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Ventless or vented? Stove suggestion?

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by geka, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. geka

    geka Member

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    We are looking for a propane stove that will heat up approx. 2,000 square feet. We would use this to heat up our second home until the main system finally warms the place up and also in case the power goes out for any period of time we would have the peace of mind that this stove would be keeping the pipes from freezing. Suggestions? We are neophytes in this area. Give us a woodstove question and we would probably have the answer but propane is new to us. Thanks.

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Your home is 2k sf...
    How old is it?
    How well is it insulated?
    Is the 2k sf broken up into smaller areas, or is there a large central area?
    Give us a tad more info & maybe we can give you some answers & choices...
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I would not, under any circumstances, install a vent free stove. Where do you think all the biproducts of combustion will go? Not to mention the immense volumes of water vapor, the depleted Oxygen, stink, etc. I've been in buildings heated with the ventless stoves and they are BAD mojo.

    A vented gas stove on the other hand is a wise investment with almost no moving parts and a simple, cheap venting system compared to wood. No smoke, completely automatic heat. It's a good deal if you're burning propane anyway.
  4. geka

    geka Member

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    The home is 3 years old...very well insulated we hope. There is radiant heat in the first floor but it takes forever to heat up. Cathedral ceiling in part of this. 200 square feet is a good estimate of what would be heated . Would love to do ventless. This stove would basically just be used in emergency situations and to warm the place up till the radiant is up and running well and who knows it may be used in the cooler weather to take the chill off instead of turning the main heat on. Appreciate your input. Thanks.
  5. geka

    geka Member

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    That was 2000 square feet not 200...yikes. Thanks.
  6. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Well for that area to get heated, I'd say you'd need 30 BTU/SF - so 60K BTU OUTPUT...
    At 75% efficiency, you'd need 80K INPUT
    You're getting into a small furnace range there..
    We sell a couple of DV units that are in the 40K INPUT range & at 75% efficient will OUTPUT 30K,
    or about 1/2 of what you need...
    As far as the vent-free units, we don't offer em, recommend em or service em...
    They ARE 99% efficient, but for every 100K BTU, they'll add a gallon of water vapor into your home,
    (which in your newly-built, well-insulated home is DEFINITELY not good)
    along with (what the manufacturer considers an "acceptable amount" of) carbon monoxide...
    Yeah, yeah, yeah... they have "Oxygen Depletion Sensors (ODS) which are designed to shut the units down
    when the CO gets a little too much for safety...
    Do you want to trust your life to a $150 pilot assembly?
    There ARE odors associated with these products that you or I may not notice,
    but some people with respiratory ailments will...
    Bottom line?
    It's your house & your life...
    You won't find a whole lot of people who recommend them...
    As far as the "my gas cook stove is vent-free" argument...
    Lots of folks DIE when they try to heat their homes with gas cook stoves...
    Anyhoo, you probably won't be able to heat your ENTIRE residence with ONE gas stove,
    but you should be able to make part of it comfortable...
    Ironhorse74 likes this.
  7. geka

    geka Member

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    I think I am getting all the negative opions on the ventless. Appreciate all the comments.

    If we go with a direct vent which stove would you recommend? thanks.
  8. geka

    geka Member

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    What do you mean acts like a cooler when not burning? Thanks
  9. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    I've heard a lot of complaints and a lot of nonsense about them. I love them. Open flame models have a slight odor, but with the infrared plaque-type heaters, I haven't noticed any smell. I've got several of the cheapest ones out there (that I know of). Two Procoms 28K units and one 6K in my house, one 28K in my cabin in the woods, and two 28K units at my other house in northern MI.
    Had them for years as have many other people I know with zero problems.

    Some people are sensitive to the slight odor from the gas. I don't notice it nor does anybody else in my house. Not even when the 6K unit is used in a small bathroom.

    In regard to the fears about moisture? Certainly not an issue in my house. We basically heat 100% with wood via a forced hot-air wood furnace. So, it's real dry here all winter anyway and any moisture is welcome. We only use the gas heaters to - heat a usually unheated or cool room, get the house heated up fast if the heat has been off until the wood fire gets going, backup when power is out (I'm on solar now), etc.

    The Procoms are sold by Harbor Freight, Northern Hydraulics, etc. On sale you can buy an LP thermostatically controlled infrared model for somewhere around $150.
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Lots of nice stuff that is DV.

    If it is mostly the highest efficiency you are looking for, take a look at the Rinnai stuff - some do not look great, but they are very efficient and extremely reliable and safe:
    http://www.rinnai.us/

    When it comes to more decorative units, you have a LOT of choices. It comes down to budget and style. I have a Valor Fireplace in my second home.....but, to be very honest, I don't feel really good about keeping it on when I am not there (at least in the area!). For that purpose, I would rather something like the Rinnai which is made for full time heating.

