Ventless propane heaters are growing in popularity each day. They are low-cost, simple to use, and cheaper to operate than vented and natural gas heaters.
When equipped with a thermostat and blower, the heaters guarantee a steady and reliable flow and distribution of warmth in our living spaces.
So, which one should you pick?
Vent-free propane heater with thermostat and blower come in a range of designs, styles, and are equipped with different features. How would you identify one that best suits your needs?
Vent Free Propane Heater With Thermostat And Blower Comparison
What’s a Ventless Heater?
Perhaps we should begin by understanding the meaning of “ventless heater.” What is a ventless propane heater?
A ventless (also vent-free or unvented) heater is a home heating appliance that releases (or vents) exhaust gases within the room it’s heating. This is the main difference between vented and vent-free heaters. While vented propane heaters have a mechanism for “disposing” of any exhaust gases outside the house, unvented models vent any gaseous by-products inside the house.
How do Vent Free Propane Heaters Work?
These heaters work slightly differently than other types of home heaters that are vented, either via chimneys exiting through the roof or vent pipes passing through the wall. To compensate for the lack of a dedicated venting system, they attempt to achieve perfect combustion – even though it’s practically impossible to achieve 100% combustion.
The benefit of perfect combustion is that it results in just two harmless by-products – water (which is by far the most abundant by-product) and carbon dioxide. Where there’s perfect condition, therefore, there would be no safety alarm.
This partly explains why vent-free propane heaters with thermostats and blowers are very efficient, with most of them rated at 99.9% or higher efficiency. The goal during the design of these heaters is to convert all the fuel (propane) into heat, with only water and carbon dioxide as the by-products.
It’s important to mention, however, that no vent-free heater has ever achieved 100% efficiency. As a result, the heaters will always deposit a few unsafe gases, in minimal amounts, into your living space. These gases usually include nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide alongside the carbon mentioned above dioxide, which is largely harmless. In rare cases, you may also encounter hazardous carbon monoxide.
Another thing that you must know is that aside from dumping some unsafe gases into your room, vent-free heaters also depend on indoor air to fuel the combustion process. So, as it runs, the heater will take in significant amounts of oxygen from your room to help with the combustion.
In a nutshell, ventless propane heaters work by taking oxygen from your room and using it to burn the fuel (propane), producing heat, moisture, carbon dioxide, and minor traces of nitrogen dioxide. And then the process repeats over and over.
Pros and Cons of Unvented Propane Heaters
Recent reports indicate that unvented propane heaters have significantly grown in popularity over the past few years. Consumers love them for the following reasons;
- Highly efficient: This is perhaps the biggest draw for people buying ventless heaters. The units are very economical. This makes them extremely cost-effective. Very little of your fuel (propane in this case) goes to waste.
- Few by-products: The high efficiency also has a valuable ripple benefit – fewer by-products. Unlike other heaters, things such as smoke and soot are non-starters when using an unvented heater.
- Exceptional heat distribution: It doesn’t matter the size of your room, a vented heater will get the heat where you need it. First off, the natural convection process helps to push the heat around the house. Additionally, most unvented heaters are equipped with fans for more effective heat distribution.
- Easy installation: Anyone who’s worked with a vented heater will tell you that the installation process is a significant challenge. Drilling holes and connecting the vent pipe correctly takes substantial effort and may even require an HVAC professional. Vent-free heaters, by contrast, don’t involve any significant installation. Most of them are either plug-and-play or easily DIY installed.
- Simple to use and maintain: Using a vent-free heater only requires the flipping of a switch. On maintenance, you only need to wipe down and periodically blow the heater to clear out any dirt. Vented heaters, on the other hand, need regular maintenance to ensure that the venting system doesn’t malfunction.
Despite the many advantages, ventless heaters also come with a few downsides, some of which require careful consideration. These include;
- Risk of toxic gases: The main poisonous gas, as we’ve mentioned, is nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Nitrogen dioxide at lower concentrations is an upper respiratory irritant. It can cause coughs, sore throat, vertigo, nausea, and even light headaches. Prolonged exposure, meanwhile, can reduce immunity for lung diseases, resulting in coughs, wheezing, flu, and bronchitis.
- Risk of CO poisoning: Carbon monoxide (CO) isn’t a direct by-product of ventless heating. Instead, it results from oxygen depletion. As we mentioned, vent-free heaters depend on indoor air for combustion. This often creates the risk of oxygen depletion. CO is a highly poisonous gas that can cause permanent organ or brain damage or even death.
