I'm remodeling a room in a fairly old house (~100 yrs), and I discovered a capped-off gas pipe behind some framing+drywall that had been hastily installed whenever this room had been converted into a bedroom:

Gas line next to hole in floor

I'm trying to determine the original purpose of this room, when the house was first built. Notice the D-shaped hole next to the gas line. At first I thought this might have been a flue vent for whichever appliance had been connected to that gas line, but then I thought it wouldn't be possible to direct exhaust downward.

Did the D-shaped hole fit to some other part of the appliance, or perhaps a completely separate appliance next to whatever was connected to that gas line?

Some more clues:

  • The room in question is at the front of the house, facing the street
  • The gas line is up against an interior wall, opposite the front window
  • One-story house in the Midwest, cross-gable roof plan, probably built in 1920 or earlier
  • Tearing down some of the drywall in this room reveals old wood paneling on the walls beneath it

What appliance(s) used to be in this room, and what purpose did this room serve overall?

  • 2
    There is no way for us to know or answer this question. We can only guess. I would guess a gas fired clothes dryer, but then it could have been a gas range/stove. – Alaska Man May 11 '18 at 19:55
  • @Alaskaman The D-shaped hole in the floor seemed distinctive to me. – alexw May 11 '18 at 20:01
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    Examine the house structure on the other side of the D-shaped hole. Look for evidence that a dryer vent once led from the hole to a basement window. – A. I. Breveleri May 11 '18 at 20:03
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    I wouldn't read too much into the "D shape" of the hole. As old as your house is, it could have been a circular hole at one point, and then the boards in the back were replaced with ones with a straight cut. Hard to tell from the photo. – Mike Harris May 11 '18 at 21:04
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    @alexw I suspect they were using a jigsaw to cut the hole and when they got close to the wall they could not turn the saw enough without hitting the wall so they just cut it straight. – Alaska Man May 11 '18 at 21:11

This place obviously was occupied by a gas dryer.

Of course, it's impossible to know for sure, and what is obvious is not always true, but nothing else is really likely.

Venting a gas dryer downward presents no special difficulty, because the exhaust is driven by a powerful fan. Many dryer models offer the choice between rear exit or bottom exit. The vent pipe can be up to about 25 feet long but bends and flexible sections reduce the allowed length.

The height of the gas pipe is more usual for a stove than for a dryer. Perhaps at one time a stove stood there, then subsequently someone cut the round holes and installed a dryer instead.

The D-shape of the vent passage is strange, but as Mike Harris and Alaska man indicate, this is probably an accidental result of cutting holes in a finished and occupied structure.

The goal of a home owner is often different from a professional contractor for the same job -- the contractor aims to do a sparkling clean, plumb, and finished installation that reflects well on his skills and motivation, while the home owner aims to get something working without spending a small fortune or burning down his house.

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