Thread Number: 73256  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Are gas wall heaters safe?
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Post# 967629   11/13/2017 at 01:03 (340 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Guy, I've just leased a new apartment on Los Angeles and I have a question, as I'm not used to any kind of heaters or furnaces (except the one i had in my apartment in Dallas that was built in the wall together with the central air conditioner.)

The apartment has a double wall furnace by Williams. It's kinda popular here in Los Angeles area.

I've stayed in a hotel for a few days that had a similar heater. There's a small and simple thermostat in the shared wall between the living room and the master bedroom that darn thing is.

When i stayed in that hotel I could notice that thing gets really hot. (I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like a turkey in the oven).

There is no blower at all.

There is a "pilot" flame both in the bedroom and in the living room side. Actually I'm still not really sure if it's a double unit with two fronts or two separate units coincidentaly in the same position and sharing the same thermostat.

1) How safe it is? I haven't used the one in the apartment yet and the landlord said it was inspected by the gas company otherwise they wouldn't turn on the gas.
2) When I was at the hotel, i could notice a smell almost like "gas dryer vent". and the air was "heavy" to breath. I panicked and opened the door and windows to renew the air,turned that thing off and slept like a popsicle.
The idea of a gas appliance in the bedroom sounds kinda "stupid". Isn't there a huge CO poisoning risk? can I, for example, sleep with that thing running all night long during the winter?
3) Does it make any sense to buy two electric space heaters, use the gas heater only to warm up and then turn it off and use the electric heaters to keep the temperature? or that thing is safe enough and i'm being silly?
4) Both the living room and bedroom have ceiling fans. Couldn't the ceiling fan simply blow the pilot flame when the heater is off? Is it safe to keep the pilot on when the heater is off? I mean, during the summer of course i plan to keep the pilot off, but during the winter, is there any advantage of turning the pilot when the heater is not in use and light it only before adjusting the thermostat?

As last resource. is that thing so obsolete and dangerous that is better if I simply forget it exists and use only the electric space heater i have.

Post# 967630 , Reply# 1   11/13/2017 at 01:14 (340 days old) by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

Gas wall heaters like you describe seem to be the most common form of heat in California. They're perfectly safe as long as nothing combustible is near them, they're kept clean, and the flue vent is kept clear. I have seen them a few times where the flue was plugged and gases were spilling out the draft diverter into the room. Make sure that isn't happening. Otherwise there's really nothing wrong with them assuming it's not old and decrepit. I feel far less safe with a properly functioning electric space heater than I do a proper functioning gas wall heater.

And they do make a double wall heater


Post# 967638 , Reply# 2   11/13/2017 at 02:18 (340 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Yes, wall heaters are very common here.  We have one in our den.  We also used to stay at a little beach cabin that had a double back-to-back unit.  I don't remember the brand, but it was really old.  It had a pair of "panel ray" type vertical tubes that radiated the heat.  It kept that drafty cabin nice and toasty, and often we had to get up during the night and turn it way down, or off (no thermostat, just burner control knobs on the unit).  IIRC each unit had a separate pilot, but they shared the same flue. 


It takes quite a breeze to blow out a pilot.   I wouldn't worry about the ceiling fan's effects.   I prefer to place a small air circulator type fan on the floor in the corner of the room aimed straight up and set to its lowest speed.  They're inexpensive and effective.


You do not want to use an electric heater if you have the option to heat with gas.  Gas is far cheaper.  And, if Southern California Gas says the heater is safe, it probably is.  Gas companies will shut off or otherwise disable heaters and stoves if there's the slightest indication of a hazardous condition, and in your case the apartment management would have to correct the problem.


If  you stayed in the hotel on some of the first cold nights of the season, there would be dust on the burner and other hot components due to lack of use, which would cause an unpleasant odor as it burns off, but with continued use there's no chance for dust to accumulate in that quantity, and there's no more smell.



Post# 967660 , Reply# 3   11/13/2017 at 06:25 (340 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

I now vaguely remember these-in very old Hotel rooms we stayed in while traveling and some older home trailers.

Post# 967676 , Reply# 4   11/13/2017 at 08:15 (340 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Ceiling fans and gas fires

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It seems they don't play well together. Fan reverse mode down-draughts can create pockets of low pressure, encouraging combustion byproducts into the room.

And 'Fan reverse mode' is intended for central heating installations only, to shift warm air from the ceiling back down to floor level.

Department of Trade and Industry report (Archived).

Click on the link, then click 'View the item you were looking for'.


Post# 967706 , Reply# 5   11/13/2017 at 12:39 (340 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

If they are the ventless type, not a chance I'd use them. Sure they are made to burn clean, but you still have combustion byproducts from *any* fire. I wouldn't want to breathe that, especially in my bedroom. I'd pick up a couple of the oil filled electric radiators (usually $50 or less), make sure they aren't running on the same circuit and run the ceiling fans on low reverse to circulate the heat. Sure electric heating is more expensive, but your health/life is worth it.

Post# 967707 , Reply# 6   11/13/2017 at 12:45 (340 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

If you hate it that badly find another apartment that has a different kind of heat. Doubtful that the landlord is going to keep a heater that is dangerous to tenants, considering the law suit they could suffer. Gas heaters are made so that the fumes go through a heat exchanger and out the vent to the roof and do not poison you with CO2. The gas company tests for that and makes sure there are no leaks or breaks in the heat exchanger so you will be safe. If you are still concerned about it you might get a C02 detector that you can purchase at any hardware store. It will go off like a fire detector if it detects C02.

Post# 967709 , Reply# 7   11/13/2017 at 13:05 (340 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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I have one in the works excellent...this one is ventless....which is
OK for living spaces, not bedrooms, those must be vented outside per code...

I have the option for an electric added to the heating.....but I just stick with the gas section...

only the gas fire is operated by thermostat....the internal fan is not, just off and on...

this unit is convertible to LP is needed...

not much different than the gas fireplace in the living room.....but that one is a sealed combustion, with a fan for forced air heat...optional Summer use for a fire without heat...this one has no thermostat for anything...

Post# 967711 , Reply# 8   11/13/2017 at 13:09 (340 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I have a ventless gas fireplace in my downstairs rec room. It has a safety sensor that shuts everything off if the oxygen level of the room starts to drop towards an unsafe level. It has never set off my carbon monoxide detector. I have a vented thru the roof gas Hearthstone in my living room, that looks like a little woodstove, but both work without power. When the wind is howling and it blows down the chimney, the safety on the Hearthstone shuts off everything.

Post# 967723 , Reply# 9   11/13/2017 at 14:29 (340 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

My old place in Atlanta had them. Big ones that were all vented. They were everywhere in the deep-south when I was growing up. There was a tiny POS in the bathroom I replaced with a ventless wall unit. The old houses were so poorly weather-proofed nobody even cared about the big ventless units.I brought the wall unit with me to Virginia and I installed it in the basement. Works great. Gas logs in the living room.

If the power goes out in a blizzard, I have heat, hot water, and can cook on the stove or grill since all are gas.

Post# 967729 , Reply# 10   11/13/2017 at 15:28 (340 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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I think you mean a 'Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector'. CO is the poisonous gas produced through incomplete combustion. It swaps places with oxygen in the blood.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the gas produced by normal combustion.

Post# 967845 , Reply# 11   11/14/2017 at 03:02 (339 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Right now I'm in my room... First night here in the new home...

The landlord said the gas company came and inspected the heater. They are kinda paranoid about this kind of appliance because if they give the all clear, turn on the gas and something goes wrong, the first lawsuit will be against the gas company that authorized an unsafe appliance and turned on the gas in the property.

Ok, i feel safer.

There is also a CO detector in the bedroom and If i'm not mistaken, there's another in the living room. (not sure, need to check) But anyway, as soon as I can, i'll buy my own CO and smoke alarms, high end just to have an added security.

But anyway. That thing heats ok, but it's so noisy (clicks and metal bangs and "wooooop" when the burner ignites) that I think I'm going to use this darn gas thing only to help reducing the first heating costs and then turn the thermostat to off and use my silly ceramic heater that heats amazingly well and is silent.

It's impossible to sleep with that thing making loud noises right next to me.

