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View Full Version : Big Buddy Heaters--any tips?



Matt Meiser
01-03-2014, 11:31 PM
Just picked one up today to warm the garage up enough to melt the ice off SWMBO's car's wheels so she can drive over 40MPH (not sure where that's even possible right now after going out myself this evening but anyway she's worried about it.) I'll probably need to do this again and I'll use the heater for warming the garage for car maintenance and this solves my shop emergency heat issue too.

Right now I have 2 of the 1lb tanks in it. I bought the filter and hose to use with a 20lb tank--worth it or should I return it and just get one of those little refill fittings?

Batteries good or should I get the AC adapter?

Any other tips?

Stephen Pereira
01-04-2014, 4:12 AM
Use the 20# tank with filter..however be advised that you should not use 20# in your heated garage. If you are sensible, make sure no leaks AND if the idiots that fill your tank do not overfill that tank everything will work out.

Bill Huber
01-04-2014, 10:44 AM
I have the 20# tank and I don't think the 1#s would last all that long.

Yes get the AC adapter the little fan helps a lot to move the air, I also added another fan on mine and that even helps more. Now the heat just doesn't go up.

278934

Matt Meiser
01-04-2014, 11:52 AM
Use the 20# tank with filter..however be advised that you should not use 20# in your heated garage.

What do you mean by this? Meaning tank outside, heater in? Or not at all? Either way that's pretty limiting for my needs. Thinking of just using the 1lb tanks and refilling them as 2-1/2 hors was plenty to warm the garage enough to melt everything off even with the bitter cold. I shut it off when we went to bed and it was still above freezing this morning but it did warm up outside to the upper 20's. Helps that our garage is insulated. 99% of the time we would just use it for a few hours. I haven't checked how full the tanks are after last night.

Bill Huber
01-04-2014, 12:45 PM
Use the 20# tank with filter..however be advised that you should not use 20# in your heated garage. If you are sensible, make sure no leaks AND if the idiots that fill your tank do not overfill that tank everything will work out.

I would like to know also why not use the 20# tank.
I use it in my 12x16 shop all the time, I do close the valve when I turn it off just for safety sack but I see know reason not to use it. The tank is about 6 feet away from the heater and kind of behind it.

Mike Cutler
01-04-2014, 1:38 PM
To All

Stephen's advice is correct, and will echo the cautions and warning in the manual that came with your heater. I have the same one. In fact I don't believe I know of any portable propane powered appliance that does not prohibit the use of the 20lb. bottle indoors, and this warning is also on all of the bottles that are the "trade out" type. I also believe that either NFPA 56, or 58, will have the same language type in it concerning propane storage tanks.
Every winter season, someone, somewhere, either succumbs to propane gas in the atmosphere, even though it is heavier than air, creates an oxygen deficient environment, or they burn their house or garage down because the bottle is located in an enclosed occupiable space.
The two small can only have 11 oz. each of propane. The 20lb bottle will have about three and half gallons if filled properly, or 400+ oz. The ramifications of the small bottles, which can only connect via the supplied connections, must be below the value at which Mr. Heater must have determined that neither an explosive concentratin can be achieved, nor can there be enough gas to cause propane poisoning. The accessory hose from Mr. Heater is only about 6' long, so the bottle is pretty close to the ignition source.

Remember that you also have air leakage intake requrements for the space the heater is in.
My Mr. Heater is in the shop, and I have a 15' hose going under the door to connect to an exterior bottle. My shop and garage can never be considered "airtight", so I meet these requirements easily.
.

These are great little appliances. Be safe.

Bill Huber
01-04-2014, 2:20 PM
Thanks Mike, my tank will now be going outside, I can just drill a hole and run the hose though.

phil harold
01-04-2014, 2:26 PM
so I can keep my 100 lb tank inside?

Matt Meiser
01-04-2014, 2:55 PM
I suppose that also means I shouldn't be storing my spare tank in the garage either.

ken masoumi
01-04-2014, 4:22 PM
. In fact I don't believe I know of any portable propane powered appliance that does not prohibit the use of the 20lb. bottle indoors, and this warning is also on all of the bottles that
Here are two of many portable heaters with a 20# tank either attached or a few feet away from the heater ,I have them both,there are the Kerosene type that the fuel tank is also attached to the heater but when you have a logical point there's no arguments that one can make to counter it.
The whole point of using portable heater in a closed environment is it is extremely important to use common sense.these are the steps I follow in my shop .
1)if possible ,it's always best to keep all fuel containers( pressurized or not )outside.but sometimes it is not.
2) it is a must to have fresh air coming in to replace what has been consumed through combustion.I always leave the door/window 2" open.
3) keep heat source at least 3 feet away from all surrounding objects(flammable in particular)
4) always be aware of the heater and where it's located,turn it off from the tank and the heater when not in use.
5) use the propane to reach a comfortable temp.then shut it off,it is best to use radiant electric heaters for continuous use.


http://www.homedepot.ca/wcsstore/HomeDepotCanada/images/catalog/F242650_4.jpg
http://www.homedepot.ca/wcsstore/HomeDepotCanada/images/catalog/MH60FAV_4.jpg

Matt Meiser
01-04-2014, 4:30 PM
Back home...I looked at the hose we bought last night and its a 12' hose. That will be acceptable if I ever need to heat my shop with it--can just run it under the garage door or out a window. Same if I need to heat the garage for car maintenance or repairs. To thaw out the cars it doesn't really work--hard to explain but the open space with both vehicles in the garage where I feel safe setting it isn't anywhere near a door. We picked up one of the refill couplers and some extra 1lb cylinders for that purpose or any portable use.

