Sunday, November 9, 2014

Equipment/Product Review: Mr Heater - Forced Air LP 75,000-125,000 BTU

I originally set out to purchase one of the new truly portable Mr Heater forced air heaters.  One that has a rechargeable battery to power the ignitor and the fan.    

I first eyed the Mr Heater Hero 35,000 BTU.  My need was for around the house and while camping.  Often we tent about 300 square feet for use as a group meeting area when it is cold or raining. 

A model (F227900) has a rechargeable battery that supposedly runs for up to 8 hours per charge.  It also states it runs 50% quieter than a standard heater.

I didn't think 35,000 BTU's would be adequate for all my uses.  With further research I found they have come out with a 60,000 BTU battery powered version  (F227964)

My problem was, while there were some 35,000 BTU units available locally, none of the 60,000 versions were available.  I had need of one, but didn't have time to order one on line using normal shipping charges.

I ended up settling on a LP version that did not have battery power.  This model requires household type 110 Volts AC.  This one has an adjustable output of 75,000 to 125,000 BTU's.  I figured for the odd times I had no 110 Volt household AC available, I had an alternative working solution.  For other situations requiring portable AC, I often use a Schumacher XP2260 portable jump start unit.  This unit contains a battery and its own 110V inverter.  See our additional blog article about solar and more details on the XP2260 .  I was happy during testing, it powered the heater I purchased.    

The Mr Heater that I put to the test was a model (MH125QFAV).  The heaters box advertises that it is 50% quieter too.

I found the heat produced would be more that adequate.  In fact we tested it on the patio in a large open space.  There was good heat 6 to 12 feet away.  We were setting up for a yard sale and moving in and out of the area of heat.  It was welcomed warmth. 

I have used the kerosene type torpedo heaters, the ones some describe as a jet engine.  These LP versions are the same concept.  I was kind of disappointed with the model I purchased since it was saying it was 50% quieter.  It is rather noisy too.  Also the electronic ignition continuously arcs the entire run time....that is a rather irritating noise too.  But I must say it is quieter than the kerosene version I have used in the past.

CONS: A few details somewhat lower my opinion.  The noise level is much higher than I expected.  The AC cord with the male plug is extremely short.  You have to plug and unplug to apply power or to shut down.  An extension cord is necessary for all applications.  The LP hose has a nut shaped connector on it, the connection to the heater, that requires a wrench to tighten it...though no wrench is supplied. (Take note from Camp Chef and their LP Outdoor stoves that comes with a wrench attached to its hose).  Further the hose connection on the LP Tank end is brass and nut shaped. That connection also requires a plastic hand "Acme" knob on that end of the hose, to allow tightening and un-tightening by hand.  The plastic carrying handle, sticks up several inches from the heater.  The handle makes it impossible to store the unit in most tote boxes I use, unless I remove the handle.  A simple metal collapsible handle that lays flat would have been a great feature.  I may make a modification to my heater to prevent removing and reattaching the handle when removing from storage, or placing back in storage.  The continuous electronic zapping noise of the ignitor is irritating.  This heater can empty a normal BBQ size LP tank (5gal) fairly quick.  But that is to be expected, I would assume, when trying to output 125,000 BTU's.

Heater LP Hose connecter requires a wrench

LP Hose connecter at the tank requires a wrench

PROS: The heat produced is great.  The fan moves the heat well.  The outside of the outer housing is cool enough to touch without being burned.  I was happy my external portable power source operates the unit and allows me to operate without household/commercial power.  This unit is light weight and there are no liquid fuel spill issues to worry about.  The LP hose is nice and long.  Long enough for any application I can think of.

We intend to operate the heater for a long length of time when powered by the portable power inverter.  We want to test run time, and what happens at the point the reserve DC battery charge level drops to the point the inverter can no longer provide 110V AC.  Check back on the article from time to time if this is of interest to you.

We do make a disclaimer that you need to check with the manufacturer to satisfy for yourself.  Is there any potential danger of running a heater off an inverter in such a configuration?  There may be, so do not proceed until you satisfy that question for your own safety and others around you. 
Never operate a direct flame heater such as this in an enclosed space.  Make sure there is ample ventilation to avoid depleting the oxygen, or to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  Lack of ventilation can quickly lead to death. 

In this video sequence below, the Heater power plug is connected to an extension cord.  The extension cord is in turn plugged into a self contained Battery/Inverter package.  The inverter is turned on to produce 110V AC which powers up the heater blower and ignitor.  The Gas valve button is depressed on the heater to start fuel flow.  The LP ignites and the valve is held depressed for a few seconds to allow the thermocouple time to heat up.  The gas button is released and the heater continues to produce heat.

I am disappointed I was unable to put one of the newer battery powered Mr Heaters to the test.


1 comment:

  1. I first eyed the Mr Heater Hero 35,000 BTU. My need was for around the house and while camping. Often we tent about 300 square feet for use ...