Instead of an oil drip heater, how about
a propane heater? The ones that are similar to a small Toyo??
In reading the replies to the posts on the oil drip stoves, it seems as though that is likely not the way to go. We just finished building a 12x16 cabin, which we will stay in (weekends only) pretty much year round while we build the larger cabin. We will definately have a wood stove in the larger cabin, but have veered away from that idea in the smaller cabin as we would need a smaller wood stove, and no one wants to get up all night long to feed it. That's not any fun!! Size is definately an issue.
So....we were also looking at the propane heaters. I personally don't want the hassle, but......
In a 12x16 I would use a wall mounted non-vent propane furnace to heat that. Simple and cheap. No chimney required, that costs more than the wood stove in most cases. Takes up very little space. Instant heat, and they are about $200 for the unit at alaska industrial harware. Very easy to plumb in. Use the large 100lbs tanks. Have 2 of them and swap them out as needed. They are pretty economical to run as well. I am looking do build next summer just what you are doing, a 12x16 tool/generator shed that we will live in until the real cabin is complete. I will be heating with the above method.
The toyo units require a pure sine wave energy source. You cannot run them on a generator. Even the honda invertors. To run toyo or monitors you must run them off of a battery bank with high dollar invertors, not the cheap one. It's about $3000 for a good battery setup. Great for those spending alot time in their cabins and I know many that do run them. It's awesome. But very spendy for a weekender.
Propane vs oil
IMO propane is more expensive than oil. We go through a couple of 100lbs'ers a winter just for backup heat. We use wood as the primary heat and only keep the propane stove at about 60 so we don't have to worry too much about stoking the fire in the middle of the night. After having oil in the last place, I would vote for the oil over propane or wood for the primary heat. Wood is good cheap heat but it takes a lot of time and work to cut and split, which takes away from playing which I thought was why we got the cabin, boy was I wrong.
Works great but...
I live in a 16x20 cabin and used a ventless propane wall-mount heater as backup heat for the wood (overnight and when gone for 12 hours for work).
Works great except for the fact that burning propane without a vent puts on a considerable amount of moisture. In my full-time use, it's too much, in addition to cooking every night, two people, and two big dogs.
A 100 lb bottle would last quite a long time with only weekend use. At 40 below my 16x20 cabin could be kept at 65 degrees or more and did not seem to go in high, it stayed on low burner. Also consider that propane will quit evaporating around -40F.
This is the same as mine: http://www.catfishsupply.net/Product...spx?id=3505558
They come in natural gas and propane, so make sure to get the propane.
PM me if interested, I will answer questions, and would like to sell mine as I'm upgrading to the Toyo Laser30 - because of the moisture.
Agreed about the moisture issue for a year round 24/7 use. For the weekender though, we put so much moisture in the cabin with wet clothes ect. that I don't think it's much of an issue. That, and as a weekender, especially with kids, the doors get opened so often that there is alot of fresh air transfer. As a full time heat source, they are a poor choice.
I'd never use a propane heater that vents to the building interior. I do have a direct vent (through-wall) propane heater, non-electric but with a thermostat, in my kid's room at the cabin. It works fine but I'd be wary of using it for primary heat in any size cabin in the winter. It doesn't make enough heat to overcome the cold for weekend use.
I know several folks who use Paloma water heaters without flues. They don't have any problems but the water heaters only fire occasionally, and only after the cabins are up to normal interior temps.
OIl vs.Propane in $$
Biggest reason oil is more popular than propane for heating in " the bush":
1gal #1 fuel oil = approx 140,000 btu ( input )
1gal propane = approx 86,000 btu ( input )
They cost about the same per gallon ( LP is more at present time ) but you get +60% more heat for the same qty with fuel oil. So you need lots of propane tank capacity to keep things running for awhile.
Personally, as someone in the trade, I would never use a vent-free heater in any structure I own. Just a personal bias. If you want to go propane, the direct-vent-thru-the-wall units that are millivolt powered ( thus no electricity required ) are the best value--- they have to be on an outside wall to vent, but the vent termination comes with the unit when purchased, so no seperate chimney purchase is required.
