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  #1  
Old 11/06/11, 05:37 AM
WolfWalksSoftly's Avatar  
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Tell Me About Ventless Infrared Propane Heaters

I was given one and have never had one before. Why can't they be used with the small refillable/exchange propane tanks and a regulator?
Any hints/advice would be appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 11/06/11, 07:13 AM
 
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I "think" you can do that, just be sure to use a reducer to hook up to the propane tank to the heater.
We have a 5 burner ventless propane heater in our single wide mobile home. When we had our propane tank (the big one outside) it heats wonderfully. Don't have the outside tank now, so we will probably be doing the 5 gal. tanks w/reducer this year and just use less burners.

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  #3  
Old 11/06/11, 07:15 AM
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Ventless gas heaters are very efficient due to the fact that all of the heat generated by the flame is delivered into the room where the heater is. There is no "lost" heat that goes outdoors via vents or a chimney. 100% of the heat stays in the house.

Propane gas is a tiny bit hotter than natural gas. But it is not enough to make much difference which heat source you have.

All ventless heaters sold in the USA must be certified by the AGA and must be 99.9% efficient in the burning of the gas. Unburned gas is dangerous in the home and therefore these regulations are important. Ventless burners are equipped with what is called an Oxygen Depletion Sensor. The ODS constantly monitors the oxygen content of the air in the area near the flame. All flames consume oxygen regardless of what fuel is used and, if not watched carefully, could use up enough of the oxygen in the room to be dangerous to living creatures (us). The ODS will automatically shut off the flame if the oxygen content of the air around the burner drops below a safe level. If you will look at the pilot light and the spark ignighter you will see one (or sometimes two) metal tubes near the pilot flame. That's the ODS. In the off season when the heater is not in use little critters like tiny spiders like to build their home in tiny holes and openings so the owner MUST be very diligent in cleaning the burner and pilot area EVERY year before firing that baby up for the first time. These little holes and openings are vital to the operation of the ODS.

Since propane gas is heavier than air it has a tendency to fall toward the floor and accumulate in low places in and around the heater. This is the biggest fault with the use of propane gas in unventilated spaces (your house). When using propane in any appliance it is very important to keep the pilot light lit and working properly. If you want to conserve the propane gas and turn off the pilot each time you use the heater be very careful and make sure that the on/off valve does not leak and that there are no leaks in the piping system. A continuous pilot flame will ignite any leakage and yes it would cause a tiny explosion of leaked gas. Very tiny - you may not even notice it. But that is a gazillion times safer than having the gas leak, undetected, for many hours and THEN have an explosion.

Most areas of the USA have safety regulations concerning the use of portable propane tanks inside the home. I think this is due to many explosions over the years from leaky piping systems and the fact that your home is considered a closed or unventilated space. Any temporary or portable gas supply is subjected to movement and the piping system is prone to leakage. If there is a fire or explosion in your house and the inspectors find portable tanks in use your homeowner's insurance is usually void. Please don't ask me how the Amish folks get away with all the little propane bottles in their homes.

Please be aware that your dealing with an open flame in your house whenever these appliances are used. All open flames need oxygen or they will go out. While the flame is drawing the oxygen into it, it is also drawing other things into the flame - dust, lint, dog/cat hair, off gassing nylon carpet fumes, paint drying fumes, hair spray fumes, perfumes, and the list goes on and on. Consequently an open flame heating appliance will produce odd odors from time to time. I don't think this is dangerous, in moderation, but it sure smells bad when it happens.

Also, (and then I'll sit down and shut up) a gas flame always creates water vapor. It's a chemical thing that we have no control over. Some of the ventless heating appliances will create enough water vapor in a closed space (your house) to cause excess condensation on the walls, ceiling, and of course windows. Expect it. Sometimes this moisture will assist in the creation of nasty mold behind walls that you cannot see.

When using a ventless appliance always, always, always, make sure there is some ventilation in the house no mater how cold it is outside.

Hope this helps. Relax and enjoy the ventless appliance but be diligent in your safety checks.

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Last edited by SillyMe; 11/06/11 at 07:21 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11/06/11, 07:21 AM
 
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I spoke with my BIL who is a licensed gas technician about this, the portable 20lb tanks hooked up to a ventless heater.
He said you can but its against regulations to have these portable tanks inside your house, in these parts anyway. The tanks are explosive devices.
Insurance companies might not honor a claim if something happened because of it.

Long story short, the heater is suppose to be hard piped from an outside tank.

