My house currently is heated by a hot-water boiler, with radiators in the main rooms. The bedrooms have no radiators (it's an old house and I guess when it was built they figured the central radiators were enough, which they are if you leave the bedroom doors open a bit).

The boiler is nearing the end of its life and I'm wondering if there is any reason why I couldn't replace it with wall-mounted ventless gas heaters (like this, as an example only: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Dyna-Glo-30-000-BTU-Natural-Gas-Infrared-Natural-Gas-Wall-Heater-IR30NMDG-1/206556628). I'd make sure the total BTUs met the requirements of the space. (I'd also make sure my carbon monoxide detectors work, just in case, given that these are ventless.)

Would this create any code violations or other problems? It's common in my area for folks to install one or two of these in their houses as auxiliary heat, but I've never heard of anyone using them as their only heat source, so I'm curious.

  • Investigate the cost difference between running a gasline to each heater and a hot/return pair waterline. Also that boiler is going to be feeding other hot water users so you'll still need a new one. – ratchet freak Apr 12 '19 at 14:59
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    "ventless" heaters require adequate room air ventilation - there's nothing magic about them them makes ventilation optional, it's just omitted from the appliance itself. Replacing the entire heating load with ventless heaters will very likely cause problems with adequate ventilation, unless the house leaks like a sieve - in which case, vented or sealed combustion heaters and tightening up the house will save a lot of heat you are/will be wasting on heated air leaks. – Ecnerwal Apr 12 '19 at 15:27
  • Why are you so keen on wall-mounting ventless heaters, instead of sticking something in an exterior wall that vents to the outside? Also, yes, can you explain why you think that the boiler is reaching EOL, and why you don't want to invest in a replacement boiler, which is likely going to be more efficient than throwing wall heaters at the problem in this day and age? – ThreePhaseEel Apr 12 '19 at 22:17

If it were me I would investigate the ability to use the existing boiler to heat the entire house. You said that the boiler is reaching the end of it's useful life; please explain why you think so. Hot water boilers can last as many as 100 years. At that age they are not usually very efficient but they will still heat a home or building. With a useable boiler you have many options to extend the heating system into the unheated rooms. Using unvented heaters as you mentioned is not a good option. You will have the smell, the excess humidity, running new gas lines to each one, the depletion of breathable oxygen and other things to consider. I would never use one of those heaters in a confined space or room. They are cheap for a reason. Go find a good boiler guy and investigate your options using the old boiler. my 2 cents

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