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Country Discussion Topics
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Locke Warm Morning Gas Stove: Should I replace it?
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Lynn Busby    Posted 02-25-2002 at 12:01:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have an older Locke gas stove in my 7-room farm house that I believe is guzzling propane. My tank has been filled several times during this mild winter. Here's some info on the stove...model # VR85MAB with blower, 85,000 hourly btu input, 25,500 minimum input, serial #7190. Anyone ever own one of these heaters and is it not energy efficient compared to today's models? I've seen those ventless wall-mounted gas heaters and am considering going with them. Since I'm not at the farm all the time, I don't want to go with central heat & air. Shall I replace the Locke stove with the wall units...I figure a couple of strategically placed wall heaters will heat the house efficiently. I'm looking forward to your advice and help. Thanks, Lynn

IHank    Posted 02-25-2002 at 17:10:16       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Lynn- Recommend you think all this thru real careful like...

Ponder that the term "ventless" is deceptive marketing BS. What it means is that the combustion products and exhaust fumes are dumped into the room air.

That's no big deal as long as-

1. You got a room with a reasonable amount of air leakage, or some sort of fresh air in supply.

2. The fuel does not contain fractions that produce harmful combustion products. (Go wash "sucker" off your forehead if you belive the fuel is free of bad stuff!)

3. You are willing to take some health risks to avoid installing a good stove combustion exhaust system.

A better deal is to go with a high efficiency pulsed combustion heater, one that pipes the exhaust latent heat moisture condensation down the drain and blows the fumes thru a 2" plastic tube that exits thru an outside wall.

February makes me shivver, for more than one reason, and I don't deliver newspapers. Good luck with whatever system you build. IHank

Mike in Va.    Posted 02-25-2002 at 18:01:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
O.K. Hank, I guess you don't trust Under Writers Lab... so be it. Truth of the matter is you probably take in worse fumes foolin with yer diesel tractor, or gas lawn mower, or beans from your chili... lightin up on the ventless heaters.

IHank    Posted 02-25-2002 at 19:50:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mike- No way will I let that one go by without an objection. I speak as a man now afflicted with chemical hypersensitivity problems, apparently from a life time of long term low level exposures to all sorts of stuff that wasn't supposed to harm anybody, and some stuff that I was warned about and ignored it. Now, when I go into a place with an un-vented space heater, or gas cook stove, within a few seconds I start having a bunch of wierd neurological problems. I'm more sensitive than the canary they used to keep down in the mine now.

As to Underwriter's Labs and their endorsements... I have very strong trust in that outfit and their recommendations.

The problem comes, and I part company with some of their endorsements, is because the real world that you, myself, and everybody else, live in does not duplicate the laboratory conditions that UL and manufacturing firms do their safety tests under and base their recommendations on.

The posts here mention "tightening up" the dwelling, which cuts down the fresh air infiltration, which lets 'em get away with venting the heater exhaust into the room.

Think about it... Early gas cooks stoves were not vented outside because the houses were far from air tight. But, appliances that came later were/are vented outside. Then, as homes became tighter and "modern" it was very common to install a vent hood over the stove, which took care of cooking smoke, steam, and combustion products.

If a person is happy with a non-vented space heater, then fine by me. But, I certainly won't recommend it, or let it slide by without telling the downside to beware of. No grins on this one, IHank

Susan Stites    Posted 07-14-2002 at 11:59:12       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We are looking for information on how to clean a warm morning stove. Please give us any information that you have to help us. We have an old one and really enjoy it for the heat, It is a gas stove, and we really need to clean it.

