How to choose an autonomous heater


The auton­o­my of the heater means its inde­pen­dence from oth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tions, that is, the pres­ence in the unit of every­thing nec­es­sary for oper­a­tion, includ­ing a cer­tain sup­ply of ener­gy. Such devices are indis­pens­able in the field or when heat­ing rooms that are not equipped with elec­tric­i­ty and gas sup­ply.

Exam­ples of house­hold heaters of inde­pen­dent action: along the edges — gas, in the mid­dle — liq­uid fuel

Let’s con­sid­er sev­er­al types of autonomous heat gen­er­a­tors in terms of suit­abil­i­ty for heat­ing small build­ings — a chick­en coop, a garage, etc.

Requirements for autonomous heaters for small spaces

A com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tic of all small rooms is only their small area — even the vol­ume of such rooms can dif­fer sig­nif­i­cant­ly due to the dif­fer­ence in ceil­ing heights. Each build­ing has a num­ber of indi­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics that are impor­tant when choos­ing a heat­ing method — pur­pose, glaz­ing area and its ori­en­ta­tion to the sides of the hori­zon, the degree of exter­nal insu­la­tion, etc.

Thus, an autonomous heater for any small space must be com­pact and, of course, safe. The remain­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of the unit, includ­ing the con­sumed ener­gy car­ri­er, are select­ed with ref­er­ence to the oper­at­ing con­di­tions.

The main pur­pose of the garage is to store the car, but this room also per­forms oth­er func­tions — a repair shop and a place for stor­ing house­hold uten­sils. This means that there may be a cer­tain amount of fuel and lubri­cants and oth­er com­bustible items in the build­ing, which increas­es the risk of a fire. At the same time, the enclos­ing struc­tures of the garage in most cas­es are made of met­al or stone, ani­mals are not kept there, and these fac­tors reduce the fire haz­ard of the object.

The sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent in the chick­en coop — there is no fuel and lubri­cants there, but the build­ing envelopes are often wood­en or insu­lat­ed with com­bustible mate­ri­als, and in win­ter, poul­try can knock over a portable heater, chick­en fluff can get on the emit­ter of the unit with dust. Accord­ing­ly, these cir­cum­stances increase the risk of a fire in a room that is not a fire haz­ard in the warm sea­son.

Con­sid­er sev­er­al types of com­pact autonomous heat gen­er­a­tors suit­able for use in a garage and a small chick­en coop.

Types of compact autonomous heaters by fuel consumption

Even in the south­ern regions of Europe, the heat­ing sea­son lasts sev­er­al months, so it makes no sense to con­sid­er exot­ic devices based on paraf­fin can­dles, which are effec­tive only as heaters for a tent, or low-pow­er devices that oper­ate, for exam­ple, from a car bat­tery — they are applic­a­ble only in extreme sit­u­a­tions in the absence of alter­na­tives.

Gas autonomous heaters

Nat­ur­al gas is an ener­gy car­ri­er that is afford­able for a wide range of users. But the equip­ment of any facil­i­ty with this type of gas sup­ply requires many offi­cial pro­ce­dures — from project devel­op­ment to com­mis­sion­ing of the facil­i­ty. There­fore, if dur­ing the con­struc­tion of the garage gas sup­ply was not includ­ed in its project, the build­ing can be heat­ed with a heater on bot­tled propane or butane.

As for heat­ing the chick­en coop, here the sit­u­a­tion with the use of gas is even more com­pli­cat­ed. It is fire haz­ardous to use portable gas heaters in a poul­try house, and installing water heat­ing based on a gas boil­er installed in a sep­a­rate room is advis­able only for a poul­try farm, since a small chick­en coop will not jus­ti­fy such costs, and there is no need to talk about auton­o­my any­more — there is a depen­dence on the gas main and elec­tri­cal net­works (automa­tion sys­tem).

Domes­tic heaters on liq­ue­fied bot­tled propane or butane

Infrared gas heater “GIK‑3.2” domes­tic man­u­fac­tur­er “Hydroa­gre­gat” is an autonomous heat­ing device that has proven itself among Euro­pean garage own­ers.

The GIK‑3.2 heat gen­er­a­tor is com­pact, light­weight, eco­nom­i­cal and, most impor­tant­ly, safe enough to oper­ate in a garage.

