What are Radiant Gas Heaters?

Lori Kilchermann

Radiant gas heaters are devices used to heat an area or a room, typically without the need of electricity. Unlike a blower-equipped heater that uses an electric fan to dispense heat throughout a room, radiant gas heaters warm the area by radiating the heat generated out and away from the heater much like the heat from the sun. Commonly constructed in portable and fixed designs, radiant gas heaters can operate on natural gas or liquid propane, commonly called LP gas. While portable radiant gas heaters primarily use small LP gas canisters; fixed designs can be floor-mounted or stand-alone units operating on either type of gas.

The fuel used in radiant gas heaters may also be used to fuel stoves and hot water heaters.
The fuel used in radiant gas heaters may also be used to fuel stoves and hot water heaters.

In some remote areas, radiant gas heaters are the only option if the homeowner does not wish to burn wood for heat. Many country homes and cabin getaways do not have the luxury or the ability to have a delivery truck supply fuel oil or kerosene, and electric power may not be offered in the region. By using portable tanks that the owner can easily handle and move, LP gas can supply the fuel to the radiant gas heaters and the structure can be heated during periods of cold weather. This fuel can also be used to supply the kitchen stove, as well as lantern or light fixtures and a hot water heater for the building.

Advances in technology have led to small, portable radiant gas heaters that can generate a lot of heat and operate on a small canister of liquid propane gas for several hours. Commonly used in tents during cold weather camping trips and also in hunting blinds, the small heaters allow outdoorsmen and women to remain in the wild for a much longer time. Providing a virtually odorless source of heat that is also very quiet, hunters can warm their hunting blinds through the day and keep the tent or camper comfortable during chilly evening hours.

The most common type of radiant gas heaters uses a ceramic tile to absorb the heat from an open flame and radiate it out from the heater in an efficient manner. With most fixed models providing 360 degrees of radiant heat, the typical portable heater is directional, with one side reflecting the heat out from the device. Fuels for natural gas and LP gas radiant heaters cannot be interchanged; a gas type-specific element is used in the heater to mandate the correct type of fuel be used exclusively in the unit.

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