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Hot Rods Beware!! Propane shop heaters are devastating! Pics of the carnage.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by curbspeed, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,444


    We are talking about fire in the garage. Also have Hagerty's "Vehicle Under Construction Endorsement", you can change the total value covered as you progress. No Homeowners ins. will cover an auto.
  2. BIG-JIM
    Joined: Jun 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,369

    from CT

    Yeah but how much sunscreen does he go through?:rolleyes:
  3. 1/2done
    Joined: Oct 29, 2006
    Posts: 616

    from Ohio

    I have one of these in my garage.


    24x32 attached garage stays 70deg all winter. I leave the door to the house open most of the time to take advantage of it since I heat the house with a pellet stove.
  4. I use the same heater, got mine from MSC years ago. Crank it up, go into the house for a bit, come out and things are toasty and safe. Shut it off when I'm done.

    I also only use a flourescent-tube type of trouble light, been using the same Dayton one for almost 30 years.

  5. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,445

    from oregon

    I use a pellet stove, combustion air from outside.That should be safe,i have painted in there and it was ok.
  6. hotrodgypsy
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 282

    from reading,pa

    wow guys this scares the crap outa me..i just started useing a tank mounted double heater set up on a 20lb propane tank..the setup is new..i do have oler style drop lights..i was leaving the back garage door open and sometimes the front double door was just cracked open...
  7. I believe this is the kinda setup that caused the fire. Also the hotwater tank in the shop area that used natural gas caused problems as well. I really don't have all the details just wanted to post this up as a general warning about being careful. Fire scares me. It's got a mind of it's own. I use one of those Hot One electric 220 heaters as well. Works perfect to take the chill off. Getting rid of the lightbulb type trouble lights is a good idea too. If any of you guys in Bakersfield want to help out you can get ahold of Squeak.
  8. Blacktop Graffiti
    Joined: May 2, 2002
    Posts: 964

    Blacktop Graffiti

    It's a standard house furnace. I know the exhaust is going outside.
  9. redroaddog
    Joined: Apr 1, 2011
    Posts: 328


    holy shit sunfighter brings back bad memories for me 42 years ago i was 18 working in a body shop was priming a carb with a oil can with maybe half inch of gas in it ...poured some in and was standing in front of it atleast 5 feet from carb it backfired lite fumes to can i droped it hit front bumper and covered me with fire good for six weeks in hospital. was a lesson on how far fumes will lite up away from flame or spark:(
  10. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,023


    started off heating my shops with wood, got tired of cuttin wood or stokin up the fire went to torpedo kerosene heaters. with the price of kerosene the last few yrs, running 2 175.000 btu heaters i couldnt afford to stay warm. friend gave be a hired hand propane heater that we got hangin off the ceiling.does have a pilot light when we have it on but we try to be careful with what we are workin with.gas, oil anything that can will go bang.we even vent the heat into the paint booth. so far good.but any type of heat ahs to be affordable to run or it aint gonna do us any good.what we got now we can turn it on and in 15 mins,you are comin out of your coat and into shirt sleeves. not to bad for a 48 x 60 un-insulated shop.but heatin a shop is dangerous no matter what you use.well almost with everything you use.i hate to see this kind of thing happen to anyone.the loss of your belongings in tramatic but if a life is lost oh man dont even like to think about that becareful, i dont want to read about one of us losing anything or worse losing or lives trying to stay warm.
  11. Funny you mention the old gas in a can. Trying to start my old Imperial one time, I had the wife pouring gas in the carb and it backfired and set her hair ablaze. She started running (worse thing to do), luckily, I caught her and beat the fire out with my trusty red rag in my back pocket. Only time I ever hit the wife, but she forgave me.:)

    As for tough guy award... I can think of lots of other awards I'd like to win. Know what I mean?:)
  12. Damn hate to see fire humans or stuff. I have a bit of a fetish for antique light fixtures. Just picked up a nice old drop light. I've been using it a lot! I guess it's gonna hang up over a work bench now. No more painting in my shop either. I'm done, and don't miss it!
  13. Tinbender ... dang I cant look at your profile pic anymore without grinning!

    I had a radiant propane heater mounted up about 9 feet on a handtruck and the 20 gallon tank on the handtruck gave it ballast ... worked real well but had to be careful where I parked it .... it scorched a few wooden rafters and stored stuff.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  14. Holy Shit! Good the hear Bud is okay. Any damage to the house? I spent a lot of time in that garage with Bud when I lived in Bakersfeild. He is a real cool dude.
  15. lakeroadster
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 604

    from *

    While I have no doubt you experienced what you have written, this just seems to be very, very bad advice.
  16. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,576

    dirty old man

    I wouldn't do it either, but the point was/is that if the ignition source is already there before the fumes, the fumes burn, rather than explode in his view. Sure that if these fumes had come from a gallon or so of thinned out lacquer spilled on the floor, one helluva fire would have resulted.
    But a quick spurt from a spray gun with no more fuel behind it? just flared and went back to burning the natural gas.
    I often wonder how many cars or parts of cars he painted in that makeshift basement "spray booth", as he operated that paint and body shop there for many, many years. The old building is still there and in use, that had the spray room. The ramshackle old building across the drive where he did his bodywork is long gone.
    In fact, I was the last tenant in that building and I moved out somewhere along about '74 and then the owner tore it down.
  17. Lil32
    Joined: Apr 4, 2012
    Posts: 1,364


    Sad News, good luck with insurance. I'm lucky here, weather wise in winter I need a cooling fan when working in shed.
  18. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    I put my tubing under the concrete in a 6 inch layer of sand. I had worked at a Ford dealer that built a new shop in the 60s and put hot water pipes in the concrete floor. The concrete cracked and the pipes eventually broke causing the floor to sink in several places. All concrete will crack and I figured the plastic pipe wouldn't hold it together. The sand layer also provides more thermal mass to hold the heat.

