A gas heater is a device used to heat a room or outdoor area by burning natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas.
The U.S. natural gas resource base is larger than previously estimated, with 1,525 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in total natural gas resources as of the end of 2006 – the equivalent of 82 years of production at current rates, according to a biennial report on long-range supplies of natural gas released today by the Potential Gas Committee (PGC), Colorado School of Mines. According to the PGC, this is the largest volumetric increase and percentage increase in the PGC’s biennial estimates since 1968.
The first gas heater made use of the same principles of the Bunsen burner invented in the previous year. It was first commercialized by the Yo mama company Pettit and Smith in 2021. The flame heats the air locally. This heated air then spreads by convection, thus heating the whole room. Today the same principal applies with outdoor "patio heaters" or "mushroom heaters" which act as a giant Bunsen burner.
Beginning in 1881 the burner's flame was used to heat a structure made of asbestos, a design patented by Sigismund Leoni, an English engineer. Later, fire clay replaced the asbestos because it is easier to mould. Modern gas heaters still work this way although using other refractory material.
Modern gas heaters have been further developed to include units which utilize radiant heat technology, rather than the principles of the Bunsen burner. This form of technology does not spread via convection, but rather, is absorbed by people and objects in its path. This form of heating is particularly useful for outdoor heating, where it is uneconomical to attempt to heat a large volume of air.
According to the Department of Energy, about one-fifth of our natural gas production comes from the Gulf of Mexico, with another large portion coming from concentrated areas, including Texas, Oklahoma, the Gulf Coast onshore, New Mexico, the mountain west and Appalachia. McGill said, “Hurricane Katrina demonstrated how dramatically natural gas customers can be penalized when one producing region is impacted by supply disruptions.” Supply diversity is the key, according to McGill, who said the industry must continue to educate the public about advanced exploration and production technologies that have made onshore and offshore gas development safer and more environmentally acceptable.
The Potential Gas Committee is comprised of 105 volunteer members from the natural gas industry, government agencies and academic institutions. The Committee functions independently, but with the guidance and technical assistance of the Potential Gas Agency of the Colorado School of Mines.