Thank you

Mike in Va    Posted 02-26-2002 at 06:52:34       [Reply]  [Send Email]
You got me there Hank,
I see your point. There is a risk in the ventless if you don't make provisions for it. When those high effiecncy kerosene heaters came over from Japan in the early 70's there were folks that died from having gone to sleep in a closed up house with the wick turned down low.
As for the ventless propane wall heater posting, I saw the benefit based on my experience alone. If you were to visit our home we'd have it cut off and the wood heater burning some of that Virginia Wild Cherry. I'd put the diaper pail in the machine shed too.
Problem is a trend started in the mid-70's to make houses air tight. I think it was to help make heat pumps work (they don't work well enough in my opinion). No drafts, magnetic weatherstripping on sheetmetal exterior doors, double glaze windows, and greater attic insulation (best thing going to keep heat in a house). Then later in the development of airtight houses came house wrap, and caulking the gaps between the mud seals and foundation walls, heck they even caulk the joint between the floor plates and plywood now. The holes drilled for wiring and plumbing now get filled in...
Air in dwelling needs to be dynamic. No matter what the heat source is. Static air makes people sick, whether it is from dust, germs, or noxious gases. A cooped up house is trouble I think.
Thanks for answering my post. You made it clear that there is trouble in the air-

IHank    Posted 02-26-2002 at 07:53:48       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Mike- Thanks a whole bunch for the discussion. We're seeing and commenting on the same problem, but from different perspectives. Hopefully, our thrashing the topic around will help somebody avoid serious problems in their life.

I learned some of where I'm coming from "the hard way. Hopefully, we can share lessons learned here and spare others from some misery and grief in their lives. Keep the disucssion going if you wish. IHank

Mike in Va.    Posted 02-25-2002 at 14:26:31       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi Lynn,
We put a ventless wall heater in 2 years ago. We heat about 900 sq.ft. with it. It has a small fan, but we often leave it off. We chose the infrared over the 'blueheat' one. Read somewhere that the infrared was safer, and cheaper to operate. You'll like them. Ours is not dependant on electricity. The thermostat is a bi-metal strip. It senses temperature change and kicks the heater back on using a static electric spark. Super in ice storms when all those coop lines come down. All the new ones don't have a pilot light. Thats nice too.
We like to heat with a woodstove tied in to the duct work. Thats in the basement. There have been times when we couldn't use the stove and the propane wall unit kept the house toasty. Our propane tank is the 100 gal. size. We fill it just once a year. Last spring we had it topped off and I think it cost $80 for the heating season. Stay warm. Share the heat with your neighbor when they lose power.
Good Luck- Mike

PCC-AL    Posted 02-25-2002 at 12:16:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Lynn,
I live in my old family farm home and recently restored it. Don't know where you are, but climate makes a large difference with what you do.
If you are in cold country, insulate first.
Check for leaks in your gas lines. Copper and galvanized will develop leaks over time, expecially at the point where they enter the ground, if underground. Finally, I have a number of the ventless heaters in my home. They work great. I also have ventless gas logs in every old fireplace. The chimneys are all sealed, but intact. After my restoration of the house is the first time it has ever been warm in the winter. It was previously heated entirely by open wood fireplaces. Good luck.

OW - smell gas?    Posted 02-25-2002 at 13:50:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
There are lotsa possible causes for using a lotta gas, including neighbors tapping some.
Gas does not penetrate pipes - if you smell ANY gas ANYTIME, you have a leak! Unless it's coming from a pilot lite that went out, take some really soapy water and slop it around all the fittings from the tank to the fixture and you'll see bubbles where the leak is. If tightening doesn't fix it, seek outside help. BTW, don't trust the gas supplier to tighten the fittings - sounds dumb but some of those yoyos think of it as one way to get a raise. :)

Ventless heaters work real good and are 99% efficient - we heat the cafe, apartments & cabin with them (burn wood to boost the oil boiler at home) and they're cheap. Be careful.

Hogman    Posted 02-28-2002 at 04:58:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
We have a ventless heater upstairs and down also since I came up with a structural design for this house more for strength, duct work became a problem. Almost as bad as a retro-fit. In the process the stairwell became the return air plenum going upstairs to the main return. Yea, kinda weird and We won't talk about fire if You please. Anyway, if You think the unvented is so safe, just come over here to tha rockpile,walk up tha stairs and sniff as Ya go.
Maw Hog never has noticed but She smokes, the fumes are there for sure and I for one feel it's a lousey place ta be breathin!

We use them mostly to keep the house from freezing When We are away longer'n tha wood will last in tha furnace. Pluss on a real cool morning just to take the chill off.

That said Prof Hank I'm with You! Methane/propane was never ment for breathin raw'er burnt!!!!!

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