What happens if you use an outdoor propane heater indoors?

There is a warning not to do so on the tank, but I mean, how bad really is carbon monoxide poisoning? Does it wear off? How would you know if you were poisoned?

Looking for factual data.

I actually googled this and basically all I can find is just don’t, and if you have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning there are no holistic suggestions and an insistence on seeking professional medical help.

Won’t it wear off? How much is too much? How would you know? How can you hasten the healing process without a doctor?

I can’t imagine that you’re serious, but in case you are, CO poisoning is deadly. And it’s an odorless gas. Basically you go to sleep and never wake up. It is possible to recover, if someone finds you before you die, but I wouldn’t count on that.

I would suggest checking out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning#Signs_and_symptoms

One of the symptoms is listed as:

Unconsciousness after 2–3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.

It’s not something you want to mess around with, however lighting it for a short time in house, with windows open for added ventilation may not necessarily result in the above.

This. And thanks for the links.

And to the other poster. Yes, I’m seriously trying to figure out how much carbon monoxide is acceptable.

The problem with carbon monoxide is that it binds with the red blood cells even more readily and with a stronger bond than pure oxygen molecules. The red blood cells are what carry the oxygen you need to live. If they’re all full up with carbon monoxide (and not letting it go) you basically suffocate.

After a non-lethal dose of CO poisoning, the red blood cells bound to CO molecules will eventually “die” and be replaced with new ones, but I think that takes several weeks. Professional medical attention is indicated (not sure what they would do exactly, but I’m sure there is some sort of treatment).

Of course, opening the windows for ventilation and operating it for a short time would defeat the purpose of using it indoors. However, the short answer is DON’T DO IT!


In days gone by, CO was used actually used as a heating gas. Many people died from inhaling it. Read “The Poisoner’s Handbook” if interested in knowing more.

That link was very helpful. Among all the other data was this:

As part of the Holocaust during World War II, German Nazis used gas vans to kill an estimated 700,000 prisoners by carbon monoxide poisoning. This method was also used in the gas chambers of several death camps.

Which makes me feel somewhat Jewish.

So using the propane outdoor heater is a bad idea. I found the dizziness, headaches and difficulty breathing. It’s going to be either a very cold or very expensive winter. I was trying to circumvent either of those two things.

If you’re short of cash, your state may have a program to assist people with heating expenses. Also, what about a kerosene heater?

From wikipedia:

Yes, that is basically what everyone keeps saying. Don’t do it. I’m fairly stubborn and I tried it so it’s a bit late for that. :expressionless:

I have central heat but I was trying to avoid large gas bills.

What? After everything you read saying, DON’T DO THIS. IT CAN KILL YOU, you did it anyway?


Actually, yes.

I don’t really feel very well. :o

Sure, but the gas bills are cheap compared to the funeral expenses.

I was planning on being cremated anyway. If I do die of carbon monoxide poisoning, I suppose someone could leave the tank turned on and unlit and just throw in a match and I could do that for cheap too.

I think you ought to go see a doctor.

I might.

I had no idea the effects from my experiment would linger. If I can’t find any holistic approaches, I’ll probably go see what the medical community has to say.

Apparently Ron White is right. You can’t fix stupid. There isn’t a pill you can take.

In all seriousness, it is possible to heat the home with propane, if you get a properly designed propane heater meant for indoor use with the appropriate vent installed by a professional. But I don’t know if propane is actually cheaper than natural gas and you already have a natural gas system installed in your house. I’d recommend checking that you’ve insulated and weatherstripped the home as best you can. When I was a kid, my parents used a portable kerosene heater for supplemental heat, but again, this was a device designed for indoor use. Currently, my brother uses a wood-burning fireplace insert for supplemental heat in his home, but again, there is a proper chimney (and he had a source of free wood).

Since the factual aspects of the OP have been answered, I’m closing this.

General Questions Moderator