When furnaces break, or it’s just a wicked cold snap, it’s not common to ask if it’s safe to use propane heaters inside the house.

For the majority of people, their initial reaction to being questioned about whether or not its okay to use propane space heaters indoors would be a resounding “no”, but there’s more to the story than that. Those people would be wrong, in some cases, but absolutely correct in other instances.

Let’s clear up all of the confusion because it is important to keep people safe, but it’s also important to keep people warm.

Which types of propane heaters can be used indoors?

Here’s some information from Campsafe.org: “Outdoor-only heaters, such as propane tank mounted radiant heaters and portable forced-air propane and kerosene heaters (sometimes called “torpedo heaters”) have traditionally been used at work sites and football sidelines. When these types of heaters are brought inside a, residential home or garage, the risk of CO poisoning is significantly increased.”

So here’s the thing, some propane heaters are actually meant to be used indoors for short periods of time, but if you have a propane-powered heater that’s meant to be used outdoors exclusively, and you use it indoors, first of all its going to stink up your home or apartment to high heavens, and secondly it’s going to fill your home with dangerous carbon monoxide and fumes and probabally kill your family in their sleep. See, this is pretty important stuff…

You should be able to tell just by looking at the box, if the heating unit itself doesn’t offer any great indications. Because many people are visual learners and we’ve realized most people just skim to find the info quickly, especially when they’re freezing cold, here is a visual guide to help:

IMPORTANT: Sometimes, heaters that look like indoor ones aren’t okay to use indoors, so don’t base this entirely off of pictures alone. Make sure you know 100% that your propane heater was designed to be used indoors before turning it on.

DO NOT Use the following heaters indoors:

These propane heaters were designed for indoor use:

The following products are made by companies who say they’re safe to use indoors. If you have one of these models, you should be all good, but once again – double check – because some outdoor units look very similar to indoor ones.

Final Safety Considerations

No matter what conditions your propane heater was meant for, you should never leave these units unattended. If something goes wrong, the extra couple minutes that it takes you to notice if you’re in another room could be the difference between losing your home, or even life and death. Don’t run any portable heaters when you’re not home, or asleep, or even in another room – it’s just not worth the risk.

Using propane heaters indoors is something you should only really do in an emergency situation, like in the dead of winter if your power goes out, or if your furnace is broken and it’s a few days until you can get it fixed.

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