Bought the refill coupler at Harbor Freight. There's some very odd language on the package...Made in USA. Weird!

ken masoumi
01-04-2014, 4:54 PM
Bought the refill coupler at Harbor Freight. There's some very odd language on the package...Made in USA. Weird!
Matt,I din't know there was a way to refill the small tanks,how would you do that? from a 20 # tank?

Matt Meiser
01-04-2014, 4:59 PM
Yes. Companies that make the small tanks say its unsafe but several companies make and sell the fittings and "everyone is doing it" according to Google. I think the small tank companies selling propane at the equivalent of $65 for a 20lb tank might have a vested interest in claiming it unsafe ;)

http://www.harborfreight.com/propane-bottle-refill-kit-45989.html

Brian Elfert
01-04-2014, 5:13 PM
What I find strange is the local fire marshal allows use of 11 pound refillable propane tanks inside a commercial building to supply propane to pancake griddles. How dangerous is it really if they allow propane in a room with 200 people eating breakfast?

I have a Big Buddy heater and used it inside my converted bus with a 20 pound propane tank to keep me warm while driving. The bus has enough air leaks that I wasn't worried about lack of oxygen. The propane tank was secured in case of an accident. I now have a proper heating system and don't plan to ever do the propane thing again.

Stephen Pereira
01-05-2014, 12:43 AM
The problem is that many filling stations do not fill LP tanks correctly. They overfill the tanks despite the OPD valves which are designed to prevent that. So, you have a LP tank overfilled, you bring it into a warm building. What happens..the LP expands and creates pressure greater than the pressure relief valve is designed..the valve releases LP into the room, you have a pilot or furnace that happens to kick in..or you open your door and turn on the light switch which creates a spark..boom.

Granted many people bring LP tanks into a heated building without a problem BUT it only takes the right conditions and someone is burned or killed. I know, I work in a LP plant.

Mike Cutler
01-05-2014, 9:46 AM
so I can keep my 100 lb tank inside?

Sorry Harold, I think not. At least not in an enclosed space designed for human occupancy. I Keep my 100 lb.'s. in the bathroom.:eek:. Just kidding.:D.

Matt
My garage is detached and 60' away from the house. It is just a "garage", no insulation, and is only slightly more airtight than a Lean-too. My "shop", per se, is located in a converted bay, and an extension off the back. While the walls are covered inside the shop, it is only slightly more air tight than the garage. Air exchange for me isn't an issue at this point. About the only weather condition my tools are protected from is rain.:(
If my garage were attached to the house, and had been converted, I personally would't store either a propane tank, or gas in the garage. That's just me though, and even given my current garage, I store gas and propane in a separate Shelter Logic building. For me it's not inconvenient because the Lawn tractor, mower, and snow blower are in the Shelter Logic building. Others would find it inconvenient though.
Propane is a great gas, and it's actually pretty safe, but there are a lot of BTU's and energy in a given unit volume.;)

Use that refill adapter carefully. When a propane tank is inverted the OPD device is exposed to the fluid. Ordinarily it would only see that gas, at a temperature, which Boyle's Law, and the Ideal Gas laws, would allow. Now it is seeing the fluid, and as such can see lower temps as the gas expands from one tank to another and cause the OPD device to fail. This can cause a very nasty "freeze burn" if you hand is in the vicinity. There are insulated rubber gloves for handling propane filling operations.
One other tip is that the 20lb. bottles that are exchanged, seem to have some type of a fluid in the bottom of the tank. I don't know if this is an accumulation of the odorant, some product to protect the tank, or just a product to displace volume in the tank, but it's kind of viscous. Buy your own tank, which it sounds like you have, and refill from that.

Ken
I have the single burner of that model. I use it in the garage doing brake jobs, or working on the cars in the winter.

Brian Elfert
01-05-2014, 10:14 AM
The problem is that many filling stations do not fill LP tanks correctly. They overfill the tanks despite the OPD valves which are designed to prevent that. So, you have a LP tank overfilled, you bring it into a warm building. What happens..the LP expands and creates pressure greater than the pressure relief valve is designed..the valve releases LP into the room, you have a pilot or furnace that happens to kick in..or you open your door and turn on the light switch which creates a spark..boom.


I had a propane tank filled a few years ago in Illinois when it was around 5 degrees out. I proceeded to haul the tank to Florida where it was much warmer. The tank started venting propane as it had been overfilled. Luckily, it wasn't inside anywhere where it could cause issues.