Tech Series: Portable Heater for Tent Marquee


  Posted by: Chief Editor, Selmore - Marquee Hire, on July 24, 2017 10:59 pm Leave your thoughts
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Portable Heater for Marquee Tent

(To find out more in-depth information on a fuller range of heating solutions, beyond that which would commonly be used for tents, please visit: www.masterheaters.co.uk - the online home of Master Climate Solutions UK)

A blog series answering the question: "What is the best type of portable heater for tents and events?"

As you may have gathered, either by experience, or from reading our posts highlighting the difficulties surrounding winter marquees in cooler climes (like the UK) - the issue of hiring the most effective portable heater for tents and marquees require some serious thought.

There are so many portable heating options available, each offering its own unique technical approach for achieving the desired results. Yet without the ability to interpret such highly technical specifications from the academic into meaningful practical benefits, one could get rather lost and discouraged from seeking after being settled on a diligent decision.

As with any technical subject matter, we are of the persuasion that if those who think they know are not able to make what they know simple enough for all to understand, then (...quite frankly) 'what is the point?!'

Whilst not professing to be experts in things to do with space heating technologies, we certainly have come to know who to ask if you are in doubt, and with all things Selmore, we have elected to share.

In order to do a proper job of laying out all the relevant facts to do with portable space heaters for marquee events, we have begun with a headline post, which is this one you are reading, followed thereafter by a series of in-depth posts drilling down into the detail pertaining to the many characteristics of space heaters, impacting on effectiveness and efficiency.

Firstly, what is the difference between space heaters and portable heaters? Can either or both be used to heat tents?

Definitions are always a suitable place to begin any learning journey.

  • Space heater = a heater used to heat an enclosed area
  • Portable heater = a heater which can practically be carried and installed without the need of mechanical lifting aids

So in the case of both, they describe accurately the type of heaters which are ideal for event marquee tent hire.

What type of portable heating method or technology is best for heating an enclosed marquee space?

There are a variety of common methods which have been used over the years to keep enclosed spaces heated, whether for events or other uses.

The appropriateness of one method over and above another is largely dependant upon the features of the enclosed space you have in mind, namely, the volume of air you intend to heat and how rapidly you want the ambient temperature raised.

There are, however, some hard and fast rules for heating your temporary event space which we disclose below (accompanied with their reasons why):

  • Space heaters are for raising general temperature (other types like, radiative heaters are ineffective in larger spaces)
  • If fuel operated, must be indirect - as direct heaters produce harmful waste gases
  • Some ventilation necessary to avoid CO (carbon monoxide) build up
  • Thermostatically controlled for consistency
  • Risk management plan for health and safety planning, such as fire risk
  • Informed fuel requirement calculations for ensuring continuity of heating power

As advocated by most industry professionals, the two recommended types of space heater technologies are: indirect fuel (typically, oil or gas) and electrical fan.

How does an indirect portable heater work?

Indirect portable heaters work to produce clean, hot air by a highly effective heat exchanger model, which is fuelled by either oil or gas usually.

The main heating unit operates by drawing in air from the external environment surrounding the heating unit into the combustion chamber. This action uses an electrically powered motor.

The air, when combined with lit fuel (either oil or propane gas) is made a gaseous vector, or carrier, for conveying the much needed heat (the exothermic - or heat liberating, end product of the fuel combustion) for release into the immediate air apace around the heating unit.

This, now hot air, is simultaneously forced under pressure out of the exit opening of the heater and released as a hot flow, or stream of air into the marquee tent space.

Zero odour, zero fume exhaust gas is also released as emission from the flue.

This is a continuous action which consistently builds up ambient heat within your event space. So long as there is a continual un-burnt air supply to the heater & electricity to keep the motor and ignition working and fuel (oil or propane gas) to power the heat releasing combustion process, your indirect portable heater will consistently maintain its performance.

Of course, there are different levels of output among indirect heaters, each having a 'ceiling' (of sorts) for what volume of space they would be optimally useful for, but so long as your calculations are accurate you should achieve the right results.

How does a portable electrical fan heater work?

You probably would have used a similar type of product in your home or office environment, but on a much smaller scale for the purpose of perhaps keeping only one or two people moderately warm.

The principal here is the same regardless though.

The unit does not use any combustion technology and therefore needs no air supply to function. It operates by having internal wire filaments which have electrical currents run through them, which, due to their resistance build up, heat up rapidly, transferring that heat to the air surrounding them. This hot air is immediately forced into the local environment by the assistance of an electrically powered fan.

This method of space heating is less effective than the indirect fuel operated heaters, but offers an effective enough means of heating an event marquee for most small-scale operators and organisers.

How will I know which one of these portable heaters is best for my marquee tent set-up?

You'll need to make a calculated estimation based on some basic parameters of space volume. Each technical specification associated with a heater declares the performance metrics of output by which an informed purchase or hire decision can be made.

Too little output and it will be ineffective for your guests.

Is Selmore able to help with hiring such a machine for a marquee event?

When it comes to marquee based events, we are able to point you in the direction of companies that can help with your hire requirements. Simply, feel free to get in contact with us.


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