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Vent-Free Propane Heater for back bedroom?

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by zanp, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. zanp

    zanp New Member

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    Live in a 3 bedroom log cabin and heat it with a wood stove insert. The wife and I are planning to move to the downstairs bedroom since we have another little one on the way. This bedroom does not get much of the heat from the wood stove so I need to figure out an alternative heat source for this room.

    It has baseboard heat but I don't like baseboard. Lowes is starting to put their vent-free propane heaters on sale and I am considering buying a 10K BTU unit for the back bedroom. I will purchase a 100lb propane tank as my source of propane.

    Questions?
    -Are these units considered safe?
    -If the propane tank is going to be on the outside wall adjacent to where the heater is, can I buy a 4' gas line kit for easy connection to the propane tank (w/ two stage regulator) or do I need to hire a licensed plumber?
    -What is another heat source I should consider?

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  2. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I don't like them. Perfect combustion puts out CO and H20. Imperfect combustion adds a little CO to that. Perfect combustion is unlikely.

    I would not recommend running one in a house that's anywhere near tight. I believe the directions that come with them even recommend cracking a window to supply fresh air.

    The H20 output can be substantial enough to cause windows to fog also. That much water is not good for any house.
  3. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Are you saying you have a 2-story (or 1-1/2 story) house with 2 bedrooms upstairs and one bedroom on the first floor? Or is this 3rd bedroom in the basement?
  4. zanp

    zanp New Member

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    Two story log cabin. Two bedrooms upstairs that are heated nicely with the wood stove. Wood stove on 1st floor with cathedral ceiling connected to second floor.

    The 3rd bedroom (the one we want to move into) is on the first floor. It is typically colder than the rest of the house.

    Our house is not tight at all and we run a humidfier to add moisture from the wood stove dry heat.

    If the propane heater is not ideal, what are our alternatives? I would prefer something with a thermostat.
  5. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Well your application may be a suitable one then if you need the moisture. I'd suggest that you have a good CO meter in place though.

    I always consider a direct vent gas appliance a better option though. There is little chance of indoor air contamination.

    There have also been some posts here about "ductless" heat pumps. You may want to consider that.

    Good luck.
  6. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    I am learning more towards getting the heated air you already have moving where you want it. Having you tried using a small floor fan pulling cold air out of the cold bedroom? Do you have a ceiling fan in that cathedral ceiling to move the heated air around?

    What is your sq. ft.? What is the brand/model of your insert?
  7. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I'm not a big fan of the ventless propane heaters . . . forget even the water issues . . . for me it comes down to the safety . . . I know they have safety features, but unfortunately safety features can fail and it just doesn't seem especially wise to have anything that burns not vent its product of combustion to the outside . . . which is perhaps one of the reasons the State of Maine will not approve ventless gas heaters in daycares and areas where small children may be present.

    Now if you were talking a vented gas heater . . . I would not have an issue . . . providing that smoke and CO detectors were also installed.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I would not install a vent free in a bedroom-even the smaller ones approved for that.
    They consume air from the room.

    Of course, that is just my opinion.
  9. zanp

    zanp New Member

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    Log cabin is around 1600 sq ft (air volume much larger than typical 1600 house with the cathedral area). There is a ceiling fan in the cathedral ceiling. My insert is a large Regency I3100. I also have a kerosene monitor heater adjacent to the insert that kicks on when the temps fall below 28 outside. I am learning that cabins are not the tightest or most insulated. One other tidbit is the house sits on top of a block wall and concrete floor basement that I am in the process of insulating and adding a small englander stove. The basement is currently around 37 degrees in the winter time. The floor joists are insulated but this cold basement does not help with my current heat situation. Having a toasty basement should help.

    From everyones post, I am thinking that $104 ventless heater from Lowes is not worth it. I can't put a price on health and safety.

    How much do vented propane wall heaters cost? 10K BTU units. and can you hook them up to a 100-lb propane tank?

    Maybe I should wait and see how the heated basement affects things and use a portable electric oil filled radiator in the short term.
  10. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    On that ceiling fan, do you have it blowing up? It should be blowing 'up' for winter, 'down' for summer. Also, have you tried the small floor fan pulling cold air out of the cold bedroom?
  11. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    X2...My opinion as well...
  12. zanp

    zanp New Member

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    Yes on the ceiling fan direction.

    I have tried the floor fan but it was probably three feet off the ground and it was when that door had been closed for days so it started off frigid in that room. I kind of like a chilly bedroom but the wife would prefer a little more warmth.
  13. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Good on the ceiling fan!

    Bad on the floor fan - you want to get low, down to the floor where the cold air is. Best bet would be to just leave that 3rd bedroom door open during the day and then about an hour before bedtime get a fan moving any cooler air out of the bedroom.