Post# 967915 , Reply# 12   11/14/2017 at 12:53 (339 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Yes, you'll get noise with the metal parts expanding and contracting (unless you're a light sleeper you'll get used to it), but the "woooomp" sound might be fixable.  There's an adjustable mixture of air and gas going to the burner.   The adjusters appear as openings on the tubing or iron sections of the supply line feeding the burner, which are usually safely accessible while the burner is lit.  Adjust them all the way open and you'll probably get a roaring blue flame that may actually appear to be suspended in air above the burner.  Close them all the way and you'll get an inefficient yellow flame that produces soot and CO.  What you want is a quiet blue flame with a well-defined center (visualize the flame image on the panel of a vintage Maytag gas dryer). 


However, some burners just make that "woooomp" sound regardless.  Check to see what the flame on yours looks like, and if it's already appearing to be at optimum air & gas mixture (the So. Cal. Gas guy may have checked it and called it good), the sound of ignition may just be normal for it.

Post# 967916 , Reply# 13   11/14/2017 at 12:56 (339 days old) by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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So I was checking these out cause I'm curious.

Are they a ceramic heater or are they heating a flu/heat exchanger?

Post# 967917 , Reply# 14   11/14/2017 at 13:32 (339 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

I never knew of one that makes a lot of noise. I used to turn them down at bed-time and crank it up in the morning. Just a low flame overnight was all I needed.

Post# 967921 , Reply# 15   11/14/2017 at 14:08 (339 days old) by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

I do recall the newer Williams wall heaters being pretty noisy at ignition. When my sister lived in a place with a wall heater in the living room where I slept when I stayed with her, I had no issue with the noise and sleeping. It wasn't very loud at ignition either. It was an older unit probably from the early 70s.

Post# 967943 , Reply# 16   11/14/2017 at 16:40 (339 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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If the unit is controlled by a thermostat, there's no option to decrease the flame.  If it's not thermostatically controlled and just has knobs, then you can keep it on a low flame indefinitely and there won't be any cycling on and off.


The wall unit in our den is a +/- 1980 replacement of the original, which was from the early-to-mid '60s.  The old one used to make some serious noise as it heated up or cooled down.  The current one will make some rapid ticking sounds immediately after it kicks in as some of the sheetmetal parts heat up, but that's about it.

Post# 967945 , Reply# 17   11/14/2017 at 16:57 (338 days old) by DADoES (TX,U.S. of A.)        

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The paternal grandparents had one with a blower, in the wall at one side of the double doorway between the front living room and middle kitchen/dining area. Dated to the 1950s most likely, or maybe 1960s. Thermostat across on the other side of the doorway. They typically had it running hot as hell ... somebody *always* promptly turned it off during the Christmas gathering.

Post# 968041 , Reply# 18   11/15/2017 at 05:11 (338 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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Gas wall heaters overhere have two pipes through the wall (actually two canals in one pipe). That is mandatory. It pulls air from outside and the combustions are vented back outside. So no gas fumes can get into the room where the heater is. Together with other safety features, they are quite safe. They are becoming very rare though with central heating etc.

Here's an older gas wall heater with such a pipe.

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Post# 968056 , Reply# 19   11/15/2017 at 08:20 (338 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Our gas fires and gas central heating boilers have to be vented outside.

In fact, gas fires seem to be dwindling, as local councils replace them with gas central heating and 'focal point electric fires' (the fan heater type).

The only non-vented types that I know of were the old portable paraffin heaters, and bottled Calor Gas Fires - which are still available. The trouble with these, is that condensation builds up in the room very quickly.

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Post# 968127 , Reply# 20   11/15/2017 at 15:16 (338 days old) by eronie (Flushing Michigan)        

Gas stoves are not vented an nobody worrys about them go figure.

Post# 968131 , Reply# 21   11/15/2017 at 15:46 (338 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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Well, I have asthma and I prefer not to be in a kitchen where a gas stove is used.

Post# 968133 , Reply# 22   11/15/2017 at 15:56 (338 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
Like DADoES,

my little granny had one of those that a couple of uncles installed in her home in the country, between the living room and the dining room. Now, that house was easily under 1000 sq ft so that thing was like the fires of hell when the doors were open.

Before that, and even after that was instilled, though, she had one of the little gas space heaters in her living room with the sort of ceramic bars that showed some flame. As a little kid I loved to go visit in cold weather and sit near it and just watch the glow. It was fired by butane, and there always seemed to be a distinctive odor in there...

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Post# 968149 , Reply# 23   11/15/2017 at 17:10 (337 days old) by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

If it's natural gas, that "whoomp" should be fixable. But if it's LP gas, that is the way it ignites -- all of a sudden. We have LP gas fireplaces and they do that. Scared the heck out of me the first time I saw it.

Post# 968159 , Reply# 24   11/15/2017 at 17:54 (337 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

My grandfather in Mississippi had a couple of those gas heaters similar to the one John posted above. His were older models with fancier enclosures. For some reason, I thought they were scary when I was a little kid. Never saw them lit, as we were always there in the Summer. His house also had a fireplace.

Post# 968166 , Reply# 25   11/15/2017 at 18:11 (337 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

Heaven only knows it could've caught us on fire, as they did with so many children in the past! I always wondered how much butane the thing actually used. My granny had a gas/butane stove and also a gas refrigerator, as she didn't get electricity in the country until around 1950.

The home my parents owned when I was born had one of these little space heaters in the bathroom, but like you, I never saw it lit.

Post# 968632 , Reply# 26   11/17/2017 at 23:40 (335 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Yes, wall heaters are very common in California. As I recall, most of the flats we lived in SF in the 60's had no central heating, just one or more wall heaters, or, even more vintage, free-standing little metal heat boxes. It's a mild climate so it didn't really get all that cold most of the time. Most of them were simple on/off with no thermostat, although you could lower the flame a bit with the gas valve. Really old and funky heaters were recessed in the first floor of homes... the guts protruding into the crawl space or basement below. All that showed above was a floor grating. Woe to the sleepy kid who walks barefoot across a heater grate that has been on for a while! Most of these were turned on an off by a key, sometimes a couple of feet long.

I don't think ventless home heaters are legal in California. All the ones I've seen have flues.

I recall there was a tragedy in Berkeley in the 80's where the Indian owner of an apartment building, who used to rent to young women from India (for not entirely above board reasons, "to work in his restaurant") didn't maintain the heaters. Apparently there was some roof work done and it blocked the flue for one apartment. Multiple deaths from CO poisoning, despite a record of complaints from the tenants about the heating.

I've never seen a wall heater with a double flue like Louis describes. It's a very good idea, though, and prevents outside cold air from being sucked into the dwelling to feed the flame. The air for combustion comes from one of the dual flue pipes. I'm guessing the outer pipe space - the inner one being for exhaust. It serves another purpose - the incoming combustion air is pre-heated by the exhaust flow, making the heater all that more efficient.

My current home, built in '41, has gas forced air heating, which looks like it was installed in the 60's or 70's. I think it replaced an older ducted central heating system - possibly passive - that can be identified by the asbestos wrapped ducting under the house. I gather that column also accommodated a flue for the gas range in the kitchen - they used to have them for the ovens - but the kitchen was remodeled probably around the time the forced air heating was installed, and the stove area turned into an alcove for the fridge and electric wall oven. And I think the old central heating system replaced an original single floor heater in the living/dining room area, which has since been turned into a return for the forced air. I had to do some work on the forced air system when I moved in... cleaned some of the ducting, and added 1" fiberglass insulation around all the ductwork in the crawl space. There are two floor returns, and I had to modify both to accept updated Filtrete air filters, including a long large rectangular cross section return duct. Used to be there'd be a loud tin can bang when the forced air shut off and the return shuddered. Now it's just a barely noticeable thump.

Post# 968640 , Reply# 27   11/18/2017 at 02:30 (335 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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That's correct Rich, the outer pipe is for the air giong in and the inner pipe is indeed for exhaust.

Post# 970025 , Reply# 28   11/26/2017 at 04:25 (327 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        


Just turned off the pilot on this crap and also shut the main gas valve off.

1) Since i moved, the CO alarm went of 4 times.

2) Tonight, Darryl and I arrived, it was chilly, so the very first thing i did as soon as I opened the door and turned the light on was rush to the thermostat and crank it to 90F. 10 minutes later i said "Honey, isn't it a little bit too hot here?" (I was feeling like a thanksgiving turkey tanning in the oven)

3) Darryl adjusted the thermostat to a decent temperature.

