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Old 05-08-2011, 10:37 PM
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Default Alternative heat sources for power outages in cold weather



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What thoughts have you guys had? There seems to be a lot of talk of a next big disaster this fall. I sure don't wana be without power in the cooler months. Especially here in WI with 2 young kids!
I've got propane and small heaters for short term, but thinking I need an inexpensive (if possible) wood stove. I'm just not sure how big of a deal it would be to quick install one of those. Is it possible to remove a basement window and replace it with a piece of sheet metal with a round hole in it for a chimny duct or steel vent pipe/tube? I'm sure you would need heat shielding ect...
I'm thinking I need to start planning this out soon.
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bettersafethan View Post
What thoughts have you guys had? There seems to be a lot of talk of a next big disaster this fall. I sure don't wana be without power in the cooler months. Especially here in WI with 2 young kids!
I've got propane and small heaters for short term, but thinking I need an inexpensive (if possible) wood stove. I'm just not sure how big of a deal it would be to quick install one of those. Is it possible to remove a basement window and replace it with a piece of sheet metal with a round hole in it for a chimny duct or steel vent pipe/tube? I'm sure you would need heat shielding ect...
I'm thinking I need to start planning this out soon.
do you have a chumney with a fireplace?

it can be hooked up pretty easily I wouls caution against running it our a window as i wouldnt want the soot and embers hitting the side of my house could end badly but it can be done with likke effort and some thinking bout where you would place it

if you could describe what your situation is like a little better i might be able to help more

how big is the room your wanting to heat
do you have fireplaces/chimneys
ect.....
Old 05-08-2011, 10:58 PM
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what about those gel fuel used for heating up for food trays, tea candles, and small propane stove? you can find them at costco business or restaurants supplies. cook and heat at the same time.

edit- be careful of carbon monoxide. also, minimize exhausting all your fuel to heat up a large house, just focus on a small room/area for your family.

Last edited by janit0r; 05-08-2011 at 11:10 PM.. Reason: new info
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:07 PM
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It can be a big deal if you need mortgage insurance. An "approved" install is insanely priced. If you are just worried about emergency heat, what about a kerosene heater?
Old 05-09-2011, 01:51 AM
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We heat our home almost exclusively with a wood stove anyway. Have for years, living on wooded acreage and all.

Do it properly if you do it, though: Chimney top 2 feet above the nearest obstacle 10 feet away from it, double-walled chimney pipe, etc. My chimney pipe literally cost more than my stove did! (And we bought a top-notch stove too!) But I've been using it every winter for 11 years now. When the power goes out, we're just as snug and warm as we ever are. And we then just cook on it as well.

We heat the whole house with it though. You could install a small one in a large upstairs room or such that might be cheaper all around if that's a problem. You only really need one or two rooms warm in an emergency, so it might be a good way to go for a backup heating system.

If you have steady access to cord wood, I'd say make the investment.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:09 AM
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We heat entirely with wood. The wife was fairly nervouse about it when we moved out here a few years ago but now loves it. You do have to think a year a head though. Wood needs to season. I have next winters wood already stored. The best part about it is when we have lost power here, we still have heat and have cooked on top of it (big pot of beans). Neighbors which rely on propane have had to come here to stay warm.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:27 AM
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We use a large wood stove. We heat most the house with it. Even using for years I still get a little nervous of fires so be sure and cap the vent properly on top of your roof. We also had an issue with birds falling down into the pipe vents(even with the proper pipe top). The birds dont do this went heating. But getting them out could be a challenge if they didnt fall clear down into the stove. So spouse put a small wire screen around the top of vent. But soon found the screen holes need to be much bigger. We ultimately used a couple of wires wrapped around to prevent them from getting in. The wire screen would create to much build up. So the less closure the better. Wood burning is so much better cost wise also. We didnt get wood one year, used the central heat(propane) and was so shocked at how much we had to pay out of pocket. It was crazy. It would even be cheaper to buy cords than pay propane. The stoves come in many sizes. We have come accross used ones also. Best of luck and hope you get it done. It is vital if you are able in my opinion.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:33 AM
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The best alternative heat source is a big boned woman or 3. They cook great, appreciate average to below average looking males (or so Ive been told), they have great senses of humor, they aim to please, they are built to pull a plow in hard times, they can keep you warm at nite.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:23 PM
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Thanks guys. Looks like I gotta save up a bit longer. Sounds like some of you have an ideal setup
Old 05-09-2011, 11:26 PM
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Mr.Heat-Walmart-propane and can be used in doors
Old 05-10-2011, 08:41 AM
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We used the Mr Heater. It is rated for indoors but be mindful doing so. I would never sleep with one runnning and be sure you have a detector that runs off a battery.

