Efficiency of a Kerosene Heater

My electric bill goes through the roof every winter. Central Illinois winters can be brutal, but I also have a ridiculously inefficient electric heater.

I’m thinking of buying a Kerosene heater.

Can someone give me a general idea of the cost of kerosene and how much one would go through in a day (assume I’m heating a 1000-square-foot house)?

You can’t have an inefficient electric heater. 100% of the electricity consumed will end up as heat. You may have a poorly insulated house, or a heat distribution problem, or the economics of the fuel cost might mean that 70% efficient kerosene heat is cheaper per BTU than 100% efficient electric heat, but that’s not the same thing.

Well I apologize for getting the semantics wrong, but the bottom line is that heating a coil and blowing air over it is consuming gads of electricity and making my winter electric bills about 3X higher than my summer ones.

I’ve had a Kerosene heater for over 20 years. I only use it during power failures. Mine is about 6,000 BTU and heats one room comfortably. I’d estimate at least a gallon a day of kerosene if you ran it day and night. Personally, I won’t go to bed with it still on. Crack a window because they do put out fumes.

Around here, natural gas heat is much cheaper than electric. I’d never consider electric as my primary heat source.

This heater is nearly identical to mine and the listing says it’s 9500 btu. Fine for emergencys or at a deer camp. Not really practical for every day use.

The one you linked puts out more heat and uses more fuel. Fuel Rate : .16 gal/hr (from the ad). thats a gallon and half every ten hours.

When I talk to people who heat with kerosene, I’m always amazed at how they reek from the stuff. Is that just because of the heaters they use, or am I just olfactorily sensitive, or what?

No, the stuff smells terrible.

yeah, the smell is …unique. And persistant. The carpet, the furniture, the drapes tetain the smell for weeks.
Moral of the story: Be careful with kerosene heaters. They’re good for emergency use, or to heat up the workshop. Not for daily use in the living room.

cite: my nose.
Trust me.

Around here heating with electric is the most expensive and the last resort.
People in rural areas heat with propane. City folk use natural gas.

We used one similar to that for a few years, about 15-20 years ago. It’s reasonably safe in a residential setting. The design puts the fuel at the bottom, so the center of gravity is very low, and there’s a mechanism to cause the thing to shut off if it were to tip over. We used a plastic siphon to fill the tank from five-gallon containers we filled at gas stations, although as others said, the fuel does smell.

Just an FYI–Check your homeowners’ insurance policy or lease to make certain kerosene heaters are allowed. Our homeowner’s insurance (which, near as I can tell, covers nothing, but we gotta have it) doesn’t allow “combustible fuel heaters,” so we don’t have one. Also, if kerosene isn’t a combustible fuel, let me know. I love the smell.

One of the things I miss about working at an Air Force base is the smell of jet fuel.

I’ve used a kerosene heater for twenty some years. I run it from the time I get home from work until I go to bed. A two gallon fillup lasts about eight hours. I think mine is 22000 BTUs. I use it as a supplement to a gas furnace.
Things to watch:
Don’t walk away while refueling with a siphon. Clean-up is a pain and the smell is bad.
Every third or fourth tank, let it burn dry. It will smell once the flame starts to diminish so if you can move it outside for the burn-off… it’s good.
Some kerosene is better than others, lower quality kerosene burns dirtier and smells.
Put a new wick in it every year.
It’s a dirty heat but it’s not a big issue at my place. I like it because it’s cozy and comfy like having a little campfire in the living room. Insulating my house better and upgrading my furnace would be the better option but not feasable for me.

The kerosene heater really came in handy last year about this time when an ice storm left me without power for four days with temps dipping to the teens. Good for emergency back-up if nothing else.

Is everyone talking about the kind of heater that just sits in the middle of the space? Or a heater with a flue?

Burning kerosene consumes O2 and gives off CO2 and CO. This is not health and can add to the cost of heating your house.

I use a heater just like the OP linked to in my workshop, which is a garage 20x24 with insulation in the walls, but none in the ceiling.

I am not sure of the tank capacity, but I can usually fill the tank about three times from 5gal of fuel. It will burn a tank of fuel in about 10 hours.

When the outside temp is 35 or above, it takes over an hour to get the inside temp to 60 degrees. It will keep the inside around 65 during the day, but that is about it. It doesn’t really heat the place well, but it takes some of the chill and moisture out of the air and I can work in short sleeves without too much trouble. I don’t see how it could warm 1000 sqft much at all.

I burn regular (K-1 ?) fuel, and the unit produces no smoke. If you work around it a lot, you don’t notice any smell. If you leave for an hour or so and come back, when you walk in the shop, you will notice the smell from the heater, but it is not strong or objectionable.

I buy my fuel from a fuel place that pumps it out of a big tank. Costs me about $7 a gallon. You buy a 5gal pail from Lowes and it is about twice that.

The type of heater your looking at can’t be used in an enclosed space. You’d have to take into account the addition heat loss from having a window open.