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Old 01-12-2010, 07:10 AM
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Default Alternative Indoor Heating



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Hey Everyone, I haven't spent much time on the Internet lately but glad to be checking in with everyone.

It's so far been a very harsh winter here in Nashville and it's not even February. For the past 2 weeks it has barely climbed above 20 with a number of wind chills going down to the single digits.

My predicament is:

My house does not have a fireplace. What would be a good safe way to heat a small area of my home in the event of a long-term power outage?

I'm positioned in an area where in snow it's a difficult to travel to say a family members house and as a kid I once spent 14 days without electricity but thankfully my parents had a fireplace for heating / cooking.

I've got plenty of cooking methods as I'm an avid outdoorsman and have stoves in all shapes and sizes. Problem with stoves is they have to be used in open areas (like the garage or porch) making it pointless.

I was looking for recommendations on heating possibly usable with multiple forms of gas (ie. kerosene, coleman white gas, propane, etc..).

**I'd like some recommendations about how to safely use the heating device efficiently without worry of Carbon Monoxide.

I appreciate your input.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:30 AM
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Here's a thought. woodstove. nothing huge. a smaller box style boxstove can be had for a little over 100 bucks. put it in the largest room in the house and run the chimney pipe out the window.

safety first. build an insert for the window for the chimney. keep a window cracked. insulate the floor underneath the stove. keep all combustables at bay. might want to have a fire extinguisher handy. good luck.
Old 01-12-2010, 07:36 AM
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Macmonkey, I eagerly wait to read responses. We lost electricity 2 days in a row. I brought out my camp stove that uses those 1pd propane tanks. (We tested out Carbon Monoxide alarm). And used that as our heater. Also I lit up my Trangia stove and just let it burn. We had about 6 pillar candles going on the kitchen table where we can keep an eye on them. I am in the Rio Grande Valley (South Texas) cold spells are rare, maybe a day or two. Marylp
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:39 AM
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Fuller - thanks for the recommendation. I had considered a wood stove but it would definitely have to go in our Kitchen which is really in a different area of the house and pretty inefficient for localized heating in say - an upstairs bedroom.

I do like the idea of wood since it is a renewable resource and can be found by the semi-load all around me. I guess I could really be looking at 2 options:

• Wood stove for generalized heating / cooking.
• Gas heater for bedroom / comfort
Old 01-12-2010, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marylp View Post
Macmonkey, I eagerly wait to read responses. We lost electricity 2 days in a row. I brought out my camp stove that uses those 1pd propane tanks. (We tested out Carbon Monoxide alarm). And used that as our heater. Also I lit up my Trangia stove and just let it burn. We had about 6 pillar candles going on the kitchen table where we can keep an eye on them. I am in the Rio Grande Valley (South Texas) cold spells are rare, maybe a day or two. Marylp
Mary,

I feel your pain. Luckily power hasn't gone out yet but ANYTIME in the past when we've had snow every other day in early January - it turns out to be a bear of a winter. Yea - nothing compared to up north but things are just different in the "south". The houses aren't built like they are up north, people aren't use to the cold, and they barely have any salt / sand to keep the MAIN roads in line.

Hopefully someone will have some good solutions for us.
Old 01-12-2010, 07:55 AM
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http://www.comfortglow.com/fireplaces/hdvfw.html

Looks like a woodstove and works well with propane. Inlaws have one across the street for their 4 season room and it is great. Not sure how theirs is without power as they have an all out optioned one with programmable thermostat etc. but if you just stick with a basic stove I would think you would be good. One that you can turn the pilot on manually and light when needed only. They are vented outside which is the safe route. I wouldn't trust the non-vented type heaters for any prolonged time indoors with my family.
Old 01-12-2010, 07:58 AM
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You could look into a Mr. Buddy Heater. Runs on propane. And it's the only one I know of that's rated safe for indoor use. It has a low O2 sensor that will shut the unit off it's using too much oxygen in the room.

I lived without power for 2 weeks last year from an ice storm. Have adequate cold weather clothing ,layer up and have plenty of warm blankets to reduce the amount of heat you need. I had enough blankets on my bed that I stayed toasty warm sleeping without any heat at all in below freezing temps.

Keep plenty of fuel around for your camping stoves. Hot meals and beverages will help warm you also.
Old 01-12-2010, 08:40 AM
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Most fireplace designs let most of the heat go up the chimney, so you have to be real careful how the fireplace is designed. This is the problem with my dad's fireplace, he never uses it because the room actually gets colder when he does use it. That said, here are my other notes about alternative heat.

