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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All I’m doing an informal survey since one of my friends says he can’t do kerosene heat. Personally I think most folks who believe that they can’t do kerosene believe so because of experiences with poorly maintained and run heaters or bad experiences with cheap poorly designed heaters. (Probably a combination of all three!)

Since he believes this he has purchased a Buddy heater that’s pretty cool and all, but reviews and visual examination makes me think that it’s is built to take occasional use for a few years rather than daily use for decades that a quality kerosene heater is designed to take.

My other concern is at what point altitude and temperature will degrade or make it inoperable. My kerosene heaters will function at any temperature or altitude I’m likely to encounter and they will also burn as long as I can make a flame unlike the several obvious failure points that are on his system.

I will give him that more places sell propane, but kerosene is generally available if you look and even Walmart and general hardware stores usually have the more expensive options. Both systems are very transportable and the fuel and equipment can store a very long time, but I can pour, carry, share, use in multiple applications kerosene very easily compared with propane.

Besides these two what other options are there that are transportable with no installation and have readily available fuel that stores well?

SD
 

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What would Mal do
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I"m 64yrs old. I grew up in the north, where power outages in the dead of winter meant, cold!
I always noticed that my elders, uncles, grands , etc. always kept a kero heater tucked away in the basement for those time.
those suckers could really get hot, smelled nasty, but you stayed warm.
when I became a man, responsible for my own home, one of my first purchases was a kero heater.
That unit is still in the box new over 40 years later.

Since we do a lot of camping, the buddy heater caught my eye about 12 years ago.
We run the travel trailer (26ft) to offgrid sights usually about 12-15 trips a year.
While it has it's own onboard heater, that unit uses a lot of propane and the on/off through the night tends to wake me.
We started using the buddy heater (just one bottle on one side) on low and our camp trips seldom get down below the 40 degree mark in early spring and late Fall seasons.
So, I still consider this occassional use of course. But for those days that we are out, it runs through the nights, maybe, 3-5 nights at a time.
I've also pressed it into service on the rare power outages at the house. I have the extension hose and adapter to connect to the 20lb BBQ bottles.
We were cozy in the large den while the snow and ice leveled trees on the power lines.

I've heard of guys running these 100% on offgrid homes.
I don't have the personal experience to speak to it.
I can only say that for over a decade now, the unit has performed perfectly for us, has been bounced around plenty on many a road trip and has met my need for recreation and emergency plans.
 

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I have two Mr. Buddy's. One gets used pretty much every day and/or night all winter long to spot heat our living room. The woodstove keeps it livable but doesnt reach there well enough to keep it as toasty as we prefer. The othe sees frequent use in the garage. I don't know exactly how many years I've had them but it has definitely been several. No parts have needed to be replaced yet. I keep meaning to order some spare igniters, elements and such just in case but I never seem to get around to it.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feed back so far!

The a couple of the nomadic types I talked to weren’t overly impressed with them longterm and claimed they were many times not overly repairable. I’d hate my friend to walk into a blizzard with a twitchy piece of kit that was difficult or impossible to keep in operation!

SD
 

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I've gone through more Mr. Heaters than I care to count!!!!! I purchased a Harbour Freight unit and have NEVER been happier going on 5 years now!!! Yeah, go ahead and dump your HF rant, then laugh at yourself when done! The Mr. heaters would burn out the thermocoupler a few times in a season and would have to be replaced, not so with the HF unit! The HF unit seems to have a better control knob, and the TC isn't as close as the MH units, making it last that much longer. Good Luck
 

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I've been running a Big Buddy pretty much 24/7 since November to heat our cabin with zero issues. Also used it in our wall tent during hunting seasons before that.

I've been using 20lb. tanks with a hose and a Mr Heater fuel filter between the unit and hose.

So far, so good!
 

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I've gone through more Mr. Heaters than I care to count!!!!! I purchased a Harbour Freight unit and have NEVER been happier going on 5 years now!!! Yeah, go ahead and dump your HF rant, then laugh at yourself when done! The Mr. heaters would burn out the thermocoupler a few times in a season and would have to be replaced, not so with the HF unit! The HF unit seems to have a better control knob, and the TC isn't as close as the MH units, making it last that much longer. Good Luck
Mr Heater is a brand of heater...so what ones did you go though countless numbers of? Thermocouple are almost a consumable item on any propane appliance, you can also adjust where they sit in the pilot.

Longevity depends on to many things to say..but I do know that a big metal box you build a fire in is more reliable...a wood stove.

We have a mr heater hunting buddy (the one with the electronic ignition) in a shed/cabin for 2yrs now. We ran about 30lbs of propane through it as we usualy use the wood stove.

I would not suggest you use un vented propane in any living area as they produce huge amounts of water vapor
 

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I have 2 of the buddy heaters and1 of the big-buddy heater. For the infrequent use they get, they have held up very well. I would use them long-term, if ever needed, and be comfortable with them working. The only real drawback is the massive amount of water vapor they create, Like BrettNY said.

If you were in very cold conditions (teens or lower), you would have trouble getting the propane to vapor in the can fast enough to keep it going. Also, I have heard from friends that above 5,000 or so ft altitude, its hard to keep the O2 sensor from turning them off.
 

