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Keep Your Family Warm When the Furnace is Out

from Reluctant Preppers:

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6 comments to Keep Your Family Warm When the Furnace is Out

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    It’s a shame they don’t make homes with walls that have R60 & ceilings with R100 & floors with R25. You’d be able to heat that house with very little, or even with nothing but your own body heat & sunshine.

    There a lots of websites and videos about making solar heating & cooking.

    A common practice in old stone castles, was to hang large tapestries and carpets on all the walls, not just for decoration, but to help keep out the cold. Still common to see eastern European homes with rugs on the walls.

    In a survival situation, there is nothing wrong with setting up a tent inside your house and living inside that smaller space that holds a little extra heat. Throw a few blankets on top of it too. Cardboard, has insulating value, a little bit better than the same thickness of fiberglass!!! (but it’s dangerous because it burns so easy.)

    The important tip, is that you can sleep in a cardboard box, even inside your own house trying to save every last bit of body heat.
    (human body at rest, gives off about 200-Btu’s. Awake & active, we produce up to 350-400 Btu’s.)

    Hang blankets, rugs, plastic sheeting, or extra sleeping bags, or sheets of cardboard over those cold windows, etc.

    electric space heaters, produce 3.41 Btu’s per watt. 1000w heater=3,410 Btu’s.

    10 living human (adult) bodies produce from 2,000 Btu’s (sleeping), up to 4,000 Btu’ (active).

    In a deadly-freezing situation, pack your entire family & neighbors into a single room. Does it make sense that ancient peoples in cold climates lived together? Viking Long houses? etc?

    One kerosene glass parlor lamp (7/8″ wick) will give off, up to as much as 1200 or even 1400 Btu’s. That’s the same as 12-14 candle power.

    • aa

      More insulation is certainly better but most heat and cooling is lost through windows.

      • Craig Escaped Detroit

        @aa, yes, it’s true. Windows need attention. Here in my 1986 manufactured (mobile) home, it has very cheap, single pane, alum frames.

        I bought 4×8 sheets of good quality foam boards (with the reflective facing on both sides), 1″ thick, and cut them to fit perfectly inside the windowsills. I think it’s R5 or R6. they stay up by themselves.

        They do a great job in winter to keep heat inside, and in summer, they keep the oppressive summer heat out of the house and save much of my A/C load.

        They don’t cost much. When I get better windows, I may have no more need of them, and will use that foam board in some other improvement.

        I’ve seen ice fishing shacks or deer blinds insulated with it, winter patio, etc.

        • aa

          Yes a while ago I read a good article on cutting 4 by 8 sheets of foam board for windows and using heavy drapes and movable insulated panels on sliding tracts. All great ideas. Heavy window insulation will likely, of necessity, become more popular as heating and cooling costs continue to escalate while Joe and Susie America’s paychecks continues to shrink.

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    I “garbage picked” a couple of 15 gallon poly barrels from the dumpster behind a dry cleaning shop, or you could ask how much they’d sell it for if the get em refilled.
    I filled them with (red dyed) kerosene @ $3/gallon.
    He talked about the Aladdin lamp- these do cost over $100, get very hot, spare parts are EXPENSIVE. They need a babysitter to adjust it down as it heats up and speeds up, soots up, etc. The mantle gets about as bright as a 60w electric bulb (often called 60 candle power.).

    The Btu output has got to more than 5000. (kerosene has about 130,000 Btu / gallon). Look at lamp ‘burn-time to go thru a quart’ of fuel, and you’ll know the Btu’s.

    The regular ‘wick’ lamps are simple, low price, need much less babysitting, and put out about 1000-1200 Btu, & run about 30 hours on 1 qt.

    I have one Aladdin mantle kerosene lamp. wicks and glass chimneys cost more than $15 or $20 each.

    Propane gas only has about 90,000 Btu / gallon.
    New kitchen stoves usually come with a kit to change over to propane (orifice nozzles, instructions, etc) It was not difficult to do it.

    Firewood? It takes perhaps 10 acres to grow enough wood each year and never run out.
    Look up Rocket fuel heater for clever wood heating.
    Don’t forget making solar heating panels. (yes, only good when the sunshines, but every little bit helps).

    There is some very old masonry stove-heater desing called “Russian fireplace or stove”, they burn FAST and efficient, but the TONS of bricks holds the heat and slowly releaes it all night.

    Alternatives? corn burning stove or furnace, you can grow corn if you’ve got enough acres, etc.
    Peanuts (120 bussels/acre), are 20% oil. edible & burnable, and biodiesel, etc.

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    I once lived in a 2 story, 1923 farmhouse, no insulation, single pane drafty windows. It has a cast iron parlour stove with about 10-13 ft. length of stove pipe to get to the chimney. That pipe threw as many Btu’s as the stove.

    I did not like to keep much wood indoors because there is always bugs in that wood, spiders, ants, termites, bees, etc.

    It’s scary to heat with wood because of the various dangers, chimney fire, sparks, stove pipe burnout, creosote (it’s acidic), etc…but the world has used it for thousands of years. I love those stoves. I really like the wood burning kitchen range, used antiques are reasonable, new ones often cost $5000-$7000. ouch.

    Again, how about a bunch of solar electric panels, some batteries and a ductless heatpump.

    You can get a 12,000 btu system the runs on 950 watts for less than $2000? They have some super efficient (Fujitsu) 9k btu, 120vac units that use only about 700 watts. SEER 24?

    It’s possible to get such a solar system & batteries for about $10k,…give or take.

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