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Many advantages in space heaters; kerosene is efficient

Dear Jim: We are adding a large room, which will need heat. I am thinking about getting a gas, propane or kerosene heater. I am a bit concerned about safety of a vent-free kerosene heater. What type of heater is best? Jack P.

Dear Jack: Your idea of installing an additional heating unit instead of connecting the new room to your existing furnace makes sense. Your existing heating system may not have adequate heating capacity to handle the extra room during very cold weather.

Adding a heater also allows you to zone heat that large room.

You can keep its temperature higher when it is being used without setting the main furnace thermostat higher.

This results in a substantial savings.

Many people install a room heater, in a large family room for example, even if their central furnace can handle the heating load.

Another advantage of your room heater approach is there will still be heat when the electric power goes off during a storm.

No power, no furnace

A central gas or oil furnace stops when the electricity goes off.

Depending upon the type of gas heater you select, some generate their own electricity to keep them running.

For safe, efficient and quiet operation, a direct-vent gas or propane heater is your best choice.

The entire combustion process is sealed and separate from the room air. Combustion air is drawn in from outdoors and the exhaust gases flow back outdoors.

This is generally accomplished with just a single small pipe through an outside wall. The heater is located against the wall.

The pipe is a dual-chamber concentric design.

Outdoor combustion air is drawn in through the outer chamber and the hot exhaust gases flow out through the inner chamber.

The exhaust gases preheat the incoming combustion for better efficiency and combustion.

Kerosene models

Although most people install gas or propane direct-vent heaters, kerosene models are also available.

Being vented outdoors, they are as safe as any other heater.

These direct-vent kerosene heaters will also burn No. 1 heating oil.

The efficiency of the kerosene heaters is several percentage points higher than similar gas or propane heaters.

There is a larger variety of space heaters than most people realize.

You might consider a direct-vent counterflow wall furnace for a very large room.

These offer heating capacities greater than 50,000 Btu, which is actually enough to heat any entire house in a mild climate.

Counterflow designs are particularly nice because the room air circulates down through it while the hot exhaust gases flow up and out.

This type of heat exchanger is very efficient, and it blows the heated air out near the floor to provide more even room temperatures.

The following companies offer gas space heaters: Empire Comfort Systems, (800) 851-3153,; Louisville Tin & Stove, (502) 589-5380,; Monitor Products, (800) 524-1102,; Rinnai, (800) 621-9419,; and Williams Comfort Products, (909) 825-0993,

Send inquiries to James Dulley, The Decatur Daily, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit

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