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Marie
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:01:22 AM
The one big hole in my emergency preps plan for winter is what could I use to heat my apartment if the power is out? I have a natural gas furnace as usual heat source, but since I rent in a complex, getting a genny ain't gonna happen. Nowhere to keep it, even if I could use one.

I do have a good down comforter, need to get some more blankets.

What sort of heater would be best to use - that's safe for indoors? I'm coming up empty handed on an archives search.

Thanks!
"A man who comes between a woman and her chocolate takes his life into his own hands."
EXPY37
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:05:26 AM
Many kerosene heaters to choose from for ~120$
blacksuit
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:14:16 AM
I love my little buddy heater, I also got the refill adapter so I can refill the 1 lb bottles from the 20lb tanks
Marie
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:24:30 AM
Something like this one?

Is it safe to store the little propane canisters inside my building? Stupid question, but I've never used them before and I only know you don't store the 20 lb propane canisters inside...

I have a storage closet out in the hall...
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Zedhead
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:26:27 AM
Get nice sleeping bags and zip them up. Get 2 Nalegenes for each bag. Boil water and add to the nalgenes. Just make sure the lid is TIGHT. Let it all sit and get nice in cozy. This a cheap and very comfortable way to to do it.
EXPY37
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:37:47 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 12:44:19 AM by EXPY37]
I'm not a fan of using unvented Buddy type heaters inside even with the window cracked. They have made me sick w/ a respiratory issue several times and it took weeks to clear. YMMV.

[I use a VENTED catalytic propane heater in the trailer often w/ no issues]

The Buddies and the Coleman 'catalytic' heaters typically have an output of 4000 to 9000 BTU, not very much and you'll go through 1# propane cylinders fast. [One pound of propane = approx 22000 BTU].

One GALLON of kero = 144,000 BTU!

Whatever you decide, I find great deals on ebay. For kero heaters Toyo, Kero Sun, any of the older Japanese heaters are excellent.

Propane for preparing food is a good solution. The inexpensive butane stoves from an ethnic store or ebay or Harbor Freight are good.

We like the Kero Sun model K 'cooker' that are often on ebay. It's close to a normal stove top burner and can be used for heat in an emergency.

Mostly we use a single burner Coleman propane stove from W-M, etc. Keeping the 1# canisters around should be done in a box on your balcony, etc, just to be on the safe side.

This is the time to buy your gear and WHATEVER YOU DO , USE it before you need it.



Marie
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:42:13 AM
Originally Posted By Zedhead:
Get nice sleeping bags and zip them up. Get 2 Nalegenes for each bag. Boil water and add to the nalgenes. Just make sure the lid is TIGHT. Let it all sit and get nice in cozy. This a cheap and very comfortable way to to do it.


Thanks, Zed! Been planning to get a sleeping bag anyway.

Another item to research!
"A man who comes between a woman and her chocolate takes his life into his own hands."
EXPY37
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:42:14 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 12:42:44 AM by EXPY37]
!!!

If you go with a heater be sure to pick up a CO alarm that runs on a 9 volt or 2 AA batteries and be sure it has a digital readout.

The newest one here is a Kidde Nighthawk.

Very important.
Marie
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:44:39 AM
Originally Posted By EXPY37:

Propane for preparing food is a good solution. The inexpensive butane stoves from an ethnic store or ebay or Harbor Freight are good.

We like the Kero Sun model K 'cooker' that are often on ebay. Mostly we use a single burner Coleman propane stove from W-M, etc. Keeping the 1# canisters around should be done in a box on your balcony, etc, just to be on the safe side.

This is the time to buy your gear and WHATEVER YOU DO , USE it before you need it.



Well, that's part of my issue - no balcony, no patio, no outside space, period. That's why I've got Sterno for food prep. I've used it several times (I have the little Sterno stove) and it works very well.


"A man who comes between a woman and her chocolate takes his life into his own hands."
InfiniteGrim
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:45:01 AM
How safe are Keroseen (SP?) heaters? I remember my neighbors had one and one day I cam home and they were watching the thing engulf itself in flames in the driveway. The thing started to catch fire/burn itself and they somehow got it outside. (The room they were heating was an added on room with a door to the outside.)
Marie
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:46:06 AM
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
!!!

If you go with a heater be sure to pick up a CO alarm that runs on a 9 volt or 2 AA batteries and be sure it has a digital readout.

The newest one here is a Kidde Nighthawk.

Very important.


CO alarm already in my place (9 volt backup to the electric). Digital readout. Have to have them by law.
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Marie
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:46:48 AM
Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
How safe are Keroseen (SP?) heaters? I remember my neighbors had one and one day I cam home and they were watching the thing engulf itself in flames in the driveway. The thing started to catch fire/burn itself and they somehow got it outside. (The room they were heating was an added on room with a door to the outside.)


That's why I'm asking....
"A man who comes between a woman and her chocolate takes his life into his own hands."
EXPY37
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:49:43 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 12:50:55 AM by EXPY37]
I suppose any heater can have consequences if used improperly, wrong fuel, inexperience, etc.

The more volatile or gaseous the fuel, the more I am wary of it.

