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  • 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

    Purchased the 2 burner unit from HD that mounts on the 20# propane bottle. Used it for 3 weeks and last night within 20 minutes, both burners quit burning. When I try to fire it off it burns until I release the red button. I have used a tank and a half of propane and I started on a full one last night after it shut down. Took it back to HD today and they have sold out of the heaters, so I brought this one back home, hoping to swap it at another HD...but they have sold out also. I can return it and get my $$ back, but I really like that heater, when it works. LOL. I'm thinking I might be overlooking something, but I just can't put my finger on it. Any ideas from anyone?? Has anyone had this problem??
    BTW, the manual does not help alot.

  • #2
    Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

    propane is to dangerous. now unless you know what you are doing witch it doesn't sound like you do, but i may be wrong i would sujest taking it to a B-B-Q shop that does repairs, at this time of the year it might be your best bet.
    9/11/01, never forget.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

      Propane heaters have problems. The valve will freeze in cold weather. Just when you need it most....no heat!!!!! The fumes are horrendously dangerous, too. Make sure you vent low AND high. If you're bound and determined to use that kind of heat source, make sure you know the heater well. Chances are the thermal regulator has burned out, and will shut off the heater as soon as you release the starter. I've tried numerous of these heaters in the past, and found that propane just doesn't work well. Between the fumes and the poorly-engineered heaters, it's just not a reliable enough heat source.

      For non-electric heating, I got a kerosene heater. Kero may stink, but the heaters just seem to work better. I prefer to use wood whenever possible.
      I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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      • #4
        Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

        I have had the same problem with propane in the past and the culprit has always been as VASandy says, "... the valve will freeze in cold weather."

        I now use a 50,000 btu propane salamander for 10-15 minutes to take the initial chill off the shop and then shut the thing off and carry it and the tank out of the shop. I don't trust that thing at all. I use a large, 1500 watt, portable, quartz heater to maintain a comfortable working temperature.

        There are a couple things you might want to consider before investing too much energy, (read money) in your propane heater. One is the consumption of oxygen. I have a carbon monoxide/explosive gas detector in my shop, they are cheap insurance against carbon monoxide poisoning. I am not so sure of the value of the expolsive gas feature. It seems to me that by the time explosive gas has built up to the point of registering on the meter it will have already exploded if the propane heater is running.

        A second problem with propane is that a byproduct of propane combustion is water. Since you will be using the heater inside your shop that is where all your water vapor will be. It will settle on all your tools and form a film of rust. Covering your tools will only serve to trap the water vapor beneath the cover and add to the rust problem. The water vapor will also raise the humidity of your shop and any wood stored there will absorbe the moisture.

        Last fall I had my shop wired for 220. My next shop investment will be radiant heat. I have called three electricians in the past two months and not one has shown up. Sometimes they call and leave a message saying they will not be there but most times they just don't show up. How irresponsible.

        Tom

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        • #5
          Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

          my guess is the thermocouple is bad, it is the little rod thing, that the pilot flame burns on, the heat of the pilot flame heats the thermocouple, that makes a small amount of electricity and holds open, the safety valve, that is manually by passed when you press and hold the button to light the pilot flame,
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
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          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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          • #6
            Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

            Tom

            Have you thought about having a forced hot air unit heater installed in your shop. It would help prevert freeze-up problems and also help drive out moisture. This could be in addition to radiant heating. As for electrical contractors, do not stand for any games. If they don't act correctly, (red mark) them in your phone book and try another. Yes, they may be busy, but they should simply say that they just can't take on new work. Below is some info about electric unit heaters that I think may be of interest and you can prowl the same sites for radiant heaters too. You might want to contact an HVAC contractor to help figure the BTU ratings and such. Good luck with this.

            http://www.marleymeh.com/Develop/pro.../ZBL-QFRSP.pdf (Better into on radiant heaters)

            http://www.qmarkmep.com/Develop/prod.../ZBL-QAPNO.pdf (Industrial radiant heaters)

            http://www.qmarkmep.com/develop/prod.../ZBL-QMUHO.pdf (Fan forced hot air unit heaters)

            http://www.markel-products.com/onlin...roductpage.htm (Another brand of fan forced unit heaters)

            http://www.markel-products.com/onlin...roductpage.htm (More on radiant heaters)

            I personally don't like radiant heaters. You must be careful not to get anything close to one or it will start fires or really roast you. If you have a high ceiling then maybe you can use one. Be sure to allow several feet above it for air circulation.

