Using kerosene for lights and heating

1 lamp will give about 5 hours of light per 1 gallon of kerosene fuel per month. 1 kerosene heater will provide  about 12 hours per day on 1 gallons a day or 7  gallons a week.  Once we get into winter I’ll do a test and see if these are good numbers for heating  my house.

So if I need two Kerosene lamps to be lit for a min. of 5 hours per day for a year. That is about 24 gallons of kerosene per year for lamps.  You will need the lamps less in summer but more in winter.  Now the cost of 1 gallon of Kerosene is about $11.00 per gallon so 2 lamps for a year would cost about $264.00 for a year.  I check what Lowe’s is selling kerosene at $11.00, but  I get a 10% discount as a Vet so it’s $238. 00 per year. You might get a better price buying kerosene in bulk 5 gallon containers but let’s use $11.00 a gallon for planning your shopping list. For me I could use my 2 kerosene lamps, 5 hours a day for about $20.00 per month.  I live in a cheap electricity state and I’m pretty sure that $20.00 is about even cost I pay for light each month. Yes, electricity is more convenient and gives off better light when you have it but a couple of kerosene lamps might make a good back up source of light.

Kerosene heaters are great for heating a large space.  Kerosene heaters do give off carbon monoxide and will eat oxygen in a small room so you will want to place the heater where it can heat several rooms, open a window about an inch for ventilation and never run a kerosene heater while you are asleep. Now based on running the heater 12 hours per day you will need about 1 gallons a day or 7 gallons per week  to run your heater. I don’t think I would have to run the heater for 12 hours in a day to keep my house warm as my home is well insulated and I have warm clothes I don’t mind dressing layers. But let’s say the experts are correct and I need the heater for 12 hours everyday for heat 6 months of the year.  I’m going to test my heater and see how much kerosene is needed per day and per week and see exactly how much fuel is needed to keep the house warm during the winter.

I focused on propane for heating and cooking only and figured I need about 2-3 gallons of propane per day and that did not include using propane for lights.  The total cost per month using propane was at least $120.00 per month not counting the cost of a small tank or using propane for lights.

I’m not knocking any fuel or saying kerosene is perfect for a prepper. But kerosene is darn nice choice as a fuel and you get a lot of heat and light for a relatively small cost. We don’t know what fuel will be best in the future but I do know most everything in the US army ran on JP-8 which is  kerosene so you might be able to trade with soldiers. Yes soldier’s will trade with the population. When I was stationed in Germany doing field training, we often traded MRE’s for home cooked food and other stuff with the civilians. I don’t think the US military has many things that run on propane.

I know I was quite surprised on how far a little kerosene will go if you have a couple of lamps and a kerosene heater. Based on the cost factor alone, I’ll be adding more kerosene to my fuel stash as it has a good “bang for the buck”.  Plus having multiple types of fuel you can use I figure is a big deal. Wood, butane, propane and now storing kerosene gives me flexibility to react and buy what is available or cheap.

Obama’s EPA is on a “Green Agenda” bender and I can say that Obama is keeping his promise of energy prices must skyrocket in cost for his agenda what ever it is he has planned.  It is happening now,  so you must have backups to your backups.  A mix of a small gas generator, Solar energy for charging batteries and small electronics or lights. A big kerosene heater and a few lamps and add a little propane stove ans solar oven.  This type of energy set up will give you a lot of flexibility and I didn’t even touch on using a wood stove because a wood stove needs to be installed properly to be safe and that is kind of expensive.  You can get a kerosene stove at a yard sale and fuel at your local hardware store and it is ready to use without meeting a city code.

Last but not least,  I can use my propane exclusively for cooking and the kerosene for most of the lighting and heat for the house. No need to spend over a $1000.00 for a wood stove and installation or get permits and deal with winter burn bans on fireplaces.


10 Responses to Using kerosene for lights and heating

  1. Joel says:

    Having heated with both kerosene and propane, I can tell you confidently you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck with propane. Kero – as you noticed – has gotten to over 10/gallon and that’s absurd. Sometimes you can buy it cheaper at a civil airport, but the individual rules for that can get weird. It helps to know somebody. I use kero only for lighting, which is much more nearly cost effective.

    Given a choice between wood and propane heat, I use wood with propane as a backup. Though your mileage may of course vary, I’m paying less than 3/gal for propane right now. Mostly I use it for cooking.

  2. Jamie says:

    Joel, if you have done a test can you give me a break down of your fuel usage by day? I’m thinking Kerosene for lamps/lights and propane for heat and coooking. I’m not burning any bridges and I was very impressed how well my Mr.buddy did on my my test in Feb. of this year. Heck I’m buying another Mr. Buddy heater because they rock! I’m not trying to trouble shoot you but most people will do better if they know what to expect.
    I think a kerosene heater might be good in a big home if they are smart enough to shut off a heater before going to sleep.
    I’ve got most of what I need but we have a couple of idiot children and grand kiddies. I will not watch those kids get crushed spiritually or die without doing something to help.
    I try to teach but I can’t help willful ignorance. Nor basic stupidity. I will not die via co2 posioning and have a plan and tested stuff. I’m good, if not perfect and next year will be a hoot.

