How to Build a Propane Enclosure for a Heater: A Comprehensive DIY Guide

Building a secure and well-ventilated propane enclosure for a heater is a crucial step in ensuring the safe operation of your heating system. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of constructing a custom propane enclosure, complete with technical specifications and a detailed DIY approach.

Choosing the Right Materials

When it comes to building a propane enclosure, the choice of materials is paramount. The exterior of the enclosure should be constructed using weather-resistant materials like HardieBacker or Durock, which can withstand exposure to the elements better than regular plywood. For the interior, it’s essential to use type X or a similar fire-resistant material to enhance safety.

Measuring and Cutting

how to build propane enclosure for heater

The dimensions of the propane enclosure will depend on the specific heater model you’re using. As a general guideline, a typical propane heater enclosure might measure around 15 inches deep, 14 inches wide, and 18 inches high. However, it’s crucial to take precise measurements of your heater and propane tank before cutting the materials to ensure a perfect fit.


Proper ventilation is a critical aspect of a safe propane enclosure. To achieve this, you’ll need to drill a hole with a diameter slightly larger than the propane pipe (typically 3/4 inch for a 1/2 inch pipe). Use a half-inch PVC pipe for the vent and secure it with a faucet washer and nut set to prevent it from sliding down.

Securing the Propane Tank and Heater

Ensuring the propane tank and heater are securely fastened within the enclosure is essential for safety. Use high-temperature silicone grommets to hold the copper “heat exchanger” tubes in place, and secure the propane tank with straps and foam to prevent it from moving around.

Installing a Pressure Regulator

To maintain a consistent and safe propane flow for the heater, you’ll need to install a pressure regulator. A 11″wc regulator is a common choice for this application. Connect the regulator to a braided propane hose that is long enough to reach the heater.

Adding a Pilot Light (Optional)

For an additional layer of safety, you can consider adding a pilot light with an auto-shutoff thermocouple. This feature will ensure the propane flow stops if the oxygen levels drop, providing an extra level of protection for your propane enclosure.


Before using the propane enclosure, it’s crucial to thoroughly test it to ensure everything is functioning correctly and safely. Run the burner on low and monitor the enclosure’s temperature to prevent it from getting too hot.

DIY Approach

If you’re interested in building a propane enclosure for a heater yourself, here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Gather the necessary materials, including plywood, HardieBacker or Durock, high-temperature silicone grommets, a banjo-style propane burner, brass needle valve, braided propane hose, pressure regulator, high-temperature silicone tube, duct fittings, a small fan, and copper mesh.
  2. Measure and cut the materials according to the heater and tank dimensions.
  3. Drill a vent hole and install the vent using a half-inch PVC pipe and faucet washer and nut set.
  4. Secure the propane tank and heater within the enclosure using straps, foam, and high-temperature silicone grommets.
  5. Install the pressure regulator and connect it to the braided propane hose.
  6. Add a pilot light with an auto-shutoff thermocouple (optional).
  7. Thoroughly test the enclosure before use.

Technical Specifications

  • Enclosure dimensions: 15 inches deep, 14 inches wide, 18 inches high (varies depending on the heater model)
  • Vent hole diameter: Slightly larger than the propane pipe diameter (typically 3/4 inch for a 1/2 inch pipe)
  • Pressure regulator: 11″wc regulator
  • Braided propane hose: Long enough to reach the heater


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  3. FS: DIY Hot Vent Propane Heater Project | Expedition Portal

By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to build a safe and efficient propane enclosure for your heater, ensuring the reliable and secure operation of your heating system. Remember to always prioritize safety and follow local building codes and regulations when working with propane.