Grid Down Heater Review: KeroHeat CV-2230

by Erich

Although I primarily heat with wood, I do like to have backups for heating (redundancy is key, remember?) just in case my wood runs out or on days where the wood is saturated from a rain storm.

A couple years ago I reviewed a great little emergency heater called the Mr. Heater Big Buddy heater (you can read the Big Buddy review here). It’s been my go-to heater for spot heating sections of the home or for emergencies prior to getting a wood stove.

Since getting the Big Buddy, I’ve heard some great things about Kerosene heaters from a number of readers as well as through my own online research and have wanted to pick one up for some time now. For more information, End Times Report is a fantastic site that has some great info on kerosene heaters.

About 2 weeks ago I decided to pick one up (specifically the KeroHeat CV-2230) to see how it performs and here’s my overall review:

Overall Thoughts

Overall I was impressed with this little heater and I think it makes a great addition to my off-grid heating preps.

It pumps out a fair amount of BTUs (23,000) that is capable of heating the main floor of my living space, and as I mentioned in the video above, it kept the house at a comfortable 65 F when the temps outside were in the mid teens.

The fact that it runs off of Kerosene is another big plus. Kerosene is a very stable, long-lasting, easily stored fuel that I have no issues even keeping (in small amounts) indoors.

Dislikes?

The carrying handle (especially under the weight of a full tank of kerosene) feels pretty flimsy and bends slightly under the weight. Overall the construction seems a bit on the cheap side but looking at these types of heaters as a whole and you’ll notice there’s not much too it — it’s essentially millenia-old technology (wick and fuel) wrapped in a modern container.

If you’re looking for a good off-grid option for heating your home, I’d recommend taking a closer look at either the KeroHeat CV-2300 or Mr. Heater Big Buddy. Both have worked well for me.

Recommendations…

If you plan on buying one of these for your off-grid/emergency heating needs, be sure to pick up some extra wicks (they’re around $18). It’s the one element on the heater that will “wear out” with time.

Click on the image below if you want to check it out in Amazon…


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21 Comments»

Comment by April H
2013-12-16 22:28:32

I’ve been using this heater to heat my home for the last three years, and it has held up very well. The wicks at Home Depot are about $12. This is my only source of heat, aside from a convection heater in one bedroom. There are YouTube videos that show how to replace the wick, and as you said, it is relatively easy to maintain. I purchase the kerosene at the gas station, and it is $22.50 for five gallons. A five gallon container will last about two days if the unit is run 24 hours, or three to four days of run for 12 hours. One filling lasts from 10 to 12 hours, depending on how new the wick is. The newer the wick, the more kerosene it soaks up. It heats up my first floor perfectly, but does not reach the second floor or basement. We only live on the first floor, so we’re okay there. This year I’ve bought a dehumidifier to compensate for the large amount of condensation this unit produces. Keep in mind that you cannot regulate the heat output very much with this, but it does the trick! 🙂

 
Comment by george
2013-12-16 22:31:35

Also when using in in powered homes/etc be sure to place a as pan of water on to to keep moisture level up in enclosure!!!!! Enjoy

 
Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-12-16 22:37:48

@April H,

Great to hear that you’ve been using this for a while now April. My time-frames these last two weeks have been spot on with yours. 5 gallons will last 2 days if run for 24 hours or four days if I use it only on half days.

 
Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-12-16 22:39:43

@George,

I’m a bit confused. April mentioned that this unit will produce condensation whereas it seems that you’re implying that you need to add moisture. Since kerosene heating is new to me I’m not sure which is which.

thoughts?

thanks!

– Erich

 
Comment by Harald
2013-12-16 22:57:37

It will burn oxygen so how do you deal with that? Do you need to keep it near a fresh air intake vent or a slightly opened window?

 
Comment by Steve
2013-12-16 23:03:43

A single point non circulating heat source may produce “cold spots”, as in along walls, especially cement walls. The further away from the heat source the colder the wall or whatever will be.
Think glass of iced tea in a warm room.
This may not apply to your particular home as much either.
If You had a basement I personally would put the heater there. It’s the method I use and its seems to eventually heat the upper floors as well and reduce condensation AND help with any low humidity issues. (I have nose bleeds in the winter in super dry environment. Depending on the house I lived in I used a humidifier or pan of water on the kero heater as required. Or not)
Another reason not to store firearms in a closet that is against an outside wall. No circulating heat so you get that differential where a cold metal object is exposed, partially, to warm humid air.
So in summary, try it out and adjust as necessary. Add water pot of it tends to dry your environment to much, or move the kero heater around to compensat for condensation.
As a side note, you can’t say enough about the value of insulating the bejesus out of your house and sealing up the leaky spots.
THAT is the best defense against both if these issues IMHO.

