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Posted: 1/25/2014 6:18:43 AM EDT
It didn't happen to me but I was thinking what if it did.  A couple with 2 small children come home from being gone for a few days to the furnace not working.  It is single digits out and late Friday night.  Even if you could get someone out, you couldn't get parts.  It was 45 in the house.  How do you stay warm?

I have a long rancher.  I have a fireplace in about the middle of the house.  I have a propane fireplace in the family room at the end of house.  I have a couple electric heaters that could be put in a couple bedrooms.  I think I would be OK and not have to worry about the pipes.

Just something to keep in mind.
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 6:23:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2014 6:25:05 AM EDT by OverScoped]


Pretty easy if you have a kero heater or two.  Bring everyone into a living room or den. Sleep on couches or twin bed mattresses from the kids rooms. Follow safety guidelines.











Having a wood burning stove or real fireplace insert would make it a non-issue.











 
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 6:33:11 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By OverScoped:
Pretty easy if you have a kero heater or two.  Bring everyone into a living room or den. Sleep on couches or twin bed mattresses from the kids rooms. Follow safety guidelines.



Having a wood burning stove or real fireplace insert would make it a non-issue.



 
View Quote


Well, even a wood stove can have it's weaknesses.  However, there aren't many.

1) Cracked/broken glass up front.
2) Running out of gasketing/cement
3) If a hurricane/tornado/drunk takes out your chimney/pipe

Other than that they are pretty solid so long as you have fuel for them.

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 6:36:31 AM EDT
Had a similar situation (not that cold, older kids) happen two years ago and the following really helped:

Fireplace (Gas Logs) - No fuss or mess.
Small fan on top of fire screen - catches heat rising at face of fireplace and forces into room.
Ceiling fans pushing air up in each room - gets rising hot air to flow to as much of house as possible.

YMMV
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 6:41:00 AM EDT
Insulation on your pipes and let them trickle.
If you don't have alternative heat methods you can set a tent up in the living room to help trap heat during sleep.
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 9:09:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2014 9:10:27 AM EDT by sitdwnandhngon]
Happened to my brother in law last week, below zero each night.

They have electric heaters as a backup since he had to order a new valve for the gas furnace and it took 2 days to ship to him. Not the most comfortable, but he was able to keep the house in the 50's, I told him to come get the propane heaters but he didn't.

I have electric baseboards that kick on around 45 degrees just to keep the house from freezing up, but the wood stove will go as long as there is fuel for it. We don't have a gas or oil furnace, but I do have multiple propane heaters for work/emergencies.
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 9:18:33 AM EDT
If all else fails, a tent and some sleeping bags set up in a closed-off room would make an effective emergency shelter by limiting heat loss.  Like most here, there would have to be quite a string of failures for me to get to that point.
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 9:28:20 AM EDT
Happened to the wife and I, before we had children. We lived in the high desert @ about 3000k feet elevation. Our less than 6 month old furnace unit broke. The parts we needed were 50 mles away down and down the mountain pass. The parts needed were going to be delivered the next day. That night, we got about 2' of snow. This is in So Cal, so they don't plow the major freeways or allow chains, they shut them down. The freeway was closed for 3 days. The house had one of those stupid track home worthless fireplaces that only put heat out maybe 5' from it. We dressed warm, moved the couch in front of the fireplace, and tuffed it out for 3 days.
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 9:34:41 AM EDT
Originally Posted By captblue1:
It didn't happen to me but I was thinking what if it did.  A couple with 2 small children come home from being gone for a few days to the furnace not working.  It is single digits out and late Friday night.  Even if you could get someone out, you couldn't get parts.  It was 45 in the house.  How do you stay warm?

I have a long rancher.  I have a fireplace in about the middle of the house.  I have a propane fireplace in the family room at the end of house.  I have a couple electric heaters that could be put in a couple bedrooms.  I think I would be OK and not have to worry about the pipes.

Just something to keep in mind.
View Quote




This happens to lots of people.

If they aren't 'Problem Solvers" and resourceful...

They become Refugees, within their community.




