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Thread: power failure heat?

  1. #1

    Default power failure heat?

    We have a weekend cabin in the valley and have a nice Toyo stove for heat with a woodstove. We have electricity, a well, indoor water pipes, and a refrig.
    We keep the Toyo turned down to 54 degrees when we leave. Over the years, I keep having to repair broken pipes and clean up the mess from a freeze-ups that happen with power outages. We do turn off the well pump and pressure tank and drain the lines the best we can.

    I want to know if there is a such thing as a ventless propane heater that does not require electricity but has maybe a battery powered thermostat that would turn it on when the cabin inside temp drops to maybe 40 degrees during a power outage, and then turns it off when electricity is back up and the Toyo comes on and warms the place up. My friend seems to think there is a such heater and it also had a few D cell batteries for a small fan. He said it connected to a 5 pound propane bottle.
    Ideas? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Go talk to the Propane dealers... They have propane heaters that run off of a thermostat that do not require any electricity... but the pilot light would have to be lit all the time.... Or... you could rig a better system to drain your water pipes that are above ground...

  3. #3

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    I'll talk to the propane dealers. Draining everything (pressure tank, water heater, sink & traps, shower faucet, pipes, Filters, etc) is very time consuming. Plus, then there is food and drinks, the refrig, shampoo, toiletries etc....
    I'drather just find away to keep it heated in the event of an extended power failure. Years ago I saw a propane heater in a magazine that light itself but I cannot find one nowadays.

    A small pilot should last for a while on a 5 gallon bottle of propane?

  4. #4
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Another option is a freeze alarm. I sell several models and I know other folks do to. They call you if the temp in the building drops below a pre-set temp. I don't know how long it takes you to get to your cabin, but if you set it at 40F you should have a few hours to get there before everything freezes up. Depending on where you cabin is, you might even be able to hire someone to monitor it for you.

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    There several ways to keep a Toyo stove running when you lose power. A simple relay that turns on a converter when you lose house power would work. I would also think a Toyo stove dealer would have a back up power system that would solve your problem.

    Other suggestions.
    Have you tried blowing the water out using a air presser?
    If the area that keeps freezing is the same place would it be possible to add a drain at that location, lots of ways to solve your problem just have to find what will work for you.

  6. #6
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Toyo doesn't offer any backup systems. The igniter takes a fair amount of electricity and the fan runs constantly on them. An uninterrupted power source like for a computer won't work on them. You have to use a super high quality inverter along with a decent battery bank to run them. That means a pretty big investment. I'm not aware of any auto switches that can go from the grid electricity to a battery bank and handle the power surges and brown outs we get in the Mat-Su area. They probably exist, but they are going to be very expensive.

    So, back to the original question. The Mr. Heater MHVFR30LPBT has a thermostat and electric (battery powered) ignition.



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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    just blow the lines out with compressed air like a rv and then dump the rv antifreeze in the ptraps. b done with it.
    Semper Fi!

  8. #8

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    It is much more complicated than blowing lines out. I have a water heater, indoor well pressure tank, filters, bathroom etc... Along with everything else in a small home that I do not want to freeze. So to me, blowing out lines only then letting it freeze in not too attractive of an option. I want to keep it from freezing.

  9. #9

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    Mr. Heater MHVFR30LPBT.....yes it has an electronic ignition, and a thermostat ........but a person would need to be there to press the button for the electronic ignition. I need something that independently will turn itself on and then back off until power is restored.

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    We had an Empire (vented) propane heater. The thermostat did not need electricity. You would probably have to have a 100 gallon propane tank and leave the pilot light on.

    If interested it is taking up room in the shed.

    We replaced it with a toyo, batteries, inverter and panels last fall.

    The battery backup/inverter would be very expensive because the toyo eats batteries on start up.

    Good Luck

  11. #11
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Challenging, frankly, to summon empathy while living without most of the amenities you're trying to protect from freezing in your weekend "cabin". But Capitalism is what this country is all about, eh? So good on ya, I guess.

    Given your heat source is a Toyo (or Monitor) stove, the cleanest solution is a small battery bank and an inverter sized specifically for running just the Toyo. They're commonly available, not terribly expensive, and easy to install.

    You could get one at The Woodway in Fairbanks. Not sure where to direct you in the valley or LosAnchorage.
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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rifleshooter View Post
    Mr. Heater MHVFR30LPBT.....yes it has an electronic ignition, and a thermostat ........but a person would need to be there to press the button for the electronic ignition. I need something that independently will turn itself on and then back off until power is restored.
    The description I read sounded like it would light itself. I haven't seen one in person.

  13. #13

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    I'm a bachelor working on the Slope & out in Willow. Also have a Toyo htr, I got around this problem by putting in a Blaze King propane stove. I set the thermostat low (51), it does come on & the fan runs...but it still comes on when the power goes out minus the fan.I'm sure over the years this has saved my house plumbing several times. Not cheap but either are sheetrock & plumbing.Stove also vents out the wall like your Toyo. Good luck.
    Buzzy

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I use RV antifreeze in my system, after draining, I hook up a pump to fill the pressure tank with 5 gallon of RV antifreeze, open the faucets , I use a tankless water heater, pour antifreeze in traps, have not broke any pipes yet. I flush the toilets after the pressure tank is full watch out for pink in the bowl, then shut off the wall fittting. It just takes a few fittings to hook up a pump to fill the pressure tank, I got mine at Fergursons in Soldotna, they have the pump also.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    That is the only way to freeze proof a system. However, if you are using the cabin through the winter on weekends it ends up being impractical.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    My JayCo pop-up camper has a 12volt propane heater that runs by thermostat and dosn't draw to much juice for the fan and it lights itself as needed
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    The description I read sounded like it would light itself. I haven't seen one in person.
    http://www.heatershop.com/30k_radian...ne_heater.html
    I think this one Doug was thinking of...

  18. #18
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    That's the one... but I think he is right, you need to push in the igniter button to light it like on a bar-b-que grill.

  19. #19

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    Doug, in the yellow bullets down the right side of the ad it states Battery Powered Electric Ignition. So that may be something that would work.

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    I kind of had the same problem . I have a woodstove at my cabin but i needed something so if i wanted to keep it warm for a few day or a week i could. my cabin is remote and i am not there all the time but say i am out there and i come to town for a week and go back i wanted keep it warm while i was in town. I found the perfect stove Its a nordic carbarated oil stove needs no electricity they make a thermastat for it and you already have oil there it would be the ticket. The only drawback is they are a little spendy i have the medium one i think i payed 1250 for it. they do make a smaller one. They don't burn that much fuel They are a great stove i cant smell any oil smell . I like it better than my toyo i dont ever haft to mess with it the toyo is so tempermental.

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