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Back up heat, generator, or both?
#1
So, here's the deal. I've known for a while that I should have some sort of back up in case of power failure, etc. Right now I heat my home with a gas fired, forced air furnace. I've never really been worried about fuel supply, but without electricity to power the blower the furnace is useless.

One of the reasons I've never done much more than think "I should have a backup" is that I rarely lose power where I am, and the few times that I have, it's always been quickly restored. I can't remember a time where the power here has been out for longer than 24 hours.

I've thought about a generator, but if I'm buying one, I'd want one to also power things like the fridge and freezer. Keeping enough gasoline on hand to get through a extended period would be an issue. I'm on a small lot, and don't use much gas for mowing etc (5 gallon or less a year), so I'd never rotate through stored gas before it went bad. This lead me to look at natural gas powered generators, since I already have the gas furnace. A decent one isn't cheap, and since I've never really had a situation where I needed one, it just never got done.

I've also considered a different heat source, and just live without the power. Again, lack of actually needing a backup has been an issue. Wood stoves, kerosene, etc just aren't practical because if I stored fuel, it'd likely be worthless by the time I actually needed it, and if I didn't store it, it probably wouldn't be available when I needed it. Is there a decent option to keep a 2 story home warm that has a fuel source that's readily stored for extended periods? Or, a natural gas powered option that doesn't require electricity?

So, in my situation, which way would you go? I consider myself lucky that in the 11 years I've been in this house, I've never experienced an extended outage. However, I'm not getting any younger and the idea of just "toughing it out" if an extended outage would occur just doesn't really seem like a good idea.
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#2
Get an LP generator if you're not going to want to use much gas. You can store LP indefinitely. You might even be able to pick up a cheap used generator (wait a few months and look at CL for one, don't do it now, the price gouge is still heavily in effect), and convert it to LP for around $250. I've picked up 100# bottles for LP off CL as well, picked up a pair for $50 each. People are always getting rid of 20# bottles cheap, many times with fuel still in them. Just have to watch the manufacture dates on the bottles because sometimes they're too old and you'd need to get them re-certified.

Please see my thread on converting a generator to LP: http://www.pa2a.org/thread-converting-a-...o-tri-fuel
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#3
One thing to consider are the Gas Fireplaces. I have one in my den. It provides heat when there is no power. In fact, they chuck a decent amount of heat. I heat my den (two car garage converted to den to show you how big it is), my kitchen and bathroom nicely.

I plan on putting one upstairs that runs off gas too. It will be at the other end of the house, and if I needed to, I should be able to keep my house comfortable with the two of them in the dead of winter.

I'm also getting a generator, but it mainly is for running lights, fridge and other things in the house. One day, it may run my heat source, but not right now.
[Image: 123axip.png]
In the beginning a Patriot is a scarce man, Hated, Feared and Scorned; but in time, when his cause succeeds, the timid join them, because then it cost nothing to be a Patriot.... Mark Twain.
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#4
I have a gas fireplace as well. Barring a total cluster...does gas service ever go out? I have only had natural glass for 9 years so I am kinda clueless about its distribution.

Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
steelcityk9cop, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#5
Gas service went out to some customers here in Lancaster during the storm. Yes, it's very possible to lose it.
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#6
The only thing really guaranteed to not become useless is a real-deal fireplace. You can always find junk to burn in it. Shrug

I bet a working hearth could be built to funnel smoke out a window in a pinch. Assuming you're no longer concerned with damaging the ceilings, walls and carpets.
"As I lay rubber down the street I pray for traction I can keep, but if I spin and begin to slide, please dear God, protect my sweet ride."
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#7
Storing gas insn't a big deal 15 or 20 gallons used sparingly will go a long time, especially with a small generator.

You can always dump it your vehicle...I do.

Buy a small chest freezer. They keep food a long time and don't require much juice. The stuff in a fridge IMO is mostly expendable if need be.

I'm not sure what is required to run a FHA furnace, but it can't be much. A backup heat source is always a good idea, and since you have gas look into ventless wall heaters. They're cheap, require no electricity, and I believe free standing models are also avaiable.
You wouldn't be able to heat your entire house but you could keep a couple rooms comfortable. Propane is also an option with them.

There are plenty of options. you just need to find the one that suits you best.
Welcome to ObamaNation part deuxUtg
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#8
No generator? Short term heat source?


[Image: kerosene-heater.jpg]


I don't think kerosene goes bad the way gasoline does. It is more expensive to buy this way, but you can get it in containers for storage as opposed to pumping it into a can.

[Image: KEROSENE.jpg]

[Image: 030192083307lg.jpg]


Many people use kerosene heaters all winter long. I won't run one with nobody awake to monitor it though.
I have the cabinet style (as pictured) as opposed to the round style because I can place it closer to a wall/furniture than I could the round style. My rooms are small, so it's hard to use the round style without it being too close to something.





Another thing I have that I bought before I got my kerosene heater is one of these...


[Image: 51Q3J0WV9TL._SY300_.jpg]

It runs on the small propane cylinders used for camp stoves/lanterns.
They come in one-cylinder and two-cylinder models.
It's the only propane heat source I know of that is rated for indoor use.
It's not going to heat a home, but it kept us from freezing during snowmageddon. We blocked off the hallway and dining room to contain the heat to the living room.
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#9
The problem I can see with a person trying to rotate through gas that they don't use in lawn equipment and putting it in their car is that they'll eventually get lazy and forget to refill their supplies and just stop rotating their gas through. With LP, you buy it, stash it and it's there when you need it with no worries of having to rotate it.
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#10
(11-01-2012, 10:16 PM)streaker69 Wrote: The problem I can see with a person trying to rotate through gas that they don't use in lawn equipment and putting it in their car is that they'll eventually get lazy and forget to refill their supplies and just stop rotating their gas through. With LP, you buy it, stash it and it's there when you need it with no worries of having to rotate it.

How big is your LP tank(s)? You don't have any concerns storing it from a safety standpoint?

Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
steelcityk9cop, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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