Considerations when Shopping for a Vent-Free Propane Heater
The fact that vent free propane heater with thermostat and blower come in a wide range of styles and options is both a blessing and a curse.
While it guarantees that everyone will find the heater that perfectly suits their needs, the abundance of choice often means you need to do a lot of comparison shopping to find that right heater. The following are some of the points to prioritize;
- Your Location
This is, by far, the most important factor when it comes to vent-free heaters. You can’t just buy a vent-free heater anywhere in the world because you feel like it. Due to the inherent safety risks, some local governments restrict their use, and others have banned them altogether. So, check your local codes first to determine if vent-free heaters are allowed in your area and whether there are restrictions.
- Size of the Heater
For propane heaters, size is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). The amount of BTU you’ll need depends on the size of your room, the quality of insulation of the room, and your location, among other factors. In general, though, experts recommend 40 BTU per square foot of space, meaning that for a medium-sized 450 Sq. Ft. space, you’d need 18,000 BTU.
- Ignition Mechanism
There are two broad ways to ignite propane heaters – manually or automatically. Manual ignition is the traditional approach where you need a matchbox to ignite the fuel. Automatic ignition, meanwhile, means that the fuel automatically ignites whenever you turn on the heater. Most people today prefer electronic ignition for their convenience. Just remember that automatic ignition wears off over time.
- Presence of an ODS
An essential safety feature you want to look for is the oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). Oxygen depletion sensors monitor oxygen levels in your home and sound an alarm if dangerously low levels of O2 are reached. Since vent-free heaters intake oxygen from your room, you can see why monitoring O2 levels with an ODS becomes helpful. If the heater doesn’t have an in-built ODS, you’ll need to buy one separately.
- Other Safety Features
Aside from an oxygen depletion sensor, a tremendous vent-free propane heater will have a cool-to-touch surface and automatic shut-off system. A cool to touch surface protects you (and the kids and pets) in case you accidentally come in contact with the heater during heating. Automatic shut-off, meanwhile, protects the unit against overheating and accidental shorts.
Above all, an excellent propane heater is one that has been thoroughly tested and approved by a recognized laboratory. Look, especially, for certifications from SAI Global, ETL, and Intertek.
Safety tips when Using a Vent Free Propane Heater
We’ve already mentioned the various safety features you need to consider when shopping for a vent free propane heater with thermostat and blower. The following are just additional tips to observe for even greater safety;
- Always read the manufacturer’s manual and follow the provided instructions on the installation and use of the product.
- Permanently mounted a licensed gas fitter must only install propane heaters following local regulations.
- Keep children and pets away from gas heaters. They should be at least a meter away from the heat source and must be monitored, so they don’t play with the appliance.
- Always turn the heater off when it’s not in use. Children must never be asked to adjust controls or move the heater.
- Keep the heater at least one meter (or about three feet) away from flammable objects, including drapes, clothes, furniture, boxes, and books.
- Vent-free heaters must only be used in rooms with adequate ventilation. More importantly, the ventilation must conform to local guidelines.
- If using a portable propane heater, ensure that the hoses or power cords are tucked away such that they don’t extend through a doorway or across paths within the home.
- Maintenance is a must. Most manufacturers recommend professional maintenance at least every two years.
- Repairs should only be done by a professional. In case one of the hoses comes off or the heater malfunctions, switch it off and call a professional technician.
6 Best Vent Free Propane Heater With Thermostat And Blower
The following are a selection of some of the standout ventless propane heaters especially if you’re prioritizing models with a reliable thermostat and blower fan;
1. Rinnai FC824 Vent-Free Space Heater
- Uses propane gas
- Electric ignition and digital display with programmable temperature and time settings
- Cabinet is cool to the touch
- Onboard self-diagnostics for easier maintenance
- Features a tilt switch to disable the gas supply, child locks, and self-diagnostics allows for easier maintenance
The Rinnai FC824 is the perfect solution for hard to heat areas. It has a convection fan that helps distribute the 22,000 BTU of heat energy throughout your space.
It also features a modulating technology that includes a modulating valve and variable-speed blower. Together, these two extract only the amount of gas necessary to deliver the required amount of heat.
What’s better, the FC824 features a unique technology that consistently and continuously monitors and adjusts indoor temperatures to maintain the temperatures you set on the thermostat.
For instance, if the door is opened, the feature quickly detects the indoor temperature drop and increases heat production. It does all these with a 99.9% efficiency, not to mention that it’s an incredibly quiet heater that produces just 44dB of noise at peak operation.
The FC824 comes in a cool-to-touch cabinet and includes an in-built oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). It also has an overheat switch that automatically shuts down the unit if overheating is detected.
