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Staying warm and cozy when its so dang cold outside

By Mark Stinson
Posted Thursday, February 19, 2015

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Siler City, NC - I thought I would pass what I have learned about staying warm when its so dang cold outside. My heat pump died last year so we have had to improvise. I have found that the ceramic heaters by Lasko at WalMart work really well. If you go check them out you will see smaller ones that work OK but don't waste your money on those. The largest ones are programmable to temperature, on times and off times and some even oscillate.

The smaller heaters work fine if you have a heat pump and you simply want one room a little warmer than the others. The larger ones like the Lasko and Pelonis heaters that are rated for a large or extra large rooms don't eat your power as much as the smaller ones if you utilize them properly. They do burn more electricity but since they put out twice to three times the heat they will cycle on and off more often where the smaller heaters just run steady. The programmable units will cycle off during the day saving you more overall on your power bill. These ceramic heaters can be used to assist your current heating system . Set your thermostat on 65 and use these in your bedrooms and bathrooms when your in these rooms. The automatic timer is wonderful because it will turn the heat on before you get home to warm up the rooms you use so you can set your main heat low so it doesn't come on much at all. If you use electric heaters to supplement your existing heat or in case you heat fails make sure you don't plug them all in the same place on the same circuit . Spread them out over different locations so they don't overheat or pop your breakers.

If your faced with a power outage a kerosene heater will get you by but be very cautious as even though they are considered safe they are unvented to the outside so the exhaust is trapped in your home. Never use an unvented kerosene heater in your bedroom period. I rarely if ever use mine unless the power goes out . The expense of the ceramic heaters has proven more than once to be less overall than the expense of using a kerosene burning unvented heater. If you have any old electric heaters you would be wise to chunk them and buy the new more efficient and safer ceramic heaters. The older electric heaters often use a nichrome wire that gets red hot to produce heat and they eat tons of electricity and the older they get the more of a fire hazard they become. The infrared units and quartz type work well but again they eat more power than their ceramic counter parts.

If you do use kerosene Its a good idea to buy the anti odor water dispersing additives to put in your kerosene. WalMart sells a bottle of additive for around $8 and it goes a long way. I have not had good luck getting clean kerosene without any water impurity lately in this area. The additive will keep odor down and disperse any water contamination in the kerosene. This extends wick life and keeps the stove burning efficiently . At winters end its a good idea to let your kerosene heater run to burn all its fuel until it shuts off . This empties the tank and cleans the wick. Its always safer to store these units with no fuel and always remove the batteries for the auto igniter before storage. This prevents the problem of a fire hazard and dead fuel the next winter when you will need it to work properly . Always start with fresh fuel and battery's when you pull your heater out of storage for use. If you don't know how to inspect your heaters wick then pay someone who does before you use it every year. Wicks are not that expensive and are good money spent to prevent problems with your stove. Both of my Kerosene heaters are 20 years old but work flawlessly when I need them. If you take time to read the owners manual and use them properly they will last many years and be a dependable backup in case of power outages.

I am by no means and expert on anything but this is what I have learned and its what's keeping us warm. I wanted to share it so others can stay safe and warm too.

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Staying warm and cozy when its so dang cold outside