How to Safely Add a Heater to a Tree House

What You'll Need
Heater - either kerosene, propane or electric
Ceramic fire brick or fire proof tiles
Measuring tape

If you have a tree house, chances are you may want to heat it so you can use it longer. Even in a house, heaters can increase the risk of fire. Adding a heater to your tree house can be dangerous, or safe. So, if you're planning on adding a heater to your tree house, there are several things you should consider - including whether to use a propane, kerosene, or electrical heat.

Step 1-Determine the Square Footage of the Tree House

In general tree houses tend to be small, but uninsulated, making it difficult to determine how much heating capacity your heater will need to generate. Begin by determining the square footage of the tree house by multiplying the length of the tree house by the width.

Step 2-Determine What Kind of Heater is Best for Your Tree House

Do you want a heater to take the chill off the air for your child's tree house? Or is your tree house your office, get-away and backyard vacation spot where you spent a significant amount of time? It makes a difference. If you only need enough heat to extend the use of the tree house a few extra months or hours, you won't need as much heat as if you plan to use the tree house year round, or if you intend to live or work in the structure. Once you determine how much heat you'll need and for how long, you can purchase and install your heater.

Step 3-Create a Firesafe Location for Your Heater

Whether you're using a kerosene, propane or electric heater, you must have a fire-proof surface or hearth pad for the heater to sit on, or be installed on. You can purchase prefabricated hearth pads or make your own from fireproof materials. Make sure the fireproof area extends at least 18-inches on all sides of the heater. If you're mounting the heater on a wall, extend the pad 24-inches on all sides. Add at least two fire extinguishers rated for the kind of heater (electric, kerosene or propane) you'll be using. Mount them where they can easily be reached in case of a fire. If you're using any kind of fuel heater, make sure they have a low-oxygen shut off valve. To be even safer, invest in battery powered air quality monitors to ensure you have plenty of oxygen in the tree house. If possible, wire the tree house so permanent carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide monitors can be installed.

Step 4-Add Your Heater

Once your firesafe pad and extinguisher are in place, bring in your heater. If you have children using the tree house, do not use fuel heat such as kerosene or propane because of the risk of fire from children knocking over the heater or catching on fire. Instead, invest in an electrician and have electrical wiring run to the tree house and a wall heater with a thermostat, or better yet, an oil-filled radiator type heater secured to an area in the tree house. Make sure the heater does not block access to your exit in case it does catch on fire.