2 Reasons to Dump Your Grandmother’s Gas Space Heater

I remember my Grandmother’s kitchen (and her family room and her bathroom and her bedroom)!!

She would say,

“Come on in son and stand by the heater, you look cold!”

Space Heater

I also remember another feature about her house. Her windows fogged up and dripped water during the winter months. With names like “Mr Heater” and “Empire Comfort” and “Kozy World”, who could resist buying them!

They’re relatively easy to install, mount on the wall or free standing, quick and simple. Right? NOT SO FAST, especially if you’re purchasing a home with FHA insured financing. Appraisal rules and guidelines will more than likely not allow the heater to stay in the home.

There are 2 main reason’s you’ll want to dump those space heaters.

  • Water vapor (humid air) – too much moisture inside your home promotes mold and mildew growth
  • Carbon monoxide – the silent killer. (my recommendation for CO detector)

There are other reasons too. Soot and unburned hydrocarbons, both help create unhealthy indoor air quality.

In his blog Energy Vanguard, Dr Allison Bailes says, “the often unrecognized problem with these heaters is the huge amount of water vapor that they put in your home’s air.”

These atmospheric combustion appliances do create problems in homes from a building science perspective, but they don’t have the same type of problems that I wrote about with atmospheric combustion furnaces and water heaters a couple of weeks ago. The major problem is one that most people may not even recognize.

Yes, carbon monoxide inside the home is certainly a danger, and that’s the best reason to get rid of unvented gas space heaters. It’s just never a good idea to burn a fuel inside your home without having a vent for the combustion gases.

Carbon monoxide results from incomplete combustion of natural gas. During complete combustion, natural gas, which is mostly methane (CH4), combines with oxygen (O2) from the air and produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O). When the combustion process isn’t complete, you get more carbon monoxide (CO) and less carbon dioxide. READ MORE

Alex Wilson, founder and executive editor of Building Green, LLC says:

Installation is cheap. You just buy the unit, hook it up to your gas supply, and turn it on. There’s no annoying vent pipe to install through the wall or up the chimney. Simple, right?

To dig a little deeper, let’s take a look at combustion. When we burn a hydrocarbon fuel, such as natural gas or propane, the fuel reacts with oxygen producing heat and two primary combustion products: water vapor and carbon dioxide. READ MORE

What about sensors? Isn’t there something on the market to warn the occupant of unhealthy air quality? Alex goes on:

Carbon monoxide is toxic (even deadly) at high levels and causes long-term health problems at low levels. Nitrogen dioxide, at even minute levels, may affect our immune systems and increase our susceptibility to respiratory infections. An oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) on unvented gas heaters and fireplaces shuts off the gas flow if the oxygen level drops below 18% (an indicator that not enough fresh air is getting into the house), but the ODS does not detect carbon monoxide or other hazardous emissions. READ MORE

I agree with Alex. Let’s get right to the point: unvented gas (and kerosene) space heaters and fireplaces are a bad idea.

Don’t install one.

If you have one or more of these heaters or/and you are experiencing headaches, nausea, flu-like symptoms, BEWARE! CALL ME: 601-454-5559

Carbon Monoxide Levels:

0-9 ppm (parts per million) CO: no health risk; normal CO levels in air.

10-29 ppm CO: problems over long-term exposure; chronic CO problems such as headaches, nausea- not the most dangerous level

30-35 ppm CO: flu-like symptoms begin to develop, especially among the young and the elderly

36-99 ppm CO: flu-like symptoms among all; nausea, headaches, fatigue or drowsiness, vomiting; most CO detectors sound off here

100 ppm + CO: severe symptoms; confusion, intense headaches; ultimately brain damage, coma, and/or death, especially at 300 to 400 ppm+


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One thought on “2 Reasons to Dump Your Grandmother’s Gas Space Heater

  1. Great Article!!!
    2016-2018 Our family had multiple symptoms and I completely lost my health. It was our stove and hot water putting out 60ppm carbon monoxide. Home CO detectors only alarm at 70ppm and up. 3 years later and I’m disabled still with chronic fatigue and we all have short term memory issues. Looking back, NOW, in 2006/2007 we lived in an old house with these old heaters. My son was 18 mos old and lost speech and his immune system went haywire. I remember being so tired I could hardly think in that house. My son came down with autism. Looking back I now suspect there was chronic CO from those heaters. I applaud you for getting the word out about them. THANK YOU!!!

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