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Nov 20
Steve Marr

Back Up Heat Options

Posted by: Steve Marr

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With power still out for many homeowners in New York, New Jersey and parts of New England, colder temperatures highlight the need for back up heat.  Most heating systems won’t work without electricity. A standard fireplace doesn’t give much heat, especially for the amount of wood used.


 The first decision is are you in a location where back up heat is necessary? I live in Southern Arizona, while temperatures can, on rare occasions get to freezing, you’re house won’t freeze up, and heavy blankets can get you through a prolonged power outage.


Those in colder climates may want to think through some options.  Each possibility takes time, money and effort. Just decide what step is right for you.  

A wood stove is usually the best option for back up heat. The cost ranges between $2,500 and $6,000, depending on the stove and type of instillation required.  These are simple to operate. If you take this route, use professional instillation to insure safety. Then just keep a good supply of firewood, matches and kindling available.


A second option is a propane heater designed for indoor use. Most will work with small propane canisters, similar to those used in barbeques. These heaters cost around $100-200, not a bad value and heat between 200-300 sq. feet. I believe California and Massachusetts do not allow these heaters, but other states will. Check your local regulations.

 Mr. Heater 18000 BTU  Portable Propane Heater

A third option is a Kerosene heater. These use a wick to heat, work similar to a kerosene lamp, except bigger and designed to kick of f heat. These heaters are available for around $125-250.


If you decide to prepare with back up heat, a few suggestions for safety and effectiveness. Always use a carbon monoxide detector. Always read and follow the directions, practice in advance so your first effort is not under duress. Insure family members understand how the heater works.


Most back up heaters won’t heat an entire house. Select a room, or rooms you want to heat. Use plastic sheeting to seal them off to keep in the heat, or close interior doors. During an emergency far better to heat on room well.


Finally, store fuel. Decide how long you need to prepare and figure the rate each heater uses fuel. Then buy and store what you need. Store extra parts as needed, for example if using a kerosene heater have additional wicks available.


Your investment and preparation will help keep your family protected. If you have extra heating capacity, be ready to take in neighbors who need help. Take the step of becoming a ready Christian, start here: .



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