On construction sites, temporary heaters are used for heating tasks like ground thawing, concrete curing, or general drying purposes. They’re handy to have — especially through the winter — but can quickly turn into hazards: improperly installed temporary heaters can lead to major fire losses on construction projects. Temporary heater safety should be a top concern among construction and contracting risks.
The most common reason for fires resulting from temporary heating? A lack of proper clearance when the unit is installed. The “salamander” or “radiant” types of temporary heaters are direct-fired devices, typically fueled by propane, diesel, or natural gas. These un-vented and self-contained heaters are the ones you’ll find most often on work sites, but since they give off such intense heat, they typically require eight feet of clearance.
Helpful Guidelines for Temporary Heaters
Proper clearance is a good first step, but it’s not the only point to consider when using a temporary heater. Here are some other things to keep in mind:
You can also consider other types of temporary and portable heaters that may be safer to operate, like indirect-fired heaters, which are located outside the building. They require electricity to run and may not be as efficient as your salamander heaters, but they can be a good choice if you’re particularly concerned about ventilation and fire safety.
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