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#185179 - 10/13/09 05:57 PM Winter: time for best space heater thread
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Assuming your public-utility-fueled space heating system is out indefinitely, what are you going to do to stay warm in your domicile?

Those with off-the-grid, wood, wood pellet, coal, or heating oil based systems feel free to extoll their virtues.

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#185186 - 10/13/09 06:35 PM Re: Winter: time for best space heater thread [Re: dweste]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Wood is good when the power is down, esp when it's down for days at a time. But there's also on ongoing search for decent wood. If you've got money, you can pay for someone to cut it, split it, and stack it in your shed. Otherwise, it's scavenging and doing it yourself. But unlike pellet stoves, they will burn any kind of wood or woodlike material that you can fit inside, in a pinch.

Pellet stoves are much cleaner than wood stoves, but when the power goes out, it's just a chunk of useless hardware. (When is someone going to come up with a solar-run fan and auger?) And the price of pellets is going up with the downturn in the logging industry. Which also brings up the point that pellet stoves only burn pellets.

Sue

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#185193 - 10/13/09 06:57 PM Re: Winter: time for best space heater thread [Re: dweste]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

Portable and cosy with a real flame effect although a lot of folks have always seem to comment just how old fashioned this space heater looks. grin

I have a couple of backup LPG space heaters stored in the cupboard under the stairs such as this portable Provence Living Flame Flueless Stove heater. It runs on 15kg LPG bottles and gives out 3KW of heat for around 68 hours (Generally a 15KG bottle of LPG will last around 1-2 weeeks during the winter). The LPG bottles are stored in the garden shed with enough to keep going for about 1 month. I'm also looking to get a Honda 1 or 2 KW silent gas electricity generator to turn the garden shed into a local emergency power station to supplement the on going solar PV/refrigeration project.

I am currently using grid electricity night storage space heaters which use night rate electricity. I may intend to use the LPG space heaters during the exceptionally cold days as they are cheaper to run during the day than using the boost heat setting on the electical storage heaters as the day time rate for grid electricity is actually more expensive at the moment.

The 15Kg LPG bottles can also be easily used in conjuction with a camping stove such as the Primus Oden twin burner stove for emergency cooking.

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#185195 - 10/13/09 07:05 PM Re: Winter: time for best space heater thread [Re: Susan]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2939
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I have ready access to wood, so wood stoves are quite practical for me. It's still a lot of work to keep the pile stocked; to get high BTU wood you have to cut it green, split it, and let it cure for a year. But there's a certain amount of hobby in this, so I don't mind.

(Some people go "postal" when they're really mad. I go to the woodpile and whack stumps with a splitting maul, thus getting exercise and accomplishing useful work while flaring off my "mad.")

The big challenge in very cold weather is moving the warm air from the living room into the rest of the house. I'm assembling parts to test a 12VDC blower system that will feed the hot air ductwork in the house. In an extended winter outage I might need to put a second, temporary stove in the basement (I have the parts on hand to do this with reasonable safety).

In regards to pellet stoves: there are many models that will operate off 12VDC when line power is not available. Also, some models can handle corn, wheat, pistachio hulls, all sorts of fuels besides sawdust pellets. Pellet stoves cost a lot, but because they can vent directly out of the wall instead of needing an insulated chimney, the costs balance out.



Edited by dougwalkabout (10/13/09 07:06 PM)

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#185198 - 10/13/09 07:42 PM Re: Winter: time for best space heater thread [Re: dougwalkabout]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
I have lived with both wood heat and have used Kerosene heaters too.
Both are good. Kerosene is a lot more instant on and instant off than wood is. Kerosene units have become harder to find lately and kerosene itself has become more expensive.
http://www.toyotomiusa.com/products/portableheaters/DC-90.mv

The propane catalytic or radiant heaters are pretty efficient and supposedly can be used inside if you need to, but they make my eyes water so I don't trust them.
USA govt studies agree:
http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/FOIA/FOIA05/os/CO03.pdf
http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/FOIA/FOIA05/os/CO02.pdf
I am also very uneasy about having propane inside a building, yet we used to use propane powered forklifts in warehouses because the CO emissions were so low.
If you are not sure what I mean by propane radiant or infrared heater here is a seller's page with pictures.
http://www.heatershop.com/propane_radiant_heaters.html

Either way, IMHO any heater that burns a fuel and is used inside needs good ventilation. Usually if it is attached to a chimney it sucks enough air around doors and windows to be OK. Id it is ventless you should at least have some windows partly open.
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#185208 - 10/13/09 10:12 PM Re: Winter: time for best space heater thread [Re: scafool]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Electricity fails far more often than natural gas - I've never experienced a natural gas failure in 48+ years. I suppose I should be prepared for one - but freezing weather is still rare in this area, its not such a hardship to be without a source of heat as it would be in Minnesota or Vermont.

Gas fireplace in the living room and gas hot water heater, both with piezo electric ignition, meaning they will do their jobs. We lose electricity, we lose light, but we retain a source of heat and hot showers.

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#185217 - 10/13/09 11:28 PM Re: Winter: time for best space heater thread [Re: Lono]
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Originally Posted By: Lono
Electricity fails far more often than natural gas - I've never experienced a natural gas failure in 48+ years. I suppose I should be prepared for one - but freezing weather is still rare in this area, its not such a hardship to be without a source of heat as it would be in Minnesota or Vermont.

Gas fireplace in the living room and gas hot water heater, both with piezo electric ignition, meaning they will do their jobs. We lose electricity, we lose light, but we retain a source of heat and hot showers.



You just jinxed yourself, you know that... right?
_________________________
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.

RIP OBG

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#185220 - 10/13/09 11:37 PM Re: Winter: time for best space heater thread [Re: Desperado]
UpstateTom Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 165
Loc: Rens. County, NY
Heating oil is what I use. It's not the best way to heat, but I can't get gas here, and won't do wood. (See my intro post)

For backup, I've used the round non-vented indoor kerosene heaters. They work pretty well, but you have to be with them, and watch them, when they run. Doesn't happen often, but sometimes they'll go nuts and spew flame and soot as if they're built on purpose just to do that. Basically they're giant kerosene lanterns, if you remember the old railroad type lanterns as a kid.

With any of them, I have a battery powered CO detector, and a smoke detector. CO is nasty stuff as others have related on here.


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