Question about ventless propane wall heaters

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by willow_girl, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Does anyone have one of these? Do you use it as your primary heat source? Have you ever had a problem with oxygen depletion?

    I ask because the guy setting my propane tank said my heater isn't safe as a primary heat source, and right now my wood furnace is FUBAR (cracked heat exchanger, among other things) and I'm not sure it can be fixed (got a guy coming out next weekend to take a shot at it).

    I was hoping to be able to use the wall unit if the woodstove's shot. Now, I don't know WHAT to do! :(
     
  2. sue currin

    sue currin Well-Known Member

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    I have one in a very tight house. I love it, works great, no problems.
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Unvented gas heaters below 40000 BTUs are supposed to be acceptable
     
  4. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    If the flame is adjusted correctly, (Blue, NOT yellow) and your house is not airtight, then it should be safe. If youre worried just open a window an inch or so for fresh air. You can also buy carbon monoxide detectors fairly cheap. New regulations dont allow ventless heaters in sleeping areas but its been done for years with few problems if the heater is in good condition. Most homes, especially older ones, have enough air leaks to be safe. If you have ceiling fans run them too so the heat will be blown back down to the floor level where its needed
     
  5. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

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    We used to heat a two story 1800 sq ft house with three of these. One upstairs and two ventless fireplaces downstairs. They were our primary source of heat for 3 years. As fas as I know, the new owner is still using them. We were generally comfortable and had no problems with oxygen depletion, but its a good idea to leave a window open just a bit to be perfectly safe. We had a doggy door and the dogs were in and out so it wasnt an issue for us. :rolleyes:
     
  6. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Thanks everybody! I feel so much better now ... LOL

    The unit I have is only 25,000 BTUs, the guy who installed my propane tank believed it was working correctly. When we used it before, 4-5 years ago, we never had a problem with it, but used it mostly to supplement the woodstove ... fast heat 'til the fire took off! :D

    My house is well-insulated but probably has some air leaks; in fact, the heater is about 4' from a sliding glass doorwall that's drafty as hell ... I usually nail a quilt up over it in winter to insulate it a bit!
     
  7. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    It’s probably not a good idea to use a ventless heater if you have a “tight” house. The moisture put into the air of your home from these types of heater is tremendous. I believe I read that for every gallon of propane you burn, you are putting a gallon of water into the air of your home. At the least, this can result in frosty windows, at the worst this can result in mold and mildew problems.
     
  8. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .............I've got two Dearborns , both bigger than 4k btu , and I've been using the smaller one for the last eleven years as my primary heater with no problems as far as I know . The larger is capable of having a thermostat connected to it for temperature control . Also , when using one of these heaters you are really better off with allowing some outside air into your living quarters to maintain a safe level of O2 and diminish the level of CO2 from the stove . Also , INstall a CO2 detector , Please !! fordy... :)
     
  9. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    well thats good. I have to run 2 humidifiers all winter to keep enough humidity in the air. My 2 humidifiers put 15 gallons of water in the air per day, and the windows dont fog either.
     
  10. BellsBunnies

    BellsBunnies Well-Known Member

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    We have used one for the past 4 years without any problems.
     
  11. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    we use them for emcy, heat, and sometimes for extra comfort/fast heat. no problems. the new ones have multiple safeties, we also install a couple of co2 monitors just for extra safety. condensation building up inside on cool windows is a sign of maybe not enough vent air in a tight house....not a problem in my house.....
     
  12. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    we used one last year wasnt crazy about going to bed with it on we just went to central h/ac elecrric im shure ill sleep better
     
  13. neolady

    neolady Well-Known Member

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    I assume your heater is new. If not, do some research - I do recall there were fatalities and near fatalities about a decade back using propane/gas heaters and also failures with the L-Vent pipe.

    Somebody above suggested installing a carbon monoxide detector and I cannot stress strongly enough that you install at least one on each floor.
     
  14. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Do install detectors, but they are CO detectors not CO2 (carbon dioxide) detectors. L vent is for oil B vent is for gas. Guess you could use L vent for gas, it's superior to B vent, but never B for oil. Many gas appliances used to just dump the exhaust back into the house if there was a venting problem, and as gas hasn't got much carbon to begin with there isn't alot left to make CO ........if it's burning right as said. Cabin I think you're thinking of oil converting one gallon of fuel oil to one gallon of water, it's actually a tad more ,and that vapour is too much to have inside a house humidifier or not.
     
  15. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Around here folks have huge problems with mold from running those. 1 gallon of fuel puts around 4 pounds of water into the air [I heard last week on the radio]. that water is absorbed into the walls and grows mold.
     
  16. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have 2 but are in AL with central heat pump so need not depend on them. I plan to only use them as ambiance or to quickly warm house so heat pump can maintain it from there and keep CO monitors around. They're illegal in Canada and a few states where people are likely to use them for major heating. I almost tore them out and sure wouldn't use them as primary heat but that's me.
     
  17. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We used one for about 3 yr to totally heat our house. I had a ceiling fan in the room where it was located and also a detector. Ours was thermostat controlled. Also if the oxygen got too low it had a safety switch that would shut the heater off automaticly.

    It would dry out house out so bad that I had to sleep with a window up about an inch or two.

    After we installed the Hardy furnace outside, we quit using the ventless.
     
  18. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    We've used 2 of them for about 14 years off and on. Some years we used wood in addition to the ventless propane heater. Ours is a Martin and we've never had problems with moisture. In fact, just the oposite, it dries things out so much I lots of times put on a pan of water to put some moisture back into the air. Maybe different brands cause the moisture in the house. What brand is yours?
     
  19. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have no experience with them, but I too have heard from others about all the moisture they put out as part of the combustion. Folks really complain about using them for heating a shop.

    I suspect the problem there is they get turned on, heat the place up, put out the water vapor, and then get turned off. As the shop cools down again, the water now condenses on the tools?

    --->Paul
     
  20. tsdave

    tsdave Grand Marshal

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    I used one for several years as primary/secondary heat. It was nice.
    Always had a CO detector with battery backup going. I think it had
    low O2 shutoff. Around here it gets so dry in the winter that it makes
    you itch, and the heater helped vs wood or electric. We used to put
    a large pot of water on the woodstove , dont see much difference.

    Have someone check it out, or buy a new one (their cheap). My brother
    used one also for primary heat many years. He left a window cracked, my
    house was so drafty it didnt need it. But i did hear that dirty ones would
    set off the CO detectors.

    BTW some CO sensors have digital readout of CO levels, not just an alarm.