Link Posted: 1/25/2014 11:49:39 AM EDT
Lots of backups makes it easy.  When people post about the buddy heaters or kerosene heaters on clearance I go take a look whenever I am out that way again.



Sometimes they are all gone, that is fine I have a few.



Sometimes they are a price I won't pay.



Sometimes I can't leave em in the store for that price and take em home.



I have given some away to folks who appreciate em, one did not appreciate it and said they never use it and won't buy kerosene for it so I was given it back and gave it to someone who appreciates it.



Even with giving several away, I can heat my whole place on backup heat just fine, been doing it all winter long just to see what I think.
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 11:54:25 AM EDT
Don't forget Coleman lantern s give off a lot of heat.
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 12:06:21 PM EDT
This just happened to me about three weeks ago. my first line of defense is a kerosene heater, which served well until I could get the central heat working.

Fallbacks include a fireplace, lanterns, and the aforementioned tent shelter.  I'm planning on getting a wood stove installed this summer to obviate the need for central heat permanently.
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 12:25:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2014 12:26:07 PM EDT by Rat_Patrol]
We have independent wall-mound electric forced air units in most rooms, and baseboards (electric) in the others. We don't have a single furnace to fail, just need the lights on.






If/When that fails, we have multiple kero heaters (wick type) at the ready, and, ummmm, plenty of fuel . I have a box full of spare wicks/parts for the kero heaters. We will NOT be cold.







We also have a 5th wheel camper with furnace and 2 full 30# tanks of propane.







We also have small plug in electrics.







When you live in a cold climate, not having multiple backup heat sources is basically Darwinism in my opinion...




Edit for clarification.

 
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 1:37:02 PM EDT
Our oil furnace shut down a couple of weeks back.  I usually heat the house with the wood stove, but on nights when it is really cold (below zero) I let the furnace run to throw off some heat in the unheated basement to keep the pipes warm.  So, I had the fire going all day and started to let it die down around 7pm.  Woke up at 1am and realized that it was pretty cold in the house - definitely below the 60* that I had the thermostat set for...  I wasn't sure how long the furnace had been off since I had the stove heating all day.

Went down in the basement and the furnace had power, but was totally cold.  Had enough oil and the oil line wasn't clogged.  Tried re-starting it.  No fire.  Rather than continuing to tinker with it, I started a fire in the basement back-up wood stove and re-stoked the upstairs stove.  Everything went fine.  The next day I fixed the furnace.

Could do without the furnace, but I like not having to have to lie in bed thinking about whether I should go check the fire.
Link Posted: 1/25/2014 4:15:45 PM EDT
Our furnace is our backup..



We have a kerosun if those both go down. and 55 gallons of K1.
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 2:27:45 PM EDT
pull out kero heater......1050 foot ranch house.....doesnt take much
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 5:12:08 PM EDT


Setup a tent w/ sleeping bags in the living room and run a heater.
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 5:21:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/27/2014 6:33:23 AM EDT by SR712]
Our downstairs HVAC Gaspack has 115,000 BTUs natural gas furnace, 2 stage. Our upstairs HVAC unit has 70,000 BTUs natural gas furnace, 2 stage. So, in a sense, each one is a backup of the other. The house is a very open floor plan, so heat from one zone can pretty easily flow toward the other if needed. We also have a vent-less natural gas fireplace in the living room. In addition, we have a Sengoku 23,000 BTU kerosene heater NIB, about 15 gallons of 1K, and maybe 8 gallons of lamp oil. Winters really aren't too bad here, but I like backups, and options. Besides, it seems like everybody is cold this year.

The downstairs gaspack uses 230VAC, however the upstairs hvac uses 115VAC for the furnace section, so it could possibly be pushed by a small genny like the Champion inverter easily. The units were new this year, so the fan motors that are in them draw almost no amps. They've made great strides as far as fans go in the last few years.
.
The control boards in these things are fairly small. They hang them in the input plenum of the furnace, off of the fan cage, I guess to maintain a fairly constant temperature (although I would be concerned with static electricity). There are few parts on these boards that could be replaced easily, such as relays, etc. Much of it is surface mount, and while I have a hot air surface mount solder station, it is not my idea of a good time. I guess having a spare control board would be a good idea, but I'm not sure how much these would be, as practically everything HVAC related seems to be terribly inflated in cost, considering its complexity or lack thereof.
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 5:51:20 PM EDT
I think an ordinary fireplace would be something of a last resort, you lose heat up the chimney and replace it with cold air getting into the house from somewhere.

