old gas heater

Old 12-22-00, 07:07 PM
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I just got an old gas heater from my grandmother's basement that I plan on using in my unfinished basement when the weather gets really cold.

The heater was made by the Atlanta Stove Works and is a J-40P model. A tag on the back says that it is rated for 39,999 BTUs/hr. I remember my grandparents using it when I was growing up occasionally, but I am pretty sure that it hasn't been used in about 8 - 10 years. It appears to be in good shape, but I would like some advice on what I need to do/any precautions before hooking it up in my basement. This may/may not be important to know, but it is the type that has ceramic "bricks" that are heated by the gas. The bricks give off the heat.

Do I need to have it inspected? Are there any known issues with gas heaters made by this company? Any issues with older gas heaters in general? I couldn't find a date of manufacture on the unit, but it appears to be at least 30 years old (just a guess though). I'm 32 and I remember it as a kid and it didn't look new then.

Also, if this unit just isn't safe anymore, please let me know. I would like to use the unit because it has been in my family for a while, but I don't want to put my family in any danger in the process.

Thanks for any info,

Russell Brackett
Old 12-22-00, 08:11 PM
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Thumbs down Ceramic Bricks?


Almost every heater that I have seen which uses ceramic bricks, as you mentioned, is a heater that is unvented. What this means is ALL the products of combustion are released into the room. Which may have been exceptable in years gone by but not any longer.

This isn't to say that you can't use it. You can. However, there are serious precautions you should be aware of.

This type of heater should be used in a well ventilated area. Failure to provide sufficient fresh air may cause the burner to consume all the oxygen in the room. You could then pass out and shortly thereafter, die.

To make matters worse, the products of gas combustion emit carbon monoxides as part of the fumes. This is part of normal and clean combustion but not so with this type of heater. Much more is produced do to the way it is burned. Futhermore, as the air in the room/basement is consumed, the volume of carbon monoxides increases dramatically.

Local laws and codes may make the useage of this type heating appliance a violation. In the unfortunate event of a fire, explosion, etc. <worse yet death> some insurance companies may not pay for damages.

Should you not want to risk danger, the heater will surely make a great conversion piece and family heirloom.
Old 12-24-00, 04:51 PM
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We have an older Warm Morning gas space heater that is vented, and it has ceramic "tents that heat up and turn red when the heater is on, then continue to put out heat when the burner is off. Works well, even tho quite old. We had the propane man check it out when we hooked it up because it was sitting out in a shed for yrs. We took out an unvented wall heater because of concerns about carbon monoxide

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