BTUs when using propane gas. The good news is that it is one of the few heaters capable of supporting both, making it a simple and efficient purchase.

The dual-fuel technology is capable of heating spaces up to 1400 square feet. It also contains a thermostat control that automatically cycles the burner on and off to maintain the optimal room temperature. It also has an Oxygen Depletion Sensor, which is included along with an automatic shut-off.

It is 99.9% effective and needs no ducts or chimneys. You will get a mounting bracket for the wall as well. The fact that electricity is not required makes it suitable for power outages and other emergencies as well. It is the ideal addition to any home.

It also has an available blower fan that you can purchase separately, which is a nice add-on. Depending on the setting you put it on, its built-in thermostat switches off according to the need. It is also effortless to install.

9. Heater Radiant Cabinet

This heater has a high-medium-low setting and is made from steel. On a low setting, it runs 6000 BTUs; on a medium setting, it goes for 12,000 BTUs, and on a high setting, it has 18,000 BTUs. You can install a portable 20-pound tank of propane into it.

It also has a low oxygen automatic shut-off mechanism and needs no fuel, making it a perfect purchase for power outages. It is certified for indoor and outdoor use. At total BTU, its run time is 24 hours, and at minimum BTU, it can run for 72 hours.

It is capable of heating up to 450 square feet of space. It also includes a safety shut-off system for tip-over that makes it easy to run. It uses reflective radiant heat as the heating system. It is tranquil and has features including a thermoelectric safety valve.

Since the heater is made from steel, it makes it highly durable. The heater weighs 19 pounds and is very sturdy. Even though it has tip-over safety, it is improbable it will fall over. The heater is very easy to operate and can fit into any home.

10. ProCom Dual Fuel Wall Heater

The heater is small but efficient and offers a steady heat source. It operates at a total BTU of 10,000, which can heat the space from 500 to 1,000 square feet. It also has dual-fuel technology and can run on either natural or propane gas. Also, this heater can run on batteries and needs no electricity.

The heater has five heat control settings, making this heater even more customizable. Thanks to its Oxygen Depletion Sensor, it guarantees protection and has a push-button ignition system as well. It is a heater for wall-mounting, and the thermostat is built into the unit.

It will cycle on and off, depending on the settings you choose. The heater is designed for reliability and performance and many cold seasons and helps keep your home warm.

Although it does not have any additional objects, such as freestanding legs, the heater itself is self-sufficient in the amount of heat it can produce.

The heater is very easy to start and safe to use. It is perfect for enclosed spaces. You can also buy an additional fan to help circulate the air. The heater is vent-free and uses a blue flame, meaning that it will warm the air and distribute it.

Heater Hunter Buddy Portable Space Heater

It is evident by now that Mr. Heater is the most famous manufacturer of portable space heaters, and there is a reason for that. They produce many variations of space heaters, each one of them perfect for any occasion.

The Hunting Buddy Portable Heater is very compact and can provide a high amount of heat. On the other hand, it requires little ventilation if it senses that the oxygen levels are low. But even in that situation, it has a safety feature that will shut itself off in the event of low oxygen.

It works by burning propane and heating a ceramic plate. The plate radiates the heat outwards, letting the warm air rise. If you have any fears about low oxygen levels, you can buy an additional carbon monoxide detector to be safe. The heater comes with a shut-off system for tipping over.

The heater can run on a 1-pound cylinder, but it can connect to the 20-pound tank with an additional hose and filter. It can heat spaces to 300 square feet by producing BTUs of heat from 6,000 to 12,000 and is effortless to use. Lastly, the heater has a significant amount of heat on a low setting.

Heater Propane Blue Flame Vent-Free Heater

For the rating of indoor propane heaters, Mr. Heater Propane Blue Flame is a fantastic option. This model has a more modern look, making it suitable for any room.

The Blue Flame Liquid Propane heater is a ventless propane space heater with a capacity of 30,000 BTUs. Operating this heater in your home is entirely safe as there are no harmful gasses.

This indoor propane heater with a ventilator is conveniently fitted with a thermostat for temperature control in your room. It has a heat control panel with five settings and includes a powerful fan for circulating air with a tube burner.

Equipped with a default Oxygen Depletion Sensor, you can feel safe that this heater will provide you with years of healthy and comfortable heat.

This heater is impressive in its means of operating. You can use it indoors and outdoors, and in case of a power outage, it has a battery that keeps it running.

If you use the heater indoors, you have the option to keep it freestanding or mount it on your wall. It has the capability of heating spaces up to 1200 square feet.

Final Thoughts

So, can you use a portable propane heater indoors? Absolutely, as long as it is designed to do so. Always make sure you are taking every safety precaution possible and never bring a propane heater that is meant for outdoors indoors due to the lack of ventilation your indoor space has.


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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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