Update on the kerosene heater.

We have a good bit of wind this evening so having the window open just a crack is creating quite a draft.

I may need to replace the wick on the heater or do a longer burn as I’m not getting a good clean flame at any setting. I got the heater used at a yard sale and it’s been sitting for over a year so it might need some cleanup and maint.  I don’t  like how much kerosene smell/fumes  I am dealing with on the first evening, and I’m not super sensitive to odors, so I think I will shut down the test for tonight. Having a cold home  is one thing, but an excess of carbon monoxide and getting dead is another.  I’m getting a carbon monoxide detector next week for additional protection so the test may have to wait another week or two.  I can still get my money’s worth using the kerosene heater in the shop that isn’t quite as air tight as my house. But I’m hoping the heater would be a safe backup I could lend out to neighbors or family members.

I have used kerosene heater in the past in the military in tents.  While I dealt with the kerosene odors on start up it usually went away within about 20 minutes of starting the stove. I ran my  stove for over an hour along with of fan and after 30 minutes of shut down I can still smell a kerosene odor something is wrong! Perhaps my home is to well insulated to use a kerosene heater, or as I stated above that the heater needs a bit of maintenance.  I could almost feel a start of a headache coming on and got stopped, but I still feel a bit of a tickle after 30 minutes.

A bit disappointing on the first test. This is why you test!  To find out what works and what doesn’t work. This is the Kerosene heater I have to work with and doesn’t matter if such and such stove is a hundred times better than what I got on hand. If this what I have to work with, my choice for heating my home in an emergency will be my Mr. Heater powered by propane until or if I get the Kerosene heater working safely for the house or I’ll put it out to the non-insulated shop and it can heat that space up. I do have a bit of good news as my unglazed Terra cotta tile/base for catching water for plant pots.  Fit great on top of the stove’s  metal grill protector on the barrel heater and got warm to the touch as well as radiated a bit of heat.

If I won’t use it my home,  I sure won’t give it to someone to use in their home.

You have to test your preps from water to cooking with your stored foods and finding a toilet paper you like to use.  If this had been an actual emergency and the kerosene heater had been my only backup heat source things could have gotten quite unpleasant at best or at worse  I could have ended up dead trying to stay warm.  Talk about your ultimate pass/fail or Go/No go type tests!

I’m big on planning out your budget ahead of time but the next 6 weeks you could do a test or two of what you have stored. Take night off from using electric lights or use the grill, camp stove/oven for cooking.  Turn off the TV, cell phones and all electronic gadgets and play some cards or a board game even read a book. No you don’t have to kill all power to your fridge or freezer but try and add some little challenges to your week.  Go 24 hours without using tap water and try and keep your life the same. I think you might find it’s more of a challenge than you think it is! At least I find most of my tests are a play ground for that demon Murphy!


2 Responses to Update on the kerosene heater.

  1. riverrider says:

    j, you know you can trim the wick with scissors, right? run the wick up above the mantle and go around it trimming off the crusty burnt part. there are even solvents you can use to clean it with that prolong the life. they last longer if you burn them bright instead of turned down on low. having several on hand wouldn’t hurt either 🙂 there were times in my life that a kero-sun heater was all we had.

    • Jamie says:

      river: I did some research and got that info. I’m going to check out the wick and get the carbon monoxide alarm at True Value this week before the next test. I think you are correct that the wick is the problem.
      I have 2 of the mid-range propane Mr. Heaters as well as several full tanks as my main backup for heat. The propane Camp Chef oven covers cooking/baking. So the Kerosene heater is third heat option for me. My backup cooking device if I can’t get propane is a couple of small butane burners for inside and a couple of hundred pounds of charcoal for cooking outside.
      Other than not having a wood stove, I’m good shape for heating/cooking at least a few months if the electricity goes out!

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