Project Prepper, Part 42: Backup Heating For House

The last two “Project Prepper” posts consisted of a recap of what the series is all about and a status report for the project a little over three years in the works.

Today I want to move forward and talk about backup heating for the house my girlfriend and I purchased in 2013.

Last Friday, incredibly strong winds (max gust speed 62 mph) pummeled the Chicagoland area. Not surprisingly, we lost power for a few hours- along with the heat. As I lay in bed recovering from the flu and buried under the covers, I thought to myself, “It’s a good thing it isn’t that cold outside today considering its February in Chicago.”

Later on I started thinking about what my girlfriend and I would do if the electricity had been out for a longer stretch of time while the outside temperatures were more “seasonal.”

I decided to look into a backup heat source for the house once I was up and about again.

Fast forward to tonight. Currently, the structure is heated solely by an older natural gas furnace. And as I mentioned before, when the electricity goes, so do the comfy indoor temps.

Not good in these parts at this time of year.

Thankfully, I may have found a solution:

A vent-free natural gas heater


“Vent-Free Gas Heaters”
YouTube Video

I’m thinking of something along the lines of Mr. Heater’s Vent Free Blue Flame Natural Gas Heater (Model# MHVFB30NGT). From the Cleveland, Ohio-based heating product manufacturer’s website:

This Blue Flame 30,000 BTU Natural Gas Vent Free heater is the perfect supplemental heating solution even on the coldest days. This heater is conveniently equipped with a thermostat for superior control of the temperature in your space. Also, with a battery powered electronic ignition, starting it is a breeze – battery included. This unit can be permanently mounted to the wall or securely fastened to the floor with included mounting brackets and fasteners. A clean burning blue flame tube burner uses the natural convection of the burn to circulate warm comfortable air. With a factory standard Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS), rest assured this heater will provide you with years of comfortable and safe heat.

• 30,000 BTU per hour
• For use with Natural Gas
• Heats up to 750 sq. ft.
• Blue flame burner for even convection heat
• Quiet integrated blower for gentle circulation of heated air
• Thermostat for automatic temperature control
• Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS)
• Legs and wall mounting hardware included…

From the Amazon webpage for this family of Mr. Heater products:

Our Vent Free heaters need no external power, great for power outages and applications with no electricity…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Bingo. Just what I’m looking for.

And consider this from Rich M. over at the Off The Grid News website some time back while discussing a different natural gas-powered heater used in the home:

There are two huge advantages to using this type of heater. First of all, they don’t need electricity, and secondly, you don’t have to stockpile natural gas. Natural gas pumping stations provide their own power, so they will probably still be operating even if there is no electricity. About the only way that they can go down is if the gas pipes are damaged…

I’m pretty sure the above applies to the vent-free natural gas heaters too.

In a significant SHTF event, natural gas may or may not be flowing to the house unimpeded. Still, for reliable backup heating after a winter storm/other emergency knocks out the power- and main heating source- for several hours or more, this type of heater might fit the bill.

More research is necessary. As luck would have it, our HVAC guy is scheduled to stop by at the end of next week to talk about a different project. I’ll make it a point to ask him what he thinks about vent-free natural gas heaters as a backup heat source around these parts, and will report back to Survival And Prosperity readers with what was discussed.

Stay warm…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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