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Economic Benefits of Kerosene Heaters

I received the following unsolicited e-mail on November 4, 2009 on the economic benefits of using a kerosene heater.  I asked if I could use the letter on my web site, and Mr. Barlow said, "I would be delighted if you used my letter!  I've been trying to spread kerosene heater usage anyway."  Patrick Barlow

Good evening,

I just wanted to drop you a line thanking you for keeping kerosene products alive!  I happened upon your page a little more than three years ago while desperately trying to figure out how I was going to keep warm for the winter and still have money to pay the bills.  We live in a 1800sq ft house with gas heat in Louisiana where winters are not very long, but where cold, humid air has real bite to it.  Heaters here are added more as an afterthought to a house, and our houses are far less insulated than our northern neighbors, (you would be lucky to find a home beyond R-22 here) and heating an entire house gets pretty extreme financially,  well, at least from my standpoint as I look at each bill with the number of hours I have to work to pay it's 18hrs a month to big energy conglomerates is more than I will ever be willing to slave for!!  Insanity!

Enter kerosene heaters.  I now own six heaters in all now, my original 23btu that I paid full price for at Lowe's three years ago, another 23k btu and a 10k btu I got for half price at the end of the heating season at Lowe's, two Kero-Sun Radiant 10 (my favorite by far) and this year I picked up a Corona SX-2E for under a bill on eBay since you gave them such a glowing review (this "bargain" came to my door as a black, sooty mess, but it shines like new now!)

Three years ago, we had just moved in to this house and had no idea what bills would be like, and we ran the heater for the first time from the mid December to mid January - $314 gas bill!!!!  And that was at a chilly 65F!  I've never run that heater again!  Figuring that we reside in rooms most of the time and not the entire house, I started with one kerosene heater and two electric heaters for most of that winter.  We noticed that A) electric heaters don't really put off that much heat, B) they burn through electricity as if it were they're passion, and C) that kerosene heaters work astoundingly well, have "big" room warming heat and they won't burn the house down as we were often told.  As soon as Lowe's clearance rack popped up with kerosene heaters, I bought the other two Dyna-Glo models I still have and back-up wicks for half off as well.  That first year was certainly the most "expensive" year for my future kerosene heating days; 3 heaters, 3 wicks and 4 containers did add up to about $270 (still less than one months use of the gas heater) and approx 15gal kerosene (two big heaters cost a lot more in fuel costs) at about $45 and that did last the rest of our winter.  The next year I got my Kero-Sun Radiant 10's and used them as my main heat source for all of the winter, while utilizing the larger 23k units as quick room heaters, mostly in the mornings.  From Dec-Apr we spent, $100 on kerosene - price of kerosene having gone up a dollar per gallon from the last year to $4 - and kept the house roasty-toasty all winter long!  My Kero-Sun Radiant 10's are able to burn well under the rated 9600btu, have an extra large tank that will burn for over 24hrs on high and burn perfectly and without smell (aside from start-up which is minimal).  The Kero-Sun's set me back $120 for both.

Doing the math.  In each year, I've been able to come out WAY ahead cash wise from using these heaters.  The first year, I spent $315 on three heaters, extra wicks, four containers and kerosene for the entire winter (still using electric space heaters in two rooms), compared to running the heater all winter at $300 each month or $1500 for the winter - saving $885 as we did use the heater the first month, but the money saved in ONE month paid for ALL my kerosene appliances, maintenance, fuel and fuel storage - ONE MONTH PAYOFF!!  To make it even sweeter, last year I bought two smaller radiant heaters and 25 gal of kerosene for $220 savings year two, $1280!!  That's 75hrs at $17hr!!  My two new to me heaters AND fuel costs were paid for before the end of the first heating bill!  This is very serious money for those of us not belonging to the upper 1%.  That amount of savings is and entire house note, taxes, insurance and all!

Had it not been for these heaters, we would have been all huddled around the wood stove in the living room all winter long.  My wood stove is awesome, it heats the front of the house overly well, but the back half is where the rooms are, and like anyone else, where we spend the most time.

It is because of you that I even became interested in kerosene appliances, for which I have come to love so much.  I have become amazed at how well kerosene works for not only room heat, but for cooking stoves and circular wick lamps as well.  I am also saddened by how well my 120 year old lamps work and look, and have to realize that America will never again build anything that is made to last 1/10 as long.  My Kero-Sun heaters and stoves are now about 35 years old - that's 3 years older than myself! - and they look and work perfectly, even through the night!

Thank you again,

Patrick Barlow