Thousands of anglers head out to frozen lakes during the winter fishing season. As enjoyable as the sport is, not all of them make it back home. This is because they succumb to the dangers of ice shack propane gas heaters. It is crucial to ensure safety when using a propane heater inside an ice fishing shelter.
A propane heater comes in either one of two forms i.e. attachment or freestanding. The latter is all-encompassing and includes a body, base, and attachment. An attachment heater is basically a handy attachment that attaches to a standard LP tank. Both types are portable, and popular choices for home, industrial and outdoor use. Propane itself is a byproduct of petroleum refining and natural gas processing. The type used in ice shack heaters is known as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), a hybrid of propane and butane.
Using a heater that is not designed for indoor use in enclosed shacks can place the angler at a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Most propane heaters are not designed for indoor use. Like most fossil fuels, propane gas results in carbon monoxide when heated. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas that reduces the blood’s ability to transport oxygen. Consequentially, low oxygen levels in the blood can lead to unconsciousness and death.
There are many ice shack heaters approved for indoor use and can be used without fear of risking carbon monoxide poisoning.
However, you have to ensure that instructions laid out by the manufacturer are adhered to. Additionally, it is important to ensure that your shelter has proper ventilation. Low combustion catalytic heaters burn oxygen at a very slow rate, producing negligible amounts of carbon monoxide. Models with an oxygen depletion system shut off automatically if they detect low levels of oxygen in the room. Heaters labeled for outdoor use only must never be used in enclosed areas like houses, vehicles, ice shanties, and tents. They can put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if the manufacturer’s instructions aren’t followed to the letter.
Many anglers make a mistake of using heaters while they sleep. It is also important to know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning i.e. dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, headache, and sleepiness. Anyone who experiences the above symptoms should extinguish possible sources of carbon monoxide (CO), improve ventilation and move to an area with fresh air. It is often mistaken for flu and sometimes detected too late.
Another danger associated with propane heaters is accidental fires. This is because the surface of the heaters is extremely hot and if placed near combustible items, can start a fire. The heater needs to be located away from traffic areas. You should also be safety cautious when it comes to outside temperatures and ice thickness.
Propane heaters come in different sizes. Figuring out the appropriate size for your ice shack can go a long way towards improving safety. Compact heaters produce an average of 5000 BTUs per hour and attach to a 1-pound LP tank. They are popular among anglers and backpackers. Larger heaters with a production of 10,000 to 45,000 BTUs per hour are more suitable for commercial use. Regardless of size, every propane heater produces carbon monoxide as a by-product. The most crucial thing is to ensure that the heater matches the size of your ice shelter.