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Thread: Propane or Kerosene?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Propane or Kerosene?

    Well here in the PNW I have to start thinking of winter.We have some fall colors and its been as low as 42 already and reguraly 45-50. I was looking at heaters yesterday in Lowes. I have a Northern tool one that runs off of 220 that takes about 2 hours to feel much in my 3 car garage, it gets from 50 to 70 in about 3 hours. I want something a little quicker for the first get up an go in there.
    I saw something called Mr Heater Tough buddy 16k BTU for 139, its small like the size of a skill saw plastic case. Its runs off 1 gallon propane or 10 gallon I believe.'
    The other heater was portable convection kerosene, those cylinder ones with metal all around it. There both indoor rated and the kerosene has auto shut off on tip.
    Here propane is about $23 for 10 gallon refill tank exchange. Im not sure what kerosene cost.
    Any help here on the two gases, which burns better or about the same, alos cost of kerosene?

  2. #2
    Propane!

    They may both be rated for interior use, but Kerosene smells.
    Propane burns much cleaner.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    What Matt Said

    I have a 35k BTU propane heater at my cabin and it works great.
    Also propane is easier to handle, no pouring and spilling. No maintainence on the propane heater either

    Jerry

  4. #4
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    Craig, here in New England the winters are pretty cold as well. I have an electric heater (Farenheat) that works really well. But it does take a little while to get things up to a workable temp. With the price of electricity, I stopped running it continuously and let the shop just cool to ambient temp.

    So I started using a propane fired heater (100,000 btu). It would warm the shop up in no time, then the electric heater would continue after that while I worked out there. I tried a kerosene heater at first but didn't like the smell so it went back.

    Indoor rating or not, you have to make sure your shop is well ventilated. Propane, when burning correctly, produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct. When it isn't burning correctly, it produces carbon monoxide. Both are deadly in high concentrations - carbon monoxide at much lower levels.

    Kerosene, on the other hand, always produces carbon monoxide and can also produce acidic vapors (read, not good for metal). It amazes me that these are still rated for indoor use.

    The other thing to remember is that both produce MASSIVE amounts of water vapor. A pound of propane burned puts about pound of water vapor in the air and a gallon of kerosene releases roughly a gallon of water vapor. I didn't notice it while it was running, but when the shop cooled off, I'd have condensation everywhere, not just on the metal surfaces. This is the reason that I no longer use it in the shop!

    Just as a comparison...natural gas produces about the same amount of carbon dioxide but only one quarter the water vapor as propane.

    Be well,

    Doc

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Abele View Post
    Craig, here in New England the winters are pretty cold as well. I have an electric heater (Farenheat) that works really well. But it does take a little while to get things up to a workable temp. With the price of electricity, I stopped running it continuously and let the shop just cool to ambient temp.

    So I started using a propane fired heater (100,000 btu). It would warm the shop up in no time, then the electric heater would continue after that while I worked out there. I tried a kerosene heater at first but didn't like the smell so it went back.

    Indoor rating or not, you have to make sure your shop is well ventilated. Propane, when burning correctly, produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct. When it isn't burning correctly, it produces carbon monoxide. Both are deadly in high concentrations - carbon monoxide at much lower levels.

    Kerosene, on the other hand, always produces carbon monoxide and can also produce acidic vapors (read, not good for metal). It amazes me that these are still rated for indoor use.

    The other thing to remember is that both produce MASSIVE amounts of water vapor. A pound of propane burned puts about pound of water vapor in the air and a gallon of kerosene releases roughly a gallon of water vapor. I didn't notice it while it was running, but when the shop cooled off, I'd have condensation everywhere, not just on the metal surfaces. This is the reason that I no longer use it in the shop!

    Just as a comparison...natural gas produces about the same amount of carbon dioxide but only one quarter the water vapor as propane.

    Be well,

    Doc
    Thanks Don, so maybe my garage door cracked 4 inches will be venitilation enough? Theres no windows that open.
    Wow 100k btu, thats alot for me I think. Im in about 16 x 35 space, cement floors, insulated 9 foot ceiling. 3 garage doors uninsulated except that aluminum foam stuff for noise over two.
    Im aware of the boston winters, being from mass ( SE), Im usually there over xmas and go to boston, those winds whip through the cement jungle there and shes chilly.

  6. #6
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    I recently threw out my kero heater that I used to use on the coldest of days. Although I don't like the propane units (they generate a lot of moisture, etc), either, for short term "get it up to temp" use, it's probably a good way to go.
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  7. #7
    Maybe they've made improvements, but I remember kerosene heaters stinking to high heaven. Headache stink. Drive you out of the room stink.

    I'd go with propane.
    Deflation: When I was a kid, an E-ticket meant I was about to go on the ride of my life. Today, an E-ticket means a miserable ride.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Larsen View Post
    Maybe they've made improvements, but I remember kerosene heaters stinking to high heaven. Headache stink. Drive you out of the room stink.

    I'd go with propane.
    I remember those. If you let them run out of fuel, it would be like a tear gas bomb went off. I think they are a lot better now, but they still smell. I have 3 propane heaters now.
    Last edited by David Freed; 09-14-2008 at 3:48 PM.

  9. #9
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    Craig, There are 2 important types of LP heaters. Vented and ventless.
    Vented takes outside air in, combusts it, and sends the exhaust outside. No indoor pollution, no moisture. Costs a fair bit more. Empire is a good brand. Ventless is misleading. You're better off with a vent, but it doesn't require or even have one. Like others have said, it puts out alot of moisture, and some not so healthy combustion products. You may be able to buy a used vented device for under $300. More costly, but way better and safer. Just my take.
    Last edited by Ken Werner; 09-14-2008 at 8:16 PM. Reason: mispelling

  10. #10
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    If you get one with a fan (propane or kerosene), the moisture issues are reduced by quite a bit.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


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