Episode-129- 6 Emergency Heat Options — 27 Comments

  1. good idea. Keep all the options open. Last summe we picked up an ol Ben Franklin wood stove which we use for emergencies here at the stead. A few months ago when the electric went out and it got below 50 in the house I dragged it in flued it out a window and fired it up.. Heat went up niceley in the front of the house.

  2. I really should have mentioned wood stoves too! This cold just has me off the top of my game, honestly I could do an entire show just on different stove options, styles, fuels, etc. Good call on this one Trash!

  3. Buddy I only mention it again because it was overnight low of -10 here in CO last night. I have it flued and ready to go in case of emergency.
    When the SHTF wood, paper, old mags and phone books, hobologs made of paper, wax and coffee grinds, anthing that will burn fairly clean is fair game. Plus with the old Ben Franklin I can cook and heat water on the topper.

  4. Jack, this podcast couldn’t have come at a better time! Yesterday, I got home and our power had gotten knocked out on our block. I was actually wondering what would I do if they couldn’t get it on in time for bedtime. Fortunately, they had it up by about 6pm, before the boys get home, so heat was on in time.

    On the topic of the contest, I really wish you’d go back to the old format where you collect emails in a given time and then pick random winners from the pool. The way you do it now is not equitable to all listeners, as not everyone can pull up the show right away when you post. =-]

  5. Dan just so you know many have won at 7-8 pm at night, I do spread out the respondent numbers pretty good. Sure a lot more equitable then say a typical radio call in contest.

  6. I just read this article that was posted yesterday.

    “93-year-old freezes to death after city limits power over unpaid bills” (

    The fact that he didn’t pay his bills aside, I only brought this up to say that your timing on this subject is uncanny.

  7. BIg Dan,
    Thats one of the basic reasons ol Trash uses a gas stove in the house. Turn on the oven and wallaa you get some heat.. gotta be careful but it works for a while

  8. We have gas range/oven as well. We also have a gas furnace. I hadn’t even considered that losing power would kill the heat (duh).

    I had forgotten about the stove thing, so thank you for pointing it out. We do have a fireplace and we all do like to get cozy. We have tons of blankets, so we’re set on the cocoon, but I should go get some log starters and a ¼ or ½ cord of wood to keep in the garage (it is cleaned out now). =-]

  9. the prob with a gas furnace is its hooked to an electric ignitor not useful when electric goes out..
    gas stove with pilot light much better. Some gas stoves have electric ignitor in stove. Darn modern technology I hate them. Mine doesnt..

    Gotta get precursory when the temps get to -10 at night and the whatcha gonna do’s IF the power goes down.

  10. Good show on an important topic, more so for us up here in the midwest, (Wisconsin). I have a kerosene heater I use in the basement family rec room and at 24,000btu, it does a nice job.
    runs for about 8 hours on 1.5 gals of K-1.
    Very, very little kerosene smell, if you are careful not to spill the fuel while refilling. It warms the room and travels up to warm the upper levels as well. In this climate, you also have to consider the risk of water pipe freeze up, and a heater in the basement will cover you there till things get back to “normal”.
    Make sure to find a source for bulk K-1 sale, other wise it is Very expensive in those gallons for sale next to the heaters.

    I found a great source for the heaters are on closeout at the big box stores, starting in a few weeks around Easter. Home Depot traditionally will mark these things down 50%.. to around $50. cheap insurance I have an extra heater, still in the box to use at my neighbors, couple in their 80’s, if they also have a problem.
    K-1 has a low flash point, can also be used in those old time lanterns for year round lighting.

    Jack, Thanks for getting me going on this deal. You are a great patriot .

