The Definitive Guide: How Much Clearance Does a Dickinson Propane Heater Need?

Dickinson propane heaters are a popular choice for providing efficient and reliable heating in various settings, from boats and RVs to cabins and workshops. However, to ensure the safe and optimal operation of these heaters, it is crucial to understand the specific clearance requirements. This comprehensive guide will delve into the details of the necessary clearances for a Dickinson propane heater, providing you with the information you need to install and use your heater safely.

Vertical Clearance: Preventing Heat Buildup and Fire Hazards

According to the manufacturer’s guidelines, the minimum vertical clearance required for a Dickinson propane heater is 4 feet (48 inches) from the top of the heater to the ceiling or any combustible materials above it. This clearance is essential to prevent heat buildup and mitigate the risk of fire hazards.

To put this into perspective, consider the following:
– The Dickinson P12000 propane heater has a maximum heat output of 12,000 BTU/h.
– At this heat output, the heater can generate surface temperatures of up to 500°F (260°C) on the top of the unit.
– Maintaining a 4-foot (48-inch) vertical clearance ensures that the hot surfaces of the heater do not come into direct contact with any combustible materials, such as wooden beams, insulation, or furniture.

Horizontal Clearance: Ensuring Proper Ventilation

how muck clearence does a diickenson propane heater need

In addition to the vertical clearance, Dickinson propane heaters also require adequate horizontal clearance to allow for proper ventilation. The manufacturer’s manual states that the heater should be installed with a minimum 20-inch clearance from the top of the heater to any surrounding walls or other obstructions.

This horizontal clearance serves several important purposes:
– It allows for the free flow of air around the heater, ensuring efficient combustion and heat distribution.
– It prevents the buildup of heat and potential fire hazards in the immediate vicinity of the heater.
– It facilitates easy access for maintenance and servicing of the heater.

Securing Propane Tanks: Preventing Hazards During Transport

When using a Dickinson propane heater, it is essential to ensure that the propane tanks are properly secured during transport. Unsecured propane tanks can become projectiles in the event of a crash, posing a significant safety risk.

One user on the forum shared their approach to securing propane tanks in their vehicle:
– They bolted a dual RV tank cylinder rack to the floor of their front luggage bay, positioning it against the forward wall and away from the tires.
– This setup helps to prevent the propane tanks from moving around or becoming dislodged during transit.

It is important to note that the crashworthiness of this specific setup is unknown, and it is recommended to consult with a professional to ensure the proper and safe installation of propane tank securing systems.

Exhaust Flue and Intake Considerations

When installing a Dickinson propane heater, the location of the exhaust flue and intake must be carefully considered. The heater requires a straight run for both the exhaust flue and the intake, which can be challenging to achieve in some spaces.

One user on the Trawler Forum shared their experience with a Dickinson P12000 propane heater:
– They were able to mount the heater in various locations, as the only part of the unit that gets too hot to touch is the glass in the viewing area.
– This suggests that the heater’s design and engineering allow for some flexibility in the installation, as long as the exhaust flue and intake can be properly routed.


In summary, a Dickinson propane heater requires a minimum vertical clearance of 4 feet (48 inches) from the top of the heater to the ceiling or any combustible materials above it. Additionally, the heater should have a minimum 20-inch horizontal clearance from the top to any surrounding walls or obstructions. Proper securing of the propane tanks during transport is also crucial for safety.

When installing the heater, it is essential to consider the location of the exhaust flue and intake to ensure a straight run and efficient operation. By following these clearance guidelines and best practices, you can ensure the safe and effective use of your Dickinson propane heater in your RV, boat, cabin, or workshop.

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