    One local dealer built a new shop with floor heat and guess what they hit when they drilled holes to bolt down the hoists?
  19. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,200

    from pgh. pa.

    People don't realize how volatile gasoline can be. Talked to a man who worked in a garage, got his arm and side burned starting an old car buy pouring gas down the carb while some one else was cranking it. He said he did that 1000 times before without a problem. The engine back fired and set the can on fire.

  20. redroaddog
    Joined: Apr 1, 2011
    Posts: 328


    the problem with the open flame theory it only works if the fumes don't gather... look at the way smoke gathers ....say you weld under your car and the smoke will linger in a cloud if it was flameable and reached a open flame you would have a flash and maybe a fire. i know a guy that painted his car in a two car garage with a wood stove had a flash fire saved everything minor damage but real scarey:(
  21. BIG-JIM
    Joined: Jun 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,369

    from CT

    The floors are 6" thick with only 2 small hairline cracks in the corners at the rear of the garage. No drilling into this floor and the lift if I'm ever able to fit one will be a 4 poster that I will be rolling around. The tubing is at the bottom of the concrete so I'm hoping for no problems.
  22. xxzzy999
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 143


    I use this LP/propane ProCom brand heater from Northern Tool. It's 99.9% efficent, so no need to vent to the outside. It works great.

    It has a pilot light and can be run off of LP or a 100LB+ propane tank. I just plumbed it into the LP gas line going to my water heater. It's also out of the way since it's mounted on the wall and is relatively thin.

    I've never had to turn it up past the medium setting, and almost always use it on the low setting.

    It's rated at 30,000 BTU and has very good reviews from other users. I probably could have gone with their 20,000 BTU version in my un-insulated 2-car garage with somewhat mild Texas winters.

    Attached Files:

  23. Shane Spencer
    Joined: Oct 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,157

    Shane Spencer

    Depending on a shop size and temp outside most of the torpedo heaters pushing over 100k btu should heat your shop up enough that you can turn em off while you work, once its chilly again just stop and let er warm back up. No live flame

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
  24. 57Custom300
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,294

    from Arizona

    Back in the late 90's at a Ford dealer in Detroit a guy was replacing a fuel pump in a 90's Tbird w/a full tank of gas. When he knocked the lock ring loose all that gas went on one of those "trouble lights". Car was destroyed & it burned a hole in the roof of the shop. No one was hurt but it could have been worse. Dealer owner wasnt very happy.
  25. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,680

    Larry T

  26. bonechop
    Joined: Apr 19, 2009
    Posts: 29

    from NW Indiana

    I lost my shop a few years ago from half ass wiring from the previous owner. That burnt caramel smell still brings shivers down my spine!!
  27. Grumpy
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,565

    from NE Ohio

    Damn. Sorry for his loss. Glad nobody was injured.

    That said, in my old house, I used a natural gas wall mounted 99.9 effiecient heater.
    It was insulted and attached to house.
    Never gave it much thought.

    Now, my current garage is a crappy 20x20 and I used a torpedo heater last year. But with Asthma, the fumes bothered me.

    So I bought a trashcan style propane heater. Sounds like a jet engine when on high but throws mad heat.

    Should I have it on a cart, off floor?

    Keep in mind, to say my garage is drafty is a understatement. No insulation, doors are sloppy and plenty of air gets through.
    The torpedo has since been sold.

    My 16yr old spends a lot of time out there doing stereo stuff etc.
    Just want to be safe as I can be, with what we have to work with.

    Attached Files:

  28. redlinetoys
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,302

    from Midwest

    Scary stuff. Glad no one was hurt.

    Had a scare myself the other day due to a comedy of errors. Had just finished putting a new center section in the 9" rear. Full pan of old axle grease sitting nearby.

    Then for the next project I was using one of those 300/500 watt halogen stand lights for doing some touch up paint along the rocker panels. You know the ones... They get REALLY hot and never seem to really stay pointing the way you want. Mine is always wanting to naturally fall over backwards.

    While spraying paint and building fumes in the old concrete bunker style shop, I knocked over the halogen INTO the pan of axle grease. Very lucky. NO fire. But lots of jumping around and cursing.

    I am a fanatic about fire safety in particular, but trying to rush around the shop still nearly cost me. Be careful out there guys.
  29. Randy in Oklahoma
    Joined: Sep 18, 2008
    Posts: 301

    Randy in Oklahoma
    from Oklahoma

    I always store my heater and bottles outside when not in use.
  30. Moonequipt13
    Joined: Jul 9, 2012
    Posts: 196


    If you have a heater like this that you swap tanks on keep a spray bottle of soapy water hanging on the tank. When it's time to swap tanks, a quick spritz and any leaks will be readily apparent

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