How to Replace an Old Floor Heater


If you have a pre-1980's gas floor heater in your house, it's a good idea to change it out with a modern, safe and more-efficient unit. New heaters have systems that will turn off if knocked over. They have push button ignition, may hang on the wall -- providing more floor space -- and some models have thermostats. Have any heater made before 1980 checked for safety, and when in doubt, replace it.

Things You'll Need

  • Crescent wrench
  • Plumber's tape
  • Compatible gas or propane hose
  • Spray bottle with soapy water
  • New energy efficient, safety gas heater
  • CO2 detector
  • Turn off the gas at the valve connected to the line that goes into your heater. When the valve is parallel to the pipe the gas is on, when it is at a 90-degree angle to the pipe, it is off. If your gas line does not have a turn off, you should get a plumber to install one on each gas or propane outlet that runs into your house.

  • Remove the flexible hose from the gas line. Use a crescent wrench to unscrew the coupling. Remember, right to tighten and left to loosen. Once the pipe is removed, you can remove the entire unit. Disconnect the hose and take it to the hardware store so you can find the correct replacement.

  • Make certain that the stove you buy fits the kind of gas you have going into your house. Propane and natural gas are the two gases used for heating. Make certain that the hose connections and hose are for the right gas also. If you get the wrong connections, you will have a gas leak that can be fatal or start a fire.

  • If you purchased a wall heater, follow the manufacturer's instructions and hang it on the wall. Once satisfied, remove it and go to the next step.

  • Wrap plumber's tape around the connection from your flexible gas hose to the heater. Wrap the tape in a counterclockwise direction covering the threads of the connector. When you put the male end into the female connector, the plumber's tape will provide a gas-proof seal. Tighten with your crescent wrench until snug.

  • Put plumber's tape on the male connector on the gas flexible hose and screw it into the gas line connection next to the gas shut off. Do not kink the gas line. Tighten until snug.

  • If you have a wall unit, hang your heater. If not, position your floor heater where you want it.

  • Turn the gas on by moving your shut-off valve to be in-line with the gas pipe. Smell for gas or propane. If you smell it, turn off the gas immediately at the valve. If not, use your spray bottle to mist the area where the hose connects to the gas line and where the hose connects to the heater. If you see bubbles, turn off the gas immediately.

  • If you smell gas or see bubbles, disconnect the gas flex hose and remove the plumber's tape. Rewrap the connector threads with plumbing tape. When satisfied, reconnect the unit and check again for leaks. If you experience any problems, call a plumber. If you have no leaks, follow the manufacturer's instructions for lighting your heater to check that it works.

  • Install a smoke and CO2 detector in all rooms with gas or propane heaters. Also, keep at least one ABC fire extinguisher in your home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Buy a heater system that has an automatic ignition system (push button or turn dial). Get one big enough for your space, but not oversized. Most of these heaters are ventless, and must be monitored for C02 emissions.
  • Wall units are safer because they can't be knocked over and flammable items can't blow under them or be placed on them.
  • Do not put oversized heaters in bathrooms.
  • If you do not feel comfortable hooking up any gas or propane equipment, contact your gas/propane company or hire a plumber.
  • If you can not get your connections to seal, call a plumber.

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