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Hot gas supply line

LeeS Member Posts: 4
I just moved into a new home. It has a natural gas supplied ventless 30,000 BTU wall heater. It is in the basement which is unfinished, but does have a 4'x8 piece of sheetrock behind it. The black pipe supply line runs 6" parallel to the side of the unit up and to the ceiling, which is exposed i-joist. It then T's and travels away from the wall and across the bottom of the i-joist to supply the furnace which is about 12' away. Here is the problem...the supply pipe is more or less directly above the heater (about 54" above the heater), and the pipe gets so hot when the heater runs that it burns my hand to touch it. I noticed it immediately the first time I ran it, and I have not run it since. Is this a code or safety hazard? Can this pipe burst or explode if it gets too hot? There is only one plumbing contractor in my town, and he is the one that installed it. I have had to have a few of his errors corrected already, so I don't think he'd be honest if I asked him. Any advice?


  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,429
    I can't see it being an issue, but not positive. I would be much more concerned with a ventless gas unit though. Also, if the pipe burns your hand when you touch it and it is over 4 1/2 feet above it, it makes me more concerned about that. It should not be that hot above it, unless it also doesn't have a fan in it. Either way, I would pay close attention to the heater.
  • LeeS
    LeeS Member Posts: 4
    The basement is unfinished. The pipe is in clear view and unobstructed. It is a gas line. It moves across the floor joist directly above the heater and is transitioned into a yellow flexible gas line about 10' away, where it supplies the furnace. The heater is unvented and does not have a fan, so the heat rises straight up from the heater.

  • LeeS
    LeeS Member Posts: 4
    The fan is optional add-on external unit, and this does not have it. There is not power run to the heater, just the supply line. It is an Empire SR-30
  • LeeS
    LeeS Member Posts: 4
    Thank you for the advice
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,951

    OK, starting to make a bit of sense. That's an infrared heater which heats primarily by radiation (think the sun) rather than convection (think baseboard heat).

    It does not heat the air in the room directly and the energy goes into heating the objects in the room..............one of which is the iron pipe.

    You can stand 20 feet away from it and feel the energy while the air between you and the unit will remain relatively cold until heated by conduction from the room objects.

    You need not be concerned about the gas pipe as you'd need to heat it to 1163F before ignition can occur.

    Even still, wouldn't you need an oxidizer in the pipe for combustion to take place?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,467
    That type of heater makes surrounding objects alarmingly hot. I have looked at a few setups like this and have had the same concerns you have
    As mentioned above, the black gas line should not be a problem. I would check the temp rating on the CSST (looks like gastite) flexible gas line. I would also go through the installation manual for the heater to be sure you have the correct clearance to combustibles.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,806
    They also require a certain amount of ventilation. I think its in a range near 4 cfm per 1000 BTU/h?
    Steve Minnich
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,077
    Hello, It seems there should be a CO alarm nearby. Anyone have thoughts on the best unit for LeeS to get?

    Yours, Larry
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,539
    Since it is infrared... if @LeeS is concerned -- or someone else is! -- a simple sheet metal shield between the pipe and the heater will keep it much cooler. Aluminium flashing, or something of the sort.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,257
    edited February 2017
    Ventless gas heaters are illegal in many places, and should be illegal everywhere. I wouldn't use it. Is there any other heat source in that house?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,429
    It looks as if the transition between the black pipe and the csst is through a coupling, that looks to be a merchant coupling that comes on the pipe when you buy it. That coupler is not tapered and should not be used as a coupling. It is not designed for that application. It most likely did seal up ok, but it is not right.
    Glad to see they bonded the csst though. I rarely see it done around here, even though it is required.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,800
    Some types of CSST don't require bonding. Counterstrike is one.

    Maybe I am looking at this wrong but if this is mounted low on the wall how is the gas pipe (overhead) getting too hot to touch??