Char­ac­ter­is­tics of the GIK‑3.2 unit:

  • heat release pow­er — up to 3.3 kW;
  • con­sumed ener­gy car­ri­er — gas (nat­ur­al, propane, butane);
  • aver­age fuel con­sump­tion (liq­ue­fied / nat­ur­al) — 150/420 ml / h;
  • emit­ter sur­face tem­per­a­ture — 800 aboutFROM;
  • igni­tion method — man­u­al­ly;
  • device weight — 0.95 kg;
  • max­i­mum dimen­sions — 22x17x18 cm.

The heater con­sists of a burn­er on a tri­pod, con­nect­ed to the gas cylin­der through a reduc­er by means of a hose. As a heater for a garage, this infrared device is very con­ve­nient — the radi­ant pan­el can be installed at any angle, includ­ing hor­i­zon­tal­ly (direct­ed upwards), so that a cook­ing con­tain­er can be placed on it using a spe­cial stand.

Impor­tant! The trans­fer of fuel con­sump­tion from nat­ur­al gas to liq­ue­fied gas is car­ried out after installing a burn­er with a noz­zle of the appro­pri­ate diam­e­ter, which is includ­ed in the deliv­ery set of the unit.

Design advan­tages — effi­cien­cy, no open flame and low emis­sion of gas com­bus­tion prod­ucts into the air.

Infrared gas heat­ing unit “GIK‑3.2”

Autonomous liquid fuel heaters

This group of infrared heaters for heat­ing small chick­en coop will also be of lit­tle use.

If the mod­el of the unit is not equipped with a fan, then there is a risk of igni­tion of fluff if it gets on the burn­er.

Autonomous kerosene infrared heaters: on the left — fire­place ver­sion, on the right — cir­cu­lar heat­ing. The price of such units and the cost of the fuel used in them are high enough to heat low-sta­tus premis­es.

And ther­mal diesel guns make noise dur­ing oper­a­tion, which in a cramped room will fright­en the bird. In addi­tion, a direct­ed jet of heat­ed air will con­stant­ly raise dust from the chick­en coop bed­ding.

Liq­uid fuel heat guns: on the left — indi­rect, on the right — direct heat­ing.

There is still an accept­able way out — to install a diesel gun out­side, and direct the heat into the room with the bird through a flex­i­ble hose. This method of heat­ing the chick­en coop is effec­tive, but not con­ve­nient — you need to peri­od­i­cal­ly go out­side in the cold to visu­al­ly con­trol the oper­a­tion of the heater.

At the same time, heat guns of indi­rect heat­ing have long and effec­tive­ly been used for heat­ing large-area poul­try hous­es on poul­try farms.

Heat­ing of premis­es with a liq­uid fuel gun

It should be not­ed that the fan of the heat gun runs on elec­tric­i­ty, that is, this unit is not autonomous, and an elec­tric cable must be pulled to its loca­tion.

The effec­tive­ness of using a diesel gun to heat a garage will be demon­strat­ed by this video:

When choos­ing a means for heat­ing a garage, the line of solar heaters of the domes­tic man­u­fac­tur­er Solaro­Gas also deserves atten­tion — 6 mod­els that dif­fer in pow­er (1.8–2.5 kW), the mate­r­i­al of man­u­fac­ture of the fur­nace and the geom­e­try of the reflec­tor.

Sam­ples of liq­uid fuel reflec­tors designed for kerosene and diesel fuel “Solaro­Gas”

The devices are designed for the con­sump­tion of both kerosene and diesel fuel, more­over, there are no spe­cial require­ments for the qual­i­ty of fuel — it can be pur­chased at ordi­nary gas sta­tions.

The capac­i­ty of the fuel tank, depend­ing on the mod­el, ranges from 2.5 to 4.2 liters, the aver­age fuel con­sump­tion of all mod­els is 0.2 l / h.

The weight of the units is in the range of 4.3–6.7 kg, dimen­sions — with­in 40x45x35 cm, which makes it easy to move them with­in the premis­es or trans­port them in the trunk of a car.

