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Re: Radiant Heat or through-the-wall

To: Phil Ethier <>
Subject: Re: Radiant Heat or through-the-wall
From: Steven Trovato <>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 22:35:50 -0400
At 11:02 AM 9/26/96 -0500, Phil Ethier wrote:

>What do you mean by direct-vent?  Is this one that mounts in a wall 
>opening and takes its combustion air from outside and vents its exhaust 
>gasses outside, but keeps the heated air recycling inside?  I think this 
>is important.  I use a salamander ("jet") kerosene heater now, and I am 
>unhappy with the amount of water vapor that it adds to the air.  It 
>condenses on everything, like brake disks.  :-(

Yes, it is two concentric tubes, through the wall.  Exhaust gas goes
outside, and combustion air comes from outside.  The gas flame and
combustion products stay in an enclosed manifold.  The room air blows over
this manifold in a counter current way...  that is, in from the top and out
the bottom.  This maximizes heat exchange.  I always hated unvented
kerosene.  I always ended the day warm, damp and with a huge headache.
>One would be enough for me.  I'd want to keep the shop at 45  degrees or 
>so all the time, and bump it when a project was afoot.  How much do these 
>things cost?

Mine were about $600 each, and that was some years ago.  I know the folks
who go hunting for used furnaces and such think that's a huge amount of
money to spend, but it is a luxury I've never regretted.  My shop is
basically under the living space of my house.  I do not keep them on at all
when the shop is not in use, and the area stays above freezing as long as
outside temperatures don't go too low (like 0F).  Seems good enough to me.
I'm in a northern suburb of New York City, for a climate reference.  Why pay
for fuel to keep it at 45?   
>> except my shop is really two separate rooms.
>> This is helpful when you use the shop intermittently, or have to open doors
>> to switch cars, etc.  
>This is surely the way I want to do things.  My daily driver ought to be 
>in the part that stays cold.  In my present 22 x 24 garage, it is not 
>practical, because I have one double-width door.  If I had separate 
>doors, I'd consider building a wall and insulating a shop half.  Whether 
>the new or old section becomes shop determines whether radiant makes 
>sense.  Layout is everything.  I'd kind of like to have the big door to 
>the shop open onto the garage instead of directly outside.  Less heat 
>loss because the door would not be exposed to wind.  A 
>convenience-and-safety 36" door would ideally not get opened in the 
>winter, but access would come through the garage.  If I could get the 
>layout right, I wouldn't need it.  Hmm.  Decisions, decisions.

You see, that's really the beauty of the propane heaters.  Even if I open
the doors for a while and drop the temperature down, it recovers very fast.
Radiant heat makes for nice warm floors to lay on, but I never really
thought of it as good for fast recovery.  

>Good point.  If I go to the expense of building new, a gas line from the 
>house is the most likely heat source.  If I partition what I have, propane.

If you have gas, I would definitely go with that.  I have a big 100 gallon
or so propane tank behind my house.  I have to get propane deliveries to
fill it.  If I had natural gas available in my house, I would certainly use
that, and eliminate the less than attractive tank and delivery issues.  They
make the exact same heater in propane and natural gas models.  The actual
gas jets are different.  

My heaters are made by Empire, and the company has some descriptive
literature as well as good helpful people when you call them.  Of course, I
don't have the phone number or address handy at the moment.  If you're
interested, I'll dig them up.  Good Luck.

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