    If you do go with a decorative unit and desire the highest possible efficiency, see the Energuide ratings.
    http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/Equipment/english/gas_fireplaces_faq.cfm

    Lots of choices out there. If you have the bucks, look at the Woodstock Gas units - I think they are pretty sharp....
    http://www.woodstove.com/pages/gas_stoves.html

    Lots of others also make more modern styles.
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Vent free may be OK for some folks for attended use. But if you intend to use it as a backup for not allowing the pipes to freeze (when you are not there) AND/OR if you intend to use very heavily, I would caution against it. Lots of downsides, including the fact that once it gets a bit out of "tune" it can deposit soot and film on walls, windows, ceilings, etc.

    Also is an "open" fire, which means you really should be close by when using it. As mentioned, I'm even afraid of some units with big glass windows!

    I also put two electric heaters (oil filled) in my second home and set them on the special setting (42) which is made for keeping pipes from freezing. So now I have a few backups and also can remotely monitor the temps with a web cam.....my patch job for this was a indoor-outdoor thermometer and wireless web cam.....

    Oh, and a night light...see enclosed.

    Attached Files:

  12. geka

    geka Member

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    YOu are very clever with your webcam and all. I think if we had a land line phone at our second home (Cell phone is great there) then we may consider a set up like yours even to turn the heat on before we get there.

    At this point since our second home is in a very cold area we feel we need to set a few things up just in case the power goes out for days and we can't get there. At least then we have the peace of mind that all should be well.

    At present we are looking at Hearthstone gas and Quadre Fire. We really like the look of the Jotul gas stove. Any comments on which would work well for us or that you prefer? We have a Hearthstone soapstone Heritage wood stove that we absolutely love but arent' so sure about their gas stoves. Anyone have any info on that?

    I think we are putting a smaller ventless unit in the basement and one with a DV for the first floor. There is no way to do a DV in the basement as it is only 5 courses high.
  13. trafick

    trafick Member

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    I recently put a Jotul Allagash in my fireplace. It took a little while to get used to the even heat it put out but now that we have, we love it. We still lokk at the stove sometimes and say, "Man that's a pretty stove".
  14. Fire Bug

    Fire Bug New Member

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    Geka,
    For God's sake and your own health please stay away from anything that is not Direct Vented as noted by Dasky and High Beam on this thread. Many states have banned non vented units and many dealers won't stock them.
    As far as the size stove you purchase, I would get the biggest direct vent model you can find as long as it has a 50% turn down rate.
    You can always a big stove down, but you can't turn an undersized stove up.
    Also, get one with the highest AFUE Rating.

    John
  15. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    Yes, and to the converse, many states that did NOT allow them for years, have reviewed them and now DO allow them.

    All this gloom and doom is just plain silly. Have you ever used and/or installed one? Read and follow the correct installation requirements and they work fine. You are supposed to calculate the natural venting of rooms before attempting to install one.
  16. Fire Bug

    Fire Bug New Member

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    Hey Geka,
    I have a suggestion. Why don't you just bring your gas grill in from the deck or patio and you can "KILL to birds with one stone." You can do your cooking and heat your home all at one time,LOL. You can always open a window or two to help vent the non vented unit and help you to catch your breath.
    I make no commision on promoting direct vent products or non vented products. Do some research on the WEB,(as you are doing now), and make your own decission.

    Thanks,
    John
  17. geka

    geka Member

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    I appreciate the passion on this blog as well as the sense of humor. I think for the first floor we will definitely go DV. Thanks bloggers. As usual it is an experience. Whenever my husband and I have a question on heating my hubby says, "Go ask the heat bloggers!" Love it!! Thanks.
  18. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    I certainly have nothing to gain by promoting, or trashing any of this stuff either. I do hate to see something comdemned for incorrect reasons. These "unvented heaters" are in fact vented - just not hooked to their own hard-vents. To install properly, there are some air flow calculations to be done. Also, many areas have buidling codes that do NOT allow them unless there is already a main heating system in place. That so nobody trys to install such a heater and rely on it alone for heat.

    As far as opening the windows while using one? If you have to do that, you royally screwed up with a bad installation. The 28K BTU heater we have in our big combo kitchen/living room does not put any more moisture or odor into the air as does our LP kitchen stove when being used. The open flame heater we had previously had a slight odor about equal to our kitchen stove's pilot lights. The catylitic LP heater we have now has no odor at all. Same goes for the 6000 BTU unit we have in the bathroom.