There are only a few safe alternatives to heating a house in cold weather that are safe to use indoors. In general, most propane and kerosene heaters ARE NOT suitable for indoor use. There are a few rare models that are exceptions to this.

- Big Buddy Heater
Propane heater rated for indoor use. There are various models for this line. Some use small cans of propane, some use a hose connected to a 20lb propane bottle. Aka "Mr. Heater".

- Certain models of kerosene heaters sold online
I've never found a kero heater sold in US stores that is safe for indoor use. Indoor kero heaters have special parts which more completely combusts the fuel, to minimize CO2 output.

- Unvented or vented gas fireplaces
These are specially made to minimize CO2 output, but spreading heat around the room is a problem. If you have no electricity for the fan, getting the heat out of the fireplace is problematic.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:42 AM
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we used a kerosene heater for years as our main heating source and its works well.
Old 01-12-2010, 08:46 AM
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For short term emergency use I would look into kerosene heaters.

http://www.ruralking.com/heater-kero...onvection.html

They can give off an odor of kerosene. If you don't adjust the wick right, they can smoke. But if this is what stands between freezing your tush off and some comfort, you will learn how to fill the kerosene heater without spilling the kerosene all over the place, and how to adjust a wick without having it smoke. Play with it outside until you get the hang of it.

Here is a good write-up on kerosene heaters. It discusses types and sizes and everything else you might need or want to know about heating with a kerosene heater.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is always a risk when heating with any fossil fuel source.

Ta-da...http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...i_sku=10099176

Another option for you may be a wood stove, provided the house has a chimney. The biggest problem I find with wood stoves is that unless you have a good quality air tight design stove, the heat goes up the chimney. My experience with fireplaces is that they suck more heat out of a room than they add. The same is true for poorly designed wood stoves. Stacked wood takes up room. If you live in a metro area, it can be more expensive than going to a hotel for the duration of a power outage. City dwellers have to deal with the ash.
You can have a kerosene heater up and operating, producing heat in under thirty minutes from the time you loose power, if you properly plan.

Some folks will state that kerosene will not be available when SHTF. I am of the opinion that I will not be regressing to a loin cloth and eating my pets for a while after Armageddon. 15 gallons of kerosene on hand during the cold season might buy me the time I need to go to "Plan B". and sometimes, I think, buying a little time is what survival is all about.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:49 AM
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I really appreciate everyone's input.

I of course an well prepared with warm + layered clothing. In my area I really don't see this as a life / death survival mechanism rather a comfort one.

We have a company that sells wood stove systems here in town. I may consider getting a consultation to figure out what may be suit my needs. I'm also going to investigate the "Mr. Heater" option.

My grandparents used to have a wonderful fireplace which was small (compared to some I've seen) but there was no problem with more cold air coming in that heat being dispersed. I would certainly be interested in building a fireplace in the house since it's really the only negative I can find with the house since I've lived there in the past 3 years.
Old 01-12-2010, 08:49 AM
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A portable Alcohol Heater is a nice alternative. If they run on Denatured Alcohol, its cheap and safe for indoor heating. Some even can convert to a cooking stove and serve a dual purpose.

I have a Mr. Heater. They are approved an approved Propane Heater for the USA. However, Canada has not approved them for indoors from my last investigation. That tells me there are probably some nasty things that could be a problem over a very long period of time. However, Im OK with a Mr. Heater in the short term. I have one of those too.

I do prefer the Alcohol heater though
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmonkey View Post
I really appreciate everyone's input.

I of course an well prepared with warm + layered clothing. In my area I really don't see this as a life / death survival mechanism rather a comfort one.
I don't live far from your area. I never viewed clothing, beyond a winter coat and some gloves, as much of a survival necessity either. Until last year. People did freeze to death in this area. I had 2 pair of extremely heavy, pajamas that I wore together non-stop for 2 weeks. They stunk to high heaven, but they kept me from freezing to death when the inside temps were about the same as the outside temps. I think sometimes in the rush to prepare, people overlook the basics. I'm glad to see your well prepared clothing wise. I am now, too!
Old 01-12-2010, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SurviveIt View Post
A portable Alcohol Heater is a nice alternative. If they run on Denatured Alcohol, its cheap and safe for indoor heating. Some even can convert to a cooking stove and serve a dual purpose.

