Maintaining Your Indirect Oil Fired Marquee Heater
  Posted by: Chief Editor, Selmore - Marquee Hire, on July 26, 2017 3:01 pm Leave your thoughts
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maintain indirect oil fired portable marquee heater

Maintaining your indirect oil fired marquee heater is a very real issue for health and safety

Being a marquee hire contractor, although means you specialise in event tents, in practice is actually calls for a very broad set of general trade skills.

Due to the associated array of marquee related event equipment which a hire contractor must typically carry as stock, an all-round knowledge of machine maintenance is expected to keep everything in operational order.

Marquee heaters are one such piece of technical equipment which need close attention, for many reasons, but to name a few:

  • They lay unused/'dormant' for most of the year (sometimes year on year)
    • plenty of unsupervised time to fall out of working order
  • If a fired heater, combustion produces by-products
    • by products can greatly hamper performance
  • Pose a distinct fire risk due to marquee and upholstery fabrics
    • fuel and ignition is a fire risk anywhere, especially in a marquee

...and many more.

In the case of oil fired indirect heaters, which are touted among the most effective for heating your marquee space rapidly and safely, there are specific maintenance points which are worth priorotising for safety's sake.

How does an indirect oil fired heater work?

An indirect oil fired heater produces clean, dry (non-humid) heat, which is an ideal appliance for producing constant temperature air flow within enclosed spaces.

Here is a brief summary of how this works (although read the subsequent posts within this series for greater detail):

Maintaining Indirect Oil Fired Heater

  1. Fuel injected into gas tight combustion chamber

  2. Fuel is ignited and burned

  3. Rate of burning is regulated to remain constant

  4. Combustion effluent (gas) is exhausted into athmosphere by flue

  5. Single phase electric fans push air into chambers

  6. Electric fans also provides air flow to carry hot air into marquee

(A more detailed technical description can also be found in greater detail at the RVT Group website)

As you can see above, there is a finely tuned, mechanically engineered process by which this compact mobile heater generates it's much sought after constant stream of hot clean, hot air into the desired space.

Can such a piece of heating equipment be easily maintained by an untrained person?

Clearly, such machines are made by experts, however the target user in commercial markets would be the untrained hands of a non-engineer, who although unable to perform high level/specification servicing, will still be required to carry out basic maintenance checks to ensure safe and efficient operation of use.

The following is a simple indirect oil fired heater maintenance checklist, which any marquee hire contractor should be able to perform:

  • Check machine 360-external to make sure it is clean
  • Examine...
    • casing for integrity and cleanliness
    • power supply cables
    • fuel tank for oil and water retention
    • tank for impurities
      • (if machine has been left dormant for months, the tank can become marred.)
    • filters - both air and fuel
  • If any faults are discovered, these may produce operational/environmental risk
    • If you are in any doubt at all, you should arrange urgently for an authorised service!
      • Such faults would include:
        • Smoke stains (remember, it should produce 100% clean hot air)
        • Evidence of fan rubbing
        • Fuel leakage
        • Improper burning (white or black smoke)
  • Any authorised machinery inspection should provide the following:
    • Pressure calibration
    • Burner & combustion chamber cleaning
    • Replacements for faulty parts (under warrnaty, no charge or out of warranty charges)
  • One factor which will impact on the machine's need for maintenance will be its intensity of use
    • More intensely used  =  more in need of inspection

How will I know if the heater needs an authorised service?

When providing a hospitality service for people in an enclosed temporary space with very little or no ventilation, amidst flamamble materials you carry a great deal of responsibility to manage their health and safety risk diligently.

Guests and other on-site professionals will not necessarily have vigilant eyes opened when it comes to the operation of your fuel-operated heating equipment and so you are the primary person with whom the duty to maintain risk will stop with.

Draft a clear risk management plan for the use of heaters and other marquee hire equipment and communicate well to the organiser and any appropriately assigned on-site stewarding staff some simple instructions for monitoring the heater.

This should of course include: how to operate the thermostat for a constant temperature and what to do if the fuel runs low.

It would always pay off to be contactable by a customer hiring such equipment from you during the event hours in case of emergency. Also ensure that should you be called to the site, that you can avail yourself of other duties to make it in a timely fashion in person.

As you can imagine, if heater problems emerge during an event, it won't take a long time for the end product to be a disaster.

The general rule though would be, if in doubt regarding the safety of your heater, call the authorised engineer to perform a thorough servicing, and only use when it is confirmed to be safe.

For further information on event space heaters, feel free to contact our event hire team.


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