            You are very correct about not wanting combustion fumes or the water vapor problems in your shop. If someone has piped natural gas to their building they can install a vented unit heater if they like. Unvented heaters of all kinds are very bad news. You must crack open windows which then allows the heat to escape and cold air to come in.
            Last edited by Woussko; 02-18-2007, 07:41 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

              Thanks guys, for the input. I returned the heater yesterday, got my $$ back and decided to stay with the 23K BTU kerosene heater for now. Between now and next Fall I will research the issue more and make a decision on which way to go.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

                Be sure with the kerosene heater to only use grade K1 fuel in it that's ultra low in sulfer content. Also, be sure to crack open a window. They do produce CO and other dangerous combustion byproducts. In addition burning fuels will make steam and that means adding moisture to the air inside your shop. If you can do so, you might want to think about a vented heater with intake air directly piped to it. There are many ways for heating a place. Try talking to an HVAC (heating) contractor in the spring on a nice day about it. That is unless you want to go for simple electric heat. You may want a mix of radiant and forced air heat in there. Good luck and please let us know how things turn out.

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                • #9
                  Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

                  Woussko,

                  Thanks for all the heating information. I was under the misapprehention that radiant heaters would be the way to go because they were safe. I only have eight foot ceilings in my shop so it sounds as though another type of heat would work better. I have natural gas in the house so I suppose I could dig yet another 50' trench, this will be the third one, for a plumber to put in a gas line to the shop. Maybe I will borrow a mole and compressor from work and shoot the line instead of digging it.

                  I like the idea of a vented hot air furnace. Is electric a better option? Recently a couple from our area died from a faulty installation of a furnace. As it turns out something was wrong with 60% of the furnaces in the subdivision. As is often the case no one is to blame. The heating contractors blame the manufacturers and the manufacturers blame the installers. Litigation aside the fact remains that two people died.

                  I have a small shop, 20x24 with 8 foot ceilings, and 220 electric, which is all well insulated with 1/4" plywood on the walls and ceilings. On a windless 30 degree day if I raise the temperature to 60 degrees with my propane salamander then turn on my 1500 watt quartz heater it will raise the temperature two degrees an hour. Any suggestions on a good heating type would be appreciated.

                  Thanks,

                  Tom

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

                    Tom

                    I personally like a fan forced unit heater and if you have enough elecric power in your shop it is a nice and pretty safe way to go. Installation costs are pretty low. Now here is the thing to think about. Using a such a heater will add some good $$$ to your electric bill. If you just want to keep the shop at say 40F when not in there and maybe 60-65F when working, then it is a nice way to go. If you want some serious heat, then I would recommend a vented gas fired unit heater. That's where you do need a good plumber and an HVAC contractor's help. Installing such is not a DIY kind of task. In most areas you need permits and to have the finished job inspected. With an electric heater, it's pretty much just mounting it, connecting up power and installing a thremostat. Some are setup with built-in contactors and 24 Volt transformers. Others will require a line voltage thermostat. In either case this is a simple task for an electrical contractor. They are easy to care for in that you shut off power, vacuum clean it as best you can and them blow out any additional dust.

                    Do you by chance have hot water heat in your house? If yes, you might do an insulated pipe job (supply and return) underground and use a simple "Fan Coil" unit heater in the garage. You would use your heating boiler that you have now. That's something to discuss with a good HVAC contractor. You would need a circulating pump and some controls. Just an idea.

                    Do you have a flat "lower than the roof" ceiling in your shop? If yes, you may want to add some good fiberglass insulation on top if you haven't already done so. Please don't insulate directly under the roof. If you get a leak, you won't see it until there is a grand mess. Also roofing needs air. In the summer the outside surface really gets hot when the sun shines on it.

                    You may want to think about summer ventilation. A good way to do this is to install an exhaust fan up high in one end and have automatic shutters on the outside. Then on the other end a good set of motorized loovers or a big window you can open with screen over the inside. I know it's cold out and it's tuff to think of such stuff now, but it's good to think about it for later on.
                    Last edited by Woussko; 02-18-2007, 10:54 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

                      My experience: I work in an unheated garage (20 x 24) with a metal, uninsulated door. The door faces south so I do get some heat from sunlight when it isn't cloudy. Also a little heat from a freezer I have in it. Temp inside rarely goes below 40 degrees unless it gets into the teens outside. I bought a $50 1500kw quartz heater with a fan to help up the temp. It will raise the temp about 2 degrees per hour when its 30 degrees and no sun. I turn on my 14 gal Ridgid shop-vac and can raise the temp 2 degrees in about 20 minutes without the heater going. At 7.5 amps, I guesstimate the kw at about 900 kw max. I use both to get to about 55 or 60, then I just kick on the vac when it starts to drop if I am not already using it for the TS , etc (in which case I don't have a problem with temp drop)
                      The output of a shop vac is pretty warm and it moves a lot of air. If yours isn't too noisy, it may be an alternate heat source.

