Winter heating – portable gas heaters?


Un-flued portable LPG gas heaters (see above) to put it plainly are bad news. They release poisonous gases, increase the moisture content of a home (can be up to 1 litre per hour of use), pose a fire hazard, and despite gas being perceived as a cheaper option are actually one of the most expensive forms of heating to use. In fact, in some countries, including in the UK, un-flued gas heaters are banned. Our local PlaceMakers (New Lynn) recently decided that they would not stock portable gas heaters either – well done guys, great to see responsible leadership!

If not vented properly, the harmful gases released (nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide) by these heaters can cause drowsiness, angina in those with heart disease, increase the occurrence of respiratory related illness, and can even cause death. People most at risk are those with asthma or heart disease, unborn babies, young children and elderly.

The added moisture caused by these heaters make a home harder to heat, therefore requiring more heating to maintain a comfortable temperature – recommended minimum temperature indoors is 18°C or 21°C if babies, sick or elderly are present. Moisture also increases the likelihood of condensation and mould, which can increase the occurrence of respiratory illness like asthma, and damage your home e.g. curtains, window frames, ceilings and walls.

The open flame presents high fire risk, particularly around children, and the portable nature of the heater increases the risk of gas leaks when not is use.

Consumer’s latest comparisons between fuel costs show that LPG is clearly more expensive per KW of heat gained than other forms of home heating (see pic). And with the additional moisture in the air, more heat is required to feel comfortable. If a dehumidifier is used to combat the moisture issues, this costs money too.

A list of healthier and less costly heating options can be seen here: If you must use a portable un-flued gas heater, always have a window open in the room you are heating to help remove the harmful gases and ventilate the house during the day to assist in moisture removal.