The man­u­fac­tur­er declares the pos­si­bil­i­ty of using these heaters for heat­ing res­i­den­tial premis­es. In the pres­ence of an open flame and the use of diesel fuel, the state­ment is doubt­ful — the com­bus­tion prod­ucts of diesel fuel will set­tle on the fin­ish of the struc­tures, which will not increase its aes­thet­ics. But choos­ing such a burn­er for heat­ing a garage, a small work­shop or use in field con­di­tions will be a well-found­ed deci­sion — auton­o­my and ease of use, com­pact­ness and cost-effec­tive­ness of the devices are obvi­ous.

To get a bet­ter idea of ​​​​the heaters of the Solaro­Gas com­pa­ny, watch­ing this video will help:

Autonomous solid fuel heating devices

A wood-burn­ing chick­en coop heater is an ordi­nary pot­bel­ly stove, one of the ratio­nal solu­tions to the issue of heat­ing this build­ing in terms of fuel costs. But this method of heat­ing also has prob­lems that must be con­sid­ered:

  • the body of the stove and the chim­ney must have lat­tice or mesh fences made of non-com­bustible mate­ri­als that will not allow the bird to sit on a hot sur­face, but will not inter­fere with the main­te­nance of the heater;
  • the design of the fur­nace should exclude the pos­si­bil­i­ty of sparks fly­ing out of the fur­nace, but the site in front of the unit must still be equipped accord­ing­ly — con­cret­ed and fenced with a non-com­bustible bor­der from the com­post lay­er;
  • heat the chick­en coop only dur­ing the day­time and under human con­trol.

As for the use of autonomous bour­geois stoves in small garages, this heat­ing option is the most ancient, but no less pop­u­lar among motorists than oth­er heat­ing meth­ods.

Home­made wood stoves in the garage: on legs and a brick base

Con­sid­er­ing the mode of human pres­ence in the garage, the cost of fire­wood is usu­al­ly small, and peri­od­ic heat­ing of the build­ing will relieve damp­ness and con­tribute to a bet­ter preser­va­tion of the car.

Impor­tant! The use of a wood-burn­ing stove only in the pres­ence of the own­er of the garage and com­pli­ance with fire safe­ty rules are nec­es­sary con­di­tions for pre­vent­ing a fire.


Alternative heating autonomy

Tak­ing into account the specifics of the oper­a­tion of premis­es for keep­ing poul­try, it can be said that, no mat­ter which of the above autonomous heaters is cho­sen, the fac­tor of the pres­ence of ani­mals com­pli­cates the use of the units.

It is advis­able to build a solu­tion to the prob­lem in a dif­fer­ent way: as the main means of heat­ing, use an elec­tri­cal device that is suit­able in design and afford­able, and in case of emer­gen­cies, have an autonomous device.

For exam­ple, an elec­tric infrared heater for a chick­en coop is the best option for the main heater, but lamp emit­ters with a high sur­face tem­per­a­ture should not be acces­si­ble for direct con­tact.

Infrared elec­tric lamp heaters

IR rays act on obsta­cles in their path of prop­a­ga­tion — they increase the tem­per­a­ture of their sur­face, after which the heat­ed inte­ri­or gives off heat to the sur­round­ing air. At the same time, infrared radi­a­tion has a ther­mal effect direct­ly on the bird, but the para­me­ters of the tran­sit medi­um — air do not change dur­ing the pas­sage.

In small chick­en coops, lamp IR heaters are placed clos­er to perch­es, since increas­ing the dis­tance to the emit­ter reduces the inten­si­ty of heat­ing.

A vari­ety of infrared heaters — film devices also do a good job of heat­ing chick­en coops, both small and large. At the same time, the low tem­per­a­ture of the radi­at­ing sur­face makes them safe for direct con­tact with a bird or a per­son.

Film infrared heaters on the ceil­ing in the poul­try house

In win­ter, the tem­per­a­ture in the chick­en coop should not fall below 10 0C, which can be achieved by installing a remote ther­mo­stat. Based on the val­ue of the per­mis­si­ble tem­per­a­ture, in cen­tral Europe, the room does not require high-inten­si­ty heat­ing. Con­se­quent­ly, the month­ly elec­tric­i­ty costs for the win­ter peri­od will not be sig­nif­i­cant.

Passive space heating

In addi­tion to the use of heaters, there is a whole range of mea­sures aimed at improv­ing the effi­cien­cy of heat­ing units and, con­se­quent­ly, their effi­cien­cy.

