New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

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crazyboomfish
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:59 am

New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by crazyboomfish »

My husband and I are considering buying a house from a relative that has been in my family since about 1910 (built in the 1880s or so). It's a pretty average Mid-Western farmhouse, but it has features we just can't afford to replicate with new construction. My heart is sold, however it has been unoccupied for nearly 15 years and needs plenty of work. I'm sure I'll be asking lots of questions, however the most interesting (and perhaps least relevant lol) one concerns the furnace in the basement. My Dad remembers filling it with wood and corn cobs (and that the toilet upstairs had frozen water in the bowl through the winter). I'm not really sure what era this is from, legality/safety issues, or what an updated use might be? My thoughts say pull this dude out and install a new wood stove on the first floor. Not sure if we can get homeowners with that or not, but I'm pretty sure they would see this and go running for the hills!!
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Neighmond
Posts: 509
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2003 11:23 am
Location: NW Iowa

Re: New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by Neighmond »

It was made to burn coal. Look at it closely, and upstairs just over it-the damper on the door and the check will have a set of chains that are affixed to some sort of damper flapper. I wouldn't use that baby unless your insurance is paid up.
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crazyboomfish
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:59 am

Re: New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by crazyboomfish »

Coal? That is a laugh. Of the things I've heard being shoved into that to burn, coal was never mentioned. Which leads to me to believe "farmer innovation" said, "If it will light on fire, throw 'er in!"

Recomendations on what to do with it? I know one person's headache can sometimes be another's treasure; not sure if that adage applies to ancient fire hazards however.

Sombreuil_Mongrel
Posts: 2189
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:12 am
Location: WV

Re: New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by Sombreuil_Mongrel »

The big handle operates the "shaker grate" a device used to clean out the "clinkers" and keep a clear combustion going. The clinkers are the heavy rock-like cinders of hard coal.
Candidly, that thing is ready for the scrap heap.
Casey
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eclecticcottage
Posts: 399
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:24 pm
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Re: New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by eclecticcottage »

I agree, scrap it. Or leave it in the basement as a conversation piece because I bet it's heavier than heck.

You're right on with putting a woodstove on the first floor, it will heat better than in a basement. We have one (we heat with it) and we have homeowner's insurance. There was just a thread about insurance and woodstoves over at Hearth.com. great resource for questions regarding woodstoves, pellet stoves and gas stoves.
The Cottage Blog: http://eclecticcottage.blogspot.com/

Current home: 1950's Summer Cottage turned year round home (the Cottage)
-@ 700 sq ft, heated with a wood stove, on the shore of Lake Ontario
Previous home: 1920's Vernacular (the Old House)

triguy128
Posts: 708
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:41 pm
Location: Keokuk, Iowa

Re: New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by triguy128 »

That looks scary. Defintely not OEM. IT looks like they took a cast iron stove, then fab'd a galvanized duct around it for convenctive air movement... making their own homeade gravity furnace.

IF you even considered using it, you'd need to check for proper draft and also check the plenum for any CO or CO2. Given the visible condition, I wouldnt trust me or my families life with it.

To top it off, even if in good condition, it won't be very efficient. I bet flue gas temps are well over 200F.
1925 Neo-Classical

Previous home - 1968 single story Ranch/Colonial, 1200sqft - 11 windows
Current home - 1925 2 story Beaux Arts Neo-classical overlooking the Mississippi River, 3200sqft - 48 Windows

khwils
Posts: 793
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:21 pm
Location: Kankakee, IL

Re: New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by khwils »

I'm surprised it was never converted to oil or gas which was common. Many of these old things would eventually crack in the phlenom dome creating a Co2 safety issue. They were purely convection heat but worked remarkably well. Typically had HUGE duct work to transfer the heated air without blowers.

Oh and that's a fairly small one, ours was probably 6 feet across and 7 feet tall! Octopus was it's name of course.

Kurt

crazyboomfish
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:59 am

Re: New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by crazyboomfish »

Thanks for the input. Unless we had some sort of miraculous rock solid fix from a certified HVAC person, we certainly won't consider this as potential heat source. The foundation on this house is one of the topics I will probably also ask about as it is crumbling (river silt does not equal sand when trying to build basement walls) so there is a good chance we will be able to get down there with some heavy duty equipment to remove it.

If this item does not seem retrofitted, is there a good chance there isn't any asbestos abatement issues with it? Or is that perhaps what the white stuff is around the bottom of the picture.....? I was hoping this might be pre the "stuff asbestos in everything and everywhere" phase of home building.

GothicHome
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:08 pm
Location: Chatham Kent On / Calgary Ab

Re: New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by GothicHome »

Welcome, crazyboomfish. If the furnace is not in the way I would be temped to leave it in place. Just paint it stove black and leave it as a bit of the of the homes history. I believe most of us old home people have had one of those installed at some point in homes history it was high tech for the day. My furnace was long gone, but I still have some of the return side of the system in place. Use it for return side of my high efficiancy furnace now though.

eclecticcottage
Posts: 399
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:24 pm
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Re: New Here - Can anyone ID this heater?

Post by eclecticcottage »

If you're talking about the little bit on the actual furnace, it looks like efflorecence (sp). Minerals left over from water.
The Cottage Blog: http://eclecticcottage.blogspot.com/

Current home: 1950's Summer Cottage turned year round home (the Cottage)
-@ 700 sq ft, heated with a wood stove, on the shore of Lake Ontario
Previous home: 1920's Vernacular (the Old House)

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