I've looked at kerosene and electric vs. natural gas and from what I can see
kerosene is 2-3x (not accounting for a "cracked" window) the cost of gas and
electric is 4-6 times as expensive. These numbers are for the Northeast US.
It quickly became apparent to me the cost-effective solution is to isolate a
heated livingroom/diningroom/kitchen area from the rest of the house
(installation of a weatherstripped door worked to keep the air from leaving
and rising to the rest of the house), and to caulk, weatherstrip and
otherwise tighten leaks generally. I keep the heated area at 62 degrees and
dress warmly. My living area stays 20-30 degrees above the outside
temperature just from the ordinary heat of televisions, computers, etc. With
the heat on for a month of cold weather now I have used apprx. $3.50 in gas.
Since you're on a budget, you need to gain in one area what you lose in
another. It might hurt, but the cost of extra warm clothing and the
inconvenience of selective heating and sealing (caulk is cheap) can repay
you many times the first winter.
Electric releases no fumes, so if this is a big worry you ight want to use
electric selectively. If you burn anything, have a co2 detector under 5
years old (they deteriorate with age). My inlaws have used kerosene for
years with no problem. They heat in an occupied room and vent into the rest
of their large house. That setup solves both the area heat problem and the
venting problem, so it's another way to look at the problem.
Most kerosene problems I've read about have been from someone refilling a
hot heater. At room temperature, kerosene will put out a match tossed into
it. But heat it up and it burns. Never fill a hot kerosene heater indoors or
you will burn your house down.
Just a few ideas. Good luck with the heat!
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