small kerosene space heaters

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I have a woodburning stove in my basement, and I'm getting tired of dealing with the smoke and mess every time I try to light the thing and it has a strong back draft (chimney is installed correctly, the problem is because the stove is in the basement) I smoked up the whole house and nearly set myself on fire today trying to get the thing lit. I don't have enough wood to keep it going all the time, and wife wouldn't keep it fed while I'm at work anyway.
I'm thinking of taking out the stove and capping the stove pipe, and putting in a portable kerosene heater. About 10600 BTU's, mostly just to help take the chill off the basement. (Hopefully it won't be so chilly when I get rid of that drafty flue.)
Anybody have one of these? How often do you have to clean the wick? How often do you have to replace the wick? Do they stink much? (I can open a can of turpentine in the house and Wife can smell it instantly upstairs and on the opposite end of the house.) If I get a 23000 BTU unit, can they be adjusted down or do you really have to run them full tilt?
After today's little adventure, I think I'm going to try it and see. Even if it's a mistake, the heaters are not much over $100...
Bob
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Those type of heaters SUCK...They really stink..Are a PITA to fill and if the wick gets bad you have a house full of soot...If you have BBHW heat you could put a Modine down there...Another idea is a Moniter , either K-1 or propane......I use a 70,000 BTU Reddy Heater with a thermostat to take trhe chill off the garage but would be a bit noisy in the basement...LOL....HTH....
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Are we sure this isn't a troll??????This posting is so ingenuous (that's not ingenious btw!) perhaps even naive?
Using a figure of anywhere from 100,000 to 120,000 BTUs of energy in a gallon of petroleum oil product burnt at 100% efficiency. An efficiency which of course a wick (or any type heater) will not produce! That's very, very roughly somewhere between a tenth and fifth a gallon a gallon of oil or kerosene being burnt by an un-vented heater within the house, every hour. So the products of that combustion will need to go somewhere.
Also don't know how much oxygen that will use up but some source of fresh air will be needed to avoid the risk of asphyxiating people within the house. Posters may remember the couple who took their bar-b- q into their house during an extended power outage and were found dead because the combustion used up the house oxygen!
Yes: We have such a heater; for emergency use only. When it is lit is placed on a metal tray with air underneath near the fireplace chimney.The chimney damper is opened to vent the room and to provide a cross draft of air something else (e.g. a window) is cracked open. We never refill the heater when hot'/warm.
Our heater is not left burning when sleeping or anyone lying down. Also check insurance policy carefully since except for using such a heater for an emergency situation (e.g. prevent a house from freezing up etc. and thereby protecting a house from damage, as required by most insurers) may invalidate coverage? We do also have a CO (Carbon MONOXIDE) detector but that would not necessarily warn against oxygen depletion.
Please be careful!
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terry wrote:

Your numbers are waaaay off.
Here are some safety tips, BTW from the government http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5052.html
and some good reading about them here http://www.endtimesreport.com/kerosene_heaters.html
OK, the energy in a gallon of K-1 is about what you state, but is actually closer to 133,000 Btu. But,most heaters are in the 10,000 to 20,000 Btu range and burn that gallon of fuel over a period or 5 to 10 hours, not the 1 hour you are basing your figures on.
The manufacturers state that the heaters are 99.9% efficient. Perhaps they are under perfect condition, but let's say they are only 99% efficient. That would give you 1.25 ounces over a period of hours. Compare that to burning half a small candle. .
At least make the decision based on actual numbers. It is not my first choice for heat on a regular basis, but for short periods in very cold weather, it would be OK for me.
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=====================================================================
The numbers (from memory) close enough for discussion ........ .
Roughly the same figure. Whether it's 133,000 or 120,000 BTUs per gallon (and that depends if one is using a US gallon or Imperial gallon etc.) And taking into account whatever is the efficiency/ inefficiency of the burning device.
So:
" ........ burn that gallon of fuel over a period or 5 to 10 hours, ..... " is the same as
" ......That's very, very roughly somewhere between a fifth and tenth of a gallon of oil or kerosene being burnt by an un-vented heater within the house, every hour."
Regardless; the overall consensus and concerns/opinions of most posters seems to be:
Emergency use, care in using, safety, adequate ventilation, insurance, odour when first lit, refilling, storage of fuel, care of wick, cost of fuel.
To which I would add another concern; 'Correct type of fuel'!
There is always a remote chance that the adult in the family who understands these things (usually hubby?). may be away and a helpful teenager (or adult!) neighbour comes over to help and says something along the lines of. "Out of fuel? Gee, we got some 'CAMPING STOVE' fuel left over from last summer. Wonder if that will do"?
And THAT happens to be white gas!!!!!!!!
Oh and also btw that reminds me our kitchen A,B,C fire extinguisher is nearby to where we would use the kerosene heater in an emergency. It's also years since we used the heater and that fire extinguisher has never been used. Time to check if it's still valid and at least give it a shake up in case the chemical has compacted.
Also; checking the 'Technical' file cabinet other day happened to look at the documents for the CO detector . It says the detector is 'good' for five years and we've had ours for some 3+. So during 2010 will be looking for replacement. Unfamiliar with what wears out in a CO detector, any advice?
Just had a thought; the total for fire safety equipment in this house; three smoke detectors, three extinguishers and the CO detector no more than $200, over say five years. Cheap life insurance!
A smoky wood stove sounds like a chimney draft problem? Our old second/ third hand Jotul wood stove in basement using the second properly lined flue in the brick chimney stack, which barely rises above the peak of the roof, works fine. Chilly today and will be downstairs in the unfinished basement workshop today, so must light it when I come back.
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Why not put in a source of combusion air. I used a 4" dryer vent to go thru the house wall just above the sil, and then ran 4" aluminum flexible piping to right at the edge of the firebox area. IT provides plenty of combustion air for the (in my case) furnace) without putting a negative pressure into the rest of the house so my fireplace draws air form the rest of the leakages.
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Good idea. Next, it needs a source of combustion firewood while he's at work.
--
Christopher A. Young
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We use one... also for emergencies only. Yes, they stink. Haven't ever had a problem with the wick, yet - it's 25 years old. Considering the current price of kerosene, it's hard to image using such a heat source casually, or switching from wood.
Unc
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On 12/31/2009 5:54 PM zxcvbob spake thus:

To answer your questions:
1. Never. 2. Never. 3. No.
I have to respectfully disagree with all the previous respondents who said, basically, that these heaters suck. I've used small kerosene heaters occasionally over the last few years where I live now with no complaints. I got both the ones I have now used, and I've *never* had to do anything to the wick. They both burn very cleanly.
Some common sense caveats: I never, ever leave one of these burning when I'm sleeping or away from home. I'm very careful to leave them far enough away from anything combustible. And I have excellent ventilation where I use them.
So long as you don't use them in a small sealed room or do anything else stupid, they're fine. So far as smell goes, there's a slight kerosene odor when they're first lit before they burn cleanly, and only a very slight odor after that. Doesn't bother me, though some may be more sensitive to this smell. (Like your wife, for instance.)
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There is quite an odor filling the thing especially when you overfill it because it is such a PITA to fill it you want to get all you can in it...You have to go out to the garage or out building get the can of K-1 and the pump and bring it inside...Put down something to set the can on...Pump the K-1 into the thing and overflow it...Bitch and swear taking the can and pump back out to the garage...Listen to SWMBO whine about the smell of K-1 in the overflow pan..Sop up the spillage with papertowles...Take papertowles outside..Doesn't help...Still stinks...SWMBO still whining...ALOT of fun doing it with a flashlight as well....And they smell when they run low on fuel or run out...They also smell worse when set on low..There is always a kerosene smell in the air and on your hands..Oh , and I don't believe for a minute that you have used your heaters for any length of time for "a few years" and never had to trim or replace a wick...Horse Hocky....Used to have one YEARS ago...NASTY things.....For emergency (NO POWER) use I have a double burner propane radiant heater that just screws on a grill propane tank....MUCH better but too expensive to use on a regular basis unless the homeowner is buying the tanks on the jobsite..LOL.....
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On 12/31/2009 9:57 PM benick spake thus:

>

I'm sorry to hear you've had such bad experiences with kerosene heaters. But in all honesty, a lot of it sounds like it's because of your own ineptitude.
It's not all that hard to fill the tank without spilling more than a few drops; I use a push pump that fits into my 5-gallon can. So far as smoking when they're set on low goes, well, duh; they're guaranteed to run smoky that way. They like to burn hot, with a nice bright glow in the catalytic burner.
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There is quite an odor filling the thing especially when you overfill it because it is such a PITA to fill it you want to get all you can in it...
CY: The smaller ones run about 12 hours on a fill.
You have to go out to the garage or out building get the can of K-1 and the pump and bring it inside...
CY: The radiant heaters typically have a "chicken feeder" can that lifts out. Still, it's guaranteed kero smell.
outside..Doesn't help...Still stinks...SWMBO still whining...ALOT of fun doing it with a flashlight as well....
CY: Strap on head lamp works well.
And they smell when they run low on fuel or run out...They also smell worse when set on low..There is always a kerosene smell in the air and on your hands..
CY: AGreed. alwys a kero smell.
Oh , and I don't believe for a minute that you have used your heaters for any length of time for "a few years" and never had to trim or replace a wick...Horse Hocky....Used to have one YEARS ago...
CY: Replace wick every year.
NASTY things.....For emergency (NO POWER) use I have a double burner propane radiant heater that just screws on a grill propane tank....MUCH better but too expensive to use on a regular basis unless the homeowner is buying the tanks on the jobsite..LOL.....
CY: Propane is much cleaner.
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That was my experience.

Not suppose to let it run out. That's called burning the wick out to clean it of residue...so it doesn't develop smell while burning normally. Instructions tell you do do that. Instructions? They come with instructions?!

Haven't run one in 4-5 years. It was a buck.69 then.
Pets love 'em. Never had one complain about the smell.
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wrote:

When she gets real cold, she might consider another log on the fire. First one cold starts the fire.
Same with food, don't grow it you can't eat it.
Oh, snap she broke a nail....
"Monthly Average Kerosene Prices"
NY:
http://www.nyserda.org/energy_information/nyepg.asp
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wrote:

They smell a little of kerosene when they are first started. I've never had to replace a wick and I've had my heaters for about 40 years. Kerosene is pretty pricy these days and it is the reason I don't use mine any more.
If kept away from things that might catch fire from the radiant heat then I'd say they are perfectly safe. Mine have never given any trouble at all.
Ross
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On 12/31/2009 11:02 PM, RMD wrote:

I'm hoping I don't have to run it much. It will be sitting on a 6' x 6' stone hearth with a stone wall behind it. I'm not worried about the water vapor and CO2 it will put out. And I have a CO detector in the room (it has saved my bacon a couple of times when the wood stove has started backdrafting while it still had some smoldering coals.)
A natural gas space heater would be a lot cheaper to run, but it would not be easy running a gas line to the hearth. #1 kerosene is less than $3 per gallon here, but not much less. My parents used to heat their house with unvented propane space heaters. (That was a long time ago.) My house is older and a lot less tight than theirs is; O2 depletion will not be a problem.
Bob
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On 12/31/2009 8:54 PM, zxcvbob wrote:

I too had trouble with my family room fireplace in the basement. I cleaned it out, capped off the chimney and put in an electric insert. It was fairly cheap because I retained fire place doors and it looks realistic. Like others, I don't want anything burning and emitting fumes without venting.
If your setup is like mine and you have the furnace in the basement, it is the furnaces draw that is causing your back draft. No matter what I did, the room always had a smokey smell.
Last night we celebrated the New Year in front of the electric fire place - nice and cozy and no mess.
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What fuel sources do you have, now? From what you describe, a portable kerosene is a poor choice. Plan on filling it twice a day, and bring home 5 gal containers of fuel from the store. 1 gal of fuel (what the tank holds) lasts about 12 hours.
If you have natural gas, I'd consider a vented wall heater. Perhaps you can get a tank of propane, and a vented wall heater. More expensive up front. But, the truck can keep the tank topped off, and you don't have to do as much work. Less stinky, too.
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zxcvbob wrote:

being in the basement has nothing to do with the back draft. It's the proximity of things around the top of the chimney and type of cap that dictate whether they draft properly or not.
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On 1/1/2010 8:58 AM, Steve Barker wrote:

It's a siphon thing. The heavy cold air is trying to fill the basement up to the ground level outside. The end of the stove pipe is about 6' below grade.
Bob
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