You are currently viewing Heating Our Home In A Power Outage

Heating Our Home In A Power Outage

Affiliate Disclosure:
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Heating Our Home In A Power Outage is part two of my After Action Report from last week after our power went out for a day. I was able to put some of our preps to use and work on an after-action report. I wanted to make ‘heating our home in a power outage‘ a separate article.

Here we go…

I live in Michigan, and we have a natural gas furnace. It’s only two years old and works great when there’s electricity but when the power goes out, so does our home furnace.

I know, there’s a way to run our furnace, basically the fan motor, using a generator. Sure, but I want a little more prep than that.

We also have a gas fireplace that’s broken. I haven’t had it repaired for two reasons – it’s very expensive, and I want a wood-burning insert. Until then, we prep on.

Two Is One, One Is None

I have two main home-heating preps so far, an indoor kerosene heater and an indoor propane heater. Later on, I want a wood-burning stove, and then, along with a wood-burning insert, I’ll feel much more prepared. For now, I’ll talk a little about what I have and what I know.

Note: There are many other alternative home heating options, and you should find which works best for you – including the fuel source. I write about what I know, so I’m covering propane and kerosene for now.

An Indoor Kerosene Heater

Kerosene Heater Heating Water
My Indoor Kerosene Heater With Water Heating On Top

Color me impressed. Seriously, this little $200 prep has me so impressed. This kerosene heater (Affiliate Link – Same heater – different brand) is not only safe to use inside, but it’s also more heat than we needed for a large living room area (18′ x 32′).

Other than a little odor when I first started the heater, there were no fumes or smells at all.

It was actually a warmer day than usual for December in Michigan, but this heater ran most of the day on a single container (one gallon) of kerosene. I would have needed to refill the tank if the power hadn’t come back on by the time we went to bed.

Side Note

Honestly, just between you and me, I would have had a tough time sleeping while running a kerosene heater. I’m just not there yet as far as comfort level, but it’s a little new to me still. Maybe after more use, I’ll begin to trust it more.

I’m not referring to carbon monoxide, we’re in good shape with detectors. It’s just the amount of heat this can generate.

Like I mentioned, the kerosene heater was more than enough heat for us. I had to run it on low and had even turned it off several times during the day because I wanted to keep my clothes on. 😉

Safety Note: I do keep two extra carbon monoxide and smoke detectors with my portable heaters and I recommend you do so as well. It’s the safe thing to do as well as offer a piece of mind when it comes time to use those heaters in a real power outage.

The last thing I want to mention about this particular model/design of kerosene heater (Affiliate Link) is I was able to heat food (soup) on the top of the wireframe. I couldn’t quite get the pot of soup (or water later on) to a boil but it was SO close. I wish I had checked the temp but didn’t think about it at the time.

Storing Kerosene Fuel

Kerosene Fuel Container
Storing Kerosene Fuel In Proper Containers

I want to be careful here. I am not a professional at anything other than being myself so do your own due diligence and research. Every municipality and situation is different, and I don’t want to misguide anyone.

First, kerosene is flammable. It can burn your house down if ignited, or, make a house fire even worse if it’s stored within your home. I recommend storing kerosene in a proper container in a safe building away from your home. For more, I recommend this KnifeUp post: Storing Kerosene for Emergency Purposes.

Storing Your Kerosene Heater

Again, I’m not an expert but here’s what I do. I empty the tank of kerosene and then run it dry in my garage. By that I mean, once I’ve emptied the tank, I turn the heater on until it shuts off from lack of fuel.

At this point, I’ve seen where people have cleaned the wick with a brush, but I haven’t had to do that myself.

Then I remove the batteries (mine has two C-cell batteries) so they don’t corrode inside the battery compartment. I put those two loose batteries in a Ziploc bag and hang it on the frame for next time.

Now I just put the heater in the corner of my gear room/office (or garage) covered with an old air conditioner cover.

Our Big Buddy Propane Heater

Our Big Buddy Propane Heater
Our Big Buddy Propane Heater

The second tool in heating our home preps is a Big Buddy propane heater. Big Buddy has a big reputation for a reason – they’re safe, reliable, and not that expensive.

As I mentioned above, our propane heater covers the ‘Two Is One, One Is None‘ concept in a couple of ways. First, it’s a second tool that can help heat our home.

Second, the Big Buddy uses an alternative fuel source – propane rather than kerosene. Having more than a single source of fuel to prep seems like more work, but the way I look at it, if kerosene gets hard to find, maybe propane will be a little more available, Or if propane gets tough to find, maybe I can find kerosene.

The Big Buddy Can Help In Heating Our Home In A Power Outage

This is another tool that impressed me a little. First, it holds two propane tanks perfectly, and they last a long time.

Starting the propane heater was a breeze and it burns clean. No smells or smoke.

There are three settings, low, medium, and high. Heating up our bedroom took only the medium setting. Once the room was warm, I lowered the setting to low and kept it there all day. It would need to be pretty cold to use the high setting.

I purchased the older model (Affiliate Link) in order to have the fan. The fan operates on four D-batteries or an optional power cord (Affiliate Link). I have the power cord in case I’m running a generator or solar setup.

Tip: If I didn’t have the older model with the fan, I’d probably buy a Wood Stove Fan (Affiliate Link) which needs no external power. It gets its electricity from the heat coming from the heater. Here’s a video that explains the process.

