Can I use a gas heater inside?

Winter has arrived, and your work or home is getting a bit chilly. So, it’s time to think about heating. What about gas heaters – are they safe to use inside?

For health reasons, we recommend against using a gas heater in an enclosed space. This is because they deplete oxygen and, surprising as it may sound, people have actually died of oxygen starvation because of gas heating.

In an article published last year in Stuff, New Zealand health authorities warned against using gas heating indoors. They dubbed it the “poor persons heating.”

In the article, Medical Office of Health Dr Daniel William had this to say:

“They raise moisture levels which can affect health by increasing the growth of moulds and dust mites. Unflued gas heaters also release polluting gases directly into the room that can potentially harm your health.”

Gas heaters emit a couple of pollutants:

  • Nitrogen dioxide – if you have asthma, the effects of nitrogen dioxide can cause you to suffer more symptoms. The fact that it’s colourless and odourless, exacerbates the problem.
  • Carbon monoxide – it starves the body of oxygen and can affect your mental capacities. People with heart disease, young children and unborn babies are particularly at risk.

Other issues with gas heating

There are other considerations, too, like the odour, and not to mention, being a fire hazard. Recently, we were contacted by a restaurant that used patio gas heaters in an enclosed plastic curtain area. As a result, they couldn’t get insurance unless they removed them. We replaced them with electric radiant heaters.

Electric radiant heating

For indoor heating, we recommend electric radiant heaters. They don’t have the health risks associated with gas heaters, and there are also other benefits:

  • More economic – they cost three to four times less to run than gas heaters
  • More efficient – they are more directional and only heat the area required, which also contributes to the cheaper running cost.

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