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gas furnaces of portable heaters Options
skruzich
#1 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2003 2:57:26 AM
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Posts: 134,494
Jim,
8.11 per MCF doesn''t tell us how much you use in a month on average. But, if your paying 500 a year in gas for heat, thats 41.66 cents a month averaged out. I am quite sure your electric will run much much more than that running portable heaters (which are extremely dangerous! we have at least 10 deaths a year here over those) and the baseboard heaters will run your electric up too. I''ll bet it will cost you 60 -150 dollars a month more in the electric department.
I don''t even turn on my heat during the winter until the inside gets to 50 degrees and I have a efficient heat pump and if i were to run it, it would run me 200 a month to run the heat. I however have a propane heater and it only cost me 250.00 a year to heat my home.
I won''t ever have a all electric home again! Electric heat is not as good as gas heat IMO as with gas heat, you can warm your home within minutes, with electric it takes at least 30 -40 min to get the house warm.
Portables are very dangerous depending also on what you have. Kerosene is just plain dangerous as it will asphyxiate you if it is not vented properly or something malfunctions. Propane and gas is much safer! Electric space heaters kill alot of people every year, not worth the risk. I had one in my shop that just burst into flames one day. Lucky i could kick it out the door before it burned everything.
I personally have a 33,000 btu wallmount propane/natural gas heater. It heats a 1200 sqft house all winter long with temps dropping into the 20''s for a month at the coldest part of the winter, and all i used was 200 gallons of propane at .85 cents a gallon.
Hope this helps a bit.
steve
Ray
#2 Posted : Thursday, September 11, 2003 5:17:22 AM
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Hello Aethera,

I am new here to. I had lived very similarly as you do once. Although, at the time I didn''t have a fiance. There is a fine source of warmth right there.
First, I will tell you that frugality can go too far. You are lucky to have the top floor you can salvage the heat loss from below. You, however are also receiving extra moisture from below rising with the warm air. And you say you have many potted plants? Are they in with you or outside? If they are in with you they are adding to the extra moisture in your airspace. If you are stopping draphts you are sealing it all in. You may be creating an unhealthy air quality condition for yourselves. Toxic molds form in these conditons at 62 degrees f. and less. I don''t mean to scare you but check with your local health dept.
O.K. so here is my advice. Sick to the gas heat. It is dry and will help with moisture. As far as adding heaters, Steve is right, electric anywhere is more than gas and more dangerous. I can only recomend a non-incondecent heat with a thermal mass. Buy two oil circulation heaters. Heat them at dinner time and shut them off at bed time they should keep you warm through the night. I lived like that for 5 years. I would also recomend airing your space out at least twice a week no matter how cold it is. Again talk to your local health folks about indoor molds. Your health is worth more than a couple bucks saved.
Above all have fun.
jdcox
#3 Posted : Thursday, September 11, 2003 10:59:07 PM
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Posts: 134,494
I agree. Sometimes being a minimalist becomes an obsession. In fact, I see that all the time in ''newbies'' living Green up the coast. It is penny wise and pound foolish. You don''t want to define your life by how much money you save. You want to define it by how much learning, experiencing and growing you do. Scrooging it up is not a good thing. Just another form of money oriented behaviour. I apologize if I took a ''heat'' question and made it a ''money'' question but that''s the way it sounded. If it truly is about heat, I can''t help except to say that wood heat plus carrying fuel up three flights every day will likely serve you best.
skruzich
#4 Posted : Thursday, September 11, 2003 11:28:55 PM
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Saving is good, but think of it this way, it does no good to save if you die tomorrow. Might as well be comfortable.
steve
jwh123
#5 Posted : Friday, September 12, 2003 6:27:49 PM
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Daddy''s home-

About your comment about gas heat being ''dry'', I have to disagree. Remembering from my chemistry class days, and knowing what happens to the windows in my sunroom with a ventless natural gas blue flame heater, water is produced as a byproduct of burning.

Methane (CH4), Ethane (C2H6), Propane (C3H8), Butane (C4H10) are all possible fuels. I did some sketchy math, looking at propane, and I get the following chemical equation
1 C3H8 + 5 O2 --> 4 H2O + 3 CO2.
So, for each molecule of propane you burn, you need 5 molecules of oxygen, and you get 4 molecules of water (vapor), and 3 molecules of carbon dioxide. Now if you use the molecular weights, oh, well, nevermind. Too much work that I''m not really sure about.

Suffice to say that burning a gas appliance (or burning any fuel for that matter), introduces water vapor.

I know I get beads of condensation on the inside of the windows in the sunroom if I light up the heater in there with the doors closed.