  11. Want to comment, but don’t know what to say – I have heated my house for the last 35 years with ONLY wood. No backup. It does get cold up here in New England. For the first 20 years we didn’t even have insulation, it was a converted summer house till I had the money to improve it. Now I have a wood stove and a Vermont Castings fireplace insert, and try to keep two years worth of wood on hand, in addition to a couple years of food. I also have my own well, with a hand powered cistern pump and a hand powered hydraulic log splitter…

  12. another good one could be pellet stoves… need electric to run the auger and blower motor, but it’s 120V and if you get a decent one they can throw a decent amount of heat. I have one at my BOL that heats it to 70 on two 40lb bags of pellets a day…

  13. I have considered many types of emergency heat,and before the advent of the unvented LP gas heaters that were made for homes (Buddy heaters, buy them on ebay save mega bucks) I utilized what people that have boats use to heat thier boat cabins with , denatured alcohol, ORIGO makes the best (again check ebay) and get you a case of denatured alcohol. Whats cool about these is that when everyone is hunting coleman fuel or kersosene,any paint store and many drug stores has denatured alcohol, get a mil surplus Swiss mess kit too, do a google search ,these have alcohol trangia stoves cheaper than you can build one out of a coke can and improvise a mess kit (about 8 bucks() or get them by the dozen at and put survival kits in them and through in your car and 72 hour kit.
    Another way is a coffee can ,rubbing alcohol and toilet paper>put one in your car if you are in snow country.

    Winter Survival Emergency TP (Toilet Paper) Heater

    Have some clay planting pots? here ya go

    Candlepowered heat

    Solar Heater Built With Soda Cans

    Mother Earth News has plans for a simple thermo siphon window box heater using used news print available locally (sheet metal) as the conductor that works great in my southern clime to raise the inside temp 15degrees.
    There are many ways to do emergency heat, The book Rural Ranger Survival guide even uses garbage bags on your windows to make a thermo siphon to raise the temp in your house 5 degrees or more. I like denatured alcohol because its less competition for fuel. The old ranger trick of a poncho and a tea candle will get you by in a emergency, but I could use the advice in the rural ranger book of a trangia burner with gas dewater etc if I had too for many more hours. It is not about the heater you have it is about how you fuel it. The old Indian saying about how a white man stays warm by continually staying up all night gathering wood for this big fire he has in order to keep it going, a Indian builds a small fire and gets closer and feeds it small twigs and branches and sleeps the night through. In Alabama and I am sure other places we say would warms you atleast twice,once cutting and gathering, then burning. Using less energy to heat will serve you well,if not do some jumping jacks and get back under the covers. Jack I owe you an apology for a bad day influenced post where I psycho babbled my frustrations, consider it given and heartfelt.

  14. Warm clothes in layers, hats, gloves and boots, sleeping bags & blankets are my basics. Portable, cheap and don’t rely on questionable mid to long term fuel or power supplies.

  15. Good broadcast Jack. Just to mention, newer, high efficiency gas furnaces with variable speed blowers require very little electricity to operate. A small PV system with a battery bank & an inverter may be enough to keep your furnace operating during the outage. That said, I rely on my wood stove & a supply of seasoned wood.

  16. Pellet stoves work well if you have electricity. But what if you dont.. You gotta think worse case scenario. Angry wife and kids in cold . They would prob think of creative ways to get heat.. Put us on the stake.
    Happy morning,

  17. Jack,

    Very timely episode. Last weekend our furnace was working sporadically. It took three visits over three days for the problem to be fixed. It was negative pressure in the system that was giving the thermostat a false reading, at least that is what I was told. Of course it was below degrees for those three days.

    Unfortunately our fireplace was walled up, before we bought our house. I live in an old house and the whole thing seems to be crumbling, so we are talking major dollars to repair it.

    Like Jack said, I went out and bought some electric space heaters. They kicked out just enough heat to keep us warm. In the basement, I had something called a Mr. Heater Portable Buddy 9,000 BTU Propane Radiant Heater. I kept it by the hot water heater and pipes so keep everything from freezing.

    There is a good article in the Nov/Dec 2007 issue of Backwoods Home magazine about an ice storm that hit Springfield Missouri. It knocked the power out for three weeks in some places. The author had a gas stove, so he did okay. It was interesting, none of the ATMs worked, so hospitals and gas stations only took cash. The author went to Wal-Mart the second day of the storm and the store was cleaned out. Great article, worth reading. One great thing I got out of it was if the power goes out like that, unplug everything. Sometimes when it comes back on, it creates a power surge. The author said several days after the storm, they saw tons of dead TVs, refrigerators, microwaves, etc. around town.

