Getting the job done outdoors can be a refreshing break from working all day indoors. But as the winter months come, the task can get downright inconvenient. With how uncomfortable the temperature gets, the cold season poses a huge problem in meeting the project deadline and even to your overall health.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to the difficult job of working out in the cold: a salamander heater.
If you’re in the market for a portable outdoor heater to bring on-site, it helps to know everything there is to know about this type of heater. So read on and find out how a salamander heater works and how to choose the best one for the job.
- I. What Is a Salamander Heater?
- II. How a Salamander Heater Works
- III. Types of Salamander Heaters
- IV. Uses of a Salamander Heater
- V. What to Look for When Buying a Salamander Heater
- VI. Salamander Heater: Pros and Cons
- VII. Safety Considerations
- VIII. Where to Buy a Salamander Heater
What Is a Salamander Heater?
What is a salamander heater anyway? And why is it called “salamander”?
Also known as “salamanders,” “salamander furnaces,” or “torpedo furnaces,” a salamander heater is often used on construction sites and in warehouses, workshops, and other well-ventilated areas. It’s a portable convection space heater or forced air space heater that runs on electricity and makes use of kerosene or propane.
Its interesting name comes from a similarly interesting origin: salamanders in folklore were often depicted to have an affinity with fire. According to legends, these mythical beasts could control and live in fire as they often came out of logs when tossed into a fire.
As a result, traditional Spanish and Portuguese wood-burning stoves are referred to as a “salamandra.” And needless to say, the name stuck.
By the early 1940s, W.L. Scheu developed a high-performance space heater, or the modern salamander heater, for farmers working in inclement weather. From then on, salamander heater models were further developed and now come in a variety of designs.
How a Salamander Heater Works
To produce heat, salamander heaters use a fan to push the cold air through a heating element, such as an electric coil or a flame. Through this process, these heaters produce widespread convection heating instantly.
If you’re using a kerosene or forced air propane heater, you have to fill the tank first. Once you turn it on, the heating element will ignite, and the fan will be activated. Next, set the thermostat to your preferred temperature, and enjoy instant, powerful heat.
The same goes with electric salamander heaters, save for the fact that this type of salamander heater doesn’t have a fuel tank to fill.
Some salamander heaters models allow you to manually control the fan speed or heat source, while others already come with automated thermostats. But one thing’s for sure: salamander heaters shoot hot air out, providing quick heat and thus earning its other name “torpedo furnace.”
Types of Salamander Heaters
We’ve mentioned that salamander heaters come in different types: propane, kerosene, and electric. But how do they differ exactly? And which kind of salamander heater works best for a certain job site?
Electric Salamander Heaters
What’s great about electric salamander heaters is that most of them use electric coils instead of an open flame to generate heat. Because these salamanders mainly run on electricity, they don’t release toxic fumes or smells when in use, unlike propane or kerosene heaters. Plus, they’re easier to set up—just plug them in and have powerful heat in an instant.
With an electric salamander heater, you don’t need to do the tedious task of filling the fuel tank as it normally doesn’t have one.
The downside of using electric salamander heaters is that they’re more costly to operate because of their energy consumption. So it’s best to get an electric salamander heater that’s highly energy-efficient.
Forced Air Propane Heaters
While forced air propane heaters burn propane and emit harmful fumes, high-quality models are virtually odorless. But no matter which forced air propane heater you choose, it’s best to use it out in the open to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Forced Air Kerosene Heaters
Like forced air propane heaters, kerosene torpedo heaters produce heat using an open flame. But what makes this salamander heater one of the most popular choices of outdoor temporary heating is that its heat covers a relatively wider area. It’s important to note that it may still produce toxic fumes, and it should be used in well-ventilated spaces.
Uses of a Salamander Heater
Salamander heaters offer an effective temporary heating solution, especially in wide, open areas. More specifically, salamander heaters are often used in:
- Construction sites - Employers should provide employees with comfortable working conditions, and that entails comfortable temperatures on the job site. With a salamander heater, it’s easy to generate heat throughout outdoor construction sites.
- Outdoor events - Salamander heaters work well in outdoor tents and events, especially when the weather gets extremely cold.
- Warehouses - Those working in well-ventilated areas like warehouses and workshops can benefit from having a salamander heater in place.
- Garages - If a garage has proper ventilation, an electric salamander heater is the perfect heating solution.
- Office spaces - Not all office buildings have central heating. This is where an electric salamander heater comes in handy. But keep in mind that an indoor area should have adequate ventilation before you choose to use a salamander heater.
- Drying applications - Using a salamander heater can help minimize water damage from floods or inclement weather.
- Thermal heat treatment for pest control - A lesser-known use of salamander heaters is that they can help eradicate pests or insects. Thermal area treatment heaters produce heat that dehydrates larvae and prevents the eggs from hatching.
What to Look for When Buying a Salamander Heater
Before you go ahead and buy a salamander heater, consider these things first:
The first thing you need to look for when buying a salamander heater is its heat output. Salamander heaters produce at least 30,000 BTUs, just the right amount to heat a large workshop. But for construction sites or other wide outdoor areas, a salamander heater producing over 100,000 BTUs is enough to provide sufficient heat.
Salamander heaters can produce heat ranging from 40 to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit—just enough to create a comfortable working space. Depending on the size of the area, they can raise the temperature by 20 degrees Fahrenheit up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heating Coverage Area
Another thing to consider is the location you need to heat. Typically, salamander heaters produce heat that can cover 500 to over 3,000 square feet. And if you’re unsure whether a salamander heater can produce sufficient heat, the general rule of thumb is: the higher its BTUs are, the wider the heating coverage area is.