I have several 20# propane tanks and refill the 1# tanks. The heater can also operate off a 20# or larger tank but those need to be outside.

The heater works great for space heating which is what you want to do anyways during a power outage.

BIH
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:53 AM
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Buy the model with the carbon monoxide shut off and ALWAYS have a CO2/smoke alarm,they are a great unit for emergencies and the catalytic brick is very efficient.
Old 05-10-2011, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigislandhikers View Post

I have several 20# propane tanks and refill the 1# tanks. The heater can also operate off a 20# or larger tank but those need to be outside.

BIH
Can you tell me how to refill the 1# tanks? I have a load of used ones, because we're not allowed to put them in the recycle stuff for pickup and the town yard is only open when I'm at work. It would surely add to my preps, and save some money if I could reuse them. they're in the basement, so no rust or anything.

Thanks!
Old 05-10-2011, 09:59 PM
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It was mentioned venting out a basement window, of course with the proper pipping this is very doable. HOWEVER, unless your basement walls are insulated (with a very high R value) the Wisconsin frost line will go deep enough that most all your heat will be absorbed by the basement walls.

I was very close to buying a pellet stove, with the intention of installing it in our basement. When the dealer heard my plan he shook his head and insisted that I should purchase a furnace add on, where a heat exchanger would mount inside the furnace.

He said that most everyone with basement wood burners/ pellet stoves reported a comfortable basement, but almost no noticeable warmth in their up stairs. People who added extra vents to move the heat up stairs had problems with both "cold air return" and common basement odors.

Add to that problem, if your looking to use the wood stove when the power grid is down electric blowers either will not operate or suck battery power.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alligatorgars View Post
The best alternative heat source is a big boned woman or 3. They cook great, appreciate average to below average looking males (or so Ive been told), they have great senses of humor, they aim to please, they are built to pull a plow in hard times, they can keep you warm at nite.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...ScRuZj9s#t=82s

strong on plow yes?
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
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Can you tell me how to refill the 1# tanks? I have a load of used ones, because we're not allowed to put them in the recycle stuff for pickup and the town yard is only open when I'm at work. It would surely add to my preps, and save some money if I could reuse them. they're in the basement, so no rust or anything.

Thanks!
There is an adapter that you can buy made by mr heater that does the job. Check YouTube there are quite a few videos that show how to do it. I'd provide links but I'm on my kids Itouch and it's a pain to use.
BIH
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bettersafethan View Post
What thoughts have you guys had? There seems to be a lot of talk of a next big disaster this fall. I sure don't wana be without power in the cooler months. Especially here in WI with 2 young kids!
I've got propane and small heaters for short term, but thinking I need an inexpensive (if possible) wood stove. I'm just not sure how big of a deal it would be to quick install one of those. Is it possible to remove a basement window and replace it with a piece of sheet metal with a round hole in it for a chimny duct or steel vent pipe/tube? I'm sure you would need heat shielding ect...
I'm thinking I need to start planning this out soon.
Oh, I was totally going to go on a different tangent than everyone else is. I was thinking, if you have electrical knowledge, and the ability to power your house off of a generator, to make a dynamo generator out of an old bike or something. The heat you generate would help keep you warm, and it would also power critical things in your house. Swap out riders every thirty minutes or so, and everyone would be warmed up.

But yeah, if that is too much work, definitely go for a wood stove or something.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:01 PM
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I keep a kerosene heater. It will heat very well if you turn it on and leave it on. It will stink it you turn it off in the house. But, it makes nice, reliable, relatively cheap, relatively safe, heat. Plus, if you don't have small kids around, you can keep a pan of water on top of it for coffee, hot chocolate, or whatever else you need hot water for (purification?). Yea, get a kerosene heater. They cost like 100 bucks new. A 5 gallon can of gas cost 25 bucks or so and will go about a week with careful usage.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:22 PM
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Mr.Heat-Walmart-propane and can be used in doors
I do have a small Mr. Heater, but I'm just looking for something else for when the propane runs out (worst case kinda situation).
Old 05-13-2011, 12:08 PM
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You can run the stack out as window and up the exterior wall and be safe with a good installation, depending on any local building codes in your area. I have been heating with wood for the best part of the last 38 years and 28 years in our current home. We use a wood burning insert in an existing fireplace vented by flexible stainless steel pipe with a spark arresting cap.

We go through about 6 cords a year and that covers about 98% of our heating needs with an annual cleaning. Seasoned dry wood is necessary to good heating and reasonable maintenance. Ashes from cleaning can be used in your garden to neutralize acidic soils.
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