How To Use A Propane Tank Top Heater?

Propane tank top heaters are unique devices used for warming an area up in a very short time. But how to use a propane tank top heater?

Some propane tank top heaters have a built-in electric ignition system. And some require you to put up a matchstick or lighter closer to the screen of the heater. Then you just have to hold the switch for a while, which eventually helps the heater light up. It’s a straightforward process, and the heater turns on in a short time.

Such a heater is a handy machine in countries that have much cooler weather. People living in such climates can use this device for drying as well. 

how to use a propane tank top heater

What Is A Propane Tank Top Heater?

A propane tank top heater is a device that includes a liquid propane tank connected to a heater on top. The propane tank is connected to the heater with a hose. There’s also a regulator there to manage the pressure of the gas.

The sizes and features may be of different types, but the ignition process is usually very simple. These consist of an electric ignition system that includes push-button lighting. Alternatively, you can just put up a lighter near the mesh screen and hold the switch until the burner lights.

There’s a control knob that works as a gas valve to release the gas to the burner. These controls allow you to light the heater within a minute, making it a swift process.

Working Mechanism of a Propane Tank Top Heater

The work function of a propane tank top heater is straightforward. From assembling to lighting it up and storing it after your finish, the whole setup is a pretty easy task. Here’s how you can do it perfectly.


Before you move on to actually lighting up the heater, you need to make sure that the machine is correctly set up. Here are a few pointers to help you.

  1. First, you’ve to place the tank collar bracket on the top of the center plate.
  2. Insert the screw in the top and bottom hole using a screwdriver.
  3. Make sure that the control knob is turned off.
  4. Now, line the threads on the fuel connector and tighten them.
  5. Open the liquid propane cylinder valve slowly.
  6. Use a fifty/fifty solution of water and dish soap to check the connections.


Now it’s time to move on to the actual lighting process and use the propane tank top heater. Here are the steps you need to follow.

  1. Before lighting it, set up the heater outdoors. As it’s very dangerous, it’s better not to use it indoors. However, you can use it in a garage. Just place it near the entrance to avoid any unfortunate incidents. The best option is to use it outdoors away from any combustible surface such as concrete or asphalt.
  2. Check if the connections are alright. Also, check the regulator for any wear and tear. The regulator is a device that has a rubber cap. It decreases the pressure inside the tank and can manipulate the flow of propane gas in the heater. If it’s damaged by any chance, replace it as soon as possible.
  3. Remove the cap of the valve and attach the tank to the heater. Pull the lid off of the valve on top of the tank. Now, hold the heater straight and insert the regulator into the valve. Twist the rubber fastener and secure it. Put the gloves on while doing it. It helps you use more force without any damage to your hands.
  4. Turn the handle and open the valve placed on top of the cap. Set the regulator to medium settings.
  5. Put a lighter or a matchstick that is long enough near the mesh screen. Don’t let it touch the screen. Keep a few inches distance between the lighter and the screen.
  6. Hold the switch that turns the heater on until the burner lights up. Hold it for an additional 30 seconds after it lights up and release it slowly.

Shutting Off

Securely turning off the propane tank top heater is also a part of usage. Make sure you follow these instructions when shutting down the machine.

  1. Turn the regulator off.
  2. Turn the valve on the tank. It cuts the supply of the gas to the heater. After turning it off, it will remain hot for some time.
  3. Let the heater cool down first. Because working with it when it’s still hot can be very dangerous. After 15-20 minutes, check the heat around the head of the heater.
  4. Now, twist the rubber fastener and detach the heater from the tank. Put it face down on the ground so water doesn’t pool inside of it.
  5. After everything is put away, place the valve cap on top of the tank.

Maintenance of a Propane Tank Top Heater

Propane tank top heaters tend to get rusty after some use. If you use it regularly, some parts get sticky as they pick up carbon. 

It’s better to check for any problems prior to and after every time you use it. This helps reduce the possibility of any kind of danger. Also, cleaning it from time to time will make it last longer and increase its efficiency.

Below are a few pointers about the further maintenance of a propane tank top heater.

Before Use

Before every use, check the connections for any possible leaks. Also, check the regulator for any types of breaks, cracks, or wears. If the hose gets damaged, replace it with a better one immediately.

After Use

After using it, disconnect the tank from the heater and store them separately. Be sure to turn the tank valve off after use and then store it. The cylinder should be kept outside to avoid any dangerous situations.

Cleaning Process

A propane tank top heater has an extensive cleaning process.

 Firstly, use a vacuum to remove as much dirt and debris as possible from the external parts of the tank. Then vacuum the inside the holes and grids. 

After that, you can use a brush to clean the regions where the vacuum couldn’t reach.

Remove the screws holding the cover panel and wipe it with warm water. Leave it alone to dry for some time.

Now, vacuum the inner side of the propane heater. Also, brush the parts the vacuum can’t reach like the oxygen sensor. 

Finally, tighten the screws after you put on the cover.

Safety Information about Propane Tank Top Heater

Propane heaters are hazardous, and you should take proper safety measures when using them. Without using the appropriate safety measures, you may end up putting yourself and those around you in danger. 

Here’s some important info about propane tank top safety.

  • Minimum 48 square inches of space is needed for you to use a propane tank top heater. You can also provide some fresh air by opening a window or door.
  • The machine must be placed on a level surface.
  • Avoid using the device indoors or in small closed areas.
  • Refrain from sleeping while the heater is right beside you. As it generates carbon monoxide, it will be difficult for you to breathe after some time. You could also end up being unconscious due to the lack of oxygen.
  • Keep your children away from the machine at all times.
  • Proper maintenance of the accessories is a must.
  • Never place anything that is flammable on top of the heater.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a propane heater be left on all night?

Leaving propane heaters on all night long can prove to be of significant risk. It may even end up overheating the coil and causing massive fire accidents. So, it’s better not to leave them running in the night.

Can a propane tank be used indoors?

It is not advisable to use a propane tank top heater indoors. That’s because it emits carbon monoxide while it is on. 
Carbon monoxide is a very harmful gas, and it hampers your breathing abilities. But if you have no choice but to use it indoors, you can do it but just be careful not to leave it unattended.

How long does a propane tank top heater last?

A single tank of 20lb propane generally lasts for around 18-20 hours. But a gas fire pit of 50,000 BTU (British Thermal Unit) will run for about 8-9 hours.

Can somebody get carbon monoxide poisoning from the propane heater?

Carbon Monoxide poisoning can severely affect a person in just a few minutes. When oil, coal, and natural gases burn, they produce carbon monoxide. It’s a very harmful gas and can be hazardous to one’s life.

Can somebody die from propane fumes?

The propane gas is not toxic. But if inhaled in high density, it will displace the oxygen from your lungs and make it harder to breathe. But it will not cause death


A propane tank top heater is an essential device in countries where the temperature goes down very low. It can be used for warming an area and also for drying something as well. You can use it for any kind of work that needs heating after you’ve learned how to use a propane tank top heater. Be sure to take the necessary precautions and then use your heater carefully. Always remember, safety first!

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