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Code violation - depends upon where you live?

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by Don2222, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    So ... are you saying that only healthy people who refuse to take risks with their health have the right to breathe clean air or complain about polluted/toxic air?

    Would that apply to your family? After all your making that decision for them if you install an unvented appliance in your home. Would you ask them how they felt about it? Explain the potential risks? Ask them if they as a family would like to persue a healthier/safer way to install said appliance? Just wondering how this ends up when it is your family & their lives on the line, or would you justify the risk & not say a word knowing/believing that you are saving a few bucks & that makes the risk worth it?

    BTW if you are living in a 150 year old drafty house, I suggest you invest in air/vapor barrier as well as insulation. You may find the need/desire to take a risk with so much on the line vanishes when you can keep the cold out, as opposed to using the cold & drafts as an excuse to bring the exhausts in to the space where your family lives.

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  2. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Triple wythe brick structure with plaster and no balloon framing does not allow for the methods you think are appropriate in order to seal up a house to the point that it becomes unhealthy. Besides, I do not need an unvented appliance for heat, I want it for ambiance, which, in my opinion, is a realistic use of one.

    Do you explain to your kids that by eating mcdonalds they will become fat, do you explain to them the I'll effects that caffeine has on your body? Where's this line at?
  3. Garjan111

    Garjan111 New Member

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    Danno............I think unvented gas logs are perfect for you. Have a nice life!

    Gary
  4. pyrotom

    pyrotom New Member

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    I probably shouldn't bother adding the the proverbial fire here, since this issue is clearly a hot debate, puns intended.

    However, I apparently can't resist ;)

    Perfect hydrocarbon combustion produces CO2, O2 and H2O, which are all harmless. I inhale all of those things every day, whether I'm using an unvented heater or not.

    Is the argument here whether or not a properly working gas appliance can achieve near-perfect combustion? Or is this like a helmet law discussion, where we are debating what is legal vs. what is smart?

    We don't recommend installing unvented gas products, but they aren't the anti-Christ, either.
  5. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Nope, Tom. That's not how it works. They are either 100% bad for 100% of applications or 100% good for 100% of applications. There is no middle ground.
  6. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Would you kindly point out where anyone in this thread said they are 100% good for 100% of applications. I think you are left with the first part of that sentence only.
  7. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Nope, you are right. My point was, rather, that the people who were against them feel that a person who sees any value in them must believe that latter part. They can't understand that there is a middle ground.
  8. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Here code allows for no middle ground. Combustion appliances must be vented to the exterior of the structure period.
    Honestly I have never seen or heard of it being otherwise here, so code has said "vent it" for a very long time.
    However when I travel south of 49 I do see air conditioners in the attics of homes of all places. Now there is another one that makes absolutely no sense at all.
    Seriously code needs some serious work south of 49, as from all appearances code there is at a minimum 30 - 50 years behind the times.
    I have some serious concerns about code here but we have nothing even close to the mixed up mess of do whatever you want that exists south of 49. Not even close, difference between night & day etc.
    In other words if I had your code I would be thrilled to get the code that exists here now. It would be a huge improvement in the quality of work done.
    Time to give the lobbyists the boot & do what is right.
    Before you all gas yourselves because someone paid good money for the code to say that you can.
  9. Planethill

    Planethill New Member

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    Wow, what a debate!

    I installed that very stove in the OP's post about two years ago. We are very happy with it...BUT we also don't use it for primary heat (I have a wood stove and oil boiler for that), never have it running unattended or while asleep and have a CO detector in the room (and elsewhere throughout the house).

    Essentially it's in a back room of the house that is always cold. It's the farthest point from the wood burner and the last room on the boiler-loop, so it's always chilly. It only gets fired up when my wife wants to read in the evening away from the noise of the kids/TV which is about once a week in the winter.

    I totally get the risks and think one would be nuts to use it 24/7 or as a primary source of heat, especially since propane is expensive where I live ($5.15 a gallon on my last fill). However for my use case, used occasionally to heat a room for a few hours a week in a room that doesn't even have doors, in a 150 year old "loose" farm house, I have no concerns. YMMV.
  10. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Ok...this one has been done to death IMO, BUT...

    If you have a wood stove, do you have an OAK? No? You do know it's pulling oxygen out of your home, right? What about a pellet stove? Same thing...

    Have you ever burned a candle? An oil lamp? Do you know what kind of "stuff" those put into your air?

    Anyway. A VF isn't meant to be, nor should it be, a primary heat source. We used one as such for 2 years and never had moisture condensation on the windows or soot build up anywhere either. We did replace it with the Hampton Bay in my sig, it was a temp fix for a really scary old gravity heater when we couldn't afford a Dv stove (the Old House never had central heat, so it wasn't as simple as replacing a furnace-there wasn't one). And we use a LOT more NG now too.

    Now we have a VF in the Cottage as backup to the Lopi just in case we get caught away from the Cottage in a cold snap and can't get home to restoke the stove (since we have NO other heat source). If it was a long enough period of time, we would be in danger of having our pipes freeze and cause serious damage to the house. I can't remember the last time it was on. We have a CO detector in that room, and an air purifier too (more for dog dander, but it's there either way). We are also not air tight, you can feel the air come in around the door frame, so it's a bit like a window open a crack. I'd eventually like to replace it with a Thelin Gnome DV or the Berkshire from the Old house, when we have the $$ (and I can convince DH, who likes the VF).