4) a few minutes later, i ask darryl "what smell is that?" (It smelled like a mixture of fart and rotten eggs, typical "partially burnt gas" smell)

4) Darryl went to his father house and I went to the laundry room. 30 minutes later, i hear a series of beeps that sounded like several different alarms sounding at the same time. In fact the 2 first alert CO alarms and the three kidde hardwired alarms (brand new, installed a few days ago went off at the same time)

I ran upstairs, took a deep breath before i walked in, held my breath, ran to the thermostat and turned it off, then ran to the living room window and opened it. went outside, took another breath, ran inside again and opened two other windows. The apartment went from "burning hell" to "walk in cooler" in 5 minutes.

One thing i noticed. If i turn on the ceiling fans, i can see the flame reflecting brighter on the floor at night with light off and the noise changes a little bit. maybe the fans were somehow blowing what they shouldn't be blowing.

Anyway, just in case, i'll never turn that thing on again. I never liked gas, now I have 5 beeping reasons to hate gas for the rest of my life.

Conclusion: Before this thing kills, me, i decided to kill it. F-word the electricity bill. It's cheaper than my life. I already have 1 space heater (electric, ceramic, Pelonis, it is actually excellent for a crappy Walmart product that costed i think $28 when i was in Dallas.

My dryer is electric (Magic Chef compact), the stove I chose will be 100% electric (Samsung, double oven, induction) The water heater is gas (GE), who caes it is installed outside.

I don't want ANYTHING gas indoors.

Post# 970070 , Reply# 29   11/26/2017 at 10:28 (327 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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If you can smell that musty insufficiently burnt natural gas odor, and you're getting CO alarms, then the flue may be blocked and you SHOULD shut off that heater until the flue can be completely checked.

I'd let the landlord know there is a potentially fatal problem with that heater. I'd also call the gas company and/or a HVAC company to come out and diagnose and fix it.

If the landlord doesn't fix it, pay someone to do it and then deduct the cost from your next rent payment. This is California and you have a right that the rental unit you are paying for is habitable. It's state law. A defective heater that is the sole source of heat for that unit renders that unit not habitable.

A properly set up and maintained wall heater should not emit any odors, nor should it set off a CO alarm!

Post# 970088 , Reply# 30   11/26/2017 at 12:21 (327 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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My sister went from a regular wood burning fire place to converting it to a gas one--and maybe while at least once there was a log burning in it, or maybe it was never used for wood--I'm very forgetful, here!--she complained that the piping & valves emitted a lot of leaks, enough that the work had to be done over, and then the thing after one or two tries became never again ever used (a rather expensive investment) since no one could tolerate the odor, or still winced over the CO-2, or moreover, the fire hazardous-potential...

Oh, but then, the nuisance of having to clean out my fireplace & not wanting the furnace on & relying on it & having to bunk the entire night in the den caused my old fashioned fireplace to also fall into eternal disuse, right down to a bunch of logs somebody threw away down my block to have been picked up after I promised to stop by them one night after work to toss them in the trunk of my car, or perhaps go after them w/ my daughter's wagon--they were right by a light pole, she & would pass by while riding her bike, she can finally ride w/o the training wheels!

So natural gas has to be carefully piped in & installed "by the service of experts" to be safe, to the point where only the water heater in my folks' house ever used it... The furnace was oil and is STILL 'natural crude oil', while everything else there is electric...

-- Dave

Post# 970089 , Reply# 31   11/26/2017 at 12:21 (327 days old) by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

I agree with Sudsmaster. Your heater clearly has multiple problems despite the landlord's claims. Your landlord might be lying OR he might be repeating what he was told by incompetent service people. I'd find out which company he used, offer to arrange inspection/repair yourself, and call a DIFFERENT company to come in and do the work. A properly functioning unit should be fairly unobtrusive and emit no odor at all during normal operation. But please don't let this experience be your baseline for gas heat, lol.

If you're determined to go electric, you have several options:

- Portable oil-filled electric radiators as Dustin92 advised. These are also available in baseboard configuration.

-Permanently installed version of the above attached to a wall thermostat. I believe these are available in both 120 & 240v models.

The advantage of the above over convection units is that oil-filled (aka hydronic) units hold the generated heat and dissipate it more slowly. This reduces temperature swings --> equal comfort at a lower thermostat setting --> lower electric bills.

An example of portable baseboard:

An alternative is to retrofit underfloor electric radiant heat. Access to the underside of the floor isn't required.

An advantage is that when floors are warm most people are comfortable at a (much?) lower thermostat setting --> (much?) lower electric bills compared to any electric system that heat the air.

The primary disadvantage is that the system is by nature slow to respond to temperature changes. There are several ways around this. One is a timer. Ex. If you know you'll need heat an hour after sundown every day, the system can start heating AT sundown so you'll not experience a temperature drop in the house.

There's a thread on this somewhere here...

Hope this helps,


Post# 970096 , Reply# 32   11/26/2017 at 13:34 (327 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

John, Atlanta Stove Company had those all over the place back in the day. My old place in Atlanta had them. Never had a bit of trouble out of them. I used to shut off the gas and pilot in the spring, turn on the gas and relight the pilot in the fall. We had them in just about every room in the funeral home, as well.
I never heard of anyone having trouble with them and they could keep a house pretty toasty if need be. Of course, one had to keep pans of water on top to add some humidity to the air or it would get dry as a bone in the house!

Post# 970099 , Reply# 33   11/26/2017 at 14:07 (327 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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Call your utility company and they will come out and do an inspection, free of charge to see if there is a gas leak. And many times if its an easy fix, they will take care of it on the spot. Otherwise, they will issue a report that you can provide to your landlord.

When I rented, almost every place I lived in had a gas heater of this type. One apartment that I lived in had a small gas heater that sat by itself on the floor, rather than being wall mounted. It was vented, but it was so old that it didnt even have a pilot light, let alone a thermostat. I had to turn on the gas valve slightly and immediatley light it with a match. If I didnt light it quick enough it would kind of jump off the floor when I lit it. The only problem I had was that if I forgot to turn it off before I went to bed it would get hot as hell. But this was a huge apt. over a 5 car garage, uninsulated, and that little gas space heater kept it nice and toasty. The winter I lived there was one of the coldest in our counties history, getting down to 15 degrees at night, which is hella cold here in my neck of the woods.

This post was last edited 11/26/2017 at 20:38
Post# 970105 , Reply# 34   11/26/2017 at 15:02 (327 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Thomas, you're over-reacting to the concept of gas-powered anything.


I'm betting some birds found the the cap on your flue to be a nice toasty location to set up shop with constant warmth provided by the pilot flame.


I don't think So Cal Gas will check the flue for you, though.  They're in the gas business and that's all they care about.  Whether your gas appliances are properly vented is your problem -- or in this case, your manager's or landlord's. 


For many decades people have used gas for cooking, heating (that includes water), and drying laundry.  If it was as dangerous as you incorrectly think, it would have been outlawed long ago.


It might only cost you as much as a month's worth of electric heating to have the flue inspected and cleaned.   Gas is safe, clean burning, and cheap.  That's why it's used in most home and business heating applications. 



Post# 970119 , Reply# 35   11/26/2017 at 16:24 (327 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Ralph is spot on with that.

However it wouldn't hurt to have the power company check for gas leaks, in addition to calling in a HVAC company.


Thomas, your landlord has not made your rental unit habitable. A malfunctioning furnace that repeatedly sets off CO alarms is dangerous and potentially lethal.  I don't think any court of law would question the need to have that fixed at the landlord's expense. If the landlord won't do it, you have an implicit right to have the repairs done and deduct them from your rent. And maybe if the landlord refuses to cooperate, a judge could sentence them to stay in your apartment in the coldest part of the winter with the gas heat turned on? (Like a judge did to a slumlord in NYC some years back...)


California law regarding these matters is pretty inclusive, but local laws may add further landlord responsibilities.


Also it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate (by eviction, raising rent, harassment, etc) if you exercise your tenant rights.


PS-If the landlord is at all uncooperative, do everything in writing for communications about this issue, document everything, in case it does go to court.

Pertinent to this is California state law, from the Department of Consumer Affairs:

Most landlord-tenant relationships go smoothly. However, problems sometimes do arise. For example, what if the rental unit's furnace goes out in the middle of the winter? What happens if the landlord sells the building or decides to convert it into condominiums? This section discusses these and other possible issues and problems in the landlord-tenant relationship.


