Direct Vent Heaters?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Nette, Jul 25, 2004.

  1. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I remodeled an old family farmhouse this spring, and have enjoyed using it on week-ends. I'd like to continue using it this winter, but I'm afraid that the electric baseboard heat may be cost prohibitive. I had thought about using an unvented wall unit, turned on low, in order to prevent pipes from freezing, but my brother told me they put a lot of moisture in the air, and that continuous use could cause a mold problem. Then I read about direct vent units, and they sounded almost too good to be true. Does anyone have any experience with these? My downstairs heated space is about 2000 square feet, some of which I could close off if necessary. There are closed-up fireplaces in every room, and I was considering the direct vent fireplace insert for the living room, which is centrally located in the house. If you have any experience with these, please share your knowledge.
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've seen several different gas wall vent heaters that worked very well. All I've seen blew the warm air directly out the front into the room without any duct work. Usually they are not large enough to heat a house as large as yours but more than one can be installed without much hassle.
    Fireplaces are great to look at and enjoy the flames, but without a good damper, they will draw nearly all the heat up the flue. If you are only going to be there part time a woodburning fireplace insert would put out the extra heat you need when you are staying there.
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I've used them. They work very well. If you can put a couple in downstairs a lot of the heat will move upstairs. You can use fans to distribute air more evenly. Or you can close off rooms and only heat one area. Make sure you get the right one for your gas type, natural gas or propane. They are fairly easy to install. I've done it myself. The hardest part to me was putting in the vent. I had to make a hole in the wall. If you go thru the chimney you need to check and make sure the pipe and the chimney are a good fit. One of the nicest things about these units is it doesn't use room air for combustion and it doesn't put CO or CO2 back into the room.
     
  4. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Direct vent heaters are excellent---except for one thing----everyone that I have known about has had the pilot light blow out on occasion. Perhaps it is just from our Kansas wind, but everyone did indeed have the pilot blow out.

    The direct vent wall furnace that I had vented through the west wall, but there the flue was exposed to north winds.

    Where I used to work had a south vent, but I suppose wind would hit the building next to it (just 4 or 5 feet away) and create gusts which put the pilot out frequently.

    These were standing pilot units, not electronic ignition units.

    I'm not sure that I would trust a standing pilot unit on a building that was unattended.
    Just my opinion.
     
  5. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, guys. These are the types of things I need to know. Whatever I install will definitely be unattended. This house is located about 10 miles from my home, and while I go there several times a week, it would be unattended most of the time. I was looking for something I could leave on and primarily keep the pipes from freezing. It would be nice if it would also keep the house warm enough so that when I do go up there, I could warm it up quickly to a comfortable temperature with either that unit or with the baseboard units. I don't mind using the baseboard heat--I just don't have any idea what to expect in the way of cost. The baseboard heat was last used about 16 years ago, and my grandmother used that exclusively. When I remodeled I put in energy efficient replacement windows, and with the upstairs being closed off, I'm hoping the house will retain heat better. Some of the internet sites have touted the direct vent units as an economical alternative to baseboard heat. Some of the units look simple and boxy, but some look like woodstoves or fireplaces. A site with some examples: http://www.nbmc.com/vanguard/

    (P.S., I'm definitely not interested in a central system with ductwork.)