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Old 11/06/11, 09:29 AM
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have one love it saved our butts durning the ice storm of 09. no power for 21 days '

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  #6  
Old 11/06/11, 10:10 AM
 
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Hi,
I have one of these for power outage emergencies.

It works well and and seems well made.

I have it arranged to use either a 5 gallon tank (located outside), or to hook up to my large propane tank.

The one I have has a oxygen sensor on it that measures oxygen level in the room, and shuts the heater off if the level gets to low.

Have to pass on that I have a fireman friend, and that he is adamantly against unvented heaters in homes. He is an engineer and knows the design features they have for safety, but he still thinks that they are a risk not work taking.


Gay

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Old 11/06/11, 10:26 AM
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Gary, what all do I need to set it up with a small tank.....this will be use in the event of power outage as well. Thanks

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  #8  
Old 11/06/11, 10:33 AM
 
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The smaller bottles don't have enough pressure to last as long as the same amount in a larger tank, i.e. 5 gallons in a small tank only burn for 2 1/2 gallons worth as the pressure equalizes faster than 5 gallons off the top of a 250 gallon tank that has 245 more gallons pressing behind it. (I know the numbers aren't correct as they only fill to 80% etc, but using them as an example) Or that is our experience, YMMV.

Our small tank is also rigged to our line outside so we don't have tanks inside.

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  #9  
Old 11/06/11, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by CarolT View Post
The smaller bottles don't have enough pressure to last as long as the same amount in a larger tank
To be clear, propane is stored as a liquid. The pressure is the same in small tanks as in large tanks. The difference is in the volume of liquid stored.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfWalksSoftly
I was given one and have never had one before. Why can't they be used with the small refillable/exchange propane tanks and a regulator?
Any hints/advice would be appreciated.
This brochure will tell you everything you need to know.

http://www.mrheater.com/upload/productspotlight.pdf

Here's the hose you need.

http://www.google.com/products/catal...ed=0CHcQ8wIwAQ
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  #10  
Old 11/06/11, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Also, (and then I'll sit down and shut up) a gas flame always creates water vapor. It's a chemical thing that we have no control over. Some of the ventless heating appliances will create enough water vapor in a closed space (your house) to cause excess condensation on the walls, ceiling, and of course windows. Expect it. Sometimes this moisture will assist in the creation of nasty mold behind walls that you cannot see.
And this is precisely why I will never have one in any house I own.

We had two in a company house we we used to live in. We never had any visible signs of water vapor. Until we moved out, that is. Anything that had been up against an exterior wall had mold on both it and the wall.
We also had this odd blackish tinge on an outside west wall. Thought it was an optical illusion until we found the mold inside.
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  #11  
Old 11/06/11, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by SolarGary View Post
Have to pass on that I have a fireman friend, and that he is adamantly against unvented heaters in homes. He is an engineer and knows the design features they have for safety, but he still thinks that they are a risk not work taking.
I'm a former firefighter, an engineer, and have the experience of living with a ventless heater as my primary source of heat for 3 1/2 years. The safety features included with a ventless heater are okay, but they don't go far enough. You should also use a carbon monoxide detector when using a ventless heater. I'll go so far as to say that it's not worth the risk to operate a ventless heater without a CO detector, but if the furnace is sized and installed properly it should be safe. Our CO alarm never sounded, but I still wouldn't want to operate a ventless heater without one.

I've seen some poor installations, which can make for a dangerous situation. Follow a few simple rules for a safe unit.

  • Make sure that you are using a heater that's the right size for the job; not too big and not too small. There are sizing calculators available online. Do it at a few websites until you get reasonable agreement. It's okay to oversize by 25% or so, but don't get a heater twice as big as you need.
  • Allow at least 50 cubic feet living volume for each 1,000 btu/hour gross unvented heating capacity, which includes the sum of all unvented gas appliances (i.e., include your gas range). For example, for 10,000 btu/hour allow at least 500 cubic feet of living volume, and for 20,000 btu/hour allow at least 1,000 cubic feet of living volume.
  • Do not count areas that can be isolated by a door in your living volume calculation. That usually means that a ventless heater can't be used in a bathroom or bedroom, and that bathroom & bedroom volumes can't be included in the calculation.
  • Install heater with proper clearances to adjacent walls, floor, and ceiling. Refer to manufacturer installation instructions.
  • Be sure that you are using the proper design fuel gas (i.e., don't use propane in a natural gas heater), and that it is properly regulated.
  • Use a carbon monoxide detector. They are inexpensive and easy to find. Walmart carries them in the smoke detector department, as do most hardware stores and home centers.