A rental unit must be fit to live in; that is, it must be habitable. In legal terms, "habitable" means that the rental unit is fit for occupation by human beings and that it substantially complies with state and local building and health codes that materially affect tenants' health and safety.129

California law makes landlords and tenants each responsible for certain kinds of repairs, although landlords ultimately are legally responsible for assuring that their rental units are habitable.

Landlord's responsibility for repairs

Before renting a rental unit to a tenant, a landlord must make the unit fit to live in, or habitable. Additionally, while the unit is being rented, the landlord must repair problems that make the rental unit unfit to live in, or uninhabitable.

The landlord has this duty to repair because of a California Supreme Court case, called Green v. Superior Court,130 which held that all residential leases and rental agreements contain an implied warranty of habitability. Under the "implied warranty of habitability," the landlord is legally responsible for repairing conditions that seriously affect the rental unit's habitability.131 That is, the landlord must repair substantial defects in the rental unit and substantial failures to comply with state and local building and health codes.132 However, the landlord is not responsible under the implied warranty of habitability for repairing damages that were caused by the tenant or the tenant's family, guests, or pets.133

Generally, the landlord also must do maintenance work which is necessary to keep the rental unit liveable.134 Whether the landlord or the tenant is responsible for making less serious repairs is usually determined by the rental agreement.

The law is very specific as to what kinds of conditions make a rental uninhabitable. These are discussed below.

Tenant's responsibility for repairs

Tenants are required by law to take reasonable care of their rental units, as well as common areas such as hallways and outside areas. Tenants must act to keep those areas clean and undamaged. Tenants also are responsible for repair of all damage that results from their neglect or abuse, and for repair of damage caused by anyone for whom they are responsible, such as family, guests, or pets.135 Tenants' responsibilities for care and repair of the rental unit are discussed in detail below.

Conditions that make a rental unit legally uninhabitable

There are many kinds of defects that could make a rental unit unlivable. The implied warranty of habitability requires landlords to maintain their rental units in a condition fit for the "occupation of human beings. "136 In addition, the rental unit must "substantially comply" with building and housing code standards that materially affect tenants' health and safety.137

A rental unit may be considered uninhabitable (unlivable) if it contains a lead hazard that endangers the occupants or the public, or is a substandard building because, for example, a structural hazard, inadequate sanitation, or a nuisance endangers the health, life, safety, property, or welfare of the occupants or the public.138

A dwelling also may be considered uninhabitable (unlivable) if it substantially lacks any of the following:139

Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
Plumbing facilities in good working order, including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system.
Gas facilities in good working order.
Heating facilities in good working order.
An electric system, including lighting, wiring, and equipment, in good working order.
Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds, and appurtenances (for example, a garden or a detached garage), free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.
Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair.

In addition to these requirements, each rental unit must have all of the following:

A working toilet, wash basin, and bathtub or shower. The toilet and bathtub or shower must be in a room which is ventilated and allows privacy.
A kitchen with a sink that cannot be made of an absorbent material such as wood.
Natural lighting in every room through windows or skylights. Windows in each room must be able to open at least halfway for ventilation, unless a fan provides mechanical ventilation.
Safe fire or emergency exits leading to a street or hallway. Stairs, hallways, and exits must be kept litter-free. Storage areas, garages, and basements must be kept free of combustible materials.140
Operable dead bolt locks on the main entry doors of rental units, and operable locking or security devices on windows.141
Working smoke detectors in all units of multi-unit buildings, such as duplexes and apartment complexes. Apartment complexes also must have smoke detectors in common stairwells.142
A locking mail box for each unit. The mail box must be consistent with the United States Postal Service standards for apartment housing mail boxes.143
Ground fault circuit interrupters for swimming pools and antisuction protections for wading pools in apartment complexes and other residential settings (but not single family residences).144

The implied warranty of habitability is not violated merely because the rental unit is not in perfect, aesthetically pleasing condition. Nor is the implied warranty of habitability violated if there are minor housing code violations, which, standing alone, do not affect habitability.145

While it is the landlord's responsibility to install and maintain the inside wiring for one telephone jack, it is unclear whether the landlord's failure to do so is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.146

An authoritative reference book suggests two additional ways in which the implied warranty of habitability may be violated. The first is the presence of mold conditions in the rental unit that affect the livability of the unit or the health and safety of tenants. The second follows from a new law that imposes obligations on a property owner who is notified by a local health officer that the property is contaminated by methamphetamine. (See When You Have Decided to Rent, Methamphetamine Contamination.) This reference book suggests that a tenant who is damaged by this kind of documented contamination may be able to claim a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.147

Limitations on landlord's duty to keep the rental unit habitable

Even if a rental unit is unlivable because of one of the conditions listed above, a landlord may not be legally required to repair the condition if the tenant has not fulfilled the tenant's own responsibilities.

In addition to generally requiring a tenant to take reasonable care of the rental unit and common areas (see above), the law lists specific things that a tenant must do to keep the rental unit liveable.

Tenants must do all of the following

Keep the premises "as clean and sanitary as the condition of the premises permits."
Use and operate gas, electrical, and plumbing fixtures properly. (Examples of improper use include overloading electrical outlets; flushing large, foreign objects down the toilet; and allowing any gas, electrical, or plumbing fixture to become filthy.)
Dispose of trash and garbage in a clean and sanitary manner.
Not destroy, damage, or deface the premises, or allow anyone else to do so.
Not remove any part of the structure, dwelling unit, facilities, equipment, or appurtenances, or allow anyone else to do so.
Use the premises as a place to live, and use the rooms for their intended purposes. For example, the bedroom must be used as a bedroom, and not as a kitchen.148
Notify the landlord when dead bolt locks and window locks or security devices don't operate properly.149

However, a landlord may agree in writing to clean the rental unit and dispose of the trash.150

If a tenant violates these requirements in some minor way, the landlord is still responsible for providing a habitable dwelling, and may be prosecuted for violating housing code standards. If the tenant fails to do one of these required things, and the tenant’s failure has either substantially caused an unlivable condition to occur or has substantially interfered with the landlord’s ability to repair the condition, the landlord does not have to repair the condition.151 However, a tenant cannot withhold rent or has no action against the landlord for violating the implied warranty of habitability if the tenant has failed to meet these requirements.152

Responsibility for other kinds of repairs

As for less serious repairs, the rental agreement or lease may require either the tenant or the landlord to fix a particular item. Items covered by such an agreement might include refrigerators, washing machines, parking places, or swimming pools. These items are usually considered "amenities," and their absence does not make a dwelling unit unfit for living.

These agreements to repair are usually enforceable in accordance with the intent of the parties to the rental agreement or lease.153

Tenant's agreement to make repairs

The landlord and the tenant may agree in the rental agreement or lease that the tenant will perform all repairs and maintenance in exchange for lower rent.154 Such an agreement must be made in good faith: there must be a real reduction in the rent, and the tenant must intend and be able to make all the necessary repairs. When negotiating the agreement, the tenant should consider whether he or she wants to try to negotiate a cap on the amount that he or she can be required to spend making repairs. Regardless of any such agreement, the landlord is responsible for maintaining the property as required by state and local housing codes.155



Post# 970189 , Reply# 36   11/27/2017 at 02:16 (326 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

guys, thanks for all the advices.

my landlord is actually great. I'm sure that once I mention the problem, he'll immediately try to find a solution. I had an issue with ONE of the bindings, he bought 2 new ones and said he will replace 1 per month. it sounds more than fair. I wanted an electric outlet for the stove (the apartment has only gas) two days later the electrician was here to see the area and ask me exactly where I wanted the outlet. the landlord will pay. he has no problems with upgrades. I hate the laminate floor, he already said I can install the floor I want, as soon as it's reasonable (aka not gold or travertine marble) and send him the bill. same with the horrible parrot green on the living room and master bedroom walls.

he already said he's going to redo the kitchen after 1 year. (he just finished the bathroom that is 100% new and he needs some time to breath because it was expensive.) it sounds more than fair, isn't it?

I don't believe he was negligent. the gas company inspected it before turning on the gas and they found a silly thing wrong and that was enough to make him hire a professional to inspect the heater.

it happened 2 days before I moved in. I was arriving here when the gas company had just left. they inspected the heater and finally turned on the gas like 5 minutes before I arrived. the water from the heater (also BRAND NEW) was still cold.