I have a Mr. Heater. They are approved an approved Propane Heater for the USA. However, Canada has not approved them for indoors from my last investigation. That tells me there are probably some nasty things that could be a problem over a very long period of time. However, Im OK with a Mr. Heater in the short term. I have one of those too.

I do prefer the Alcohol heater though
Just a clarification ....

A Mr Heater is a propane burning heater that is approved for use in the USA for indoor use, but its not approved for that in Canada. I do have one of those. I also have a Heat Mate alcohol burning heater & stove. I prefer that one because it burns Denatured Alcohol - They are probably the safest indoor portable fuel heater that I know of.
Old 01-12-2010, 09:16 AM
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Surviveit,
Burning alcohol produces dangerous CO2. Were you referring to a highly efficient commercial alcohol heater? If so, could you please post a link to it? I've never heard of a commercial alcohol heater.

Thanks.
Old 01-12-2010, 09:18 AM
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Pellet stoves are great. We have a lot of people who use them here in Colorado. They are safe and efficient. I suggest you buy a pellet stove with a blower as it is the most effective. Hopefully you have a small generator at minimum and can run the electric off of that.

Consider that as well. If you already have an electric run gas furnace all you may need is a generator to plug into.

For my money I'd go Propane or Pellet.

Here is an article on Pellet stoves.
http://www.hometips.com/buying-guide...et-stoves.html
Old 01-12-2010, 09:21 AM
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Ok, I just looked at an alcohol heater, brand named Swego. They use "alcohol canisters". Do we have to buy lots of these canisters, or can we refill them with our own alcohol?
Old 01-12-2010, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulrush View Post
Surviveit,
Burning alcohol produces dangerous CO2. Were you referring to a highly efficient commercial alcohol heater? If so, could you please post a link to it? I've never heard of a commercial alcohol heater.

Thanks.
Bulrush,

Of course, everthing you burn produces CO2 (Carbon dioxide). When we breathe out, we produce it as well. Anytime you burn something indoors (which includes heaters that are approved for indoors) like the Mr Heater Propane Stove, and the Heat Mate alcohol burning heater & stove you have to make sure you have enough ventilation back into the house. That warning is on the labels of both heaters. With burning propane, the big problem is Carbon monoxide which can kill you. The Mr Heater is somehow so efficient as to not have a problem with that. However, I have a Mr Heater, and have used it indoors. I really dont like it as much as I do the Heat Mate. The Mr Heater does have a shut off that is supposed to turn the heater off when oxygen levels get too low. But I still notice a strange smell when I use the Mr Heater. But, I would still use it in an emergency. Right now I use it in the Garage.

Clear???
Old 01-12-2010, 09:49 AM
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Default Be careful with nonvented heaters

I bought a Big Buddy propane heater for my van a couple years ago and decided to check for carbon monoxide production one day at the firehouse.

I put the 4 gas meter in the van where I could read it through a side window and fired up the heater. About
15 minutes later there was 20 parts per million of carbon monoxide. I don't know how high the levels would go in a house with it running 24/7; I guess it would depend on how tight the house was.

OSHA allows workers to be exposed to 50 ppm over an 8 hour shift. When they were digging the Holland Tunnel the levels were up to 70 ppm and guys were getting headaches, so they went to a schedule of 2 hours in the tunnel and 2 hours out.


PPM = parts per million

100 ppm 0.01 % Slight headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, errors in judgment

200 ppm 0.02% Headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness. 200 ppm is the WISHA ceiling limit

400 ppm 0.04% Severe headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, confusion, can be life-threatening after 3 hours of exposure

800 ppm 0.08% Headache, confusion, collapse, death if exposure is prolonged

1500 ppm 0.15% Headache, dizziness, nausea, convulsions, collapse, death within 1 hour. Levels greater than 1500 ppm are considered “immediately dangerous to life or health” (IDLH)

3000 ppm 0.3% Death within 30 minutes

6000 ppm 0.6% Death within 10-15
minutes

12,000 ppm 1.2% Nearly instant death
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:51 AM
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Co is toxic and deadly Co2 is toxic and deadly ... hum whats the diff ?
well Co2 the body can breathe again with normal air ... ie get out of the room and you can breathe . Co is deadly just like to other one problem is that getting out of the room isnt enough to breathe properly again . ok its gona be better but you still lack the ammount of oxigen in your body ( you need pure o2 to clean your system)


so both of them are deadly its just that Co is deadlyER
try looking into furnaces that you install in your basment . if it requires electricity maybe a solar pannel or 2 would do the trick . some of them actualy use wood and are much much more efficient than a fireplace .
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