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Would you stake your life, right now, on the condition of your equipment?
NEWS | Sept. 30, 2019

FOSH: Taking Ownership of Fuel-burning Heaters

BLUF: Heater maintenance should be performed year-round, and heed cautions about COTS fuel-burning systems.

A Soldier dismantles and repairs an HDT SHC35 “bullet heater."
Photo by Capt. Gabrielle Hildebrand

Dear Editor,

As a Power Generation/Environmental Systems LAR, I’m often asked to assist with systems maintained by the 1D, 91C and 91J MOSs (ground support maintainers). Although most fuel-burning heaters are  maintained by TACOM-LCMC, I’m familiar with them.

I’ve noticed very little emphasis is placed on heater maintenance until it’s winter and units are getting ready for the field.

Heater maintenance is a year-round  effort, and should be part of a unit’s preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS). Fuel gets contaminated, condensation builds up in fuel cells and causes  rust, and rubber hoses crack and dry-rot while sitting in the motor pool or CONEX.

But there’s also another issue that I’ve observed, and that’s the amount of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) fuel-burning systems that are being purchased through HDT (formerly DRASH) or other manufacturers. This leads to several problems, such as finding replacement parts or TMs. It also creates  safety issues, like fire hazards and the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, LARs can’t make repairs on system that haven’t been properly tested and vetted by the Army.

There are systems that are manufactured by HDT and approved as systems of record (SORs). But just because an item has an NSN, doesn’t mean it’s an SOR.

Year-round PMCS of Army- approved heaters is the right way to go!

Sammy Harden
407th AFSB C5ISR Support

Editor's Note: You’ve got us fired up, too, Mr. Harden!​ 

As Mr. Harden points out, most COTS equipment hasn’t gone through Army TM verifications or validations to make sure it meets military standards. Finding parts and TMs is also tougher. Stick with Army-approved heaters and put Soldier safety first.

For more guidance and info on authorized heaters, see the PS Magazine article on the family of space heaters on Pages 46-51 of PS 758:

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