Refill Adapter For 1lb Propane Bottles

Adapters And Accessories For Propane Bottles
Adapters And Accessories For Propane Bottles

The Big Buddy propane heater holds two one-pound propane bottles. I normally have between two and three dozen of these small propane tanks on hand, but I also have half a dozen 20-pound propane tanks that I use for my two-burner Camp Chef stove (Affiliate Link – More on this gear later).

Storing Kerosene Fuel & Propane
Storing Kerosene Fuel & Propane

With this re-fill adaptor, I can re-fill my one-pound tanks with the 20-pound tanks and this propane should last quite a while.

Using Twenty-Pound Propane Tanks With Your Big Buddy Heater

I don’t recommend using a twenty-pound adaptor to run your Big Buddy because the twenty-pound tanks are too big for indoor use. I do, however, have an adaptor hose (Affiliate Link), so I can use the larger propane tanks outside or in an absolute emergency situation.

Finally, Just Be Safe

Heating our home in a power outage doesn’t have to be dangerous. Get prepared now, before the stuff hits the fan, and understand exactly how everything works and what you need to stay safe.

Here’s a short video by the state of Indiana on alternative heating safety.

Wrapping Up Heating Our Home In A Power Outage

We’re all different, in different locations, weather, and situations. Find a couple of emergency methods of heating your home, (or at least a couple of rooms) and put together a solid plan to acquire those preps.

Ideally, for my situation, I’d have a wood heat option along with my kerosene and propane heaters and I eventually will. For now, I feel better that I at least have two backup methods of heating our home in a power outage emergency situation.

While it’s not a long-term emergency home heating solution, for around five hundred dollars you can have two different indoor heaters and enough fuel for each to easily carry you through most power outages of a few days.

Note About Doomsday Scenarios: I say this all the time, but I don’t prep for the end of the world as we know it situation – because you can’t. You can, and should, be prepared to live a normal life when things go sideways – because they will. There may be an EMP someday, but there will almost certainly be a weeklong power outage at some point. Don’t skip the common sense preps for the less likely extreme SHTF events.

Think about it, three days in a hotel, if there are rooms available, staying with the in-laws, or having the equipment and fuel to carry you for a short-term power outage? I’ll take the gear please – every single time.

One last thing, we ain’t done. This just keeps us warm for a little while until, hopefully, the power comes back on. For example, it’s not keeping our water pipes from freezing. Also, what do we do when the fuel runs out. So I think we’ll revisit this topic again very soon.

See part one of this post, Our Power Was Out. Here’s What We Learned – After Action Report (AAR)

Call To Action / Next Step

Next Steps: An Emergency Generator – Building A Blackout Kit – Part 1
Building A Blackout Kit – Part 2

Stay safe. Stay prepared.
Hawkins Out.

Easy Sharing – It Couldn’t Be Easier

Share the post? I try to make it as easy as possible by posting it across social media first. You can simply share those posts.

Re-pin this on Pinterest
Retweet this tweet on Twitter
Share this FB post
Share my Instagram post
Share my LinkedIn post

Seriously. Copy and paste. It’s THAT easy.

Share on Pinterest? 

Feel free to share this picture of “Heating Our Home In A Power Outage” that I put together for you on Pinterest.

Pinterest Image - Heating Our Home In A Power Outage

On Instagram? Share this image.

Instagram Image - Heating Our Home In A Power Outage

Brian Hawkins

Father, grandfather, Veteran, animal lover, law-abiding taxpayer, homeowner, trucker, and a United States Citizen. Oh, and I'm also a prepper, survivalist, responsible gun owner, and hiker.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mic Roland

    Brian,
    Alternate heating methods are an important prep for us northerners. Almost all home-heating systems depend upon the grid even if they’re burning some other fuel. I’ll have to look into a kerosene heater. We’ve got kerosene stored for our oil lamps. We haven’t used them as often lately, since LED lights and lanterns are safer — and solar rechargeable.

    We’ve got the Little Buddy propane heater that uses just one canister. I haven’t had to use it in earnest yet, but I like how it works. I got the adapter too, so I could refill my 1 lb. canisters from a 20 lb. As for boiling soup, I got a little camp burner that sits on top of the 1 lb. canisters. It makes a good backup cooking method — especially in summer when the wood stove isn’t in use.

    Also good that you mentioned the CO detectors. We got a battery-operated one (battery stored separately) that can be used off-grid. Our primary CO detecor plugs in.

    Stay warm!

    — Mic

    1. Brian Hawkins

      Hi Mic, Somehow, I missed your comment and just ran across it by accident, so sorry for the delay.

      I used to have one of those small screw-on heaters that sit on top of a propane tank, but I have no idea what happened to it. I used it in my garage on my workbench years ago before I bought a kerosene torpedo heater. I still have the torpedo heater and that works incredibly well, but it’s not safe in the house. I use kerosene from the pump in that and keep the garage door open about a foot for ventilation. Even with the door opened up a foot or so, it will heat my garage enough that it’s t-shirt temperature in there. I have a thermostat for it as well to save some kerosene because it uses a lot of fuel.

      Speaking of kerosene, the cost is way up right now. I haven’t compared it to the cost of propane, but it might be worth a little research before committing to a new heating device. With that said, I still like having two different fuel options for alternative heat.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. 😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.