 
Comment by John
2013-12-16 23:18:11

I’ve been using this type of heater for many years. I don’t use it as primary heat but simply as emergency backup. Just last week my furnace failed and for two days until we got it fixed I was able to maintain heat in a large two-story house. Through the use of ceiling fans – by placing the heater in the central room I find that the fans mix and move the air into adjacent rooms allowing for more efficient heat distribution.

Even though outdoor temperatures were in the low 20s, I was able to maintain a steady 56° around-the-clock. It was cool enough that you had to keep a sweatshirt on but warm enough to prevent any damage from freezing pipes and so forth.

You are correct. Kerosene stores very well. At a time when I was using the kerosene heater a great deal, I purchased a 55 gallon drum of fuel early in the season. By putting a Schrader valve in one bung of the drum and a hose fitting on the other, I was able to slightly pressurize the drum with a tire pump to fill my smaller kerosene cans. A drum pump or siphon was not needed. (Necessity truly is the mother of invention!)

Additionally, my older heater doesn’t have the safety cage around it like yours so the top surface can be utilized to cook. In my case, I live alone so I don’t have small kids and critters to worry about safety-wise, Think it through before you undo any of the safety features built into your unit. Always safety first!

John

 
Comment by Steve
2013-12-16 23:22:24

There are commercially available low O2 sensors and CO detectors that aren’t very expensive. There isnt a manufacturer of a non vented heater that burns a combustible fuel source that will not warn in in their operating manual in very specific terms that their unit should at least not be operated while people at sleeping.
Of course we all know in a power out situation no one is going to be willing to freeze to death or stay awake for a week or whatever. Most people I know that use a kero heater as a main heat source use it around the clock.
How tight is your home?
If it’s not one of those concrete and polyurethane poured homes, you’re probably getting enough air exchange to keep you from asphyxiating.
But for the cost of a couple of detector units, or even a combo one that does it all, especially if your not sure about your homes …”air tight ness”..why not?
At least buy the detectors and try it out for a few days to see what the situation is. If no excesses of carbon monoxide or low oxygen are detected I would assume the exchange is good enough even if the sniffers would rendered inop due to battery or failure issues. Unless maybe some unusual circumstances were to present themselves, like your house being buried to the soffits in snow, for example.

 
Comment by Fred
2013-12-17 00:50:26

I live in an all-electric townhouse (including heat) in Pennsylvania. For the first time ever we lost power here for 2 days last winter, and we’ve never owned any back-up heat source, so I was just getting ready to buy one. From what I’ve read, it looks like the cost of 20 lb of propane and 5 gallons of kerosene cost about the same — but from what I’ve read of the Mr. Heater Big Buddy relative to the comments here, that dollar for dollar other users state that the fuel will last about twice as long in the Big Buddy versus this kerosene heater (although I do realize that the Big Buddy with the accessory fuel hose and a new 20 lb tank will cost about 50% more than this kerosene heater ubutally. Can anyone here comment on the fuel costs versus run time of these two different heaters?.

 
Comment by Paul WILLIAMS
2013-12-17 00:53:08

We have used a kerosene heater as a back up or when we were away for the day and the wood stove would go out for the last 40 or so years. We used it only as a back up to the main heat Wood for 25 years and oil boiler for the last 17 years. We have both smoke and CO detectors in the home 110v and battery back up. Kerosene is very easy to store in a back shed. We also used the small heater in a small cabin camping in the winter we live now in Alaska and tempts are much colder than the outside but we always managed to stay warm and dry. We couldn’t agree more with your conclusion on kerosene as a viable alternative heat source

 
Comment by Dale
2013-12-17 01:22:15

I used several of these heaters during the last “energy crisis”, 35 or so years ago. Bad points were the smell, and I noticed a build-up of residue on the inside of the windows. Who knows what kind of toxins were coating my lungs! After all it is petroleum, with no outside exhaust. The house I lived in then was built in the 30’s, no storm windows or insulation, so I didn’t have to worry about fresh air exchange. Kerosene was only about 90 cents a gallon too!! I would never use another one now, even though they are probably more efficient now. (Never say Never) Unvented means your lungs are the filters. They are illegal for use within city limits where I live. Mainly because of the idiots filling with gasoline instead of kerosene and causing fatal fires. Darwins theory. All now have tip over switches, and safety cages. Many people use them, but I won’t consider them unless things go really extreme. My vented, propane cost more, but it works with no power, I won’t freeze if the grid goes down, and I can heat up soup or leftovers if needed. In fact, that is all I have been using this winter. The stove is in the basement, and the rest of the house is 58. Low of 16 two days ago! Layer the clothes, and pay the power co. 70.00 a month.