As Mr. Pid alludes to, you need to oversize these units for winter use so-as to get a faster warm up time-- but oversizing a heating unit has it own drawbacks as well, but I won't go into that here.
To get a ballpark estimate as to what size you may need for a given space, take the cubic feet of the space ( sq. footage X ceiling height ) and multiply by 7 ( 7 btu/ cu. ft ). This is an old rule-of-thumb for a typical 2x4 wall with R9-11 insulation. It works fairly good for log cabins as well, as long as you recognize this is only a ballpark estimate.
Example: 10x12 guest cabin, ave ceiling height of 9ft. 10x12x9= 1080.
1080 X 7 = 7560 btu. This would maintain the space at 70 deg. if it were already warmed up to 60-70deg. , down to approx -30F outside. If it were -20F outside and inside, and you want to warm it up-- it could take 24 hrs or more ( or never ). Thus the impulse to oversize X2 or more.
Typical direct-vent-thu-the-wall units come in sizes 7000-8000, 12000-15000, and 25000-30000 btu models.
Some brand names: Williams, Orbis, Empire, WarmMorning, Cozy. The millivolt versions aren't by any means going to be the most efficient units offered by these or other companies, and some of the brands only offer millivolt models in the smallest units, but the millivolt system offers simplicity and no requirement for electrical power.
Like PolarisDan said LP needs to evaporate to work and will stay a liquid at -41f I think it is.
Now you may be thinking “So what, I stay home or use wood when it’s that cold.” Read on, it's important!
The trouble starts at about +20f as the evaporation begins to slow down and by 0f you are wondering why it is cold in the cabin even though the fire is burning. Well the fire is starving for gas that’s why. The colder it gets the bigger tank volume needed to give adequate evaporation in the cold when you need it most.
I have a wall unit in my shop that is rated 30,000btu on LP and 24,000 on natural gas. When I first put it in I had a 100 gallon LP tank to run it and it would not ever get the 20x30 shop over 45f no matter how long it ran. Now that I have natural gas put in I can heat the shop from -10f to 65f in about two hours with the same heater that is rated less on natural gas. So if you want to use LP for heat in Alaska you need way more tank than you think. The LP company guy said ballpark at -10f you need around 200 gallons of capacity per 10,000btu. Or heat the tank somehow.
We have a 12x16 cabin and use a wall mounted direct vent (vent goes through the wall, pulls in outside air, burns it, exhaust goes outside), propane heater that doesn't need electricity to run. No woodstove. We are weekenders.
I couldn't be happier with the setup. We show up Friday night after work, say 9pm, I open the valve on the tank, hold down the pilot light button a few seconds and hit the igniter. I don't have to mess with things till Sunday afternoon when we shut her down.
I've got 2 100# tanks and several 40#ers. Propane is more expensive than oil but it is easy to deal with. Throw the empty tank on the sled behind the snowgo, drag it to the truck, put it in the back, get it filled while in town and haul it back. Usually do that twice a winter.
As people mentioned above, you do have to worry about it getting too cold for propane. We are near Petersville, coldest it got when we were out there was about -20F. No problems. Since we go out there for fun, we just don't go if it is going to be colder than that (it usually isn't). If you are in the interior it might not be the best way to go. If you get a bigger cabin or stay full time, it probably isn't the best either.
In a 12x16 cabin, a woodstove would simply take up too much room.
I'm with the others in that I would not use a vent free (exhuasts into the room) model.
12 volt Toyo Cabin Heater
You might consider the 12 volt Toyo cabin heater. I have used one for 4 years and it works pretty good and is cheap on fuel. Heat output is pretty low though but it keeps the green house warm. Kinda spendy about $1000. Burns # 1 or kerosene.
Nordic stove, vented to use outside air, oil carborated non-electric and mine is 17" tall front is 25" from the wall. I built a 18" square box for it to sit on off the floor and put my boots under the stove. Hardly uses oil and does a great job in my 16x16. I am only here until the first week of Oct. but I never run it higher than the lowest setting the last two weeks and I am very satisfied.
Hope this helps,
TMS- Sent you a pm. I have a new Monitor and all the pipe to go thru the roof if interested...