Back to Aethera''s original question, I''m not sure what I''d do.
On one hand, I like the idea of having something that doesn''t require electricity to run. Plus, the heater is already there. There''s probably a reason why most large buildings are heated with a flame, and not with electricity. I''d be wary of wiring issues (don''t know how old or in what state your place is in), and a portable electric heater could tip over, or have other problems. On the other hand, gas prices seem to be going steadily up the past few years, where electricity hasn''t gone up as much. If you just want to save money, you may save money with an electric heater. I''d consider safety and the amount of floor space that would be taken up by these heaters and their required clearance.

The current gas heater you have there, is this a ventless type of heater or a furnace with a blower, or something else? For ventless heaters, keep in mind that the blue-flame ones heat the air and you can blow hot air around, while the red plate catalytic-type heaters heat surfaces, like the warm feeling on your skin from the sun, or sitting in front of a campfire. Red plate heaters only heat things that are facing them.

Good luck with your decision.
John
Ray
#6 Posted : Friday, September 12, 2003 7:28:21 PM
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John,

Yup, you are right. I was assumeing that their heater vented exaust and pumped condensate somehow and that the heat exchange with the air would be dry. I guess it would be best to know what kind of heater this is. I can''t say enough about the health problems from moisture in these conditons. My wife works at our local Health Dept and I have seen what can happen.
Well, I will stop being a broken record now.
Talk later, And my name is Chris
skruzich
#7 Posted : Saturday, September 13, 2003 12:22:49 AM
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I have a 33k btu propane heater, it has the ceramic plates in it that heat up and radiate the heat.
Now it will dry out the air quite a bit, mostly we notice it while asleep when we wake up with dry sore throats sometimes from it. Also notice it with dry itchy skin.
Electric is much more expensive, considering that to run electric heat for me ( living in Georgia) it cost me 250 -300 a month for electric. If i use propane, I use 150 gallons during the winter, total of 4 1/2 months at the price of 95 cents a gallone. This translates to roughly 1350 for electric or 150 for gas.
even if they rais the price of propane to 2- 3 bucks a gallon i still save a ton of money!
steve
Dorene
#8 Posted : Saturday, September 13, 2003 3:11:19 AM
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Posts: 134,494
Blackouts - need I say more? Gas, wood, or even oil is way cheaper and makes it so you don''t have to rely on power companys going continuously for heat.
skruzich
#9 Posted : Saturday, September 13, 2003 4:59:04 AM
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Hey dorene,
Ice storm taught me the fallicy of electric homes! Two years ago, one hit here, and I lost power for 7 days. They couldn''t get to us any faster, as they had to cut their way literally down all the roads to fix the lines.
Propane is the only way to go, at least you can cook, stay warm even light your house with it with a little propane lantern.
If your lucky enough to have a generator, you can get a propane generator too.
steve
Dorene
#10 Posted : Sunday, September 14, 2003 1:16:17 AM
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I know - it''s happened around here too. An ice storm cut out the power to a whole town for two or three days. Grocery stores were either closed or using calculators and the the electric controlled gas stations were knocked out, but at least I had a gas stove (at that time I had electric heat). Propane is the best pricewise and any other way!!
TommieM5
#11 Posted : Sunday, September 28, 2003 1:09:03 AM
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Posts: 134,494
Steve, thank your lucky stars for.85 a gallon propane. I''m on the Texas Gulf Coast and had my tank filled this month, getting ready for our mild winter, and the cost was $1.60 per gallon. Thank God I''ll only have to do that one more time this year. I''m in the market for a new heater for this old house and would like to know more about yours. Can you give me the name and, if available, a web site for the manufacturer? Tommie
aethera
#12 Posted : Sunday, September 28, 2003 1:09:03 AM
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Posts: 134,494
Hello,
My fiance and I live in a very small attic apartment in Lexington KY. We live extrememly frugally (no Air Conditioning, 60 sq ft of container vegetable gardens, water and electricty saving fanatics). Our apartment is currently all electric except for one old, dirty, full-time pilot light natural gas heater.
As we were paying our bills today we got to wondering if we couldn't just forgo the gas service entirely (and the $10 monthly connection fee all summer long), and heat with portable heaters..either oil filled, ceramic, or baseboard. We basically have three rooms to heat, probably less than 600 sq ft. We are on the third floor, so there are two floors below to provide some heat, plus we have very low ceilings. We kept the thermostat at 65 or less all last winter, wear lots of flannels and sweaters, and are pretty good at hunting down drafts.
Our electic rate is .48 / kwh, our gas is 8.11 per MCF (plus ten in connection). I figure we spent about $500 total on gas every year. We could spend maybe $200-300 on to buy three or four portable heaters.
So my question is, until we move out into the country and join you homesteaders, could a few portable heaters run frugally save us from having one more bill to pay. How does one figure that sort of thing out?
Thanks,
Jim
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