When we bought our little M’ssippi cottage, there were two old gas heaters left by the previous homeowner. One was some sort of funky art deco heater (with too many broken/missing ceramic inserts); the other was this cool wrought iron faux coal basket gas heater:
We tossed the art deco heater (no bites on Craigslist and even the antique shops didn’t want it!) and decided to move the wrought iron heater to the living room hearth. And there it sat all winter. By the time spring rolled around, we decided we’d finally hook it up – funny because we totally could have used the extra heat on some of those cold winter nights!
The heater was FILTHY with years of dust and who knows what, plus super rusty in places from the humid M’ssippi summers. After detaching it from the gas pipe (which wasn’t connected to a gas source, don’t worry), I took out each and every coal briquette, scrubbing off the years of grossness.
See those funny honeycomb looking things? Those are ceramic inserts that provide radiant heat for these old timey heaters. The flame heats the underside of the inserts, which in turn heat up the briquettes (also ceramic) and they put off heat without needing a big flame or a lot of gas.
Here are’s peek of the inside of the basket:
Each of those little holes is where the gas comes out. The ceramic hover above them, and the briquettes get piled up on top of the inserts.
The flame height is controlled by this weird looking contraption on the underside of the heater. When you twist that lever, it opens/closes a cover, letting in more/less oxygen. The more oxygen, the higher the flame.
At the end of February, we called our plumber in to inspect the heater for safety and to install a new gas line. The old pipes sticking up from the floor weren’t connected to anything, and since we no longer had a heater in the bedroom (the other side of the fireplace), we needed that line pulled out.
It didn’t take him long to attach a new pipe to our gas meter and get this heater hooked up! [Don't worry - we made sure he installed a master on/off switch on the pipe behind the heater so the twist lever doesn't accidentally get knocked, leaking gas into the house!]
I put the ceramic inserts back and piled on the briquettes, and later that night we lit the heater! I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t nervous the first time we lit it [I may have even hidden around the corner while husband lit it!], but we survived and it definitely heated up the room nicely.
I’m so glad we finally cleaned up the heater and got it functioning! Check that project off the (never-ending) list!