Space-heater twist

To the real estate editor: We have been reading your columns on energy and feel they are very helpful. We live in California now, where it is against the law to burn an unvented gas space heater. In view of the energy crisis, we want to discontinue the use of our central heating system for heating our 1,400-square-foot house and heat only our kitchen and den -- a total of 300 square feet. A gas heater of 30,000 Btu will do the job. However, there will be approximately a 30 percent heat loss in this 30,000-Btu vented space heater.

While we realize that this gas must have an odor in order to be detected as a safety factor, we suggest that the gas be purified with a nonpolluting, fragrant odor as it burns, rather than the offensive odor that it has here.

I have previously worked for the Lone Star Gas Company in Texas and have been in the retail hardware business there. In both cases we sold thousands of unvented gas space heaters which give the full Btu capacity instead of two-thirds of the capacity.

We feel that the use of unvented space heaters should be encouraged rather than being penalized by having to have a vent. We can buy a 300,000-Btu unvented space heater for abouit $75; the vented heater would cost $500.

In view of the energy shortage and the admonition to conserve, we want to present our ideas for possible corrective action by the gas companies. K. E. Connor Yucaipa, Calif.

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