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Weather Woes (Current Events) Feb. 2021 — The Grow Network Community
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Weather Woes (Current Events) Feb. 2021

VickiPVickiP Posts: 581 ✭✭✭✭
edited February 22 in Other News

What a February! I am in southwest Mo. and this has been a record breaking winter storm for us here. I did Ok. I did have some frozen pipes one morning but they thawed without bursting. My wood stove went wacky but it turns out I just need a new door gasket, which is on it's way. I do have electric backup and some how my area did not have any power down situations. Yet. So far chickens, dogs, cat and myself are all alive and well. My oldest granddaughter came and spent the whole storm with me as the family was afraid I would get outside, fall and freeze before help could get here. That actually could happen. I did discover some of the things that need improvement the main one being I need a reliable non-electric backup source of heat. I am thinking propane. I have never used it, any tips or suggestions on units? Or any other experiences on dealing with exceptional weather?



  • toreytorey Posts: 2,782 admin

    There have been some big improvements in the efficiency of propane heaters. Following is a link to a comparison of small propane ventless heaters from a tiny house website. https://tinyhousehugeideas.com/ventless-propane-heaters/

    If you are going to go with propane, make sure you get yourself a CO detector!!!

  • VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 549 ✭✭✭✭

    A CO detector is a good idea anyway. I've only set mine off once, when an issue with the woodstove filled the room with smoke and windows had to be opened. :-)

  • It seems that their top rated model does not work if the power goes out. Did I read that correctly?

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,782 admin

    Most ventless propane heaters/furnaces need power of some sort to operate their fans for air circulation or to run the computerised thermostats. They could be hooked up to a generator or a battery bank. I don't think they require high voltage. Certainly not as much as electric heaters. It says that some of these units have battery back up but I would think it would be more efficient to have them hooked up to a separate power source.

    Almost everything seems to need power these days. Pellet stoves have been sold as a great way to have wood heat without the inconvenience of wood but when the power goes out the auger doesn't keep the flow of pellets going and the fan doesn't work to circulate air.

    Another suggestion would be to have a propane or natural gas stove. An older one, though, that operates on pilot lights. Then you can turn on the oven and open the door. My stove has a computer panel to set temperature instead of a dial so the oven doesn't work when the power is off but I can light my burners with a match for surface cooking or boiling water.

    I have a fan that sits on my wood stove that operates on convection heat. So it needs nothing else to power it. It has really made a difference this year. Don't know why I didn't get one years ago.

  • VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 549 ✭✭✭✭

    I have never understood the appeal of pellet stoves.

    If you want heat in a simple, reliable device that is completely independent of electricity and can heat your house and cook simple dishes (e.g., soup), get a real wood stove.

    If you live a more typical urban/suburban lifestyle and don't want to deal with the hassle of wood, get a propane heater, or just stick with your regular fuel oil, propane, or natural gas furnace.

    The pellet stove seems to me to be neither fish nor fowl, not having the advantages of the alternatives.

    But they are very popular, so someone must like them.

    My catalytic wood stove can heat the whole house if I have electricity to run the fans that move air through the rooms, but even with no fans it's quite capable of keeping the house quite comfortable when the outside temperature is well below freezing. It will burn all night if I load it up with wood right before bed. And wood is available locally, independent of the supply chain that includes processing pellets.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 429 ✭✭✭

    @VickiP it has been an usual February for sure. Our previous home had propane central heat but it wouldn't operate without electricity. Only the pilot light would remain on.

    A floor furnace is the only one I know of, there may be others, that doesn't require electricity to function. It does require cutting a hole in your floor 😊. I clicked on the owner's manual for the linked one below and it shows a model for propane.


  • toreytorey Posts: 2,782 admin

    @dottile46 I hadn't seen these types of furnaces before. The only drawback I can see is they will require professional installation as they are not ventless, so they will require a vent pipe going out through the roof. And a professional to run the equipment to hook up to the NG grid or a propane tank.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 429 ✭✭✭

    @torey, yes they would require a professional to install the vent. I did live in a house with a floor furnace years ago. Although the house was old and drafty I stayed comfortable without blowing through a bunch of propane. The vent was in the corner of the dining room enclosed in what looked like a tiny broom closet. In the summer I turned the pilot light out and put a throw rug over the grill in an effort to keep dust etc. out of the furnace.

  • marjstrattonmarjstratton Posts: 316 ✭✭✭

    Wow, I have never heard of a catalytic wood stove. We have a insert fireplace with an electric fan. Our electric furnace is very old. So if we our power is out for a long time, which it has been from time to time, we are just out of luck. Yes, the fireplace does warm up the living room but not much else. We are thinking of remodeling maybe, but that may be a long way off. When and if we do we have been thing of doing something like a rocket stove, something more efficient in storing the heat. But this catalytic wood stove sounds like it might be even better.

  • VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 549 ✭✭✭✭

    Open fireplaces give you a pretty fire that looks nice. They are not serious heat sources. A fireplace is too inefficient to do more than warm up the spot next to them, and burn a lot of wood to do it.

    Pot-bellied stoves and Franklin stoves were a big improvement over fireplaces. They burn hot, but only last a few hours before needing more wood.