    Personally we use just a small 6" fan on 'normal' cold days. When it gets below 15 degrees and a decent windy day we can opt to use this beast:

    [​IMG]
  14. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    Vent free is safe when used properly in the right setting and NOT Malfunctioning. They are not legal for bedrooms or bathrooms (very few exceptions). My suggestion is always "If you can vent, vent"

    That being said, I heat my whole 1500 SF house with a 30K btu vent free heater. I have CO2 detectors out the wazoo and I love the moisture they put in the air during the cold dry winters.
  15. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    As others have mentioned it's not kosher to install in a bedroom.

    My story, was going to a friends new house for the first time as soon as i walked in the door i noticed the smell of burnt propane/gas. He has a 30k btu unit in the living room of a 1200 sq ft house. It is burning properly but there is a definate odor it produces.

    My personal opinion i would not use one. Go vented.

    Like others have said small fan sitting on the floor.
    Another solution is a small electric oil filled radiator. Use it to supplement the heat. If you used one for an hour a day say before bed to take the chill off you are not looking at much $$ added to the elec bill.
  16. zanp

    zanp New Member

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    Do you keep the fan running all night or just before bed to move out the chilly air?
  17. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Like I said earlier: Leave that 3rd bedroom door open during the day. The reason is you don't want to have an extreme temperature difference. About 1 hour before bed, turn the fan on. Leave it on all night. Shut it off in the morning. Let us know how it works for you.
  18. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    PS Put that fan near the bedroom doorway, blowing air towards the room where the stove is located.
  19. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    The water vapor from gas combustion is nasty, nasty stuff. I've been at construction sites when they were using propane heaters and had to leave because my eyes were stinging so badly. I may be sensiitve to it but flue gas condensation is corrosive enough to eat through concrete. I would use one in a garage or maybe a 3 season porch but the bedroom would be my last choice.

    That being said, if you need it you need it. If you can get a gas pipe there maybe some baseboard? What do you have for backup heat? Propane is close to electric in my area, so maybe some baseboard or one of those oil-filled heaters as others mentioned.
  20. wetwood

    wetwood Member

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    My father installed the first vent free infrared LP heater I ever saw in his living room as a backup to the wood stove in 1991. When he moved to town we moved to the farm and installed another infrared LP heater in the basement where the kids (teenagers) bedrooms are. The basement heater is used as supplemental heat, set at the lower settings it work great for keeping the chill off because the upstairs heat does not filter down very well. The old heater up stairs has a pilot light but no thermostat. Instead it has low, med, high settings. We only use it at the very beginning of the shoulder season when starting a fire would just be too much heat. My grandparents use a natural gas model as the only heat source in there house. There it runs all the time and I find my lungs and sinuses get irritated if I'm in their house too long.

    When we moved out here the first heater we installed in the basement was a Comfort Glow brand purchased at Lowes The pilot light only worked right the first year. The second year the pilot light kept going out and had to relight it all the time. The third year we replaced the heater with a Mr Heater brand infrared LP heater I picked up at the local farm supply store. I am impressed with the quality of the Mr Heater heater. It has a much better pilot light design and over all build that when compared side to side you can see just how cheap the CG heater is. The best thing was the Mr Heater actually cost $10 less than the CG heater at Lowes.

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  21. zanp

    zanp New Member

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    Thanks for all the responses. It is pretty clear that ventless propane is a bad idea for a bedroom. A vented heater could cost almost 1,000 including tank, permit (which requires a certified installer), and installation. It would take a long time to recoup those costs versus simply using the floor fan and oil filled radiator to heat that room. Also, I will not have to deal with hauling a 100-lb tank to the store to be filled.
  22. Later

    Later New Member

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    How about a 4' or 6' electric baseboard strip with a built in thermostat. We had one 5 or 6 ft in a 12x14 bedroom that took the chill off even on 20 below days.
  23. ruth140

    ruth140 Member

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    just throwing this out there.... why not get an electric heater?
    some even look like wood stoves. other look like fireplaces with mantels and all.
    if all you want is to take the chill off then you wont be using much electric.
    just a thought. they heat about 400 sq feet.
    i have one in a guest room..it works great and very reasonable to operate.
  24. Dr.Faustus

    Dr.Faustus Burning Hunk

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    sounds like those new Window Pellet Stoves might serve you well. US Stove makes them. You pop it in a window like an air conditioner. I dont own one, i saw it in a post in the pellet thread. Home Depot sells them.
  25. zanp

    zanp New Member

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    Window pellet stove...Interesting... Don't think I want to mess with one of those.
    Small floor fan and oil filled radiator will do just fine.

    Thanks again for all the tips everyone.

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