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nonexpert's avatar

Is it dangerous to sit in front of a gas heater?

Asked by nonexpert (563 points ) September 15th, 2012

I used to sit in front of a gas heater like this and literally lay and sit half a meter from it in Winter.

So for 3 months a year almost every day, I would sit in front and watch TV for many hours – for years. Now I’m starting to wonder if it’s had an impact on my health, specifically my brain.

I’m paranoid that breathing in the fumes has caused damage. (It uses natural gas.) Any helpful information is appreciated.

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15 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Read the manual if you still have it or get the .pdf for the brand on line.

Why didn’t you read the manual at the outset?

nonexpert's avatar

@gailcalled I was a teenager.

gailcalled's avatar

What did your parents suggest?

Get the instructions on line.

Bottled propane has a distinct odor to it in order to alert anyone if it is leaking. You can’t not notice it.

gailcalled's avatar

Just found this gas space heater safety fact sheet.

http://www.uos.harvard.edu/ehs/fire_safety/fire_spaceheaters.pdf

nonexpert's avatar

My parents didn’t suggest anything. I found the manual online and it doesn’t say anything about people sitting in front of the heater. The room was big with high ceilings and ventilation if it matters. But sitting and breathing directly in front of it can’t be healthy right?

gailcalled's avatar

It is certainly easy to err on the side of safety. Sit further away and face the vents away from you.

nonexpert's avatar

Yeah. I guess I’ll never know if it has affected me.

ucme's avatar

Especially after feasting upon a curry dinner.

flutherother's avatar

It will have had no effect on your brain. Heaters are designed to be sat in front of. If the heater was faulty and wasn’t burning properly it might release gases that could make you feel faint but you would have noticed. On the other hand watching TV for hours on end isn’t the best way to develop your mind..

rooeytoo's avatar

If you lived to tell the tale, I think you are safe. The greatest danger with gas heaters is oxygen deprivation but that kills you.

Bellatrix's avatar

Sitting in front of the heater shouldn’t do you any harm unless there are problems with the heater. You should have your heater checked regularly to make sure it is still in good working order. A faulty heater can give off fumes that can kill you. The document linked gives you advice on using a gas heater. So, find the manual, make a note of how old the heater is and how often the manual suggests having it serviced.

If your heater was faulty and you fell asleep in front of it, you might not wake up.

JLeslie's avatar

My only advice is make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm in the vicinity of where you use the heater. I also think it is good to have one near where you sleep. Otherwise I think you are fine.

Bellatrix's avatar

@JLeslie can you get stand alone/mobile carbon monoxide alarms? I’ve never seen one and it isn’t compulsory to have a carbon monoxide alarm in the home if you have gas heating in Australia (as far as I’m aware). I don’t think plumbed in gas heating is as common here as in the US. Still, a couple of children died of carbon monoxide poisoning not so long ago and I remembered wondering then if you can get a mobile alarm. I have never seen one (not that I’ve gone looking). I don’t have gas heating.

Not sure where @nonexpert is but if they are concerned and mobile alarms are available – it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to have one.

JLeslie's avatar

@Bellatrix Yes, they simply plug into a wall electrical socket, and have a backup battery. I have two in my house.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It is a minimal problem if the flame is tuned and is consuming all the gas.

It is a major problem if the flame/burning is incomplete.

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