A tilt switch and automatic shut-off in case of power failure or if the flame goes out are the other safety features.
- 22,000 BTU of heating power
- Electronic ignition
- Fan output of 215.4 CFM (at High setting)
- Cool to touch cabinet
- Child-safe lock
2. Mr. Heater Corporation F299730 Heater
- 30,000 BTU Liquid Propane heater to heat spaces up to 750 square feet. Restricted in Canada
- Blue flame burner for even convection heat. Supplemental heat in cold rooms, Additions, Sun rooms, Cabins
- Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS). CSA Certified. Fuel Consumption/Burn Rate (Gal/Hr) - 1.389 lbs/hr
- Operating this heater at altitudes over 4,500 FT above sea level could cause pilot/ODS to shutdown the heater.
- Theromostat, legs and wall mounting hardware included.Fuel Consumption/Burn Rate (Gal/Hr)
Mr. Heater F299730 is another excellent vent-free supplemental heater. It’s a natural convection heater that comes with a thermostat to help you control the temperature in your home with ease.
The hot blue flare tube can be seen at the bottom of the flame window. This 30,000 BTU heater is ideal for spaces up to 1,000 square feet.
The heater is mounted on the wall. Indeed, the necessary mounting equipment, including a mounting bracket, is included in the package. You’ll also find an accompanying user manual to guide you through the installation.
The necessary fuel hose and regulator aren’t included, though. You’ll need to purchase the two separately. You’re also required to buy a blower fan separately.
The F299730’s safety features include an oxygen depletion sensor that alerts you if an unusually low oxygen level is detected. The unit also automatically shuts off if dangerously low levels of oxygen are detected.
Additionally, there’s a high limit shut-off that automatically turns off the unit if there’s overheating.
- Up to 30,000 Btu of heating power
- Ideal for large spaces, up to 1,000 Sq. Ft
- In-built thermostat for easy temperature control
- Wall mounting hardware and legs included
- Noiseless operation
- Overheating and ODS shut-off
- Glass can break easily
- The thermostat is only in Fahrenheit
3. Mr. Heater F274800 MH18B, Portable Propane Heater
- 4, 000- to 18, 000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 450 square feet. Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient
- When operating the heater at altitudes over 7, 000 FT above sea level the heater may shut off.
- Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels
- Low, medium and high heat level control knob for steady temperatures; connects to propane tank (not included)
- THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED, MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, AND WILL VOID THE .
Few heaters can run for more than six hours continuously. The Mr. Heater F274800 runs for 11 hours straight when connected to a 1lb cylinder.
You can, however, also connect it to a 20lb propane tank. It’s ideal for medium-sized spaces up to 400 square feet and has a fan that runs off four D Cell batteries or an AC adapter (F276127).
This heater has an in-built thermostat that makes it easy to control temperature settings in your home. It also has two heat settings – High and Low – from which you can choose.
An inbuilt fan helps to distribute the heat throughout the room. It has a swivel regulator and single control and comes with a fold-down handle for easy maneuver.
With regards to safety, the F274800 features an in-built low oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) that monitors oxygen levels in the room in case the O2 levels drop too low.
An automatic shut-off mechanism turns the unit off in case the oxygen levels drop below a certain point.
- 30,000 BTU
- Low priced (at under $150)
- Runs 11 hours straight
- Tip-over safety switch
- ODS shut-off
- CSA certified
- Required batteries not included
- AC adapter sold separately
4. Mr. Heater 30,000 BTU Propane Blue Flame Vent-Free Heater, VF30KBLUELP
- Fight the freeze! Pick yours and order today! Mr. Heater Vent-Free Heater
- 30,000 BTU"
- Weighs 31 lbs.
- Safe, clean burning heat
- Operates without electricity during power outages
Another blue-flame heater with a 30,000 BTU capacity, the Mr. Heater VF30KBLUELP is an excellent supplemental heating solution where electric heaters would not be practical.
It is conveniently equipped with a thermostat for superior temperature control and uses battery-powered electronic ignition for your convenience. The necessary battery is included.
The unit burns very cleanly and uses natural convection to circulate warm air throughout the room. But, it also integrates with an F299200 blower fan if you need stronger heat circulation.
Unfortunately, the fan is sold separately. The unit installs on the wall and even comes with the necessary wall mounting equipment. But you can also use it on the floor. Legs for floor installation are included.
You’ll need to buy the propane tank separately too. A 20lb tank is recommended. You’re also required to buy the necessary hose and regulator separately. Make sure to purchase these items either together with the heater or from an authorized dealer.
