What's Scientific About LP Gas Heating? Learn the Basics Here


LP gas heaters are a favorite choice for people looking to heat a garage, a workshop or outdoor space like a deck and patio. 

These heaters are generally inexpensive to operate, making them more efficient than  electric heaters, and easy to set up because there's no electrical connection needed.

They can go nearly anywhere you need extra heat - even out in the backyard or on a camping trip. Today's ecology-minded users also appreciate that LP gas heaters are environmentally friendly.

If you've never thought about how these heaters work, here's your chance to find out. In this article we'll talk a little about where LP - or liquefied petroleum gas - comes from, and touch on the science behind its incredible convenience and efficiency.

By the time you're done reading, you'll understand why it's such a desirable fuel for portable space heaters and how you can use it to safely obtain the extra warmth you need.

The Science Behind LP Gas 


You may know LP or liquefied petroleum gas by the more familiar name of propane. Propane is a byproduct of crude oil and natural gas refining. It was first identified in 1910 by Dr. Walter O. Snelling, a chemist and explosives expert who was asked to investigate some suspicious vapors coming from the gasoline tank of a Ford Model T.

Snelling discovered that this gas could be used for lighting, metal cutting and cooking, and he went on to invent the method used to process LP gas. He was the first person to commercially market it as a product.

Propane is a "liquefied gas" - which sounds odd, but it's this unique quality that makes propane gas such a popular fuel. At normal temperature and atmospheric pressure, propane is a vapor. But when kept in moderately pressurized canisters, it changes to a liquid which makes it safer and easier to store and transport.

It has a boiling point of -44 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that (under most circumstances) it will convert to a gas as soon as it is released from its pressurized canister. As a gas, it's heavier than air, and will sink to the lowest spaces available. As a liquid, it is lighter than water.

Chemically speaking, propane is a hydrocarbon. The molecular make up of propane is three molecules of carbon and eight molecules of hydrogen (C3H8). It is most often used in propane garage and patio heaters and is actually a blend of propane and butane. This mixture ensures a more efficient combustion process. For most uses, however, the terms "propane" and "LP gas" are used interchangeably.

The Environment


When burned properly, propane combusts to form carbon dioxide and water. While carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, the amounts are substantially less than the CO2 released by burning coal or oil - up to 50% less than the carbon dioxide released by the coal-generated electricity used to operate an electric heater.

In fact, the emissions produced by burning propane are so low that it is listed as an approved clean fuel by the U.S. Government.

In addition, the propane used in these heaters is non-toxic, non-caustic and won't contaminate water or soil if it's released in either its liquid or vapor state. That means there are no damaging effects to eco-systems or air pollution.

These heaters are a clean, green choice for your space heating needs!

Energy Efficiency

LP heaters have a higher heating capacity than electric heaters of a comparable size. That means they heat up large spaces more quickly than electric heaters, which makes them especially suited to big, drafty spaces like garages or workshops. Some units are capable of heating spaces up to 1,000 square feet!

These units also cost less to operate, as they use less fuel to produce the same amount of energy that an electric heater will. To figure out your propane consumption, keep in mind that a gallon of propane will produce 91,500 BTUs of heating. Divide that number by the LP gas heater's BTUs per hour to figure out the number of hours your heater will run on a single gallon of propane.

The Mechanics

MH15T Image1

Mechanically speaking, most of these heaters operate in the same way and have the same basic components.

When the regulator is opened, gas passes from the attached LP canister, though a hose or tube into the element. The pilot light ignites the gas, and the element spreads out the flame for more efficient heat distribution.

A Few Sensible Precautions

Now that you're have a better understanding of the science and mechanics behind LP gas heaters, head on over to review the selection we have for sale to fine the right unit tomeet your garage, workshop or patio heating needs.

Shop Our Selection of Propane Gas Heaters

Our Guarantee
  • FREE return shipping
  • Hassle-Free return policy
  • Zero restocking fees