Friday, January 25, 2013
Dyna Glo Kerosene Heater
I had to take off from work today to help care for my wife and two daughters, who've come down with the creeping crud that's been going around. During my morning errands I stopped off at Lowes and bought a Dyna Glo model RMC-95C6B kerosene heater. We've wanted an auxiliary heater for awhile and today seemed like a good time to pick it up along with a 5 gallon can of Klean-Strip K-1 dye-free kerosene.
The Dyna Glo model we got is a cylindrical convection style heater putting out 23000 BTU. We have it in the middle of our living/dining room, which is the middle level of our split level home. Our den downstairs has a gas fireplace to keep it warm, while the forced air heat from our gas furnace manages to heat the upper level where our bedrooms are. The living and dining room tend to be cold, partially due to the ductwork, but also because they have a cathedral ceiling.
The heater required minimal assembly - basically I needed to put on the top piece and the protective grill. There are two Phillips head screws holding it together. The heater can be lit with a match, but the primary way to light it is via the built in electric start that is powered by two C cells.
For safety's sake I filled the heater outside. It came with a siphon which made filling it easy. The tank has a fuel gauge on it so you know when it's almost full. Using the siphon instead of a funnel allowed me to fill the tank without spilling any fuel.
Before lighting the heater I brought it inside and let the wick soak up the fuel for a little more than an hour. Doing so with a new wick is key to preventing poor burning and making fumes.
So far it's burning nicely and has made the middle level of my house very comfortable. The Klean-Strip K-1 seems to burn cleanly without smoke or much odor. It's definitely not as stinky as the K-1 we used when I was a kid. I just wish it wasn't over $8 per gallon (due primarily to taxes).
Overall it seems decently made but the handle connection could be better. I'm going to see about getting a couple hitch pins to better secure the handle to the heater body. I do not plan on moving it while lit so this isn't an immediate concern.
Anytime you are burning fuel indoors you need to be aware of the possibility that you could be producing poisonous carbon monoxide (CO). Because it's odorless, it can be difficult to detect until it's too late. Our primary heating system is forced air natural gas, so we already have to CO detectors. One is downstairs right outside the furnace closet. The other is in our upstairs hallway. So far neither has chirped but I'm getting a third to have in the living room with the kero heater just to be on the safe side.
Back in the early/mid 1980s when energy prices were relatively high, but kerosene was relatively cheap, kerosene heaters were more common in American homes. My parents used one to help keep their house warm. It never failed that ever winter there would be at least one news story about a house fire started by someone putting gasoline in a kero heater. NEVER do this. You'll be lucky if it only catches fire. There's a good chance that putting gas into a kero heater will cause an explosion.
If you use them properly kerosene heaters are a good, safe way to provide supplemental heating for your home. Read the directions that came with your heater, use only the correct fuel, and have a carbon monoxide detector.