I'm particularly concerned of a propane cylinder venting indoors, but we use them...

So I would add SEVERAL fire extinguishers to the list if any expedient heating or electrical devices are used.

InfiniteGrim
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:49:50 AM
Originally Posted By Marie:
Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
How safe are Keroseen (SP?) heaters? I remember my neighbors had one and one day I cam home and they were watching the thing engulf itself in flames in the driveway. The thing started to catch fire/burn itself and they somehow got it outside. (The room they were heating was an added on room with a door to the outside.)


That's why I'm asking....


After seeing that, I wouldn't want to put one anywhere where there wasn't a close exit. (ie if it starts to catch fire have a door close to get rid of it!)

Theirs looked somthing like this....

EXPY37
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:52:32 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 12:54:05 AM by EXPY37]
Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
Originally Posted By Marie:
Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
How safe are Keroseen (SP?) heaters? I remember my neighbors had one and one day I cam home and they were watching the thing engulf itself in flames in the driveway. The thing started to catch fire/burn itself and they somehow got it outside. (The room they were heating was an added on room with a door to the outside.)


That's why I'm asking....


After seeing that, I wouldn't want to put one anywhere where there wasn't a close exit. (ie if it starts to catch fire have a door close to get rid of it!)

Theirs looked somthing like this....

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41v7y0Z78nL._SL500_AA300_.jpg



They likely used a too volatile fuel.

Fuels have been discussed here extensively last winter.

Lot's of ways to misuse any heater with bad outcomes. Concerns me... But we still do...

EXPY37
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Posted: 9/7/2011 12:57:19 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 12:58:08 AM by EXPY37]
Good quality kero heaters have an automatic rapid shutdown device that triggers on tipover, bumping, and maybe overtemp.

Don't use one w/out it.

Sixtigers
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Posted: 9/7/2011 2:04:50 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 2:06:32 AM by Sixtigers]
When I was stationed in Japan, central heating was rare. Most people used kerosene heaters. There are some pretty good ones out there, and kerosene isn't so dangerous to store.

ETA: The picture above was a common one used.
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Reverend73
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Posted: 9/7/2011 2:48:18 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 2:52:34 AM by Reverend73]
Get a couple Aladdin lamps. No kidding, those biotches put out a metric crap ton of heat (and light). I forget the exact BTU #s but its a lot.

Additionally, they burn clean and quiet with no odor that I can smell. At full tilt they'll go thru a fair bit of fuel but 3 or 4 gallons would probably get you through all winter with no power if you had to.
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Posted: 9/7/2011 3:16:41 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 3:18:20 AM by Skibane]
Originally Posted By Marie:
Something like this one?


Yep.

They're superb little heaters. Several years ago, I loaned my little sister one when an ice storm knocked out her utility power (no electricity = no natural gas furnace). She used it for around 24 hours, and absolutely loved it - Kept her and her kittehs warm and happy. After the power came back on, she immediately ordered one for herself.

They're equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) that automatically shuts off the fuel supply if the oxygen concentration in the room drops below a safe level. This also provides some protection against carbon monoxide poisoning - Low oxygen levels increase the production of CO, so the ODS helps ensure that conditions don't deteriorate to the point where excessive CO is produced.

Is it safe to store the little propane canisters inside my building?


Pretty safe. Most folks store 'em indoors. There is a slight chance of leakage when you disconnect the canister from the heater, but you'd hear and smell it almost immediately. The canisters have an indefinite shelf life, so once you've bought 'em, you won't need replacements until after you use up what you've already got.

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OKIE-CARBINE
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Posted: 9/7/2011 4:04:07 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 4:07:08 AM by OKIE-CARBINE]
Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
How safe are Keroseen (SP?) heaters? I remember my neighbors had one and one day I cam home and they were watching the thing engulf itself in flames in the driveway. The thing started to catch fire/burn itself and they somehow got it outside. (The room they were heating was an added on room with a door to the outside.)


dont let one incident cloud your image. thats like saying: i saw this guy shooting people in a ihop and now guns are bad; or hell, you could even say: how safe is an ihop.

we used our kerosene heater similar to the one pictured for 14 days in a ice storms a couple winters ago...inside, in the living room. CO detector never went off, but out house is so drafty, it wouldnt get a chance to build up

and the 1# cans of propane are fine indoors. the retail stores keep them inside; big ones outside.

so, get a kerosene heater like the one pictured and then get several gallons of k1 kerosene. you can even keep it inside as well. you can probably find it next to the heaters in the store.

eta: that heater kept our 1600 sqft house around 85 degree. outside was probably 20-30.
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Kibby
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Posted: 9/7/2011 4:40:06 AM
In an apartment with no adequate ventilation, I would go with the sleeping bags, hot water bottles, a propane Coleman camp stove, and a Mr Buddy heater. I see you are in IL, Marie, and I know it can get pretty nasty cold there as well, so do plan to practice with all you new gear - whatever you get! In my honest opinion, it is impatience and unfamiliarity that kills people when crisis events happen.