In the 3 1/2 years I used a ventless heater I didn't observe any condensation problems. If you have that problem I would suggest verifying furnace capacity.
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Last edited by Nevada; 11/06/11 at 08:45 PM.
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  #12  
Old 11/06/11, 08:43 PM
 
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I have three of them in key rooms. Never had a problem in 15 years. Only other heat is wood. I also was a firefighter (retired) for 20 years on our local FD. There are a lot of these heaters set up around here. Largest Amish community in the country. In the twenty years as a FF I have never had a run on one of these heaters. I couldn't even guess how many fires I have been to because of wood burners. It all comes down to proper installation and paying attention. I once saw a heater hooked up with a garden hose and screw clamps. The Amish owner told me it was like that for at least 5 years.

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Old 11/06/11, 08:48 PM
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NEVER EVER use an unvented gas heater.

If you need an expert's voice, here it is:
http://www.advancedenergy.org/buildi...s_heaters.html

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Old 11/06/11, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by achrap View Post
I have three of them in key rooms. Never had a problem in 15 years. Only other heat is wood. I also was a firefighter (retired) for 20 years on our local FD. There are a lot of these heaters set up around here. Largest Amish community in the country. In the twenty years as a FF I have never had a run on one of these heaters. I couldn't even guess how many fires I have been to because of wood burners. It all comes down to proper installation and paying attention. I once saw a heater hooked up with a garden hose and screw clamps. The Amish owner told me it was like that for at least 5 years.
Holmes County? Having grown up in Coshocton & Wooster I'm more than familiar.
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Old 11/06/11, 09:09 PM
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If you need an expert's voice, here it is:
http://www.advancedenergy.org/buildi...s_heaters.html
Excuse me if I don't put too much faith in the "expert" opinion on gas heaters, when said "expert" is a group of ELECTRIC companies

Quote:
The company was set up and still operates to work with member utilities on energy efficiency and conservation projects. Our North Carolina member utilities are Progress Energy [formerly Carolina Power & Light (CP&L)], Duke Energy, Nantahala Power & Light Company, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation and Dominion North Carolina Power.
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Old 11/06/11, 09:14 PM
 
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Might be, Nevada, but I know we kept records one year and we would have to go refill the 100# tank often (and it wouldn't burn until it was emptied) where the 250# tank would run until pretty well out. With 2 100#ers you'd think at least one would operate correctly if it isn't a common problem? It didn't really burn more, but wouldn't empty the tank.

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Old 11/06/11, 09:30 PM
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Thanks everyone, but I just want to know how to set this up with a small tank to use in the event power goes out. It does mount on a wall, but dont know how many BTU's it is or the model # It is a Desa. Have been to their web site, not much help with what I want to do with it.

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Old 11/06/11, 09:31 PM
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Ours was hooked up to a seperate tank it was a 100 gal tank we bought at lowes . It lasted 7 days but it ran 24 hours a day The day it ran out one of the local hardwares had just got open back up so we refill it ,

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Old 11/06/11, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CarolT View Post
Might be, Nevada, but I know we kept records one year and we would have to go refill the 100# tank often (and it wouldn't burn until it was emptied) where the 250# tank would run until pretty well out. With 2 100#ers you'd think at least one would operate correctly if it isn't a common problem? It didn't really burn more, but wouldn't empty the tank.
Most likely you were drawing propane too fast for a 100# tank. Rapid evaporation can cool propane until it won't flow. The 250# tank provided more heat exchange area so it kept flowing.
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Old 11/06/11, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by WolfWalksSoftly View Post
Thanks everyone, but I just want to know how to set this up with a small tank to use in the event power goes out. It does mount on a wall, but dont know how many BTU's it is or the model # It is a Desa. Have been to their web site, not much help with what I want to do with it.
It's got to have a model number somewhere.

You will need to pipe it to the outside with black iron pipe. For a space heater 1/2 inch pipe should be satisfactory. Use pipe unions anywhere that you might need to tighten the pipe run later.

For a regulator I used a two-sided RV regulator, so it would switch to the other tank automatically when the first tank ran out. For emergency use any regulator will do, even a BBQ grill regulator. They will carry black iron pipe at any home center or hardware store, but you'll probably need to go to an RV supply to discuss regulators.
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