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How to effectively heat tents or marquees

6 min read
Insights Master tent heaters

Whether hosting outdoor events, coordinating hospitality for refugees or delivering emergency medical assistance in remote locations, keeping people warm is crucial. In this article, we discuss how to keep tents at optimal temperatures.

As tent and marquee venues are only temporary structures, their materials do not provide substantial insulation, and can cause them to lose heat quickly. By using portable heating solutions, you can focus on the finer details of the event itself, without having to worry about whether it will be warm enough inside the structure.

How to find the right heater for your tent

A deciding factor in which type of heater you will need is the size of the tent or marquee you are planning to use, along with knowing whether the structure will be isolated or be part of a wider set-up.

The nature of the application will help you narrow down the specific model you need. Some units operate within the marquee structure but give off a little noise, and others can operate from the outside.

Additionally, it is important to speak to an expert regarding your heating needs, as there are many unsuitable air heaters available on the market that emit noxious fumes, including carbon monoxide. It is incredibly important that the unit you choose is able to operate without generating fumes and work safely in busy areas in the presence of people.

There are two main types of tent heating for you to consider: indirect oil-fired heaters and electric heaters.

Indirect oil-fired heaters

Our indirect oil-fired heaters are the most popular choice for temporary structures and marquee heating. They effectively heat the space while the unit itself can sit outside of the structure, meaning no noise or interruptions.

It maximises your space and keeps equipment out of sight. Indirect oil-fired heaters can be installed indoors, but this is typically suited to substantially bigger spaces.

When is an indirect oil-fired heater the best option for heating a tent?

These heaters are used to transport warm air into the structure, often with the unit itself placed outside of the tent or marquee. This helps to maximise the event space you have and reduces noise. An external thermostat can sit within the marquee, allowing the heating unit to adapt to the temperature accordingly, turning on and off as needed.

Additionally, the warm air created by these units is 100% clean as all of the products of combustion are separated by the indirect heater’s construction. This means clean air is only ever delivered inside, while unpleasant fumes are always exhausted outside.

How do indirect oil-fired heaters work?

An indirect fired heater uses a flame inside a combustion chamber to warm a heat exchanger. It draws cold air into the system and warms it up by flowing it around the heat exchanger. The newly-heated warm air is then distributed back into the event space. An indirect oil-fired heater never comes into contact with a flame, meaning the air it circulates is fume-free and safe.

The Master range also comes with an air recycling option, where the heater uses a combination of fresh air and warm air from inside for better efficiency and cost savings.

What accessories do you need to operate an indirect oil-fired heater?

Outside of power supply and diesel oil, you may also need an optional thermostat, a chimney and a 1m exhaust pipe. The thermostat is needed to control the temperature inside the warmed structure, the chimney pot is used to unload the exhaust gases and the pipe length of 1m is a minimum requirement for correct installation. When using the indirect oil-fired heater, this is usually all you will need.

If you are planning the installation outside of the tent, these accessories can help you to optimise the work of your heater:

  • Flexible tubing hoses, which are available in 3m and 7.6m lengths and are a must when using heaters outside to effectively distribute warm air across larger distances. Tubes can be connected to one another to create longer ducting sets. Our nylon black tubes are recommended as they have high resistance to dirt and damage. When using hoses, you will need an adapter ring to connect the flex tubing to the heater

  • A thermostat placed on the inside of the marquee to control the temperature based on the demand of the environment, helping you to save energy and reduce money wastage. The thermostats are available in analogue or digital options

  • Optional rain cover for the heater when placed outdoors. If bad weather conditions are predicted, the rain cover will provide protection and ensure there is no interruption

Are indirect oil-fired heaters straightforward to operate?

The units are very simple to set up, requiring only access to a mains power socket and fuel (diesel or BioFuel). Once the fuel is poured in and the exhaust pipe is installed, the power can be turned on and your unit is now in full working order.

Infographic showcasing inside installation of an Indirect Oil-fired Heater with chimney pot for a tent or marquee

To make this process even easier, our BV range of indirect oil-fired fired heaters feature in-built oil tanks on units with up to 85kW of heating power, providing as much as 21 hours of fuel autonomy. For continuous operation, an external tank connection can be set up using the quick connector for flex pipes accessory, excluding our smallest BV 77 heater.