I know gas is safe when the appliance is well kept and regularly inspected. I used gas stoves all my life.

I could be overreacting, ONE CO alarm going off eventually is understandable and not a reason to panic. shut the heater off, open the windows, wait for it to stop, try again... sometimes a smoke or a co alarm may go off accidentally. but when we have FIVE alarms going off at the same time, with seconds of difference between then, then it's hard to believe it was just a hiccup that caused a false alarm. they really went off.

I am still intrigued by the. ceilling fan. i still didnt buy a bed, so i use an air mattress that is on the floor next to the heater. at night, with everything dark and now the floor is clean and shining, I can see the blue flame reflecting on the floor. actually the position I am allows me to see the living room through the gaps on the bottom.

when I turn on the ceiling fan, I can see the flame changing a lot. it turns orange and even the heater noise changes (sounds like a blow torch). I am more than aware that yellow flames mean danger.

what makes me intrigued is, how can a fan cause such huge difference?

I didn't understand very well the thing about the gas company and pilots. have you tried to say that they intentionally adjust the pilot to maximum to spend more gas? one thing I noticed is the heater is always hot, even when it's off. well, not really hot, but lukewarm and considering the pilot is a little bit on the ENORMOUS size, I could instinctively guess the pilot is keeping the heater a little warm when it's off. I mean, no matter where I touch the heater, it is hot enough to be noticed, but not to burn my hand.

Post# 970190 , Reply# 37   11/27/2017 at 02:22 (326 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

tomorrow morning the landlord will come here to bring the doorbell, install a light fixture on the porch and I'll tell him about the heater incident. it won't surprise me if he decides to get rid of it and buy a new one as he is gradually replacing everything in this apartment.

Post# 970193 , Reply# 38   11/27/2017 at 03:36 (326 days old) by spiralator60 (Los Angeles)        
A Few Points of Clarification

Thanks to everyone who has commented and responded so far. In addition to Thomas, I am also a signatory party to this particular apartment. I have not said anything up until this point, because there were specific questions and concerns mentioned in the original post regarding the safety and practicality of a wall heater in an apartment.

There is no issue about the general safety of the product. It has been especially helpful to hear about other's experiences and situations in California, particularly Southern California.

The reason for the question at all is because of concerns that we have about the unit itself. The landlord told us that he replaced the wall heater after the previous tenant moved out after having lived there for more than fifteen or so years. In addition to the metal grill frame on both sides of a wall, a new thermostat was installed. Technically, everything works, but it does not seem as fine tuned as other wall units I have seen in the past. In other words, there is little variance between "warm" and "hot."

The carbon monoxide and smoke alarm alerts have happened more than the one time Thomas spoke about in post #970025, though this was the first time that all five devices sounded at once, and with the "burnt gas" odor. The landlord responded to the first incident by replacing all of the smoke detectors with new units.

Several have commented on what the landlord should do in response to these issues. The lease clearly outlines the roles and legal responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant, which Rich cited and provided the pertinent link to in the California Department of Consumer Affairs web site.

Part of the problem and frustration is that the apartment is maintained through a property management firm, and not directly through the landlord. It has not helped that the landlord and the owner of the management company frequently contradict each other in front of the tenants on this and other matters. Things get done slowly when referred to the firm, so the landlord goes over the head of the manager, which causes a great deal of tension and delay on other projects.

The apartment itself is on the second floor of a structure that was built 70-75 years ago, when Los Angeles city building codes regarding gas connections and gas appliances were different from what they currently are. While there have been modifications and upgrades over the years to conform the the code changes, to keep the apartment habitable, they are not the same as if the building was constructed in 2017. We understood this when signing the lease, though not to the extent that we now know and recognize. It is for this reason that Thomas said that he did not want any more gas appliances inside the building, as in a range and a clothes dryer, though we were and are now looking at electric appliances. We had already discussed this separately regarding personal preferences, not out of fear or any other such concern.

Thomas and I have the impression that we are caught in the middle of something between the landlord and property manager, where certain work would not be done, or corrected, at all unless we point out the matter. The wall heater and other gas connections is probably the biggest issue so far, because it cannot be brushed off at this time of the year when the weather is beginning to change. Moving is not an option at present, given the expenses and time already involved.

Please feel free to contact either of us privately if there are any questions.


Post# 970195 , Reply# 39   11/27/2017 at 04:01 (326 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Good to hear your landlord is so willing to fix, replace and upgrade. You MUST tell him about the heater issue, and the CO detectors going off.


It might be a result of the ceiling fan, but I don't know. Most ceiling fans have a reverse switch. If yours does, I'd try reversing it to see if there is less effect on the furnace flame... even with the new heater when it arrives, which I'm sure it will. And of course the flue also needs to be examined. Perhaps a chimney sweep could do that.


There are probably newer wall heaters that don't use a pilot light, but have an electronic ignition instead. The forced air gas furnace in the crawl space here has one of those, and it was installed in 1983. It does make a high pitched whine that I can sometimes hear when it's starting up, although I don't know if that is the igniter or the sound of the gas flowing. Once the furnace heats up the blower turns on and the whine cannot be heard.


I think new gas ranges and cook tops cannot have pilot lights any more, either. They are all electronic ignition.


The 40 gallon gas water heater here has a pilot light. Never given any problems, but then the water heaters is in a draft protected little closet all its own, with upper and lower screened vents, in the enclosed (but ventilated) patio. It would not surprise me if newer water heaters have also gone electronic ignition, but the philosophy seems to have been that the heat of a gas pilot isn't really wasted because the water in the tank is an effective heat sink.


Post# 970199 , Reply# 40   11/27/2017 at 05:17 (326 days old) by Supersurgilator (Indiana)        

I would have called the fire department when the alarms went off. They usually have some kind of equipment that they can double check everything for that. They might have even gone on the roof as well and inspected the vent.

Post# 970264 , Reply# 41   11/27/2017 at 13:29 (326 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Darryl, it sounds like both of you are on top of the situation regarding how to get action from the landlord (on site manager?).  I was wondering if there might be a property management firm in this mix, and that can be either a help or a hinderance.


Thomas stated that maybe a whole new unit could be installed, but even if that were to happen, if the flue is blocked, nothing will change.  Considering the age of the building, flue issues are a distinct possibility and again, I think this is the source of the problem.


Usually there's a way to adjust the pilot flame somewhere on the valve assembly, but it's not always obvious and would probably require a very small screwdriver or allen wrench.  On the wall unit in our den, you have to get up close to it before you feel any warmth from the pilot, and it's minimal.  I'd say the pilot flame on it is about an inch and a half long at most.


It sounds like the fan is stirring up dust in the area near the burner which would cause the yellow flame, and is also creating a draft across the burner itself.  The fan should be on its lowest speed and, if reversible, set to aim the air flow toward the ceiling.  I presume the gas company guy adjusted the flame for optimum performance, so if it's blue without the fan running, I'd leave that adjustment alone.


Basic thermostats are cheap.  Once the heater is back to non-poisonous operation, you could probably find one that doesn't have as wide a temperature swing (or has an adjustable swing) for little money and easily install it yourself.



Post# 970265 , Reply# 42   11/27/2017 at 13:33 (326 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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As I recall, all the thermostatically operated wall heaters I've seen are either on or off. No modulation of gas flow other than that. Older stand-alone heaters might have a gas valve one could modulate, but one also could risk the flame being so low it can get blown out, which obviously would not be good.



Post# 970343 , Reply# 43   11/28/2017 at 02:54 (325 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Problem solved! YAY!

Landlord came here today to install a doorbell (now i have the Jetson's doorbell LOL) and as soon as he arrived i told him about the heater and the alarms going off.

Immediately he almost panicked. And he could instantly remember several months ago he went to the roof to do something and he almost fell. He grabbed the flue.

At that time he didn't pay any attention as the flue didn't visibly move above the roof, however, the part between the roof and the ceiling fell.

He immediately went to the crawl space under the roof and saw the flue was fallen.

Situation: all the fumes were trapped between the roof and the ceiling, and backflowed through the hatch on the hallway ceiling, right next to the smoke alarm that is also a CO detector.

The alarms are linked so when one goes off, the others go off together (that explains the alarms going off at the same time).

