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Thread: vented heater that is safe

  1. #1
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    Default vented heater that is safe

    I'm in need of a vented heater that operates from natural gas and will not burn down the house. Purchase price is important, as are operating costs, but safety is most important of all; like if its operator leaves it turned on the high setting forever.

    Any recommendations?

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    Empire. Go to the gas dealer down on Whitney Rd. in Anchorage and they will fix you up. You want a heater that does not require electricity or fancy computerized controls. A heater that depends on the electric company to make it work is useless. Keep it simple.
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    I have to agree with Akres to keep it simple. That said I would add a co2 detector, a smoke alarm, a over temperature alarm and depending on just how safe you want to be a sprinkler system. The temperature alarm could give you a audio alarm and/or shut off the heater. It it over kill, yes.

    Is it over kill, yes. If you want safety, and your dealing with a not so smart person you need to over kill the system. If you do your home work none of the items are very expense.

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    I have an Empire direct vent heater with a wall thermostat and an EcoTherm direct vent heater with an on-board thermostat. Both run without electricity and the flames modulate as directed by the thermostats. The EcoTherm runs all winter and the Empire only when we need extra heat in that room. Both are several years old and both have been flawless. If I had access to electricity I'd have a Rinnai.

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    I bought a 35K btu cozy heater several years ago, no electricity required has worked flawless for going on 10 years
    http://www.gasheaterstore.com/Cozy_bymfg_6-0-1.html
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    Default Thank you for the great heater info; now how about Orbis brand?

    Thanks for the replies and the reports of the experiences you guys have with this; that's some valuable stuff. +1 to all that replied (that and 4 bucks will get you a fine cup a joe at Jitters ) except you res - gotta spread the luv first, so I owe ya one.

    Empire is kind of weird to deal with... Their web site says they have no AK dealers. Calling them yielded one: Gemsco; who said they wouldn't sell to me, because I'm not a licensed contractor. I called the contractor they recommended and they quoted $782 out the door (with me installing it.... go figure.... )

    Calling the dealer res recommended Suburban Propane yielded $678 for the same Empire heater, model DV210.

    I also learned that non vented gas heaters are illegal in AK.

    Now I've got a line on a used heater: Orbis Calorama, which is now discontinued, but parts are available. Anyone know about that make/model?

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    We've got an Orbis heater in our cabin. Other than a thermal couple that started to die on us, it has been fine. I was able to get a new thermal couple even though the dealer I bought it from (Susitna Energy) no longer carries them. It's about 5 years old. I do worry about parts availability in the future though.

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    The problem with the Empire/Orbis type direct vented heaters is that they are PROPANE HOGS.

    They are like 60% efficient since they dont use power for a fan to provide efficient heat transfer and they have standing pilots that are like little jet engines. They work pretty good but are not cheap to heat as a primary source.

    We will be putting in a monitor or a toyo as soon as we get an inverter system set up to supplement our woodstove.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    The problem with the Empire/Orbis type direct vented heaters is that they are PROPANE HOGS.

    They are like 60% efficient since they dont use power for a fan to provide efficient heat transfer and they have standing pilots that are like little jet engines. They work pretty good but are not cheap to heat as a primary source.

    We will be putting in a monitor or a toyo as soon as we get an inverter system set up to supplement our woodstove.
    Yes. Propane is not the answer. If one has natural gas available, it is a no brainer to go with gas. All of the direct vented Empires have a fan, as an optional feature. Get the fan, so when you have electricity, it circulates the heat better.
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    Oops, I missed the part where he said NG...sorry

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    Thumbs up Thanks Guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    Yes. Propane is not the answer. If one has natural gas available, it is a no brainer to go with gas. All of the direct vented Empires have a fan, as an optional feature. Get the fan, so when you have electricity, it circulates the heat better.
    I do have NG available, and actually within about a dozen feet away from the intended location; I just have to go up through a garage ceiling and then room floor, but that should be a no brainer.

    I really appreciate the advice from those that have used these devices; this type of info is worth much, in making the right decision and not wasting one's dollars figuring it all out for oneself.

    Thanks guys!

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    Ours is a small weekend cabin and propane is the most convenient fuel so we use it. I built the cabin to have a place to sleep after snowmachining, not chopping wood. The cost of heating the cabin is secondary to the cost of feeding a couple of snowmachines. You can get an optional fan with the Orbis too, which we have, and it does make a difference.

    All that said, I didn't see where FamilyMan said he did not have electricity. Where would you have access to NG and not grid power too? You have more heaters to choose from if you don't restrict ourself to ones that will run without electricity.

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    Nrick has a good point, if you have electricity available, I'd go with something other than a direct vent Empire type heater...

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    My Eco Therm sits in the sunroom in my house in Anchorage. Non electric works great. It does as good a job as any heater I've ever had for maintaining even heat. There are lots of ways to move air. A fan built into the heater is only one. And that's assuming you need to move air. Lots of baseboard heated houses in town stay warm without fans. The Empire is at the cabin. It's equally impressive as the Eco Therm. In that location the wall thermostat is a bonus. Electricity wouldn't make it work better. For big heat output I think the electric models have an advantage. For small heaters electric isn't a big deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    Nrick has a good point, if you have electricity available, I'd go with something other than a direct vent Empire type heater...
    There have been on many ocasssions, when the power has been out for extended periods of time. Why have to worry about freeze up if you don't have to? The heaters that don't require electricity, will keep a house from freezing up or getting chilly. What if....we experience another major catastrophy and electricity is down, yet there remains pressure in the gas line? Power outages are not fun. Less fun with no heat.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    I do have NG available, and actually within about a dozen feet away from the intended location; I just have to go up through a garage ceiling and then room floor, but that should be a no brainer.

    I really appreciate the advice from those that have used these devices; this type of info is worth much, in making the right decision and not wasting one's dollars figuring it all out for oneself.

    Thanks guys!
    It really is a "no brainer". Simple plumbing: Just remember to use Black Iron Pipe and fittings, using a quality teflon pipe sealing compound (not tape). Put the shut off valve right at the heater, before the flex line and plumb in a Drip Leg at the end of any long run. A caveman could do it.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    There have been on many ocasssions, when the power has been out for extended periods of time. Why have to worry about freeze up if you don't have to? The heaters that don't require electricity, will keep a house from freezing up or getting chilly. What if....we experience another major catastrophy and electricity is down, yet there remains pressure in the gas line? Power outages are not fun. Less fun with no heat.
    See there you go, we have nightly power outages at about 10:30 PM, so my perspective is a bit skewed....

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    Why would a power outage be a problem? All you need is a battery backup and a converter for your heater.

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