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Didn't read all the replies and someone might have already brought this up, so disregard is its already been said.

There is a significant difference between kerosene and propane as a fuel and for heat. Keep in mind that kerosene is basically diesel fuel without the added lubricants for an engine. Kerosene doesn't burn as clean as propane does. Kerosene leaves a nasty residue on everything along with an odor even outdoors. You can always find the person that uses kerosene for heat by the lovely perfume they will be wearing. Propane also travels a bit easier than kerosene since there is little likelihood that it would spill in transport.

For what its worth, personally I've used propane and white gas at above 10,000 ft while hunting in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I have never had any issues lighting, keeping it burning or storing it in sub zero temps (-20 +/-). I have used a Little Buddy type heater in camp several times and it worked wonderfully. Along with that I've used a few different MSR and Coleman stoves for cooking and they worked wonderfully. Don't believe everything you hear or read, the best advice is get out and try it for yourself and see what works best for you.

Anyways, just a few thoughts. Hope this helps. Enjoy
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Didn't read all the replies and someone might have already brought this up, so disregard is its already been said.

There is a significant difference between kerosene and propane as a fuel and for heat. Keep in mind that kerosene is basically diesel fuel without the added lubricants for an engine. Kerosene doesn't burn as clean as propane does. Kerosene leaves a nasty residue on everything along with an odor even outdoors. You can always find the person that uses kerosene for heat by the lovely perfume they will be wearing. Propane also travels a bit easier than kerosene since there is little likelihood that it would spill in transport.

For what its worth, personally I've used propane and white gas at above 10,000 ft while hunting in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I have never had any issues lighting, keeping it burning or storing it in sub zero temps (-20 +/-). I have used a Little Buddy type heater in camp several times and it worked wonderfully. Along with that I've used a few different MSR and Coleman stoves for cooking and they worked wonderfully. Don't believe everything you hear or read, the best advice is get out and try it for yourself and see what works best for you.

Anyways, just a few thoughts. Hope this helps. Enjoy
‘I think this mirrors many’s options, but I don’t think it is formed by being around quality heaters run by someone who has taken the time to learn how to use them!

I have minimal experience being around stinky heaters, but those I have tend to be dirty, poorly maintained heaters burning dirty or poorly stored, old fuel.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s not a light switch that you just flip either!

Bottom line is if it’s stinking your doing it wrong!

SD
 

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I've gone through more Mr. Heaters than I care to count!!!!! I purchased a Harbour Freight unit and have NEVER been happier going on 5 years now!!! Yeah, go ahead and dump your HF rant, then laugh at yourself when done! The Mr. heaters would burn out the thermocoupler a few times in a season and would have to be replaced, not so with the HF unit! The HF unit seems to have a better control knob, and the TC isn't as close as the MH units, making it last that much longer. Good Luck
Wow! Quite a different experience. Again, i don't know how old mine are but as much as 5 years is very likely. Not a single issue. I will say that I mostly use a 20lb tank with an extension hose and the Mr. Buddy line filter.

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You can still adapt them to use a larger bottle of propane. I have thought of installing a wood heater in our RV.
 

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The key to long term use on bulk (not the 1 pound green tank) is the filter. The difference for me is that the mr buddy (small one) is only 8,500btu iirc. The kerosene heater is 23,000 btu. Each has its place.

I ran my kerosene heater for 2 weeks straight in a cold Michigan winter because I needed to keep the garage above 75* for a wood and epoxy project. It kept a 3 car garage and shop at 82-85* (65* at the bottom of the garage door on a west wall) the whole time. I know I shouldn’t have but I refilled it while it was running so it literally was never turned off for two weeks on pump kero with a few ounces of denatured alcohol added. The new kero wicks should also be burned dry once in a while to burn off the residues and if possible spray the wick with alcohol and burn a few times at the end of the season.
 

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Thanks for the feed back so far!

The a couple of the nomadic types I talked to weren’t overly impressed with them longterm and claimed they were many times not overly repairable. I’d hate my friend to walk into a blizzard with a twitchy piece of kit that was difficult or impossible to keep in operation!

SD
I'll throw the BS card on not repairable. (I did not know they had a NG conversion kit).

Replacement Parts - Accessories - PRODUCT (mrheater.com)
 

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I HAVE I think 6 of those mushroom kero heaters sitting around, one still NIB I like them because they require NO outside power source.
I use a pellet stove to heat my shop in winter but to get it quickly up to temperature I have one of those turbo kero heaters, It is something like 40,000btu and brings it up from zero to gloves off and tolerable in about 10 minutes, after 15 or so the pellet stove is going well and it will maintain the temp, just getting those first 60 degrees into the space is the tough part.
Propane will last almost indefinitely
I have no idea on kerosene but I am still burning kero that is 4 years old

I like kero for the safety factor. No one gets blown up if there is a kerosene leak and an ignition source. No matter how cold it gets, kero will burn and work without having to shake and wake it up to stir it around in extreme cold.
There are no regulators to go wrong or plug no special nozzles and adapters to have the plumbing that it needs to work.
I can make a tin can a kerosene burner if I need to. Can't do that with propane.
 
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