    I wouldn't recommend or vilify a VF, I think they have their place, and it really depends on each situation.
  11. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    not wishing to take sides but can i ask a question?

    why is it that VF gas stoves get lambasted all the time but nobody ever seems to vilify kerosine heaters which have a far worse record for safety?
  12. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Maybe because (unless I'm thinking of the wrong ones), those aren't hard plumbed in? Or because people bring up the VF's and not those :p

    We had a kerosene torpedo heater for our garage and we ended up selling it because I couldn't breathe in there when it was on. Bought one run on propane and it's fine for me, we have used both on separate occasions under the Old House to defrost frozen pipes (it's on pillars, so we just set it right at the crawl space entrance outside and let it heat up underneath, usually a few hours later the pipes have defrosted-the kerosene one stunk up the house though, but it was better than crawling under there with a hair dryer).
  13. sticks

    sticks Member

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    I with the kerosene heater question I alsowould rather see someone put in a properly sized vent free appliance than a vented gas log in a fireplace poor draft. I here it all the time "my fireplace smokes so I will just put in a gas log". Some how the fireplace magically knows it is burning gas and will send it up the chimney. I have seen much higher c.o. readings from this than vent free logs.
  14. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    This is an old post, and has strayed all over the place, but I'd like to address a couple of points made above concerning vent-frees.

    Legality: Vent-frees are illegal to install anywhere in Canada, Australia or New Zealand. In the US, it is illegal to install vent-frees in California and Montana. Minnesota prohibits vent-free installation in any home built after 1980. County-wide bans exist in several states, including Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Kansas, Wyoming, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, Minnesota, Texas and New Hampshire. Austin, Texas and New York City have issued city-wide bans. Most States that don't ban vent-frees altogether prohibit their use in bedrooms, or as the sole source of heat in any dwelling.

    Comparison to Gas Ranges: This is rapidly turning into a moot point, as most states now require vented exhaust hoods for all new gas range installations. Nonetheless, there are still lots of old, unvented gas range installations out there, and this argument still comes up, so here are the facts:

    It turns out there is a huge difference in daily exhaust exposure to users of unvented gas cooking appliances as compared to users of vent-free gas heaters.

    According to a study by the State of Illinois summarized at http://gasunie.eldoc.ub.rug.nl/root/1999/2041533/?pFullItemRecord=ON A typical household gas range produces the exhaust from an average of 6.4 cubic feet (6,528 btu's) of gas per day (this average is computed on an annual usage rate, and includes the peak usage season during the Holidays).

    Vent-free manufacturers typically limit use to a maximum of three hours per day, so a 25,000 btu vent-free operated according to the manufacturer's guidelines introduces the exhaust from 75,000 btu's of gas into the breathing space every day during the 6-month heating season, for an annual average of 37,500 btu's per day (nearly 6 times the average daily emissions created by an unvented gas range).
  15. FanMan

    FanMan Feeling the Heat

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    Hi, I'm new here. I was going to say I was amazed how passionate people get about this subject, but then I've seen it all before elsewhere online on other subjects... but anyway: Most of what I've found online seems to indicate that vent free appliances are legal under most state codes (California being one obvious exception). On most sites I've visited, they're also reported to be legal for bedroom use if the device is under 10,000 BTY/h, and fore bathroom use under 6,000 BTU/h.

    On all the websites where people report health problems from using vent free appliances, they're talking about gas fireplaces and [heating] stoves, never about "blue flame" or catalytic heaters. This makes sense, as to get a yellow flame from natural gas or LP requires the air to be choked down so that it's starving for oxygen and burning inefficiently... no surprise that it's producing excess CO2, CO, and even soot. Any welder knows that you can coat a piece of metal with black carbon with a big yellow acetylene flame by turning off the oxygen. I don't think I like the idea of a vent free gas fireplace but perhaps the modern blue flame ones aren't so bad? Are the newer ones more efficient than older ones?

    My thought is to replace my aging kerosene burning forced hot air furnace with a largish direct vent gas fireplace in the living room/kitchen area, and wall mounted (DV or vent free, I'm still thinking about it) heaters in the bedrooms. It's an older drafty house, I usually sleep with a window cracked open all winter anyway, and I'm figuring louvered vents in the bedroom doors.
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Anybody that justifies a decision by saying that, "they'll leave a window cracked open to survice while they sleep" needs to slow down and rethink it. If the pollution is so bad that you can't live in there without ventilation then you certainly are not making a wise decision. Death from CO is not violent, you just stay asleep.

    I'm all for burning stuff. I love the smell of a campfire. When the power is out I have burned oil lamps, I love gas rangetops, etc. These are all interactive uses where you are there with the appliance involved in the operation. A DV space heater can be run all day (and night) automatically pumping pollution into your home over a prolonged period. That's the difference.

    I even like the smell of diesel exhaust. That doesn't mean I'll plumb the exhaust into my home for heat.


    Put me in the never install it camp. On principle.
  17. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Wait, you get to decide who can rant about this? Why is that? Is the fact that my cousin died from a malfunctioning gas appliance good enough reason for me to be able to comment?
  18. FanMan

    FanMan Feeling the Heat

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    Didn't you mean to say, "DV space heater can be run all day (and night) without automatically pumping pollution into your home over a prolonged period"? DV vents outside so it doesn't pollute the house.

    In my case, I decided not to go with anything VF... I now have a DV stove in the living room and two DV heaters, not installed yet, for the bedrooms.
    DAKSY likes this.
  19. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    They're still illegal here in California. Why they're considered safe in some states and not others I don't know, it's the same air. Indoor air pollution can be a problem with many things contributing to it so why take a chance on adding one more thing? Another by-product of vent-free is moisture which, in a humid climate, can also be a problem.

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