  18. We live in NE Pa wher it gets to -20 at times. We live totaly off grid with solar, wind, 3 backup generators, compost toilet & a Vermont casting wood stove. We use wood to also cook. Layer your clothers (which we buy form the thrift store.) We use flannel sheets & a down comforter. You know when it gets cold when the 2 cats curl up with us. We live on 45 acres & each year expand the garden. We also hunt on our own property & fishing is 1/2 mile away on the river. The big scare of 2000 made us aware that someday the shit “might” hit the fan so we have been prepare for it each day. Keep dreaming & make it happen. =:)

  19. jack – when I pre-purchased them, I bought them for $3.79 roughly a bag. I purchase them in 40lb bags with 50 (one ton) per pallet.

    If you can, you can save $$ if you buy them in bulk this way (bagged) or if you can find a retailer where you can buy them in bulk (loose).

    The latter would be cheaper, but you’d have to build some bins to store them in. They have to be kept dry!!! If not, wetness will cause the pellets to swell (which won’t be good for the auger) and will fall apart and be reverted back to their original state as sawdust.

    Let me know if you want some more info on them, I’d be glad to share any information if anybody is interested in purchasing one.


  20. The posts are informative but most folks do not have acres of corn surplus to burn for heat,how about if and I hope if does not come to frution,that you all,(my southern inclusion way of talking) have to evac because of a catastrophic event ( I can think of six off the top of my head, natural and manmade)a cornburner works similar to what you have to do if say your plane goes down in Alaska. You get a piece of steel realy hot and then dribble fuel on it. In the alaska scenario we use a piece of the wing on top of a small heat source and once that heat source goes dead its the engine oil that keeps the plate hot by dribbling and flashing on it, humm bunch of cars be down and out on the side of the road on a evac, the oil in them can save the familys life and your pellet heater knoweledge can be put too a formative resource if you concentrate on a non crop attitude.hey even if you remain burn the oil in your tractor and your car in your pellet heeater if you have too. We on the outside of surplus food corn lots need your insight, and you need too think about harvesting broke down cars and trucks…

  21. Great show..
    you could always warm up rocks outside your house in a fire and bring them in your small room and place them in some pots. no pollution.
    Alladin lamps put out 60 watts of light
    and you can cook over them.
    during the summer one can make paper paper pulp slabs for cheap insulation for the winter.
    old newspaper can be pulped and cast.
    I converted a canope bed into a sleeping pod with electric heat. i let my house go from 40-55 degrees and keep snug as a but with an electric heater on a desk inside the the sleeping pod area.

  22. I’ve been thinking lately about a back up heat source. A friend has a pellet stove that they are looking to part with. That would be nice. One aspect to consider with kerosene heater is the ability to eliminate the smoking chimney. It could be of some value in some SHTF scenario to be able to minimize your exposure and not broadcast to your entire surrounding that your have heat. A good kerosene heater with 100 gallons of fuel could keep you cozy and under the radar.

  23. Being an engineer I was always a bit curious why the pump was needed, since a regulation of thermodynamics states that heat all the time flows toward cold. Theoretically, the combo valves below the sinks ought to perform with out the pump. Nicely, one day I unplugged the timer to see what would happen. You already know what? The taps produced hot water just as quick with out the pump working! Now we go away the pump off all the time. My advice is to save lots of yourselves money and simply buy the undersink valve kits (about $50 every). The pump can at all times be added later should you find it is still necessary. Perhaps some water systems require the pump. Hope this helps!

  24. I bought this product to attempt to be more “inexperienced” about our water usage. Whereas the product ought to be able to do what it states, it is going again tomorrow. After installing it, we have been getting hot water in the chilly water line (despite running the valve test they recommend within the handbook).

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