    Wood stoves are much more efficient. Forty years ago, the latest in wood stoves was the so-called "airtight" models that could be sealed up and allow only a carefully controlled amount of air in to burn the fuel. This would allow the embers to burn all night, but put out a lot of smoky pollution while doing it.

    Catalytic stoves are the lastest development. There is an additional component that burns any unburned gases escaping from the burning wood, which produces more heat and thus efficiency and less pollution.

    I've watched the progression of stoves in first my parents' home and then mine from a pot-bellied stove in the basement, to an airtight Vermont Castings stove in the living room, to a modern catalytic in my den. Each one has been more efficient and burned cleaner than the previous one.

    Here's a quick overview that's consistent with my own experience.


  • Denise GrantDenise Grant Posts: 1,699 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 22

    This is a good topic as I have wanted to replace our natural gas furnace. It breaks down all the time and has a pilot light so that is an issue here with out electricity problems.

    I really want a hand made rocket stove. I finally found the design I want and my nephew will help with it. We have enough windfall wood I can easily heat the house with that.

  • RustBeltCowgirlRustBeltCowgirl North Coast OhioPosts: 781 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant Let me know how it goes. I want at least one when I relocate.

  • Denise GrantDenise Grant Posts: 1,699 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have beautiful plans for one with the bench. I'm just checking the parts I need and cost (as much as possible will be foraged or bartered for)

    Rocket stoves can be beautiful and very practical

    I also want an outdoor cooking area. Our winters are nasty but there are parts of fall and spring that it could still be used.

  • RustBeltCowgirlRustBeltCowgirl North Coast OhioPosts: 781 ✭✭✭✭

    Check out the rocket stove in #9. Never thought of that idea.

  • Denise GrantDenise Grant Posts: 1,699 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 23

    @RustBeltCowgirl Small rocket stove can be put together in an hour or so and can get your house or barn warmed up fast in an emergency

    I have been looking at a design some what like 5 or 6 for the house. I want the bench for more warmth and even setting seeds on if I need heat from beneath. I now have a PDF design that spells out how top set one like that up.

    I think it was 9 what was for a greenhouse? I have the perfect set up for that in the bottom of the barn that fell in.

    The rocket stove can be a design between heat, cooking and entertaining. They can be beautiful and when set up properly do not take a lot of wood

    Thanks for this link. Love the ideas here

  • RustBeltCowgirlRustBeltCowgirl North Coast OhioPosts: 781 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 24

    These are some really easy rocket stove in here. Including one made with sand. Several with cinder blocks. Both materials are easy to get at most Lowes/Home Depot stores.

  • bcabrobinbcabrobin Posts: 228 ✭✭✭

    There is a store in Ohio called Lehman's that sells items that do not need electric to run.

    Also, If you have a local Amish community ask them what local stores can order in none electric.


    4779 Kidron Rd.

    Kidron, OH 44618

    This place has a LOT of really cool stuff!

  • RustBeltCowgirlRustBeltCowgirl North Coast OhioPosts: 781 ✭✭✭✭

    Isn't Lehman's just plain cool? I live an hour and a half drive away.

  • Denise GrantDenise Grant Posts: 1,699 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have seen these directiosn before and they do go together fast. In todays world I think its impostant to mak one or have all of the supplies on hand

  • RustBeltCowgirlRustBeltCowgirl North Coast OhioPosts: 781 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant I agree. Cinder blocks are not that expensive and the largest one only needed 6.

  • Denise GrantDenise Grant Posts: 1,699 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 24


    Around here I can get Blocks for free.

    Then there is the barn foundation that has a spare 200 or 300 blocks. But you are right, blocks are not that much and for a fast heating system, well worth any investment

  • stephanie447stephanie447 Ayurvedic Practitioner Annapolis, MDPosts: 299 ✭✭✭

    This is very helpful to know. After seeing the disaster in Texas this month, I want to be sure to have some sort of wood burning facility in any home I live in!

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 581 ✭✭✭✭

    I have always been interested in rocket stoves as well. I don't think there is any way I could incorporate one in my house, but my outdoors kitchen is a real possibility.

  • Suburban PioneerSuburban Pioneer Posts: 221 ✭✭✭

    We have a propane stove in our second kitchen, connected to an underground tank. I shopped like a demon until I found a prepper variety that doesn't have a "glow bar' in the oven which requires an electrical hookup and wastes energy, Also, this stove has no pilot light and operates on batteries so if the electricity goes down, no problem! We've used it only a handful of times, but it's worked like a champ each time. The only drawback is I don't like the smell, which starts to get noticeable after about 15-20 minutes of operation. But, if the power's out, we can always open the windows while cooking to keep the kitchen aired out. At worst, better to have a cold breeze and a hot meal, than the other way around!

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,782 admin

    For when the lights go out.

    Just came across these. I haven't purchased them but I know someone who has and she thinks they are great. They screw into a regular light fixture or come with a hanger so you can put them wherever you need the light. I'm sure there are other brands on the market besides this one.

  • RustBeltCowgirlRustBeltCowgirl North Coast OhioPosts: 781 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey Those look like they would be great for emergency situations. I also have a box full of the battery operated hockey puck style tap lights.

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