Saturday, November 21, 2009

Alternative Heat

There are many ways to heat your home or cabin depending on the availability of electrical power. In this article we are going to address heaters that don't require electricity.
We really have three choices in rural Alaska. Oil, Propane or Wood. I am going to talk about Oil and Propane. Natural gas will not be part of this conversation as it is not available where there is no electricity.
Propane is simple because it has pressure so you don't have to worry about placing your tank higher than your heater. There are a number of propane heaters that can vent through the wall and are fairly efficient. You can also use the same propane tank to power lights, stove, refrigerators, and water heaters which can really simplify things. The disadvantages are that propane doesn't produce as many BTU's per gallon as heating oil, it is a little cumbersome to haul around and it doesn't flow well at minus 40 and 50 unless you have a very large tank.
Heating oil will yeild approximately 35% more BTU's than propane but you have to weigh the cost of each fuel to make a good decision. Most efficient oil heaters that vent through the wall require electricity. This is because the efficient heaters have electronics and heat exchangers. There are many oil heaters that work without electricity but they require a chimney on your roof. The advantages are more BTU's, fuel oil is a little easier to find and transport and #1 fuel oil will flow in any temperature.

Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent. - Unknown

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