It’s just a few months until the winter season and homeowners will be looking to get the best, energy-efficient heating appliances they can lay their hands on.
Even with central heaters, supplementary heating with space heaters is a major requirement to live comfortably through the winter. Many times, when people weigh up their space heating options, they often come across torpedo heaters.
Torpedo heaters are quite popular for space heating due to their power and output. But what exactly is a torpedo heater?
There’s so much to learn about torpedo heaters and what they’re used for. This post has been created to not just tell you what a torpedo is, but also what type of fuel it uses, where it can be used, and whether venting or ducting is required or not.
This is a complete guide and we’re sure you’ll be glad you’re here. Let’s get right to it.
What Is a Torpedo Heater?
Also known as a forced-air heater, a torpedo heater is a heating appliance that circulates warm air in an entire space using a fan as its propelling force.
Air is pulled in through the back of the heater and uses powerful motors to push that air through its cylinder with several heating elements acting on the air inside the cylinder.
The unit then releases heated air which creates very warm convection currents. The good thing about torpedo heaters is that they can also serve as the primary heating source in a ventilated enclosed space.
Torpedo heaters are very powerful with pretty high BTUs. They are able to heat up small-to-medium spaces quickly and sufficiently.
Depending on the fuel type, you may need to ensure the room is properly ventilated to avoid gas poisoning. There are many types, designed with varying capacities for indoor and outdoor applications.
The term, “torpedo” speaks to the form and performance of a typical torpedo heater, but you must also look out for specifications such as BTU (British Thermal Unit) and wattage.
What Is a Torpedo Heater Used For?
A torpedo heater is used for creating primary and supplementary heating in medium-to-large spaces. They can be used indoors and outdoors as well, depending on the type of fuel (power source) and its heating capacity.
Open spaces like factories, construction sites, job sites, and so on are some of the outdoor spaces that can benefit from a torpedo heater. They are suitable for outdoor events because they are able to quickly cycle air and produce a needed directional blast of heated air.
Torpedo heaters can also be used in garages, for outdoor camping, and other outdoor events due to their powerful heating output. At the end of the day, factors like capacity, fuel type, size and need will determine where and how you deploy your torpedo heater.
What Kind of Fuel Can You Use In A Torpedo Heater?
There are three major types of torpedo heaters, based on the fuel source. We have the electric, kerosene and propane torpedo heaters. Each of them has its own advantages and drawbacks and we’ll consider them shortly.
1. Electric Torpedo Heater
As the name implies, an electric torpedo heater is powered by electricity. It runs really clean, and doesn’t produce toxic waste, but is quite low on efficiency and heating performance compared to other heat sources.
You’d also have high energy costs to deal with running your electric torpedo heater.
2. Kerosene Torpedo Heater
This type of torpedo heater runs on kerosene. While kerosene is a common fuel for outdoor camping heating, it is also quite efficient for torpedo heaters.
You may need to pay attention to risk factors due to its flammability and the fact that it can burn dirty, if not properly wicked.
3. Propane Torpedo Heater
Besides electric and kerosene, propane (gas) is another popular fuel source for torpedo heaters. Propane is cheaper and burns cleaner than kerosene, even though it doesn’t provide as much burning as kerosene.
Like kerosene, propane also needs to be handled carefully to prevent a fire hazard.
Can You Use a Torpedo Heater Indoors?
The simple answer is Yes. Torpedo heaters can be used indoors, but the type of heater would determine what precautions you need to take.
An electric torpedo heater, for instance, will do well indoors as long as you have a proper electricity supply and a power source that can support the unit’s wattage.
But, if you have a kerosene torpedo heater, there are certain concerns to take note of. First, you need to take steps to prevent poisoning, a fire outbreak and even asphyxiation.
Let me explain those issues further.
You need to ensure the building or room you want to put the kerosene torpedo heater is properly ventilated to allow a continuous flow of oxygen into the space.
Without ventilation, the heater will take up most of the little oxygen available in the closed space, leading to asphyxiation which can be really dangerous for residents in the space.
Furthermore, this situation can result in high levels of carbon monoxide. And because it is odorless and colorless, it’s hard to detect and can be damaging to the respiratory system, and lead to fatal results.
On the other hand, a propane torpedo heater can also be used indoors. With clean burning and little or no need for oxygen, you won’t have to bother about asphyxiation.
However, where propane fume mixes with any other toxic gas, it can become unbearable to breathe and quite poisonous too.
Does A Torpedo Heater Need to Be Vented?
It depends on the type of torpedo heaters and the kind of venting. If you mean the exhaust kind of venting that leads up to the chimney and out of the house, then the answer is No.
You cannot vent a torpedo heater that way because the flue gas and the heat are released through the same point. They both form a single stream of hot air blown out by powerful fans through the cylinder and into the room.
However, if you’re referring to some sort of ventilation mechanism, then you have a case. This is especially true for torpedo heaters that run on kerosene and propane.
While it is important to secure as much heat as possible within the room, allowing a bit of ventilation will let oxygen in while allowing dangerous fumes to leave the room. While it’s best to run kerosene and propane heaters outdoors, ventilating your room properly can create an exception.
Can You Duct a Torpedo Heater?
Torpedo heaters are not naturally designed to be ducted. Their effect comes from the continuous blast of heat they produce towards a certain direction, and spreading throughout the space.
First of all, ducting an electric torpedo heater won’t give that much effect, but you may try. On the other hand, it will be careless to try and duct a kerosene torpedo heater.
A kerosene torpedo heating unit discharges at a maximum temperature of 1,300 degrees. Attaching any sort of flexible material, plastic or paper can cause a fire outbreak.
Also, torpedo heaters are not built to be installed in the ceiling or connected to ductwork.
How Safe Are Torpedo Heaters?
Like most appliances powered by fuel, electricity or gas, there’s a need to be careful with how you handle torpedo heaters. Generally speaking, a torpedo heater is safe to use, but accidents can happen if care is not taken.
For instance, using a kerosene torpedo heater in a space that lacks proper ventilation can lead to death or severe respiratory complications due to oxygen shortage and toxic gas poisoning.
Another area of concern is a possible fire hazard that may be caused by overheating common with poor quality units.
Another safety issue to pay attention to is possible power surge when you use an electric torpedo heater. Be sure to use surge protectors and only plug the unit into an outlet that meets the wattage requirement of the unit.
Top 5 Best Torpedo Heaters
|#||Torpedo Heater Model|
|1||Mr. Heater MH75KTR Kerosene Heater|
|2||Mr. Heater MH60QFAV 60,000 BTU|
|3||HeatFast HF160G Portable 155,000 BTU|
|4||Dura Heat Electric Forced Air Heater|
|5||Sunnydaze 125,000 BTU Propane Heater|
Let’s reemphasize the take-home facts. Torpedo heaters are a powerful, high-performing, efficient and reliable heating appliances that serve multiple purposes and can be applied in different locations indoors and outdoors.
Just be sure you purchase a top-quality unit and follow the guidelines provided here and you shouldn’t have any problems at all. If you need help finding a good torpedo heater, you should consider any of the units listed above.