Also I would like to suggest that it is only important to raise the temperature in your living quarters enough to keep from freezing. Your body will take care of the rest if you put some warm clothes on. Some people - even those with nice woodstoves (myself included) seem to think its great to stoke things up and cook everyone in the house... just because you can! Its not needed. Remember its about survival, so staying alive and somewhat comfortable is the key. Snuggle down and read a good book, and the power will come back on eventually... and if it don't, well at least you've prepped for it!
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Posted: 9/7/2011 5:43:52 AM
My family has used a Kerosene heater since I was a baby, originally as an offset to the wood we used to burn. Even though we had an electric heating/cooling system installed we still use it. I still have scars on my hand from when I tried to pull myself up with one. Saying that, it's not a bad idea to get a wire mesh to go around it if you have young ones in the house.

We lost power last year for several days and our only heat source was the kerosene heater, put it in the living room, closed off all the doors and it kept the place pretty toasty. I recall several times throughout my life that we've used them in winter power outages. Granted we live in a house so we only have to worry about ourselves, not what everyone else is doing to keep warm...
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Posted: 9/7/2011 8:32:03 AM
[Last Edit: 9/7/2011 8:32:28 AM by ilbob]
I used to think kerosene was about the same thing as diesel, and being as diesel is pretty safe I always assumed kerosene was as well. But I was educated by another engineer who has a lot of experience in dealing with that kind of thing. It turns out that diesel is pretty safe but kerosene is much less so. It is actually quite a bit more volatile. As someone mentioned, it is also no where near as standardized as diesel. What comes out of one pump may be substantially different than another pump down the street. It is one of the reasons it is a poor choice as a motor fuel.

I find it odd that some people have trouble with propane fumes. They don't bother me one bit, but the smell that comes off kerosene heaters is a big problem for me.

A small apartment does not require a great deal of heat to keep it warm enough that you won't freeze to death. I suspect that if you had a gas stove, that just running a burner would be adequate to keep your apartment warm "enough", and probably a lot safer than either a propane or kerosene heater. Not "safe", but probably safer. That would be my first choice as a secondary means of heat.

My next choice would be some of the gel type alcohol fuels such as are used in fake fireplaces. They are probably safer than propane or kerosene heaters, but pricey.

The biggest problem I see with kerosene is refilling the heater. It is VERY easy to spill a little and getting even a small amount of kerosene on your carpeting near a source of flame is a major issue. The wicking action of the carpeting will make the kerosene even easier to ignite.

All in all, I am generally opposed to the use of kerosene for indoor heating, at least for me. A lot of people do it and it does not kill them, but that does not make it "safe". Kind of like the guys that use suicide cords to hook up their generators. Or those that play Russian roulette.

I would be inclined more toward a small catalytic type propane heater with 1 pound cylinders. I know they are a pain and don't last long, But it is probably the safest thing, and I do not want to make things worse in a bad situation by starting a fire when the emergency services are already overloaded or possibly even unable to respond at all.

Realistically, unless it is very cold outside, chances are you can survive quite handily in an apartment without any heat at all for several days. It may get a little cool, but it will take a long time to get cold enough to be a problem. Try it some day. Turn the heat off and see how long it takes to get to a temperature that is really a problem. Granted it is not a perfect test because your neighbors' heat is leaking into your space, at least to some extent.

One thing that may help is to seal air leaks as best you can. many apartments are not real weather tight. $20 worth of spray foam and weather seal can solve a lot of air infiltration issues. You might also want to do something about the windows. Some kind of insulated drape, or plastic you can seal it with if you have no heat can cut your heat losses dramatically. These are things that seem kind of mundane but may keep you from having to use any extra heat source at all.

I would be inclined to not be turning on the backup heat source unless it was absolutely necessary anyway. You never know when the power will come back on. Better to save it to keep you alive than waste it keeping yourself nice and toasty. JMNSHO.
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Posted: 9/7/2011 9:26:07 AM
Another vote for kerosene heat as a back up.,
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Posted: 9/7/2011 9:43:58 AM
My plan for short term is to just put more clothes on.

Long term, is bug out. A couple of days without power in the coldest part of winter is bug out time.

You may find a safe way to heat your apartment. Your neighbor's won't.

If the power is out for a while, expect water pressure to disappear too, rendering your sprinkler system much less effective or inoperable. Combine that with multi-unit x risk of fire and you have some pretty poor odds. You'll be burned out by some dumbarse with a candle under his bedspread. If the outage is localized, they'll have it fixed before it's a problem. I'll be packing my vehicle on day two. Out on the morning of day three.
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Posted: 9/7/2011 8:50:34 PM
I'm another +1 on the buddy Heater or little buddy heater (have one of each).

We road out a blackout during Snowmeggadon 2010 with the little buddy (1/2 price at Lowes end of season sale). Bought a two tank buddy the next fall full price. I am sold on these, but I have a shed for the cubic butt ton of 1# bottles. I have a couple more bottle top heaters I am less sure about and didn't use in that event. The one small one was holding the living room about '60, but I was becoming concerned for the overnite –– hence the second one.

The wick in my Kero heater wouldn't feed in that event (first time I put fuel in it). Test out everything. And have D cells for the fan in the buddy heater.

The little buddy ran 7 hours on a bottle iirc
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