The heater has an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS), high-limit (overheating) shut-off, and is rated as indoor safe. It comes with a one-year warranty.
- 30,000 BTU
- Oxygen depletion sensor
- Overheating shut-off
- Rated indoor-safe
- In-built thermostat
- One-year warranty
- Hose and regulator sold separately
- No tip-over safety switch
5. Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 18,000 BTU Liquid Propane Infrared Vent Free Wall Heater
- Liquid Propane Ready (Fuel conversion not permitted); Infrared Technology works by radiating heat to warm objects first - Similar to the sun
- Up to 18,000 BTU's/hr heats up to 700 sq. ft.; LOW-MED-HI variable control knob offers the most customizable heat settings
- No electricity required allows for reliable back-up heating in case of an emergency situation
- Separately sold optional fan (WHF100) improves the amount of square footage the heat reaches in a quiet, yet powerful way!; Separately sold optional base legs (WBL100) allows for stable floor mounting
- 1 Year Warranty
If you’re looking for safe, indoor supplemental heating, not many heaters can match the Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1. This heater works exceptionally well, whether you’re using it in the home, cabin or garage.
A few people also use it for camping since it doesn’t require electricity to operate. Others, meanwhile, consider it an emergency option in case of a power outage.
An infrared wall heater, burns with 99.9% efficiency, generating up to 18,000 BTU at High settings. This is more than enough to heat a 700 square foot room. In total, it has five controlled heat settings.
Electric ignition makes starting the heater a breeze. The heat settings, however, are manual. Although it’s primarily wall-mounted, the IR18PMDG-1 can also stand on legs on the floor. The necessary legs, model #WBL100, are sold separately.
Safety is an essential factor in vent-free heaters, and this Dyna-Glo is made to be as safe as it gets. It has an oxygen depletion sensor as an auto safety shut-off feature in case of overheating. The unit is also CSA certified and comes with a one-year warranty.
- 18,000 BTU of heating power
- Heats up to 700 square feet
- Customizable heat settings
- Mounting equipment included
- Comes with a one-year warranty
- Blower fan (WHF100) sold separately.
6. ProCom MG10TBF Ventless Dual Fuel Blue Flame Thermostat Control Wall Heater
- ASSEMBLED IN USA - Product is proudly assembled in the USA. Skilled American workers manufacture the parts, assemble, and test our products. Only high-quality materials and parts are used in the manufacturing of our products. Our factory features state of the art manufacturing equipment.
- TECHNOLOGY - 10, 000 Maximum BTU using natural gas or propane gas which Heats Up To 300 Sq. Ft.
- DEPENDABLE - Thermostat Control – The control automatically cycles the burner on and off to maintain a desired room temperature, Ideal for greater heat flow that could add the warm atmosphere in your room.
- SAFE - Push button Piezo ignition with Built-in pilot oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) immediately shuts down the heater if carbon monoxide or lack of oxygen is detected.
- 1 Year Limited
Finally, this ProCom MG10TBF is a dual-fuel heater that uses either propane or natural gas. It’s built for durability and efficiency and could be just what you need to keep your home cozy and warm during the cold season.
It doesn’t need electricity to operate, which makes it ideal for emergencies. It’s also an excellent option for use in the garage or RV.
Onto the main features, the ProCom offers 10,000 BTU at maximum capacity. This is sufficient for spaces up to 300 square feet. A built-in thermostat means that controlling heat levels in your home is a breeze.
All you have to do is push a button. The MG10TBF is a blue-flame convectional heater that depends primarily on natural convection for air circulation but can also be fitted with a blower fan for stronger heat circulation.
Some of the highlight safety features found in the heater include an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) and overheating shut-off. A wall mounting bracket is included in the package for your convenience. The heater comes with a one-year warranty.
- Blue Flame Technology
- Thermostat control
- Mounting equipment included
- Built-in oxygen depletion sensor
- Push-button piezoelectric ignition
- Batteries not required
- Best for smaller spaces (up to 300 Sq. Ft.)
- Hose sold separately
Ventless heaters, also known as vent-free or unvented heaters, are a popular choice for space heating in the home. They are not only more affordable than most other heater types but cheaper to operate in the long term.
However, vent free propane heater with a thermostat and blower also vent inside the home and therefore poses a substantial safety and health risk. If you decide to invest in one anyway, make sure to follow your local codes. Also, ensure that the heater has the necessary safety features.
The good news is that most of these heaters are nearly 100% efficient, thus produce only minor traces of unsafe gases. Therefore, as long as you follow your local government’s guidelines, there shouldn’t be any serious issues.