If the furnace itself goes down I have 2 full size electric heaters and one small electric heater, and a big buddy propane heater.  And a fireplace if all else fails.

If we just lose electricity, I have the furnace hooked up to an EZ Generator Switch, which lets you run particular circuits off a generator.  The furnace and pumps only take around 100 watts, so that is Plan A.  As long as the furnace and one of the generators is working, that is definitely the best way to heat my house.
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 6:58:56 PM EDT
OF course it happened on a weekend while we were waiting for a gas line to be installed.
Our old oil burner crapped out; would not restart when temps dipped.
I had to hit the reset button to restart.
Slept in a chair next to the furnace with one foot exposed...when the cold woke me up I hit the reset.
Next day we jumped out the bum parts and used an inline switch.
Despite the thermostat being set for 70, the most I got out of her was 54.

Gas company was great.

Now we have propane burner heads for the grill tank and both sizes of Buddy Heaters.



Link Posted: 1/26/2014 8:15:46 PM EDT
primary heat is an outdoor wood/coal boiler with heat exchanger in the forced air ducts.
fuel oil furnace for backup.
if power is out long term the generator is in the wood shed and can power everything from there.
for shorter term outages there is a efficiency fireplace that can easily heat the whole house.
if that wont work I have a 50k BTU multi fuel torpedo heater that can run for a long time off of a deep cycle batt
and will heat the house just fine.
layers of preparedness
do have a plan of replacing the fuel oil furnace with an LP boiler plumbed in line with the wood/coal boiler.
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 1:29:02 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Blackoperations:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NQGWCV1pcQA/Tn5SrnFJAwI/AAAAAAAAApE/9WJnytpgNyw/s1600/Big%2BBuddy%2B003.JPG

Setup a tent w/ sleeping bags in the living room and run a heater.
View Quote


you use the big propane cylinder in the house?  ive always been a little wary of that.
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 1:52:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By captblue1:
It didn't happen to me but I was thinking what if it did.  A couple with 2 small children come home from being gone for a few days to the furnace not working.  It is single digits out and late Friday night.  Even if you could get someone out, you couldn't get parts.  It was 45 in the house.  How do you stay warm?

I have a long rancher.  I have a fireplace in about the middle of the house.  I have a propane fireplace in the family room at the end of house.  I have a couple electric heaters that could be put in a couple bedrooms.  I think I would be OK and not have to worry about the pipes.

Just something to keep in mind.
View Quote



In the aftermath of  HUrricane Sandy I had no power for almost three weeks...temps were in the low 40s to mid 50s that entire time.

I got buy with a propane heater (Big Buddy), and a generator running my pellet stove.  

Also bundled up in layers...
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 3:18:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By captblue1:


It was 45 in the house.  How do you stay warm?

View Quote
turn on the furnance



 
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 5:35:50 AM EDT
Turn on the oven and leave the door open.  Everybody has an oven..

We have a combination heat pump/oil/electric backup system, with one unit on each floor.  The only single factor is power, and we have a 15kW generator that will run the system if necessary.  Backup is with a coal stove, kerosene heaters and a Buddy propane heater which unfortunately died two days ago.  We can heat solely with kero and about 80% with coal.

I don't like getting cold.

Ops

Link Posted: 1/27/2014 9:31:40 AM EDT
A couple kerosene heaters, even one if you all sleep in the living room, would be enough. You wont be walking around weraing just tshirts and shorts but you'll sleep ok.
Mandatory with the kerosene heater is a quality CO detector for safety. In a large living room just leave a couple doors half way open and that should provide enough ventilation. In a closed bedroom or other normal size room then yes leave the window cracked opened. Again, the CO detector is mandatory.
Kerosene heaters are a great solution for this kind of thing. I also have electric heaters but they dont do you any good if things get nasty and power goes out.
FerFAL
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 10:02:17 AM EDT
To those who rely on propane for backup systems:



I just went out 2 days ago and installed a hand weed burning torch to a 20# cylinder to try to thaw out an outdoor "frost free" hydrant. Valve on the 20# is froze solid. Had no luck thawing it out, so there may be other problems with the valve, but I didn't look into it so much. No gas for no fire, though.



