It works!

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Scary thing: Build a wall. Do it right. Paint the wall. Give it all the trimmings.

Then cut a big hole in the wall.

Undoubtedly there are contractors and skilled builders who wouldn’t have thought twice about it. I reconsidered the whole project when it came to that one thing.

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It took us a while to get the vent pipes cut to the right sizes, (the hot air outlet is concentric to and inside the cold air inlet, which is kind of clever) but then we got to cover the big appalling hole with a pretty vent cover.

Then came the fun part.

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It works!

Okay, it’s not entirely complete. It’s built to run on a portable propane bottle with a barbecue regulator and it does that quite well. But just to get it running we ran the hose up through the hole in the floor and connected it directly to the gas valve, and the furnace swiftly got so hot that I became very nervous about that flexible hose so I shut it down. I still need to run it long enough to burn the paint off the firebox so it stops stinking, so I need some pipe and a few fittings. But we ran it through its paces and it does function. The only problem so far is that it takes forever to get the pilot to light with the sparker. Once I get it properly plumbed I’m going to see if it lights more readily with a match.

But it works! It heats the room. Thermostat says on, it’s on. Thermostat says off, it’s off. A person could actually spend a night in this room on a frigid night without needing half a dozen wool blankets and a blasting cap to get him out from under them to go light the woodstove in the morning.

This is shaping up to be a remarkable winter.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to It works!

  1. Claire says:

    Yay, Joel and friend! I’m more impressed the more I see.

    As to this part:

    “The only problem so far is that it takes forever to get the pilot to light with the sparker.”

    That’s really common when you first light up a heater at the beginning of the season. I think it takes a while to get the propane flowing smoothly through the pipe or … ? Anyhow, my first-level backup heat is a ventless propane fireplace. I just cranked it up yesterday for the first time and it was a bitch. Sometimes it helps if you quit trying then come back half an hour later. It should work better when you’re using it regularly.

  2. Joel says:

    That’s really common when you first light up a heater at the beginning of the season. I think it takes a while to get the propane flowing smoothly through the pipe or … ?

    Yeah, that’s true. But this one’s pilot didn’t want to re-light five minutes after I’d turned it off when the firebox was still too hot to touch. The first time didn’t worry me, because sometimes it takes a lot to evacuate the air from the propane line. But the second time worried me.

  3. Claire says:

    Oh. Yeah, I can see how that would worry you. Hope you get it worked out.

  4. Judy says:

    Having a hard time lighting a pilot has to do with air in the line and getting the (I think it’s called a) thermocouple warmed up. Or that is what I understood when Pop explained it to me all those years ago when he installed all the safety equipment the gas heating stove in my little house didn’t have when I bought the house. And the little magic box he added to my heating stove that operated the pilot also generated the electricity that ran my thermostat. Someone who works in Heating and A/C will probably explain it better and correct me.

  5. Norman says:

    Curious – there’s no need to put an air space between the cement board and drywall?

  6. Joel says:

    According to the installation instructions there’s no need for the cement board. Code says just double up the drywall, and the instructions don’t even mention that. The furnace is built so the hot side is at the front; the mounting isn’t supposed to get all that hot.

  7. blindshooter says:

    Joel, I think I remember you writing about a rubber LP hose failing in the past. Never trust them inside. Get yourself a flaring tool and some copper line. A shut off valve at the floor under the heater will allow you to shut off the gas but keep the air in the line to a min when its time to light the pilot again. Hope this winter goes well for you.

  8. terrapod says:

    Very pretty heater corner. Methiinks you need to cover the cement board with some nice tile or maybe sheet copper?

    I am old school, prefer black iron pipe for anything gas fed, with a nice honking ball valve and long handle for cutoff, or if you have to, use stainless steel flex couplings. Any rubber hose is asking for trouble.

  9. Goober says:

    Vote 2 for black iron. And lots of soapy water for checking for leaks

To the stake with the heretic!