But, in addi­tion to uni­ver­sal oper­a­tions, for exam­ple, exter­nal insu­la­tion of build­ing envelopes, there are tech­nolo­gies that are applic­a­ble only to premis­es for keep­ing ani­mals or birds.

After the exter­nal, and prefer­ably inter­nal, insu­la­tion of the walls and ceil­ing of the chick­en coop, the ther­mal insu­la­tion of the floor is per­formed. With regard to the chick­en coop, the tech­nolo­gies for these works do not dif­fer from per­form­ing iden­ti­cal oper­a­tions in oth­er rooms. But in the poul­try house, after the floor is insu­lat­ed, an addi­tion­al warm­ing pro­ce­dure is car­ried out — lay­ing a thick lay­er of loose bed­ding, the com­po­nents of which enter into a chem­i­cal reac­tion with each oth­er and release heat at the same time.

You can pre­pare such a mix­ture your­self, or you can pur­chase one of the ready-made com­po­si­tions offered by com­post man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Bulk mate­ri­als of nat­ur­al ori­gin with a low coef­fi­cient of ther­mal con­duc­tiv­i­ty are used as bed­ding mate­r­i­al for the win­ter peri­od when it is inde­pen­dent­ly pre­pared: chopped straw, wood shav­ings, moss, sun­flower husks or mix­tures of these com­po­nents.

Deep insu­lat­ing bed­ding in the poul­try house for the win­ter

The lay­er is formed with a thick­ness of 30–50 cm, and over time, as it is com­pact­ed, the same sub­strate is added to it in the amount nec­es­sary to restore the orig­i­nal vol­ume.

Bird drop­pings, mixed with organ­ic mat­ter, ini­ti­ate decom­po­si­tion process­es and heat release.

Impor­tant! Deep lit­ter must be peri­od­i­cal­ly loos­ened (1–2 times a week) — to pre­vent the tem­per­a­ture of the lay­er from ris­ing to dan­ger­ous val­ues, weath­er­ing of ammo­nia from it and dry­ing.

Fin­ished fer­men­ta­tion mats: on the left — made in Ger­many, on the right — domes­tic.

Thus, deep bed­ding is also a kind of autonomous means of heat­ing the chick­en coop in win­ter, but not the main one in terms of inten­si­ty.


The auton­o­my of the heater can­not be con­sid­ered as an advan­tage or a dis­ad­van­tage, this is one of its char­ac­ter­is­tics, which, depend­ing on the spe­cif­ic oper­at­ing con­di­tions, can be both a “plus” and a “minus”:

  • the use of elec­tric­i­ty or gas for heat­ing makes the con­sumer depen­dent on the pres­ence of volt­age in the net­work or pres­sure in the line, but elim­i­nates the need to have a sup­ply of fuel;
  • autonomous heaters have every­thing for work in their design, but their ener­gy car­ri­er reserves are lim­it­ed, and the qual­i­ty of the pur­chased fuel is a vari­able val­ue, which also gen­er­ates depen­dence.

The main essence of the article

  1. An autonomous heat­ing unit is a device that does not need ener­gy car­ri­ers from main net­works (elec­tric­i­ty, gas).
  2. Inde­pen­dent action heaters are con­ve­nient, and some­times sim­ply indis­pens­able, for heat­ing rooms locat­ed far from elec­tric and gas net­works, for heat­ing in the field and in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions.
  3. Autonomous heat­ing units are espe­cial­ly effec­tive for heat­ing small and medi­um-sized premis­es, since the reg­u­lar sup­ply of ener­gy car­ri­ers of such devices is small.
  4. Gas heaters are pro­duced as self-con­tained units, but house­hold propane tanks are heavy and dis­pos­able car­tridges are quite expen­sive.
  5. Liq­uid-fuel heat gen­er­a­tors are designed for con­tin­u­ous oper­a­tion at one gas sta­tion, but when diesel fuel is burned, a sig­nif­i­cant amount of harm­ful sub­stances is released into the air, and kerosene is not a cheap ener­gy car­ri­er.
  6. A wood-burn­ing stove is an envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly, inex­pen­sive and effi­cient heater, but the high tem­per­a­ture of the body impos­es restric­tions on its use.
  7. After choos­ing any autonomous heater, one can­not do with­out addi­tion­al mea­sures — seal­ing the joints of enclos­ing struc­tures and exter­nal insu­la­tion.


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