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Old 12-17-2009, 04:08 PM   #1
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Default propane versus kerosene

I am looking trying to figure out if kerosene burns more slowly. If kerosene lasts more than 2 1/2X longer then it would possiblly be more efficient. How can I find that information out?

Where I live, propane goes up to about $2 gallon & kerosene is $5 a gallon. We have a kerosene heater that sits on the floor & uses about 2 gallons a day (burns on high for about 10 hours) & that's just supplimenting the central electric units when necessary.

I am considering buying 2 propane heater (to suppliment the units... using daily during the winter & also for an emergency source of heat in case of another ice storm & 7 day power outagage) & buying a 250 or 400 gal propane tank (filling it up in the middle of summer when propane is at it's cheapest).

It looks like propane is going to be the better, more reliant, cheaper source of heat if kerosene doesn't burn 2 1/2 times longer. Can you advise?



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Old 12-17-2009, 04:51 PM   #2
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You need to consider the BTU content of the material you're burning.

Fuel Energy Content and Unit Conversion Tables

Propane 1 gallon = 91,500 BTU
1 gallon kerosene = 135,000 BTU

Now you need to compare cost per volume of fuel.


As for choices... are you using a propane furnace, or a propane burner that just dumps hot air into the room? (and hot carbon monoxide!) I can't think of a kerosene heater that vents outside. That's the critical thing when looking at 'backups' like this... ok, fine, I can light a kerosene heater in my living room, or in the basement to keep pipes warm... but where is the CO produced going to be vented to?



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Old 12-17-2009, 08:45 PM   #3
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We were just talking about this kind of stuff in another thread:

http://www.preparedsociety.com/forum/f2/when-we-talk-about-preparedness-526/

My parents had a large oil-drum in the shed in the side-yard full of kerosene with a hand-pump on it. Once a week (or so) I would take the fuel-tank out of the kerosene heater, fill it up and put it back into the heater. In all the years of running the kerosene heater, we never had any known issues with Carbon Monoxide and only had a hint of the scent of the kerosene on startup.

I have a catalytic propane heater that runs off of the 2lb bottles (or off an adaptor to 20lb tanks), but, I have never needed to run it in the house - just outside in a tarp-shed in the winter when working on vehicles to kill off the chill.

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Old 12-17-2009, 11:00 PM   #4
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4 years ago our oil furnace died in Feb (of course). We bought 2 kero heaters to get through the rest of winter. We also picked up 2 CO detectors at the same time. We heated exclusively with kero for the next 2.5 months. The detectors never made a sound. If they are set up right and not burned too hot, kero heaters work very well.

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Old 12-20-2009, 11:50 AM   #5
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My parents use an oil furnace to heat their house, but they have a small kerosene heater in the living room that they mainly burn in the evenings to supplement the furnace. They don't have a CO monitor yet but in all these years they've never had a known CO problem either.

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Old 01-01-2010, 08:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtompsett View Post
You need to consider the BTU content of the material you're burning.

Fuel Energy Content and Unit Conversion Tables

Propane 1 gallon = 91,500 BTU
1 gallon kerosene = 135,000 BTU

Now you need to compare cost per volume of fuel.


As for choices... are you using a propane furnace, or a propane burner that just dumps hot air into the room? (and hot carbon monoxide!) I can't think of a kerosene heater that vents outside. That's the critical thing when looking at 'backups' like this... ok, fine, I can light a kerosene heater in my living room, or in the basement to keep pipes warm... but where is the CO produced going to be vented to?
I don't think propane produces carbon monoxide.That's why it's used in warehouse forklifts and ventless fireplaces and such....Of course,I could be wrong.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armchair View Post
I don't think propane produces carbon monoxide.That's why it's used in warehouse forklifts and ventless fireplaces and such....Of course,I could be wrong.
My tent-trailer came with a built-in CO-detector to let occupants know if there was CO-poisoning happening (furnace, stove, etc).
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:52 AM   #8
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Internal combustion engines always produce carbon monoxide ( kill you ) carbon dioxide can displace oxagen, not enought oxagen (kill you) unburned hydrocarbons, yeap your right ( kill anybody) propane burns very completely, Less hydrocarbons, ( not as likly to concentrate) Kerosene when burned in a forced air heater, puts out unburned hydrocarbons ( can be tuned lean enough) carbondioxide, Carbon monoxide if tuned too lean. wick heater can't be tuned too lean. Propane burns very completly very little unburned hydrocarbons, can be tuned too leean also ( carbonmonoxide) A good forced air heater has senser for lean and shuts off ( mine does) the fuel can can freezze when running 150,000 BTU forced air haeter looks like 8 hrs on 4.5 gals, My 150,000 BTU Kerosene runs 8 hours on 10 gals. even though the heaters are rated the same, and sound the same the kerosene heater seems to put out alot moreheat. I've had the kerosene heater longer and it's been (tuned) with an automotive exhaust gas analizer ( it's used to keep an auto repair shop warm. $17 for 4.5 gals of propane and $22 for 5 gals of kerosene. Seems like thier preety close. I use em both for quick warm up. wood stove takes over and they come back on when the fire dies down letting me know to go out to the wood pile or grab the can when I go home as i'll be out of fuel for the kerosene.


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Old 11-14-2012, 01:09 PM   #9
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Propane does not produce much or any carbon monoxide unless its not burning properly. Most non-vented propane heaters come with oxygen depletion sensors. I have used and been around a large number of both heaters (in many different styles) as I lived in the frozen northland of Minnesota. I would choose propane every time over Kerosene. But that is just MHO.


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Old 11-15-2012, 04:07 PM   #10
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Kerosene has a noticeable smell when it burns, but it is a "warm" and familiar smell, and is comforting to me.

Propane smells slightly strange to me when it burns, whether in a heater, grill or forklift... I have never enjoyed it.

However, I only keep propane around for aux heat, because it is so clean, and I have other appliances that use it.




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