I wouldn't expect a better solution knowing my landlord the way I know. He immediately said "for god's sake, please don't you dare to think about turning the heater on today. If the CO alarm didn't go off you could be dead now. Let's turn the pilot off just in case (well, it was already off). You know what? I won't fix that crap. It's almost 10 years old and I personally don't trust it. We never had any problems with it but i prefer to be on the safer side. I'll schedule with the technician to come ASAP and install a new heater AND replace the flue. I prefer to have everything brand new.

The heater is actually made locally (Williams) and he has a relative that works there, so he can get a new heater for a modest price.

Other thing my landlord did today: The porch had a light fixture that was missing the glass globe. The day i moved in he told me he was going to order and come to replace. I thought he was going to order the globe only. Well, he came today with a brand new (and cute) light fixture. And it's visible it's not the El Cheapo brand because that thing is heavy and visibly well designed and made. It also has some fancy features like a sunlight sensor, a motion sensor and it's Wi-Fi enabled.

he also helped me installing the two first blindings (he will replace 2 per month until all of them are replaced) and even touched up the paint to cover the area where the old blindings brackets were screwed.

When we were there, i asked him if he could indicate a window washer to clean the windows, he didn't know any, but he said "you know what? those windows are so old and ugly. Would you mind the mess if i replace the windows? Not right now, but one or two per month on the next months.

I chose this property alone and i decided on it because i was tired of looking for properties and not finding any that would be affordable. What made me pick this one was the huge laundry room downstairs and the brand new bathroom.

Right after I moved, I discovered the property is in one of the worst neighborhoods in los angeles. Now i literally live in the middle of the "hood", the famous zip code 90044. (AKA gheto, skid row, etc).

I was terrified when I discovered that, but my landlord is so cool that I'm starting to change my opinion. My neighbor (the front house) lives here for years and he also told me that we are right in the middle of a series of blocks that have impressively low crime rates because most of the surrounding neighbors own the properties and live in the area for several generations, so drug dealers, gang members, etc are not welcome and don't feel welcomed in this area.

Oh, and next year he will remodel the kitchen, get rid of the old cabinets (horrible by the way) and a silly triangle on the corner that makes the kitchen even smaller. I will have space to have a decent dishwasher YAY.

For now, I'll be more than happy with a 4-service countertop Haier DW that Kevin found in Sacramento and brought to me. He tested it and it works great! i'll pick it up tomorrow night.

Post# 970344 , Reply# 44   11/28/2017 at 03:05 (325 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Ad before I forget... The property manager (a company) is a PITA.
It's the kind of person that want to make the property as profitable as possible by being scrooge with everything, while the property owner is proud of the property and is always trying to find ways to make improvements and he doesn't care if he's going to spend all the rent profit on improvements.

Today we had a nice conversation about that when he told me he doesn't give a shit to what the manager says, It's his property and he will invest as much as needed to make it better as soon as it fits his budget. He also said he's very happy to have me as a tenant because he could already see i am very careful with things and also very clean. (considering the cleaning miracle i did here, because the apartment was NASTY when I moved in and even being in the middle of a moving, he could see I try to keep things clean and organized, so he's not afraid of investing because he knows I'll be careful with everything as if they were mine.

he also told me to never address any issues to the manager, but talk directly to him if I want immediate solutions.

He also asked me to help him by giving ideas of what can be done to improve the property. I almost told him to get rid of the wall heater and put a central A/C and furnace LOL.

Post# 970349 , Reply# 45   11/28/2017 at 04:07 (325 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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Williams heaters:


Post# 970363 , Reply# 46   11/28/2017 at 08:10 (325 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Very good news, Thomas. It has occurred to me that there was a roofing problem there, and sounds like in a way, there was.


However central HVAC is probably not gonna happen, not in an apartment, I would think. I'm assuming there's a window or through the wall AC unit in that place...?


Post# 970364 , Reply# 47   11/28/2017 at 08:30 (325 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Your landlord sounds as though he is a thoroughly decent chap, willing to upgrade in agreement with yourselves.

You get some landlords who either: (a) do nothing whatsoever (like Rigsby in 'Rising Damp'; or (b) let upgrades drag on seemingly forever.

Post# 970380 , Reply# 48   11/28/2017 at 11:07 (325 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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What a great report, and what a great landlord! 


I'm not questioning his motives for making improvements, as I'm sure he wants to make them for you, but he also benefits when he files his taxes, so it's a win/win. 


We have a friend who owns a 4-plex, and he's in the process of replacing wall ovens and cook tops for his tenants.  Some are the originals from 1960, made by Frigidaire.  He needs the write-offs.


JMO, but a ten year old wall heater is something I'd consider to be nearly new.  There's not a lot to go wrong with the heating unit itself, but hey, if he wants to replace it, why not?


When you said you landed in "one of the worst neighborhoods in Los Angeles" I immediately thought Boyle Heights.   I think South Central might actually be better.   When I visit L.A., I spend most of my time in the area from downtown and points north of there, and my sister lives not all that far from Boyle Heights.  At least you're near the 110, which gives you a straight shot to the cultural centers.

Post# 970526 , Reply# 49   11/29/2017 at 03:38 (324 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Brand new Williams heater..

I should change the thermostat indicators, instead of temperatures, it should have bake, roast, toast, incinerate.

The model that was here was 50% less powerful than the unit he installed today. Jesus, that darn thing works like a charm. If i turn on the ceiling fans, nothing happens to the flame (but my apartment turns into a giant convection oven)

It doesn't make the "whooop" anymore every time it kicks in, super silent.... Well, super silent except for the contraction/expansion noises, that are absurdly loud (almost like dropping a baking pan on the floor). Also there is no gas smell at all and after 2 hours running, with all the windows closed, the alarm didn't go off.

He literally replaced everything from the gas valve to the cap on the end of the flue. Everything brand new, except for the external body that was perfect. But i have the feeling the HVAC technician washed it because its white is shining.

Well, tomorrow morning you'll know if it worked. Worst case scenario, i'll wake up roasted like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Post# 970879 , Reply# 50   12/1/2017 at 02:36 (322 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        
Worst case scenario, i'll wake up roasted like a Thanksg

sudsmaster's profile picture

... or not wake up at all...


Please post to let us know the new heater didn't put you to sleep permanently!



Post# 971065 , Reply# 51   12/2/2017 at 03:35 (321 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        


Nope, Just in case the landlord installed three more CO detectors in the space between the ceiling and the roof and I also found a CO detector I had, put batteries in it and it's now in the living room.

I tested is in several different ways (living room and bedroom doors closed, doors open, fans off, fans on, even set it to the maximum temperature and waited until the thermostat turned it off) (actually i was like a thanksgiving turkey and I turned it off before it reached the maximum temperature). None of the now 9 alarms went off.

And it's getting cold here in LA, so since then i turn the heater on when I arrive home around 9 pm and turn it off only when i wake up in the morning. (or when i wake up around 5 am feeling like a turkey and run to turn it off and open the kitchen, bathroom and office door to cool down a bit.

Post# 971167 , Reply# 52   12/2/2017 at 17:20 (320 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Your next step could be to get one of the newer programmable "setback" thermostats. With those you tell it to come on by itself in the moring with a certain target temp, then back off after you've left for work/school/whatever, come back on just before you're due home again, then back off about the time you plan to retire for the night. They are relatively inexpensive (under $50) and very simple to install (just hook up two wires in the wall from the old stat to the new one) and program. Mine is a Lux 1500 I got about ten or more years ago. It needs a new battery every year or two but other than that it's been trouble free. Oh, and you can manually override the set temp any time you like. Like turn it up at night or down during the day.


Post# 971379 , Reply# 53   12/3/2017 at 23:05 (319 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

I want to get something with WI-Fi (compatible with Bixby).

Not that I really need it, but to have the comfort to turn on the heater before I arrive home and also by the morning i can ask Bixby to turn it off instead of running naked around the house to reach the thermostat.

But I have no idea if it would work, as the heater uses a milivolt thermostat, super simple. I haven't researched anything about that yet.

Post# 971392 , Reply# 54   12/4/2017 at 00:58 (319 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Milivolt systems are tough to control with WiFi, but I did fond a Lux thermostat that will work on your system.


Post# 971425 , Reply# 55   12/4/2017 at 08:46 (319 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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"running naked around the house to reach the thermostat."


Bathrobes are inexpensive and reliable.


If you have regular wakeup times, a set back thermostat can fire up the heater before you wake up, even better than wifi.


