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Old 10-29-2008, 10:17 AM   #1
TheOtherBart OP
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How bad are kerosene heaters, really?

I'm looking for something that would let me work in my unheated 2-car garage in northern Illinois over the winter. Electrical service is limited and of questionable quality, so electric heat is out. I've heard horror stories about vent-free propane and kerosene heaters putting out so much moisture and corrosive exhaust that tools and parts immediately rust away to pieces. Is it really as bad as all that? I'm not trying to warm the garage to a balmy 80 degress, just something that will let me take my gloves off when I'm out there working.

Any experiences? Other suggestions?
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:26 AM   #2
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If you can afford it, get a Toyo oil stove. Extremely efficient and very warm.

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Old 10-29-2008, 10:31 AM   #3
cojoel
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I used kerosene heater in MN when I lived there and I had no problems. I would sudgest propane, because they are a lot quieter and adjustable. But regardless which one you chose have a carbon monoxide detector out there as well.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:49 AM   #4
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I use a small kerosene heater in my 1-car unheated garage. Haven't had any rust problems I can blame on it. I have had rust problems but they're due to the odd balmy day in winter when everything in my garage turns to soup.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:51 AM   #5
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I prefer propane over kerosene, but no one seems to sell a portable propane heater with a thermostat. Apparently you have to have both a thermostat and a shut off valve, which makes it expensive. I am talking about those jet-engine type heaters here.

I had a kerosene heater that crapped out after a few uses, but it was nice to just set the thermostat and have it shut off once space temp reached setpoint.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:15 AM   #6
Hotspice
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I've used a small radiant heat kerosene heater for a long time. Granted I might only use it twice a week but I've never had any issues with it.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:58 AM   #7
GreaseMonkey
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I'd suggest propane if possible, with something like this:

http://www2.northerntool.com/heaters...tem-173951.htm

For more casual use, I have used a kero torpedo heater which isn't too bad if you start it up outside and let it run a couple minutes first but is still would smell slightly and was noisy as heck.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:55 PM   #8
TheOtherBart OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaseMonkey
I'd suggest propane if possible, with something like this:

http://www2.northerntool.com/heaters...tem-173951.htm

For more casual use, I have used a kero torpedo heater which isn't too bad if you start it up outside and let it run a couple minutes first but is still would smell slightly and was noisy as heck.
Those Toyo stoves look nice, but way outside my price range. GreaseMonkey, the heater you linked to calls for a 100 pound propane tank. Searching around it looks like that would add another $100 to the initial outlay, that sound about right? Something I'd like to avoid if possible.

My baby sister had her 18th birthday party on Friday (being 34 at a party full of 18 year olds will make you feel old quick). We heated my mom's uninsulated 2 1/2 car garage with one of the torpedo kerosene jobbies and I didn't think the noise was all that bad. What about something like this here, would that be as effective? Not as noisy I'm assuming?

My biggest concern was really about turning all of my tools into dust, it sounds like y'all haven't had any trouble on that front.
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Old 10-29-2008, 01:00 PM   #9
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Another question, any idea how operating costs compare between kerosene and propane? Not a deal breaker either way, but I'm curious.
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Old 10-29-2008, 01:19 PM   #10
Hotspice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherBart
Another question, any idea how operating costs compare between kerosene and propane? Not a deal breaker either way, but I'm curious.
What about a natural gas wall mounted heater like the Glo-Warm ?
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Old 10-29-2008, 01:36 PM   #11
olebiker
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Little campfire in the middle of the garage might be in keeping with the adventure spirit.
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:02 PM   #12
P B G
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Some people make heaters out of old water heater tanks, they burn used motor oil and such and make alot of heat...

Would require installed ductwork for the ventilation.

I'm west of chicago, two car garage, and have a ceiling mounted heater (off some unistrut) Hardly ever runs to hold the garage at 40 degrees in winter, I crank it up as needed for working in the garage/defrosting cars, before working on them.
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:15 PM   #13
mhm2a
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torpedo heater

You can get a small torpedo unit and use an external thermostat that plugs into your 110v outlet. I have a multi-fuel 55k BTU readyheater set up this way. You can get the thermostat at northern tool for around $30.00 if my memory is correct. You can heat a small space with a forced air heater much faster than a traditional kerosene heater can.
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspice
What about a natural gas wall mounted heater like the Glo-Warm ?
I have used one of these types of natural gas heaters for seven years in my garage. I have the garage door insulated with rigid pink foam. With the t-stat on its lowest setting, the garage stays at 55 all winter long (I live in the northwest 'burbs of Chicago). I can work in the garage in a t-shirt and jeans. I have not ticed any issue with rust on my tools but the garage door does collect a decent bit of condensation (which runs/drips out when the door is opened). There's nothing better than a warm car on a cold morning or being able to work in the garage all winter. My wife and I open and close the door enough to get fresh air into the garage. I have no issues with fumes. I highly recommend one.
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:44 PM   #15
Deltakus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaseMonkey
I'd suggest propane if possible, with something like this:

http://www2.northerntool.com/heaters...tem-173951.htm

For more casual use, I have used a kero torpedo heater which isn't too bad if you start it up outside and let it run a couple minutes first but is still would smell slightly and was noisy as heck.

I Have one of thouse pro com headers. In my old spacey shop I made a cart for it and put the tank behind it so I could push it around It was great. Now that I am in a smaller space I have it on the wall it is does the job really well.

I also have one of the torpedo heaters that runs on Kerosene. Its great for heating the space up And keeping kinda warm, but it stinks, as in smell and I would get light headed from it. And, I had plenty of ventlation.

I would go with the radiant heat. your tools and what you are working on get warm too.
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