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...
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
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
Please be careful!
Your numbers are waaaay off.
Here are some safety tips, BTW from the government
and some good reading about them here
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.
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.
" ........ 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
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
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.
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.
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.)
You were wrong, and I'm man enough to admit it.
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.....
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
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.
You were wrong, and I'm man enough to admit it.
There is quite an odor filling the thing especially when you
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.
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
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.
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
Haven't run one in 4-5 years. It was a buck.69 then.
Pets love 'em. Never had one complain about the smell.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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