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Kerosene vs. propane for emergency heating

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Justin S. lives in Pennsylvania. One evening, he was walking home from a friend’s house in sub-zero temperatures when he fell and blacked out.

The college student lay in the snow for hours as temperatures neared 0 degrees.

He was found the following day unconscious, with no pulse.

According to Justin’s dad, “He was blue, his face, he was lifeless. I checked for a pulse, I checked for a heartbeat, there was nothing.”

When paramedics arrived, they started chest compressions. He was rushed to the local hospital.

Doctors couldn’t even get an accurate body temperature reading because Justin was so cold.

He was transferred by helicopter to another hospital. He was hooked up to a machine that warmed blood and pumps it back into the body.

Within 90 minutes of being on the machine, Justin’s heart started beating on its own.

Doctors said the low temperatures preserved the brain and organ functions.

Approximately 30 days after he was found with no pulse, Justin woke up in a hospital room surrounded by family.

He recovered from his near-death experience and returned to college.

The fact is, whether you are walking home, or are sitting in your home, you should be prepared for dangerous temperatures.

Even in the comfort of your home, you could face a power outage or heating failure.

This is why one of the most important survival items is a heater that will work during a power outage.

But what type of heater is the best?

Here is a look at kerosene vs. propane:


Kerosene is a fuel oil that is often used to power stoves, lamps, and heaters. It’s usually colorless or a slight yellow.

Because it’s readily available it’s a popular fuel for emergency heaters.

One of the many benefits of kerosene is that it’s easy to transport. It doesn’t require a bulky tank like propane.

Also, kerosene lasts longer. If you compare a gallon of kerosene vs. a gallon of propane, the kerosene will burn longer.

Kerosene is also safe for indoor use.

The chances of starting a fire are less with kerosene. This is because if you have a kerosene leak you will likely smell it.

But kerosene isn’t without its problems.

If you don’t add any additives to kerosene its shelf life is only about two to five years.

Also, kerosene heaters can be hard to maintain. You need to trim and clean the wick regularly.


Propane is a liquefied petroleum gas. It’s commonly used to power grills, water heaters, and numerous other appliances.

One of the best things about propane is that it’s readily available at many gas stations and hardware stores.

There should be plenty of places where you can get propane to stock up on.

Also, propane is more cost-effective compared to kerosene.

Plus, propane has an indefinite shelf life. It won’t go bad, and it can be stored outdoors so it doesn’t need as much care as kerosene.

The biggest drawback to propane is that tanks can be large, bulky, and heavy.

It’s not always easy to move propane around.

Also, if you use a propane heater indoors you need to have good ventilation.

You need a carbon monoxide detector to make sure levels don’t get dangerously high.

Which is better?

Propane and kerosene both have their benefits.

Kerosene is much safer for indoor use, but it won’t last as long in storage.

In general, propane heaters are the better option for emergency use. It’s easier to find and will last longer.

However, if you plan on using the heater regularly, kerosene would be a better choice.

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