Moving from one job site to another can be pretty inconvenient when you’re carrying a heavy piece of heating equipment. While some salamander heaters are designed to be wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted, most salamander heaters come with wheels, so they’re easy to bring wherever the job takes you.
These mobile heaters feature ergonomic handles, allowing you to easily push them toward any place. They also feature power cords, so you can plug them in any compatible electrical outlet on the job site.
Because there are several safety hazards when using a salamander heater, the most important thing you need to look for when buying one is its safety features.
One of the safety features a salamander heater should have is an automatic safety shut-off, which automatically turns off the heater if it loses flame or power. Another handy safety feature is a high-limit thermal cutout switch, which shuts down a heater once it reaches a certain temperature limit.
Lastly, a salamander heater should have safety screens covering both its air intake and output openings. Because salamander heaters generate powerful heat, these safety screens protect users from coming in contact with their hazardous heating elements.
In low-visibility work areas, a salamander heater should come with an enclosure painted with highly visible color. That way, employees can avoid coming too close to the heater and getting burns. TPI electric salamanders come in safety yellow, making them a great heating solution for cold, low-lit job sites.
Salamander Heater: Pros and Cons
As with all heaters, salamander heaters have their own pros and cons.
- Outdoor heating solution - We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: salamander heaters work great in wide outdoor areas. Because they generate powerful heat, they can cover a large space. This comes in pretty handy when you have to work outdoors, like construction sites and outdoor workshops, during the freezing months. No other heater type can perform just as well as a salamander heater!
- Quick and efficient heating - No more waiting around for the area to warm up. Once you turn on a salamander heater, you can enjoy warm air in an instant. Since it uses a fan, it blows out heated air throughout the area, raising the ambient temperature relatively quickly.
- Easily transportable - Because most salamander heaters are designed to be mobile, they make it extremely convenient to bring wherever you need the heat. Just wheel it off, and you can enjoy a warm workplace wherever, whenever.
- Easy setup and operation- This rings especially true with electric salamanders. As long as you have a dependable power source, you can just plug the salamander heater in and let it raise the ambient temperature for you. With this heater, you can have a comfortably warm space and save time as well.
- Easy maintenance - Salamander heaters feature uncomplicated heating elements. Compared to other types of heaters, they are less prone to breaking down or malfunctioning.
- Various sizes and models to choose from - Need a stationary heater for the warehouse? Or a small mobile heater to bring anywhere? Salamander heaters come in a wide range of sizes and designs, so you can easily pick the right one for the task.
- Inoperable during power outages - Salamander heaters require electricity to run. So during emergency situations when the power is out, you cannot use it to heat up a space—unless, of course, you have a backup power generator.
- Proper ventilation is required - If you have a propane, diesel, or kerosene salamander heater, you need to be in a well-ventilated space to operate it. If you do run it in a poorly ventilated area, the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning are significantly high. And while you don’t need to worry about that with an electric salamander heater, you still need to run it in a wide open space. Since salamander heaters are built for quick, widespread heating, the heat they produce can get too uncomfortable too fast.
- Fire and burn hazard - Like all other heaters, you have to keep flammable materials away from salamander heaters. But with portable yet powerful salamanders, children and pets should also be kept away since these heaters are usually placed on the floor.
Speaking of hazards, we’ve rounded up some helpful tips for using salamander heaters with the utmost safety:
- Follow your manufacturer’s instructions. This is generally the safest way to use salamanders and all other heaters for that matter. Salamander heaters normally come with manuals, which serve as helpful guides not only for troubleshooting but also for the safety precautions you need to follow.
- Keep any flammable materials at least 3 feet away from the heater. Some examples of these flammable objects are tarps, plastic coverings, fabric, wood, and canvas.
- Keep a sufficient clearance around the heater. Because salamander heaters are very powerful, you might get injured or burned when you come in contact with one. This also applies to children and pets—always keep them away from the heater.
- Check if the heater is functioning properly. Once you turn it on, observe if it’s running normally. If it isn’t, shut it down or activate its thermal cutoff switch immediately.
- Inspect the heater regularly. Or check your propane or kerosene heater for leaks. It doesn’t take too much time, and you can prevent accidents in doing so.
- Don’t forget adequate ventilation. You wouldn’t want the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or oxygen deficiency, now would you? And even if you have an electric heater that doesn’t produce harmful emissions, the heat it produces is so powerful that you would want to open the windows, get some fresh air, or take the heater outside.
Where to Buy a Salamander Heater
Now, if you’ve decided to buy a salamander heater, you’ve come to the right place. Yes, a lot of brands do make salamander heaters, but Engineer Warehouse offers only the best ones.
In our wide collection of heaters, you can easily find top-notch TPI electric salamander heaters, portable forced air heaters, and more. These salamander heaters can produce over 100,000 BTUs of heat, which covers up to 2,000 square feet of area per minute. Plus, they take only less than 30 minutes to raise the temperature by 20 degrees Fahrenheit and about 94 minutes to increase the ambient temperature by up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.Best of all, they come in various models: wall- or ceiling-mounted salamander heaters, portable electric salamander heaters, and thermal area treatment salamander heaters. Browse our expansive range of electric salamander heaters and order now!