 
Comment by Rebecca
2013-12-17 07:46:31

I used to use a kero heater many years ago but have y’all looked at the cost of burning one today? Our kero costs $8.80 a gallon. Much more expensive than wood. I also know someone that had one of these heaters and it caught fire TWICE. Once almost burned his house down, twice he came in from outside and it had just torched itself and he picked it up and threw it outside in the yard and let it burn. So how (short of no heat) can this possibly have any advantage over wood ?? I’m NOT a novice when it comes to heating with kerosene heaters.

 
Comment by Rusty Bateman
2013-12-17 10:20:52

You can also use jet fuel. JP 4 and JP 8 are just different grades of kerosene. Kerosene is expensive around here. About $9.50 a gallon in the store and about $6.50 at gas stations. At our local airport, it’s about $4.00 per gallon. When we had an ice storm, power was out for three weeks in some areas. Stores and gas stations ran out. As a former military helicopter mechanic, it dawned on me to try some JP8. I called the airport and they said they would sell it to anyone. Needless to say, when it made the local news, everyone who needed it was there buying it. The fueler made a killing without raising his prices.

 
Comment by Armen
2013-12-17 12:49:29

It does create minor amounts of carbon monoxide (also dependent on maintaining a proper wick level) but unless you are living in one of the newer, self-contained, non-breathing houses, there’s plenty of cracks to let in some air.

I think having a CO detector when using a propane, kerosene or wood stove is a must.

I purchased this heater about 3 months ago because the chimney sweeps for my WBS weren’t able to come out until mid-December.

It heats up my first floor (and second if I put it near the stairs) very nicely.

I’m not impressed with the “electric” (3 AA batteries) tiny coil starter and have reverted to using a match.

You do have to stand by the heater for the first five minutes to adjust the wick down (you light it by raising the wick to it’s highest level) as the kerosene heats up. Sometimes you have to adjust the wick by rotating the chamber via the “handle” inside the little access door. The guard rails on the outside make this somewhat of a hassle.

Has anyone here changed the wick yet? Looking at the instructions it seemed as complicated as taking apart a carburetor 😛

 
Comment by Scott
2013-12-17 13:18:52

I have used kerosene heaters as emergency heat for 30 years. I have one similar to the one you demonstrate 23,000 BTU, and a smaller one, 19,000 BTU. We have a small bi-level home, and when I place the bigger heater in the basement landing, the heat rises up the stairs and heats the main living area nicely. It works great as emergency heat. It does have an unpleasant oder when the heater is turned off, (it smells like burned jet fuel), but unvented propane heaters also have an oder. I’ve just gotten used to it, the smell dissipates. I wouldn’t use a kerosene heater as my main heat source, but it is a good backup. I’ll admit, my Little Buddy Propane Heater is easier to use, and less messy.

 
Comment by Methane Creator
2013-12-17 17:54:33

I was able to pick up two emergency use stoves at the Army Surplus store here. One is the old Pot Belly stove that will burn diesel, gasoline, coal or wood. I prefer burning the gasoline as it burns hotter and cleaner. I also got the Yukon stove which burns gasoline quite well. Yes, they have to be vented to the outside, but I cut a metal square to fit the window and am able to run the smokestack pipe out this. These stoves will really crank out the heat too. No wicks to buy and they require minimal care and cleaning. Nice cooking surface on each one too. Dangerous for kids though as there is no protective wire basket or mesh around them. If they touch it, they get burned.

 
Comment by Rourke
2013-12-17 17:57:32

Great article – appreciate the information. I just was asking my readers about kerosene heater and one of them sent me a link to your article.

Appreciate it.

 
Comment by Clay Roberts
2013-12-29 18:25:15

Great post! This heater heats up the house in no time. It is easy to use and gets the job done. Make sure to read the instructions first, because the first time I tried it we did not set heat properly and there was a slight odor.

 
Comment by Bob
2014-01-18 13:41:07

Kerosense is over $10 a gallon here where I live, and it’s hard to find period anymore. You can get it a little cheaper if you buy large quantities, but not all that much cheaper. It’s no longer feasible for extended backup heating using a kerosene heater due to high cost.

 
Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2014-01-18 13:56:42

Bob,

$10/gallon is usually only that high at the hardware stores. You might want to look at the HESS.com site (or other similar chain in your area) to see if there are any Kerosene pumps near you. Kerosene is around $3.50/gallon where I live and even cheaper in bulk.

 
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2014-03-06 23:21:10

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