    Granted if someone lives in a super-tight house, even a pilot light might give off enough odor to bother them. Not everyone though, lives in such a home. These heaters have plenty of built-in safeguards including a low-ox shut-off and detailed installation requirements. I've yet to hear of a single unit causing problems when put in correctly.
  19. trafick

    trafick Member

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    Are these the units that aren't allowed in bedrooms? Not allowed in Canada? The ones that say do not use while sleeping? Aren't supposed to be used for more than occasional use? If so, I wouldn't have one either.

    If you like them that's great and I'm glad you haven't had any problems with yours.
  20. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    Is that a rhetorical question? Look, I made the mistake of posting facts about specific makes and types of heater along with my personal experiences. Other than what I posted, all I've seen seeing here are sweeping generalities.

    I thought the poster who first asked about these heaters might be interested in more then hearsay.

    To answer your question specifically about bedrooms? I have not idea where you got them from. Same with sleeping. Please be specific. Do you claim all cars get the same fuel mileage and all wood stoves burn the same? I hope not. So why do it with gas heaters?

    I mentioned specifically Procom catylitic heaters - 28K BTU output and 6K BTU output. All allowed in any room on the house. And yes, you are allowed to sleep if you want. I've installed many, all met code, passed inspection, and work fine. Main restriction is - whatever room these heaters are installed in must have 50 cubic feet of space for every 1000 BTUs. So, a 28K heater needs a room of at least 1400 cubic feet (a 10' X 20' room). A 20 foot square room with a 7 foot ceiling is way over that at 2800 cubic feet.

    So tell me - what type of household rated unvented gas heater do you know -specifically - that does not allow use in bedrooms or while sleeping? Please be specific.

    In regard to not being allowed in Canada? So what? Much of our US rated chimney pipe also is not allowed in Canada, since they have stricter standards. So, I assume you refuse to use UL rated chimney materials only certified in the USA?
  21. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Geka, sounds like you're headed towards the right decision but I'll chime in anyway. We had a ventless unit and quickly got rid of it for many of the reasons already covered here. I believe the directions on many of these units actually recommend you crack a nearby window if you have a tight house. I also remember hearing or reading that CO detector makers actually lowered the sensitivity of their units to accommodate ventless units.

    As I write I'm sitting in front of a Jotul Allagash direct vent unit that we have had great luck with. It sits on a fireplace hearth and two 3" pieces of flex tubing run about 20 ft. vertically to a flue top vent and air inlet assembly. We've had it about 3 years without any problems other than the price of propane.
  22. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    There's still the gallon of water vapor to deal with for every 100K btu...
    Can't get around that...
    We've got a high-caliber restaurant in this area that has two room-vented NG fireplaces...
    The freekin place is so humid, it's like July in Florida...
    Maybe if you've got a 150-year-old farmhouse, the moisture won't be an issue...
    If you've got a crab's-butt-tight newly constructed home in the NorthEast,
    You'd better have ALL your wood polyurethaned or sealed...
    Otherwise, that moisture will be absorbed & the wood will swell.
    That is a fact.
  23. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    Yeah, buy the incipient question that started this discussion was about using the heater as a backup whan power is down, or just to get a cold house warmed unit the main heating system took over.
    For those puposes these heaters are ideal.

    In my area, many people with forced-air heating systems regardless of fuel used need humidfiers built into the plenum to add moisture during the winter. So, in these cases, any moisture that might come from a small gas heater is, if anything, welcome.
  24. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    jdemaris--I'm with you. I have ventless in my garage and in my basement workshop, and they are great. As I said before, if they're sized right, installed right, and used according to directions, they're fine. Very efficient, and much cheaper to buy/install than vented. Most of these negative comments are from people who really don't understand them.

    The original poster probably would have been perfectly fine with one.
  25. Fire Bug

    Fire Bug New Member

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    I don't mean to be humorous about this subject, I am more concerned about a persons health and safety more than anything.
    I have gone the same path that Geka is going right now and I am just stating from my past experiences with shoping and doing research on these products what information I have gained on them and pass it along to help some other potential consumers.
    Does anyone out there no why in the world direct vent units where designed and produced initially? I am sure it is cheaper and much less work to install a non vented heating appliance than a DV Unit. Not to mention the efficency you are giving up with a DV Unit vs a Non DV Unit.
    I believe it takes oxygen to make a fire burn and exhaust from that fire. This comes from your living quarters not the outside. I think I would rather breathe unpolluted air.
    I believe it was Hearth & Home Technologies,(parent company of Heat & Glow, Quadrafire, Heatilator) that pioneered Direct Vent Technology and marketed it as "Healthy Hearth Technology".
    Bottom line; do the research and form a independant decision.
    Some people love them,and some people hate them.

    John

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