Direct Vs. Indirect Heaters For Construction Sites
Every year, costly fires occur at construction sites across Northern California and the rest of the country as a result of the improper selection, setup, and use of temporary heaters. Given these potential dangers, choosing the right heating equipment and following proper safety protocols becomes vital to ensuring safe operations at your construction site.
To help you make an informed decision about a temporary heating solution for your construction site, let’s take a quick look a two of the most common categories of temporary heating devices available: Indirect- and direct-fired heaters.
In an indirect fired heater, fuel (usually propane, natural gas, or diesel fuel) is burned within a combustion chamber inside the unit, where cool air passes over a heat exchanger to be heated; the air is then pushed via ducts into the building.
Pros: Lower overall safety risk, especially regarding carbon monoxide buildup
Cons: Higher operating cost due to lower efficiency
Tips for using indirect fired temporary heating
- Position indirect-fired heaters on stable ground outside the building
- For gas-powered equipment, all fuel line piping must comply with American Gas Association (AGA) standards and secured against damage
- All fuel tanks should be placed behind jersey barriers or protective bollards
- Flue stacks should be positioned away from combustibles in locations where exhaust fumes cannot re-enter the workspace
- All equipment should be inspected and maintained regularly by a qualified temporary heating service company
Direct-fired heaters, including “salamander” and “torpedo” models, are portable, 100 percent efficient heating units. Powerful, easy to transport, and relatively cheap to operate, direct fired heaters can be a viable option in some construction sites.
The problem inherent in direct-fired heaters is that their flame is exposed to open air. This leads to two substantial risks: the potential for fire and the potential for carbon monoxide (CO) build-up, which can pose a serious health threat for employees.
Pros: Inexpensive to operate and easily portable
Cons: Potential fire and CO hazard
Tips for using direct fired temporary heating
- Do not use direct-fired heaters inside a wood frame structure
- Place heaters on a non-combustible surface that extends at least four feet in front of the unit; see manufacturer’s instructions for details.
- Secure portable units to prevent movement
- Make sure all safety measures (flame sensors, pilot safety valves, etc. are operable
- Never refuel units indoors or within 50 feet of the building
- Never store combustible material near your temporary heaters
- Install carbon monoxide and propane leak detectors as required by building safety codes
The bottom line
Whether you need a temporary heating solution to keep your employees warm, prevent frozen water pipes, or maintain the climate needed by adhesives and other costly construction materials, you’ll need to choose the right heating equipment to do the job safely. The temporary heating professionals at Allied Propane will help you do just that.
This winter, count on Allied Propane for propane tank installation and propane tank fueling to keep your construction project on schedule and on budget. We offer automatic fuel deliveries, tank replacements, and more – contact us today to learn about our construction temporary heating services in Northern CA.