I guess the lesson is propane systems themselves are reliant upon multiple mechanisms and systems to operate. One more reason I keep kero heaters for when it REALLY matters.
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 10:27:06 AM EDT
I have an electric oven and an electric heater that can be used to keep things tolerable. Turn on the TV/computer upstairs (both put out a lot of heat) and it should be okay for sleeping in the loft.

If electricity is out, then I have a big buddy heater, some oil lanterns, candles, and lots of clothing/blankets. Beyond that, if it's too cold I'll go stay at a friend's house. There are two good friends within 3 miles, and several more within 20 miles.

If the heat goes out while I'm traveling for business, I'm just switching hotels.
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 11:23:00 AM EDT
What kerosene heaters is everyone using?  Kerosene would be pretty far down the list of backups for me but I have one of the tube job site heaters and there is no way I could use it in the house. Even on a job site where there aren't any windows in the house it would bring tears to me eyes pretty quickly.....
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 11:50:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/27/2014 11:51:06 AM EDT by Rat_Patrol]


Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By gajeep94yj:



What kerosene heaters is everyone using?  Kerosene would be pretty far down the list of backups for me but I have one of the tube job site heaters and there is no way I could use it in the house. Even on a job site where there aren't any windows in the house it would bring tears to me eyes pretty quickly.....
View Quote
Right now, my wife prefers the perfection.

 




I also am running Kero-Sun radiant heaters.











ETA: Torpedo heaters are NOT made for indoor use (except big open shops, half built houses, etc)

 
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 12:11:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/27/2014 12:11:50 PM EDT by sitdwnandhngon]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Rat_Patrol:
To those who rely on propane for backup systems:

I just went out 2 days ago and installed a hand weed burning torch to a 20# cylinder to try to thaw out an outdoor "frost free" hydrant. Valve on the 20# is froze solid. Had no luck thawing it out, so there may be other problems with the valve, but I didn't look into it so much. No gas for no fire, though.

I guess the lesson is propane systems themselves are reliant upon multiple mechanisms and systems to operate. One more reason I keep kero heaters for when it REALLY matters.

View Quote


Did you bring it into the house for a few hours?
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 12:13:37 PM EDT

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By sitdwnandhngon:
Did you bring it into the house for a few hours?
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By sitdwnandhngon:



Originally Posted By Rat_Patrol:

To those who rely on propane for backup systems:



I just went out 2 days ago and installed a hand weed burning torch to a 20# cylinder to try to thaw out an outdoor "frost free" hydrant. Valve on the 20# is froze solid. Had no luck thawing it out, so there may be other problems with the valve, but I didn't look into it so much. No gas for no fire, though.



I guess the lesson is propane systems themselves are reliant upon multiple mechanisms and systems to operate. One more reason I keep kero heaters for when it REALLY matters.







Did you bring it into the house for a few hours?
No, I haven't screwed with it yet.

 
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 1:30:09 PM EDT
The propane shortage and increase in prices has me planning to check prices in the next couple days to see if I want to buy any propane, basically just refilling the empties I keep rotated.  Depending on price I might skip it and break out the kerosene stores.  My propane concept is similar to filling the vehicle when it is half full so it is not like every tank I own is empty.



Kerosene heaters are tower heaters that commonly sell at wally world for 120 bucks new in the fall and closeout around 60 bucks come spring.



Require no power.



My buddy heaters that use propane require no power, the big buddy can use power for a small fan but it runs just fine with no power and I mostly use the fan now and then because I like to smile when it works.  I won't really care when it dies.  I remove batteries every spring when it gets put away.



House I rent has no furnace so it is kind of cheating I guess.  Next place has central heat and air, been a long time since I did not have a window ac unit for my cooling system.



So the propane and kerosene backup heaters will be around and in the summer the window ac units would be installed and run off a generator.
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