Propane Burning Space Heater

This project was built as an alternative to hiring a chimney sweep.  Burning wood in my fireplace would inevitably fill my living room with smoke after an hour so.  I decided that propane would be a cleaner burning alternative to wood.

Bill of Materials
Burner
(1/2in Dia Black Steel Pipe)
Flameback Arrestor
Misc
 
3 – Elbows
3/8 Male Ball Valve
Stainless Steel Clamps
 
3 – Caps
2 – 3/8 Brass Adapters
1/4in OD Copper Line
 
5 – 1/2in Nipples
Rubber O-Ring
Megaloc Thread Sealant
 
1 – 16in Nipple
Silver Pipe Screen
 

The burner itself was assembled by putting together the steel fittings as pictured with Megaloc pressed into all of the threads.  I cut burning ports into the sides of the 16in nipple using an angle grinder.  I cut breather slits as well in to the caps on the ends of the legs because apparently that’s something you’re supposed to do with propane burners.

The copper line feeds the propane from the regulator line in to the burner.  A hole is drilled in to the butt side of the burner.  This hole matches the size of the outer diameter of the copper line and is stuffed ¾ of the way into the burner.  This seems to give the ideal evenness of burn.

The other end of the copper line is stuffed into the rubber hose coming from the valve and is secured with steel clamps.  I pulled this regulator assembly off of my camper, so use your own resourcefulness to find your own or put one together and adjust the size of the copper line accordingly.

Even without a flameback arrestor it is absolutely critical to add a valve and not use the valve on the propane tank alone to control gas flow.  Without an in-line valve after the propane tank the flame will gradually decrease as the tank pressure lowers and the flame will extinguish before the tank runs out.  Then the remaining propane will pour out into the surrounding area.

The purpose of the flameback arrestor is to prevent the flame from backing up into the tank and causing the spontaneous combustion (explosion?) of the entire tank.  Whether or not this particular design is actually effective in achieving that purpose I do not know, but I have run through several propane tanks with this burner and had no resulting explosions.

I simply put a silver pipe screen inside the ball valve and secured it into position using an appropriately sized o-ring whose diameter I do not recall.  Then I torqued down the male ends of the barbed fittings into the valve, using Megaloc on the threads. Install this in-line with the rubber hose coming from your regulator, using the steel clamps to secure the hose on the barbs for apparent safety.

I placed the propane tank on the opposite side of the wall from the burner for that extra touch of possible safety.  Then I neatly bent the copper line to trace its way along the walls’ mouldings and in to the burner.  The resulting flame is actually pretty effective at heating a space and burns squeaky clean.