If you require tubing to distribute warm air in a targeted place or over a longer distance, this can be easily set up beforehand. It is also possible to use the 2-way outlet to duct warm air to multiple spaces from a single heater.

Infographic demonstrating outside installation of an Indirect Oil-fired Heater with digital thermostat for small, medium, or large tents and marquees

When is an electric heater the best option for heating a tent?

Electric heaters use powerful fans to distribute warm air, produce little noise, no fumes and are quick to install. They are often used to heat up smaller enclosed spaces.

Electric fan heaters are typically installed within a marquee, though they can be ducted where required. However, outdoor installation is less effective when compared to indirect oil-fired heating.

Electric heaters are widely used for their efficiency and practicality in a range of outdoor marquee and tent settings. They are a fast, clean and safe way to warm a small space.

The Ductable (B 18, B 30, and RS 40) and Non-ductable (B 2-3 and B 5-9-15-22) range from Master Heaters

Our electric heaters are 100% energy efficient and are the perfect technology for event and festival climate control. They provide a steady stream of warm air to help keep conditions comfortable.

As well as being an ideal fit for smaller spaces, electric heaters can be used to warm larger temporary structures. To do this, devices with a greater heating capacity should be used in tandem with a three-phase power supply.

The unit needs to be located inside the marquee for the duration it is in use, which means some light noise will be present as it works.

How do electric heaters work?

The heat is generated by heating elements, which are protected with a ceramic case and a stainless steel cover, keeping our heaters operational in all conditions for a long time. The strong fan takes the heat from the heating elements and distributes the hot air into the marquee.

The heating capacity of Master’s electrical heaters ranges from 2kW to 40kW. For devices 5kW and above you will need access to a three-phase power supply.

What accessories do you need to operate an electric heater?

To use an electric heater, you will only need access to a mains electricity supply. However, if you choose to use outdoor installation you will require:

  • Flex tubes

  • Three-phase power supply

  • Optional 2-way outlet to connect two tubes to one unit

  • Optional room thermostat

We provide a wide range of accessories for all Master heaters so that you can adjust each heater to your needs. Our electric heaters for tents are flexible, functional, easy-to-use and provide high heating efficiency.

Are electric heaters straightforward to operate?

Simply plug your heater in, switch it on and you are ready to go. Our experts will be able to advise you on which unit is suitable for the mains supply you have access to.

What is the best marquee heating solution for very large spaces?

For large shows, camps and field hospital climate control, the AIR-BUS is highly recommended. You can use as many as four flex tubes up to 15-30 metres in length to evenly distribute the warm air around complex structures or to different sides of the marquee.

In order to get your powerful AIR-BUS BV heaters online, it is important to connect the unit to an external oil tank. We offer two sizes of external tank as an optional accessory, however, this unit is compatible with other tanks as well.

Infographic: Outdoor installation of Master Air-Bus BV 471 Indirect Oil-fired heater. Suitable for one or more large tents or complex structures

Are tent heaters safe to use?

The Master heater range is safe for people to use. Electric heaters require less operational knowledge, you simply plug them in and turn them on. Indirect heaters require a little more looking after as the use of diesel or BioFuel is involved.

Are Master marquee tent heaters energy efficient?

Our electric heaters operate with 100% efficiency, while our indirect oil-fired heater range operates at between 86-92% efficiency.

To maximise the efficiency of our indirect heating technology, it is possible to install an air recycling kit. By reusing some of the warm air from inside the tent and mixing it with fresh air from outside, diesel use is reduced and operating costs are minimised.

What makes Master heaters stand out?

Master heaters have been trusted by many professional users and charity organisations for efficient tent heating for decades. We produce a range of powerful units suited to different environments.

High-quality units from Master are portable, durable and weatherproof in even the most extreme conditions. This means they have no trouble operating outside a tent or marquee in bad weather while blowing warm air inside via easily-attachable flexible ducting.

Product showcase: Master BV 77 Indirect Oil-fired heater suitable for smaller tents and marquees and the Air-Bus BV 471 Indirect Oil-fired heater for large tents and marquees

For our indirect oil-fired heaters, each of them can be used with either diesel or BioFuel.

To learn more about heating a marquee and our tent heating solutions, fill out the form below to get in touch with our team of experts. You can also use our heater recommendation tool to determine which units are most suited to your marquee environment.

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