Propane heater vs kerosene any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mjl, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. mjl

    mjl Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking of buying a back up heater for the winter. I'm living in a 1960 ranch home, total electric - Stop laughing. I looked at small propane heaters today (Mr. Buddy) and wondered if I wouldn't be better to go with a kerosene heater. I have a 30 year old Kerosun heater I haven't used in probably 5 years. When my neighbor cleaned it last before I moved he said I'd probably want to replace it as there was a crack (someplace). :help: Occasionally we do lose electric for a couple of days at a time.

    The Kerosun was nice because I could also heat a pan on top. Then again I have a propane cook stove in the garage I use if necessary.

    I'd appreciate any feed back you'd be able to give me.

    TIA - Maggie
     
  2. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    I'm actually going tomorrow to buy an LP gas wall heater to put in my sisters house.

    after considering all the pros con and costs, we figured LP gas, for a space heater is cheaper aand less work than a kerosene heater.

    one gal of LP gas =100,000 BTU of heat, so a 10k BTU heater can run for 10 hrs on one gal of propane.
    thats about the same time a gal of kerosene will burn, more or less. If I remember its been a long time since we used kero heaters.

    the upside we figured was, she wont have to fill the heater like kero, and the on the wall unit saves her floorspace.
    a gal of clear kerosene last I saw was about $2.75 a gal, and the gas co will sell us us a larger tank than isthere, replace it for free, hook it all up and fill it for $1.99 a gal for the LP gas, since we have another tank here for some reason they said they would discount the fill up. for a 10k heater that ends up like... .20 cents an hour to run it.

    plus the Pl heater has a thermostat bult into it, she can set it and go to work and forget it.
    So LPgas ended up being a little cheaper and easier.

    I was going to install a wood stove for her but she is not home enough to keep her appt warm for the pipes, and stoke a stove. the lp heater is pretty trouble free.

    if that helps any...
    figure you will get 100k btu from a gal pf LP, devide that by the BTU of the heater to get how long it will burn on 1 gal.
    100K-btu per gal/a 20K btu heater = 5 hrs per gal. then 5hr/$[your cost for 1 gal LP] = cost per hr of use.



    anyone feel free to correct my numbers before I go off installing this thing! LOL
     

  3. vallyfarm

    vallyfarm Well-Known Member

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    LP is cleaner, cheaper, and more efficent. Most kero heaters I've delt with smell badly when touned off, you can take it out side for that, but why? With no wicks, no spills, better heat control, more reliable, and less obtrusive, I'd go with the LP hands down. Mike
     
  4. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

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    I have had both. I like the propane one, although it decided to die (hopefully, it is just sick and not dead) a couple weeks ago, but it has a setting so will go on and off by itself. I also didn't have any problems with moisture that some people talk about...mine is a unvented type.
    In the past I heated three seasons with kerosene. All three years I came down with bronchitis..I had never had it before nor since I stopped using it. It also stinks. I'd use it in an emergency again, but not as my main heat source.
    Ann
     
  5. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    Kerosene, while an interesting alternative, will add more odor to the room than LP by far. I think kerosene would be fine for a garage or shed or such, but in the house, you will have to open a window from time to time to clear up the air. Ventless LP can be run pretty much all day without much problem unless you have a really super tight house, in which case you might need to crack a window open.
     
  6. SmartAZ

    SmartAZ Well-Known Member

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    I don't like kerosene. My father had a kerosene stove and many times he had to pick it up and throw it out the door because he couldn't turn it off. Even when things work right the kerosene stinks.
     
  7. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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  8. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    kerosen At 275 is a lot cheeper than propane at 199
     
  9. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    My heating value reference lists:

    Propane 93,000 BTU/gal
    Kerosene 135,000 BTU/gal
    http://www.builditsolar.com/References/fuelsrs.htm

    So, if the propane and kerosene heaters had the same efficiency, you would come out even on cost if you spent (135/93) = 1.45 times as much for the kerosene as the propane. So, $2.90 kerosene and $2.00 propane have the same cost per BTU.

    We use propane, and I like it -- probably cleaner than kerosene.
    Had an incident last week where I drove a T post right into the plastic line from our propane tank to the house -- lost about 200 gallons of propane before we found the problem. The propane line had only been buried about 6 inches deep when the house was built. Oh Well :)

    Gary
     
  10. tamsam

    tamsam Well-Known Member

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    We have both and have not used the kero in the last 2 winters. We use the prpane as a back up to the wood heater and if we have to go away. The propane is a 20,000 btu unvented and we fill our 100 lb tank usually twice a year. No way would I go to sleep or leave home with the kero on. The newer kero heaters are a lot better than the older ones and don't smell as much as the older ones did and also there is an additive you can get to help with the smell. Goog luk in which ever you choose. Ps the Mr Buddy I think is for small areas and use a lot of fuel. Tamsam
     
  11. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    my mom LIKES the smell of a kero heater...

    they make me go into an asthmatic fit.

    but in keros defence, old ma can clean up and tune those old antique perfection heaters so welll, they dont smell anymore than an oil lamp.
    how, I dont know, she just has a knack.

    perfection heaters are pretty cool when you can find a workiing one.... dangerous with no tip over safty but.... neat.
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    LP for sure, those Kero heaters throw more carbon monoxide than you'd imagine. Fine for short term use in a shop but never in a house. Gary is about right on btu ratings though, kero may be cheaper but it is not efficient at all, (hence the CO) I'll guess they run about 65% efficient, when new.
     
  13. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

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    I used kerosene for several years to heat my home and water for showers and dishes. If kerosene heaters are working correctly and using clear-white fuel, They don't cause a smell 'cept on fire up/down BUT they will make a sticky film over everything in the house, Especially plastic items..

    I switched to propane. Much less maintenance, easier heat control and much cleaner overall..

    I do miss my poor man's fireplace though.. Made a great slow cooker.. :nerd:
     
  14. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Put scented essense oil in the kero. Smells nice and doesn't take much.

    I have never heard of a persons house exploding from a leaking kero heater, but see propane explosions all the time.