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We have two propane wall heaters that were here when we bought the place. It also has an electric furnace. There is a 990 gal propane tank that came w/ it as well. We haven't looked into using the wall heaters, but I am thinking about it for this winter. The electric heat is very high and our vents REALLY suck. They make us sick.
I guess I have a few questions---
first: What do I say when I am calling these places for pricing etc. I don't want to sound completely ignorant(which I am when it comes to gas)...and I don't want to get taken advantage of.

Second: Will they check the lines and heater to make sure they are in working order, or do I have to have someone else do that? The heaters are no less then 5 yrs old and no more the 10 yrs old. They have not been in use for at least 4 years, though.

third: How well do they heat? We have two in a very open home. they would be heating about1000-1500 sq ft...then using the electric furnace at night.

fourth: Can you smell the gas? My daughter gets severe headaches when she smells any type of gas..

Hmmm...I'm sure I have more, but that will do for now!

Thanks!
Christina
 

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My understanding is that the unvented wall heaters shouldn't be used to heat a living space these days. Just for shops & out buildings. At least in many parts of the country.

My understanding is that many are actually installed in a house, and law might be 'grey' on that issue......

They throw a lot of water vapor into the house, so you might have problems with condensation.

They don't smell real bad; but it is an open flame inside the house burning lp - so there will be some smell, and you will be using some O2, adding a bit of burnt gas.... Brother in Law has one in the farm house they bought. Works fine to heat the kitchen up a bit, I can notice it but doesn't smell real bad, I don't think it is a legal install 'here' but then no one has bothered with it.

The noose has been tightening on LP suppliers & most other businesses the past 5 years, more & more regulations. Many are getting down to filling only their own tanks, and inspecing any tank that is empty. Their state codes or their insurance co may be on their heels about this.

Some tanks are leased, not owned by you; be sure you are indead the owner of the tank; if it was just leased from one of the companies, only they will fill it. Other companies will offer to bring one of their tanks for lease....

Inspecting things beyond the regulator likely will cost a bit, but most often the LP company will do so if you ask. If not, an air conditioning/ heating place will.

If this is a leaky uninsulated type old farm house then the air exchanges pretty good on it's own & it will not be any trouble. If the house was super insilated & wrapped & remodeled of late & there is little airflow (leaks) then I'd be concerned about the unvented part.

--->Paul
 

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first: What do I say when I am calling these places for pricing etc. I don't want to sound completely ignorant(which I am when it comes to gas)...and I don't want to get taken advantage of.

First ask them their per gallon price, then ask them their per gallon price if you "pre-buy", meaning that you purchase more than your tank will hold of the propane with the hope that it will get you through the whole winter at a set price PRIOR to winter, in my area you have to pre-buy before the end of September.

Second: Will they check the lines and heater to make sure they are in working order, or do I have to have someone else do that? The heaters are no less then 5 yrs old and no more the 10 yrs old. They have not been in use for at least 4 years, though.

In my area the propane guys will fill the tank and that is it, they have been known to be helpful in lighting a tough to light pilot light but they don't inspect heaters you need to get a heating professional out to do that.

third: How well do they heat? We have two in a very open home. they would be heating about1000-1500 sq ft...then using the electric furnace at night.

I prefer propane over electric and find it is a nice even heat.

fourth: Can you smell the gas? My daughter gets severe headaches when she smells any type of gas..

The ONLY time I can smell the propane is when the tank is WAY low like down to 10% or less, then you can smell it and it can be pretty strong.

Margie
 

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dk_40207 said:
The electric heat is very high and our vents REALLY suck. They make us sick.
Vents? huh? What type of electric heat do you have? It should not need venting since it doesn't produce any by products.

Unvented propane wall heaters are going to fill the house with carbon monoxide and I would not use them without several CO monitors around the house. Coming from cold climates I find them unacceptable, but maybe you can get away with them in Indiana if your house leaks air like a sieve.

Btw, assuming prices haven't increased least year, they were around 1.70/gal last I checked. So filling that tank isn't going to be cheap.
 

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Don't worry about sounding like a newbie - go ahead and tell the folks you are new to propane after they tell you the price and ask the rest of the questions.

You will probably have to hire a separate company to "inspect the lines" (not sure I know what lines these are from your post) but you can always ask the gas suppliers if they do that too.

I am with everyone else on the unvented situation - don't use unvented heaters in an enclosed area! This is a recipe for disaster.

Agree with the condensation comments as well.

Propane is a great, safe gas when used properly and it's BTUs/hour are right up there with oil (I think it's just slightly less efficient than oil but can't remember right now - is it 96,000BTU/hour for propane does anyone know??).

Propane is naturally odorless but has an odor added to it (used to be garlic but I'm not sure if that is still the case) so you can detect leaks, otherwise you should not smell anything when the heaters are functioning properly. I would venture to guess that your daughter isn't really bothered by the *smell* of gas rather than the gas itself, with which she is associating the smell.

Propane here is well over $2.00/gallon (I think it's near $3.00/gallon but we buy it so infrequently that I couldn't even tell you right now). We only use it for cooking & to run the clothes dryer and we own our own tanks and take them to be filled as needed (no rental fees). Everything else here is oil or solar-powered electric.
 

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DK, can you tell us what type of heaters these are? Some of the posters are right in suggesting caution with unvented propane heaters, particularly older models. Are we talking about what I'd call a wall furnace which is about a foot wide, goes from floor to ceiling, and has vents at the top and bottom, or are they a smaller unit about 2 feet square and has an exposed horizontal burner behind a protective grille?

Call around and get some prices for propane, then compare them to your price for electricity. Depending on the local prices one may be cheaper than the other, but they'll probably both be at least 'expensive.' Propane isn't usually regarded as one of the lower cost heating fuels in the colder areas of the country.
 

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Propane on "pre buy" is going for 1.99 a gallon. Winter prices last year averaged 2.29. I was told that this year they are -starting- at 2.29 and most likely will be closer to 2.50 a gallon in December. I like the heat of propane, but I do not like the expense! Install yourself a wood stove as the primary heating source - it is more work but will save you $$$ in the long run.
 

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cfabe said:
Propane isn't usually regarded as one of the lower cost heating fuels in the colder areas of the country.

I'm not saying LP is cheap, but compared to heating oil & electricity up here in MN, it's about the lowest game in town. Unless you are on a ng line.

--->Paul
 

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Here in TX propane was 2 bux a gallon last year. I have no wood lot available so bought a pellet stove. Saved A BUNCH over using the propane only the winter before. Heating with oil unheard of here; most use natural gas but it's not available out in the country.

Lew
 
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