                      Just a thought

                      Go
                      Practicing at practical wood working

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

                        More:

                        You have choices and the best depends on many factors. All I can do is give you ideas. You'll need to think them over and then try to find and talk to contractors that are willing and able to work with you. Good luck

                        How much electric power do you have in your workshop? It would be very upsetting to install a big powerful heater only end up also having to upgrade your electric service to your shop. It might pay off over time, but I see big $$$ if things aren't thought out first.

                        A simple low cost way to try for now:
                        If you have an extra 30 Amp. 240 Volt circuit, I would try something simple and low cost for now. You might want to just buy and try this one which you can plug in if you have a proper receptacle handy. If not someone that does simple electrical work can make up a super extension cord for it. This will make some nice heat and if you later want to sell it, you don't have huge $$$ invested.

                        http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...7929_200307929

                        I would make a little base. A 18" x 18"' x 1/2 plywood would work fine for the top and maybe 1 x 6s for the sides to keep this off the floor, but have it near the floor is where it's cold. This little bad boy will put out around 3 times the heat of a good 120 Volt portable heater and the best part is the cost. It's not for long term use, but then you might like it to add heat if your basement is cold when you want to be down there.

                        You'll need a NEMA 6-30 (30 Amp. 250 Volts rated) receptacle near to where you want it. It comes with a short power cord.

                        All of this is just food for thought.

                        By the way if you have an electric clothes dryer someone that's handy with simple electrical work can make an adaptor (plug and connector) so you can plug it in that receptacle too.

                        Note: With almost any heater, get ready for a big stink and a little smoke the first time it heats up. This will go away pretty soon. Just leave a window or door open until the place airs out some. Let it run about 1/2 hour and that should do it. There is a protective coating on the heating elements to keep them from rusting in storage. It has to burn off. People get a rude wakeup the first time they power up new electric baseboard heaters.
                        Last edited by Woussko; 02-18-2007, 11:40 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

                          Woussko,

                          Thank you for all the help and information re my shop heating dilema.

                          My concern with electric forced heat is the post installation cost. My stepdad has a 30x40 shop with 10' ceilings that angle up to 12' in the center. He has two electric fan forced heaters in there and keeps the temp at 50 when he is not working. My mother told me the other day that the heat bill for the shop was more than for the house. The shop and house have separate meters. The house is 3,500 sq. ft. ranch heated with natural gas. So that is saying something. I thought a forced hot air heater would need to be the size of the one in my basement. But the pictures on the websites you gave me look like wall units and would not take up too much space. Because I work construction I don't have much time for shop work during the summer. Plus there is camp to maintain and kayaks to paddle.

                          It looks as though my work is cut out for me in terms of wadding through available options.

                          Tom

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                          • #14
                            Re: 2 burner propane heaters HELP!

                            Tom

                            Where you are I wouldn't want to heat totally with electric. You're right about the $$$ for power. The idea was to just get some fast heat for now. If you have gas service into your house, that's what I would go for over time. There are all kinds of gas fired heaters. I would recommend one where it draws air into itself from outdoors and vents the fumes outside. That would not add moisture in the shop or need you to crack a window. Try to think how many hours per month and what months you would want to heat your shop. That might give you an idea about what energy source you want to go for. Running a gas line, buying a gas fired hot air heater of some time and then all the installation work, might get out of hand unless you'll really run it.

                            How much power do you currently have in your shop? If it's there (lots of 240 Volt power that is), then maybe try out the little box heater for around $100 and if you don't like it, you're not out that much $$$. You might later on want it for other uses or just sell it for what you can in a yard sale or such.

                            By the way there are gas fired unit heaters that are like a big box in shape. I'll try to get you some links for them. Look around small warehouses as many use that kind of heater. They come in many sizes depending on the amount of heat needed. You can also get them setup with oil burners, but they require more care and that darn stink. Peeee Uoooo (fuel oil)

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