Post# 971619 , Reply# 56   12/5/2017 at 00:50 (318 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

If you have closed curtains-most folks close those at night-and you are naked-they will never know!

Post# 982568 , Reply# 57   2/13/2018 at 00:52 (248 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        
To whom it may concern

My Williams Gas wall heater didn't manage to kill me yet.

The CO alarms didn't go off anymore (I actually forgot to hit the test button this week, will do that tomorrow morning)

It works... well, it heats... My gas bill is absurd as I sleep with the heater on every nigh to try to keep 80F as the walls are not insulated and they get very cold at night. (Don't judge me, I'm brazilian, so anything below 80F i'm almost wearing a scarf)

My bedroom get somewhat warm if i close the door. The living room has a huge gap under the entrance door and I can feel the cold air entering when the heater is on. No matter what I do, the living room is always much colder.
I thought about putting one of those "snakes" in front of the door to prevent dust from entering, but then i thought maybe it's not a good idea because it may affect the airflow to the flue. Right?

The other bedroom (office), even if i set the thermostat to 90F and leave the doors open will always be cold. I'd roast in my bedroom while the other bedroom would always be freezing cold.

Right now the weather is getting a little bit warmer in southern California, so I'm starting to sleep with the thermostat set to only 75F.

I still hating the noises it does. After the heater was replaced, it stopped doing the "whooop" noise every time it turns on, but every time it turns off it makes that metal noises like an oven cooling down.

Other thing i hate about this heater is keeping it clean. Jesus! that thing collects dust better than a vacuum cleaner filter. A few days ago Darryl and I took the front cover off and vacuumed everything. Now I just looked at it and it's covered with a black dust again.

Actually, I still don't know it that black dust is caused by the heater or if it's the air pollution from outside being sucked under the door by the heater.

No matter how much i vacuum and clean (and I use the hoover floormate once a week), the living room floor is always so dirty that i walk with bare feet and my feet gets black.

Post# 982569 , Reply# 58   2/13/2018 at 01:03 (248 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Off topic. (not so off topic because i believe the dust is caused by the heater)

Who invented the hoover constellation is probably a sociopath and deserves a slow and painful death.
Every time i turn the vacuum cleaner on i can see it blowing all the dust on the floor. (lamiante)

Then when i'm vaccuming, the vacuum hits my ankles all the time (almost like a shopping cart)... or the walls, the furniture, the closet doors (glass)

And when i really need to take advantage of the floating feature, it gets jammed on it's cord, so i have to lift the vaccuum.

The only way to vacuum without hurting myself or breaking something or putting marks on the walls is holding the canister with one hand and vacuuming with the other.
Sometimes I'm vacuuming and the hose touches my leg and it always grab and pull some hair. Veet hose? Satinelle Hose? Ouch!

But that's ok, as soon as possible I'll get a Bissell Crosswave, as I wash my floors once a week and using the hoover floormate is a hassle as the head is too bulky. And using the floormate as a dry vacuum is the same as nothing.

Post# 982573 , Reply# 59   2/13/2018 at 01:46 (248 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

A new heater shouldn't be generating sooty residue.  I think your CO alarms would be going off if that were the case.  If you have issues with dust, the heater grille will be one of the places where it will accumulate.


In an old building, you're going to have drafty conditions if the windows and doors don't seal well.  The heater will work fine if you cover the gap under the front door.  You can buy a felt sweep on a metal strip to install at the bottom of the door and cover the gap, or just use one of those snakes or a towel to place across the door bottom.  The more drafts you eliminate, the lower your gas bill will be.


Again, a compact air circulator placed in an out-of-the way spot and set to its lowest speed will help to distribute heat more evenly.

Post# 982575 , Reply# 60   2/13/2018 at 02:11 (248 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

I turn on the ceiling fans to distribute the heat.

I'll buy a snake this week (no more than that because it's a rental unit and I don't want to spend a dime here.)
When the contract ends, I want to move away from the 90044 zip code. I'll probably end up moving to Long Beach (Hi Kevin!)

Other day i realized i literally live 3 blocks away from the famous Tom's Liquor Store (1992 L.A. riots, where that truck driver was attacked, remember?)

Other things i HATE, HATE, HATE in my apartment are the cheap floors that no matter how well i clean are always stained and looking dirty, the ridiculous kitchen, the nosey landlord that uses his keys for everything he considers an "emergency" (For example he's driving in the neighborhood and needs to use the bathroom, so he just comes to my apartment, opens the door when I'm not here and dump a submarine in my bathroom, uses MY toilet paper and forgets to flush)
Also, he's a PITA with the disposer. He said he has "advanced knowledge" about disposers, for this reason he brought me one of those drain screens just to prevent any kind of food, for example a pea or a rice grain from falling in the disposer as disposers are meant unly to pump the water out faster and not to grind food waste. I stated clearly that one of the features that made me pick this apartment was the disposer and I'd use it according to the manufacturer instructions. And ISE says i can but almost everything in it. and putting a screen on the disposer would prevent me from using 100% of the features I'm paying for.

If he sees the 30 chicken wing bones i disposed at once (not feeding them all at once, of course) two nights ago he would probably have a heart attack.

Other things that are a PITA here is that the apartment doesn't have AC, the wiring is extremely weak and terribly designed. To run the dryer I must leave the laundry room lights on because the "genious" put the outlets in the same circuit AFTER the switch.

Oh yes, and the walls are green.... parrot green!

Everything I loved about this apartment (because it's "vintage" and I always dreamed about living in a vintage building) turned into a nightmare.
I'm hating this apartment so much that I'm almost saying I want to live in one of those brand new HGTV homes with "Open tragedy concept" kitchen and stainless steel appliances.

Note to add. I LOVE my giant laundry room. I have room enough to have at least 30 full size washing machines side by side if I want.

Post# 982577 , Reply# 61   2/13/2018 at 02:20 (248 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Darryl and I were planning to buy the appliances w ereally wanted (all samsung, fridge with that screen, magnetic induction stove, convection microwave, all of them with wifi.

I'm still using an IKEA portable cooktop (magnetic induction) and a mini fridge.

If we buy something for this apartment, it will be the el cheapo BOL model, preferably at sears outlet to be even cheaper because of possible dents or scratches.

Right now I'm finish paying some bills and we'll have some money to invest on furniture, etc.

Don't be surprised if i buy only a cheap folding table at walmart, some folding chairs anda $399 stove.

There is a Magic Chef top freezer refrigerator at home depot that is inspiring me a lot.

But again, we have this mini fridge that was in the apartment and it is working for now. I'm not desperate to buy anything because I'm actually frustrated with the apartment.

The landlord is a very nice man, but suddenly he started doing this little things that really get on my nerves. Add that to the neighborhood I didn't know is one of the worst in L.A., with police helicopters flying over the house with their spotlights on all the time.

BTW, Days ago the landlord surprised me with new blindings in the office. Much better than the horrible cheap crap that was there.

Post# 982586 , Reply# 62   2/13/2018 at 06:15 (248 days old) by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

polkanut's profile picture

Don't forget to ask at Home Depot if they have any scratch & dent models for sale.  My sister & brother-in-law bought a nice GE fridge at Menard's that had a scuff on the freezer door, and it was marked down significantly from the original price.  You can't even see the scuff if you don't know it's there.

Post# 982587 , Reply# 63   2/13/2018 at 06:28 (248 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

In the days when I used to rent an apartment--It was ILLEGAL for the landlord to enter your unit without 24hrs notice UNLESS it was some sort of emergency threatning safety of others or the building.I would check on that in your area.

Post# 982588 , Reply# 64   2/13/2018 at 06:29 (248 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Disposer as a pump??That man doesn't know crap about disposers-they are NOT pumps-they are a machine intended to shred food waste!!

Post# 982733 , Reply# 65   2/14/2018 at 02:45 (247 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

"Disposer as a pump??That man doesn't know crap about disposers-they are NOT pumps-they are a machine intended to shred food waste!!"

Really? I didn't know that Hahahahahahh

Have you never read the drain? In Sink Erator, sink drain pump to make the sink drain faster.

Laughing histerically

Now I'm wondering.... Who needs a pump to drain the kitchen sink faster? Hahahahah

Gosh, why didn't i think about this before? I may ask the landlord to install one in my bathtub to drain it faster.

Post# 982734 , Reply# 66   2/14/2018 at 02:50 (247 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

"In the days when I used to rent an apartment--It was ILLEGAL for the landlord to enter your unit without 24hrs notice UNLESS it was some sort of emergency threatning safety of others or the building.I would check on that in your area."