  3. Jamie says:

    I’m not trying to troubleshoot you I just want to gather basic info on use. I probably ask for data on rainfall next year. Yep I am annoying in that way!

  4. Barb says:

    I also use kerosene lamps for light and extra heat in the winter. I nights when it is only chilly 6 kero lamps give enough heat by themselves to keep my place warm.

    Why are you buying Kerosene at Lowes? $10 a gallon is crazy. You just need K1 Kerosene that is sold from pumps at many convenience stores. I pay $3.96 a gallon at the pump here in PA. If I use my discount card I can get that even lower.

    • Jamie says:

      Barb, I paid just about the highest price you can for kerosene. I really dropped the ball on shopping around to get the lowest price. Since I got the wood stove installed I have been focused on getting wood for heat and both my propane and kerosene heaters are for backup or lending to folks that have no alternative heat source.

      I want to add a few decorative hooks and shelves for kerosene and oil lamps and a few more mirrors to reflect the light and a couple or ideas for some solar lighting indoors.

      • Barb says:

        I have a kerosene lamp lit now and a fire in now 33 year old Wood Stove. I have been heating with wood for that long now. I am not sure where you are but here I am paying $150 for a full cord of seasoned oak.

        For convenience stores here we have Rutters and Sheetz. Just bring along a few five gallon blue kero jugs and get 10 gallons for under$40.00

        I am 53 now so even that seems expensive. I can remember using a Kerosun back in the 80’s and paying about $1.10 a gallon for kero.

      • Jamie says:

        Barb, I’m sort of a newbie at wood heat. Well we used it when I was a kid but things are a bit different as an adult and you have to buy the wood yourself.
        In Idaho pine and fir tend to be what is sold but I’m hitting the local orchards for Apple and cherry woods for about $200.00 a cord. I’m not getting the best price this year but I figure next winter I will be in great shape.

        I don’t beat myself up to badly when I screw up as everything is about learning how to make things work. I whine a bit about the mill ends but I got a heck of a deal on wood that burns hot and fast and warms the house quickly. The apple wood I get burns a long time and I can restart fire easily in the AM with leftover coals.

        I spent a bit extra getting an efficient stove but it will almost pay for the installation this year via my savings on the electic bill. The stove will pay me back in 3-5 years at worst, I have a way to heat not dependent on the PTBs. Plus I’m starting to get a bit smarter on how I spend my money thanks to my commentors.

        Gosh I love this blog!

        • Barb says:

          You will get the hang of it quickly. $200 a cord for apple wood isn’t a bad deal and with a newer stove you will get a lot of heat out of a cord. The one advantage of living here in the east is all the great hardwood species we have here.

          One other way your wood stove can save you money is to use the stove top as your cook stove. You don’t need an actual cooking stove to cook a lot of things on top of that stove.

          I use mine for making soups, stews, pot roasts, pasta sauce and even frying up things like chicken. Place a few fire bricks off to one side and use then to sit a pot on for things you want to slow cook. Another trick is to wrap potato’s well in foil and bury them in the ashes in the stove for baked potatoes.

          In a SHTF scenario being a good wood stove cook will really help you out and save your fuels you would have been using.

          You should get some old tea kettles and keep them on the stove top at all times to humidify your home. Wood heat otherwise will dry everything out too much. Don’t use that water for tea or coffee because the kettles get nasty from all the mineralization. Keep a separate kettle for heating water for drinks on your stove.

      • Jamie says:

        Barb, I need to use the stove as a cook top. I know it will heat the water for beer(4 gallon+ stock pots) not up to boiling but around 130- 150 degrees in less than an hour. Perfect for washing or cleaning up.

        I have used a sort of cheap tea kettle and your are right about the hard water around here gunking stuff up.

        Adding a few drops essential oils like lavender, orange or lemon to the steam kettle seems to boost my mood.

        I scored on getting the stove installed. The shop installing the stove had a missed measured stove pad. I got a stone pad that normally goes for about $400-500.00 for $100.00. Now I need to get a few more dutch ovens to set on that pad and learn how to cook with them.

        I did spend a bit extra on the wood stove and installation but overall I think I got good value.

        • Barb says:

          I just use a big old stew pot. If making a pot roast I will brown the meat in the pot on the hot part of the stove. Once it is all brown and all the vegetables and beef broth is added I let it get hot and then move it to the top of a few bricks to simmer it for up to 7 hours. Just use chuck roast and it will be falling apart tender.

          We have a storm here is the east so I spent the day getting in as much wood as I could fit inside. It will be down near 0F tonight with 30 mph winds. Between the stove and my kero lamps I should be able to keep it a nice 75 in here.

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