August 06, 2010

The Sun's Shining, the Sky is Blue, and I'm Talking About Heaters???

Here in the Great Northwest, we have awesome summer weather. Right now it's a quarter to 6 in the afternoon, the temp is around 73, there's the tinyest of breezes making the windchime make little pleasant sounds. Not the time one would normally think of power outages, failing economies, the potential End Of The World As We Know It via 2012.

But here's the thing. This is EXACTLY when we need to think about, talk about and plan for things like no electricity, no heat, etc. What exactly would make you not be able to stay in your home if 'IT' happened? Some common things like a snowstorm or bad windstorm (let's stay simple here for a bit and leave out things like asteroids hitting the earth or Planet X or Nibiru).

This winter is supposed to be bad here in the NW this winter like it was last winter in the North East - New York, Boston, Philly, the whole northeast all had some doozies for winter storms. So how did you guys there fare? What did you do with frozen pipes and no power and 4 frickin feet of snow and the road not plowed, and what? How did you cook? How did you stay warm? What did you eat? (could you take showers still?)(ewwww - if the pipes froze then the toilets wouldn't flush, so what did you do about THAT? We'll save that for another day.)

Everybody over 30 oughta know that the time to get a generator isn't after the first blizzard/power outage. The time to buy an air conditioner isn't 3 days after the temps hit 102 degrees. You've been in the lines at Home Depot or Costco or Walmart (or got there too late to even BE in a line). Nope, the time to get the generator is in the summer when no one wants them. Same goes for the propane heaters.

For heat, something that is flat hands down brilliant (after I got mine ALL my friends got one) is the Mr Heater Big Buddy Heater along with the hose/regulator that you need to hook it to a propane tank (buy both, not just the heater). This thing is way up towards the top of my ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE items, whether you live in the desert or in Bemidji Minnesota (now THOSE guys get some cold winters :o)

I love this heater for several reasons: first, it is designed to be used indoors and has a special oxygen sensor that will turn the unit off if it becomes unsafe for any reason. It also has a low and a high setting (don't be fooled and get the Little Buddy heater that gives only 9,000 BTUs of heat - it's only good for a bathroom sized space, you want the 18,000/9,000 BTU Big Buddy). It also has a built in fan that runs on D cell 8 batteries that seem to last forever.

You put the heater on high with the fan on and it really spreads the heat around the area. Then you turn the heater to low and let it run (still with the fan on). It is safe to use indoors, is lightweight, you aren't having to mess with kerosene, and wicks, and smell - just nice cozy heat when you need it most. And best of all, since it's summer, no one will be beating down the doors to get the last one. You'll want to have some D cell batteries (don't install them in the heater, just put them in a baggie in the heater box so you can find them when you need them) and a few of the 5 gallon propane cylinders (like they use on the BBQ's) in your storage area and you'll be way better off next time the power goes out in the winter.

I heat with propane heat and a wood stove and I STILL have and use my Big Buddy heater. Why? Because sometimes it's just quicker and easier to turn the heater on for 20 or 30 minutes rather than build a fire. They're very handy to have around, especially if the power goes out.


  1. Hey! Just got the Mr Heater Tough Buddy at Lowes, same model number as the Big Buddy. Also found the regulator/hose/filter connectors at Sportsmans Warehouse, so thanks for that tip, too! Time to go fill up my tanks before the winter price hikes! Where do you put your tanks when you run the heater? Must be by a window to run the cord from the tanks outside into the house??? Looking forward to your emerg prep blog "class"...where when?
    : )

  2. Well, this reply is only 6 years late :o) I put the 5 gallon propane tank in the house, and I use the 12' hose so that the tank can be 8-10 feet from the heater. All of the fittings are in perfect condition (even tho the tank, hose and heater are several years old). And I follow the connection directions. So if the tank is outside and I hook up the hose to the heater incorrectly, there would be a big chance of stuff blowing up even if the tank was outside. So we have to trust ourselves to do an efficient job screwing that end of the hose in correctly. Then if you would like to check your work where you screw the hose onto the propane tank, what the propane professionals do is put a small amount of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle with water. Then you squirt all around the connection where the hose hooks to the tank. If you have a leak there will be bubbles from the soap where the leak is. No bubbles = no leak. And if the tank is safe outside, it's safe inside as long as you use common sense and don't set it immediately in front of the heater.