My contract says that.

The problem is "what exactly is an emergency?"

Sorry thomas, i was in the neighborhood and I had an "emergency", i had to use your bathroom. LOL

But again, the landlord is not a bad person and he doesn't do that to be nosey or something like that. He's just an old man that doesn't quite understand anymore the differences between right and wrong.

It pisses me off, but at the same time, as he's a very good guy, the best i can do is pretend i didn't see anything.
I definitely won't have a serious conversation with him about that.

Post# 982778 , Reply# 67   2/14/2018 at 13:14 (247 days old) by kd12 (Arkansas)        
No Fan?

I'm stumped as to why these furnaces don't have a blower fan. The wall furnaces I remember from Sears and Wards in the 70s-80s all had a fan at the top to distribute the heat. Blew downward and out the bottom. What you have seems to be popular in California, though. I would strongly suggest moving to a new place. You would be better off in a house with an old-time floor furnace than one of these wall furnaces with no blower.

Post# 982888 , Reply# 68   2/15/2018 at 03:36 (246 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Yep, no fan.

Visiting the manufacturer's website I saw there is a fan, optional, that fits perfectly on the top of the unit and it's automatic.

However, I won't open MY wallet to get those.

After I started putting a blanket under the door the difference was huge. That thing heats A LOT. And the ceiling fans in my bedroom and in the living room help mixing the air.

Now only the other bedroom/office remains super cold while i feel comfortable like a turkey in the oven in the other rooms.

Post# 982917 , Reply# 69   2/15/2018 at 09:43 (246 days old) by sarahperdue (Alabama)        
Gas Company Inspections

sarahperdue's profile picture
So glad you have such a fantastic landlord! and that you have a new, safe heater.

I just wanted to add a note to everyone--if you're worried about a gas appliance, gas companies in most (probably all) areas will come and inspect it for you without charge whether or not you are the property owner.

As some mentioned in earlier posts, the gas company has a vested interest in making sure people aren't using dangerous appliances.

Stay warm,

Post# 983195 , Reply# 70   2/17/2018 at 20:39 (243 days old) by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
OK, not judging. But...

If you are planning on staying in California long term, you might try to wean yourself off that relatively high indoor temp. Why? Well, as you have noticed, prices for residential energy in California are quite high. Perhaps twice the price of, say, the Midwest (Ohio etc). So you'll save some $$ if you get yourself to enjoy lower room temps.

How to do it? Well, I'd start by investing in some indoor winter clothing. Soft cotton sweatshirts and sweatpants are a good solution. Maybe even a watch cap. Warm slippers as well. If you don't like how you look in them, then put something else on when you go outside. Where it probably will be colder, anyway.

It the sweat clothing isn't enough, get some nice sweaters - or a fleece hooded jacket.

Again, not judging, but you did complain about the high gas bill.

As for the "snake" to block drafts coming under the door... well, a rolled up bath towel will do that too. And if blocking the air gap doesn't cause any heating problems, it would be a simple matter to add some weather stripping to the bottom of the door - probably about $10 from a hardware store.

As for your landlord - he sounds like a real character. I'd have read him the riot act after his second intrusion. He has no right to invade your privacy like that. And if he kept on doing it, I'd send him a letter about it AND change the locks to keep him from entering without notice. If he complains that he'd need to enter in an emergency, tell him in that case to just knock down the door, if it's truly an emergency. Worry about the repair costs later.

Post# 983213 , Reply# 71   2/18/2018 at 01:34 (243 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

I understand you`re not judjing (don`t worry about that, I`ll never think you`re judging me)

I can't sleep if it's not like Mrs. Monroe, you know, wearing Chanel #5 (just kidding, not even Chanel) ABsolutely nothing, NADA!

Regarding the lock, the contract forbids me from changing the locks and if anyway I want to change, in 24 hours i MUST give a copy of the keys to the Landlord.

Post# 983284 , Reply# 72   2/18/2018 at 16:32 (243 days old) by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        
Landlords and locks

sudsmaster's profile picture

California law states that a landlord can enter a rental unit only for the following reasons:

In an emergency.
When the tenant has moved out or has abandoned the rental unit.
To make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, decorations, alterations, or other improvements.
To show the rental unit to prospective tenants, purchasers, or lenders, to provide entry to contractors or workers who are to perform work on the unit, or to conduct an initial inspection before the end of the tenancy (see Initial Inspection sidebar).
If a court order permits the landlord to enter.116
If the tenant has a waterbed, to inspect the installation of the waterbed when the installation has been completed, and periodically after that to assure that the installation meets the law's requirements.117
The landlord or the landlord's agent must give the tenant reasonable advance notice in writing before entering the unit, and can enter only during normal business hours (generally, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays). The notice must state the date, approximate time and purpose of entry. 118 However, advance written notice is not required under any of the following circumstances:

To respond to an emergency.
The tenant has moved out or has abandoned the rental unit.
The tenant is present and consents to the entry at the time of entry.
The tenant and landlord have agreed that the landlord will make repairs or supply services, and have agreed orally that the landlord may enter to make the repairs or supply the services. The agreement must include the date and approximate time of entry, which must be within one week of the oral agreement.119
The landlord or agent may use any one of the following methods to give the tenant written notice of intent to enter the unit. The landlord or agent may:

Personally deliver the notice to the tenant; or
Leave the notice at the rental unit with a person of suitable age and discretion (for example, a roommate or a teenage member of the tenant's household); or
Leave the notice on, near or under the unit's usual entry door in such a way that it is likely to be found; or
Mail the notice to the tenant.120
The law considers 24 hours' advance written notice to be reasonable in most situations.

If the notice is mailed to the tenant, mailing at least six days before the intended entry is presumed to be reasonable, in most situations.121 The tenant can consent to shorter notice and to entry at times other than during normal business hours.

Special rules apply if the purpose of the entry is to show the rental to a purchaser. In that case, the landlord or the landlord's agent may give the tenant notice orally, either in person or by telephone. The law considers 24 hours' notice to be reasonable in most situations. However, before oral notice can be given, the landlord or agent must first have notified the tenant in writing that the rental is for sale and that the landlord or agent may contact the tenant orally to arrange to show it. This written notice must be given to the tenant within 120 days of the oral notice. The oral notice must state the date, approximate time and purpose of entry.122 The landlord or agent may enter only during normal business hours, unless the tenant consents to entry at a different time123 When the landlord or agent enters the rental, he or she must leave written evidence of entry, such as a business card.124

The landlord cannot abuse the right of access allowed by these rules, or use this right of access to harass (repeatedly disturb) the tenant.125 Also, the law prohibits a landlord from significantly and intentionally violating these access rules to attempt to influence the tenant to move from the rental unit. 126

If your landlord violates these access rules, talk to the landlord about your concerns. If that is not successful in stopping the landlord's misconduct, send the landlord a formal letter asking the landlord to strictly observe the access rules stated above. If the landlord continues to violate these rules, you can talk to an attorney or a legal aid organization, or file suit in small claims court to recover damages that you have suffered due to the landlord's misconduct. If the landlord's violation of these rules was significant and intentional, and the landlord's purpose was to influence you to move from the rental unit, you can sue the landlord in small claims court for a civil penalty of up to $2,000 for each violation.127

Sudsmaster's comments:

Having to use a bathroom is NOT a legitimate emergency to allow a landlord to enter your rental unit without 24 hours notice. If it really bothers you (as it would me), you may object to each occurance in writing, and please note that if the landlord retaliates for your objection and forces you to move, you could sue for up to $2,000 per occurrence.


Post# 983529 , Reply# 73   2/20/2018 at 02:56 (241 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Another thought on your landlord using your unit as an "outhouse" Is there a Landlord-tenant commission in your area-you could report the problem to them.

Post# 983642 , Reply# 74   2/20/2018 at 21:49 (240 days old) by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
I've never had a landlord come into my place to use the toilet.

That I know of.

I did have one when I was a student who had a habit of entering units (it was a three unit converted two story home) when he thought nobody was home. Other tenants had warned me; once I was in bed with company and this guy opened my door and peeked in. I thought I was dreaming (it was early morning). He was an odd little guy, but the rent was cheap and I liked the place. Eventually though he sold the place and the new owner jacked up the rents, so I moved out.

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