Can You Use A Propane Heater Indoors? Is It Safe?

Propane heaters can be an affordable and easy option to heat your home if the electricity goes out or in case of a dying furnace. Compared to electric heaters, propane indoor heaters are more efficient and lower your energy bills to a great extent.

Also, propane heaters can be a perfect solution to heat those areas of your home that are not heated by your central heating system such as the garage, shed, or workshop. But, are propane heaters safe indoors?

Yes. Propane heaters are safe for indoor use as long as they are used correctly and handled with care.

are propane heaters safe for indoors?

Read on to find out more about this in detail.

Are Propane Heaters Safe for Indoors?

Many people are concerned about the safety of propane heaters if they are used indoors. This is because propane heaters can pose a risk of igniting a fire and it can also contribute to carbon monoxide poisoning.

However, if you choose the correct type of propane heater and utilize it properly by practicing all the precautionary measures and safety tips then you can minimize all those risks.

Choosing the right type of propane heater for indoor use is essential. There are two types of propane heaters available on the market, indoor and outdoor propane heaters. If you want to use your propane heater for indoor use, make sure that your machine is rated for indoor use.

Differences between Indoor and Outdoor Propane Heaters

The difference between an indoor safe heater and an outdoor-only heater is how both handle the smoke they produce. You should never use an outdoor propane heater indoors as it can lead to tremendous risks associated with CO poisoning.

Outdoor propane heaters are designed to be used in well-ventilated areas where the wind blows away carbon monoxide from that area. So, the build-up of CO is not a concern if the device is used outdoors.

On the other hand, CO produced by indoor propane heaters is not able to escape as the heater is used in enclosed environments. For this, indoor propane heaters are equipped with an oxygen depletion center (ODS) which automatically shuts off the device if the oxygen levels in the air go extremely low. This helps prevent the accumulation of CO in your indoor space.

Some expensive models of indoor propane heaters also come with other safety features such as tip-over and flameout sensors to keep you safe inside your house. However, it is essential to always follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines if you use an indoor propane heater.

Dangers of Using A Propane Heater Indoors

Using a propane heater can lead to serious consequences if the device is not handled properly.

Let’s have a look at some of those issues:

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is produced as a by-product during the burning process. This gas can accumulate at dangerous levels if your area is not properly ventilated. This causes carbon monoxide poisoning.

CO poisoning can produce flu-like symptoms such as dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, breathlessness, and disorientation. Increased exposure to CO may also lead to death, especially during sleep. It is important to install carbon monoxide sensors in your home that alerts you if the CO levels exceed a certain limit.

Fire Hazard

are propane heaters safe for indoors?

An indoor propane heater can cause a risk of fire if left unattended or if not used with care. The heater can be tipped over by kids, adults, or pets which may cause a fire. Also, any combustible or flammable material that is placed close to the heater can increase the chance of a fire hazard.

For this reason, propane heaters are equipped with an automatic shut-off feature that turns off the device if it is overheating. Also, an automatic tip-over shut-off allows the heater to shut off automatically if the heater is accidentally knocked over.

Lack of Oxygen

Oxygen is used up during the combustion process. If your area is not well-ventilated it can lead to extremely low levels of oxygen in the surrounding air. This situation can cause serious health problems such as hypoxia.

Most indoor propane heaters come with an oxygen-depletion sensor (ODS) which allows the heater to turn off if low oxygen levels in the air are detected by the sensor.

Also read 8 Best Space Heaters for Large Rooms with High Ceilings.

Important Safety Tips While Using An Indoor Propane Heater

are propane heaters safe indoors?

Here are some of the important safety tips to follow when you use an indoor space heater:

Adequate Ventilation- Make sure that the area you want to heat with your indoor propane heater is properly ventilated. Open the windows to allow fresh air in.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines- Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using your indoor propane heater to avoid any possible risks associated with your device.

Put the heater away from flammable materials- Make sure to place your heater far away from flammable or combustible objects such as furniture, doors, curtains, rugs, bedding, and towels.

Do not leave your heater unattended- It is essential to never leave your propane heater unattended. Switch off the heater when you go to bed or when you leave the room.

Observe the color of the flame- Always monitor the color of the flame while using an indoor space heater. If you notice a yellow or orange flame, call in a professional or follow the manufacturer’s instructions to inspect your device.

Install CO Detectors- Install carbon monoxide detectors in a room or area where you want to put your propane heater. This device monitors the CO levels in the air which can help prevent CO buildup in your space.

Tip-Over Protection- Purchase a high-quality indoor space heater that is equipped with a tip-over protection feature. This will automatically turn off the heater if it is accidentally knocked over.

Propane Heater with ODS- Try to purchase an indoor space heater that comes with an oxygen depletion sensor. This will help monitor the oxygen levels in the room.

Avoid using any flammable spray- Never use any flammable spray such as deodorants, air fresheners, or perfumes near the propane heater when it is turned on.

Do not dry or warm your clothes- Never use your indoor propane heater to dry or warm your clothes and other items as this practice may lead to potential fire hazards.

Regular Maintenance- To keep your propane heater in good working condition, maintain it regularly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. To clean your heater, use the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt or dust.

Do not move your device- Do not move or displace your portable space heater while it is on. Always turn it off and allow it to cool down before you move your heater to another place.

Choose the right size of your heater- Always select the right size of your indoor space heater according to the size of the space you want to heat.

Do not put anything on your heater- Avoid placing any objects on top of your indoor propane heater.

Switch off the heater when not indoors- Always turn off your heater when you’re going out or when you’re about to sleep to avoid any fire hazards.

Keep your pets and children away- Be extra vigilant with your pets and children when your heater is turned to ensure their safety and protection.

If you’re interested in buying a space heater, read the 5 Most Popular Space Heaters at Menards.


Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from a propane heater?

Yes, if the room or space in which you’ve installed your propane heater is not well-ventilated then carbon monoxide can accumulate to dangerous levels in that enclosed space. This in turn can cause CO poisoning.

Are propane heaters safe in garages?

It is safe to use a propane heater in your garage as long as it is properly ventilated. You can also install a carbon monoxide detector in your garage to monitor CO levels in case its concentration goes beyond an acceptable limit.

Can I leave a propane gas heater on overnight?

It is not suggested to leave your propane heater turned on overnight as there is a chance of a propane leak and carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, always turn your propane gas heater off before going to bed.

Bottom Line

Indoor propane space heaters are safe when used with responsibility and care. They are fast, efficient, and cost-effective in keeping your indoor space warm and comfortable. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and all the necessary safety tips to avoid any potential hazard and keep you and your loved ones safe.

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Richard is a retired HVAC specialist and air quality enthusiast! With decades of experience in the field, this author has seen it all when it comes to air-related issues and knows just what it takes to keep your surroundings clean and healthy.

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