Temporary Heat Units are an integral part of cold weather. They enable to work to go on schedule and they also provide for a very comfortable working environment. The following are some of the uses of temporary heat units or heaters:
(1) In construction, temporary heat units are used to maintain a comfortable working environment by regulating the temperature of the workplace or construction site. They are, especially, vital in constructions that are being done in extremely cold areas or during winter.
(2) Temporary heat is also used during flood damage cleanup because it hastens the process of drying floors and walls of a recently flooded home.
(3) Temporary heaters can also be used to warm a campsite and make campers comfortable during the cold nights.
(4) Temporary heat units are also important in water damage restoration activities such as drying of carpets and other upholstery that has been soaked in water.
(5) Temporary heat units can also be used to hasten the drying of wall finishings and may be used to control the growth of molds.
(6) Temporary heat units can be used to dry water-soaked documents.
(7) Portable temporary heat units can be used during a power failure to keep the home warm and the inhabitants comfortable.
(8) Temporary heaters may also be used to heat up water. An example of this occurred in the University of Iowa dorm, where the main boilers that normally heat many of the University of Iowa buildings were damaged due to a recent flooding. While they were being repaired, the main boilers were replaced by temporary heat units that were placed in the university’s water plants.
The above list is just a few of the many uses of temporary heat units. No matter what it is used for, a temporary heat unit is important because it helps to control the temperature of the immediate environment surrounding it. However, temporary heat units, when used improperly may cause harm to the people around them and may even lead to damages to properties due to fires, which might ignite from them. It is therefore important for temporary heat unit users to know what units would be right for their heating requirements, and for them to know how to properly use these temporary heat units.
Choosing the right temporary heat units
When choosing the right temporary heat units for any heating requirement, it is important to consider the following:
(1) The type of heating unit or device;
(2) The type of fuel that will power the temporary heat device;
(3) The amount of heat needed; and
(4) The safety precautions and health precautions associated with the temporary heat unit.
Type of heating unit
There are a lot of temporary heat units to choose from, which are available for use in homes , indoor and outdoor areas, and in construction sites. Temporary heater units come in two types, namely; the direct-fire type and the indirect-fire type. The direct-fire type involves igniting the wick with a flame to start the temporary heat unit while the indirect-fire type involves igniting the wick by indirect means.
Type of fuel
Another consideration to take when choosing the right temporary heating unit for the job is the type of fuel that will power it. A temporary heat unit can be powered by electricity or by other fuels. Using electricity to power a temporary heat unit may be more expensive in the long run than other types of fuels. While some fuels may be cheaper than others to use, it may be hazardous to the health of the people working around the temporary heat unit. Below is the list of fuels that can power the temporary heat device.
(1) Liquefied Petroleum Gas or propane
(2) Natural Gas
(3) Liquid Fuel which includes kerosene, diesel oils, coal oil and fuel oil
(4) Solid fuel (coke, coal, wood, etc)
Liquefied Petroleum Gas or propane is considered to be the most inexpensive fuel to use in a temporary heating job. Because of this, it is the most commonly used fuel for heaters. LPG or propane however, is contained in heavy tanks that must be carried around in areas that need heating.
On the other hand, solid fuels are also considered suitable and may be cheaper to use than propane. However, solid fuels are considered unstable and their combustion can produce high concentrations of carbon monoxide. Because of this, solid fuel powered temporary heaters become suitable for use only in outdoor heating jobs. Solid fuel powered temporary heat units are regulated and are not allowed to be used within 25 feet of any structural building.
Natural gas is more expensive than propane but is considered to be the fuel with the cleanest emission during combustion. This means that it produces little or no carbon monoxide during fuel combustion.
Liquid fuel is also an ideal fuel to use for temporary heat units. However, they require vaporizers or piping, unlike that of a propane powered heater. Vaporizers change the state of the liquid fuel into gas before it can be used by the heating device. Changing the state of the fuel involves the combustion of fuel. The disadvantage of this type of fuel is that additional fuel has to be burned or combusted to supply the temporary heat units.
The Required Amount of Heat
The British thermal unit or BTU is a unit of energy that is used in the heating and cooling industries. One BTU is the amount of heat energy that is needed to increase the temperature of one pound of pure liquid water by one degree Fahrenheit. BTU describes the amount of heat value or energy content of fuels and it can also be used to determine or rate the power of a cooling or heating device. Air conditioning units and temporary heat units are commonly rated using BTUs. A device with a high BTU means that it can effectively cool or heat a place.
In choosing the right temporary heat unit for any heating job, it is important to match the unit's BTU rating with the amount of BTU that is actually needed to temporarily heat a building. Using a temporary heat unit that does not have enough power to heat the work space is not a sound decision.
To know the amount of BTUs per hour that are needed to temporarily heat up a room or a building, this formula can be used:
Area to be heated (in cubic feet) x 0.133 x the desired increase in temperature = BTUs/hour
The 0.133 value is a constant for an average non-insulated building. For example, the BTU per hour of a building that has an area of 600 ft3 and that has to be heated from 65oF to 70oF will be computed as follows:
600 ft3 x 0.133 x (70oF – 50oF) = 1596 BTUs / hour
Reduce the amount of BTUs needed if the area is well-insulated and is considered to be weather-tight. On the other hand, increase the number of BTUs if the area has a great deal of heat loss coming from open windows and doors.
Safety Precautions and Tips for Using Temporary Heat Units
Once a temporary heating unit has been chosen, the next thing to consider is it's proper usage. Temporary heating units have their instructions commonly placed on the side of the unit or the instructions may come in a manual form. It is important to read these instructions and guidelines carefully since not all instructions are the same for all equipment. It is also important to follow the recommendations and the safety precautions that are found in the instruction manuals.
Aside from the instructions and guidelines set by the manufacturers of the temporary heating unit, here are other important tips:
(1) Do not use a fuel-powered temporary heat unit near flammable materials, debris piles and other combustible materials. Keep heating units at least 10 feet away from these items.
(2) Since heating units use up the oxygen surrounding the area to keep its flames burning, it is important to have a good fresh air supply. Leaving a window open is recommended.
(3) Always keep a working fire extinguisher handy and available within the vicinity of a temporary heat unit.
(4) Always make sure that the heating unit is monitored regularly. Do not leave a temporary heat unit unattended especially during non-working hours.
(5) Try to avoid using temporary heat units in confined spaces. Harmful gas emissions such as carbon monoxide may cause suffocation. If it is unavoidable, sufficient ventilation should be provided.
(6) If re-fueling is to be done, allow the temporary heat unit to cool down before adding the additional fuel.
(7) If the heater is not in use, always turn off the gas supply.
(8) Do not use low-grade LPG. Check whether the LPG tank or container is stable and has no leaks. Also, avoid storing extra LPG containers within the vicinity of the heater.
(9) Unless the temporary heat unit is an approved integrated unit, LPG containers must be placed more than six feet away from the heater.
Temporary heat units are vital tools in ensuring that work can still continue even during extreme cold conditions. However, the improper use of these heaters can cause more harm than good. It is therefore important to follow this checklist.