The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Indoor-safe propane heater

Mr. Buddy heater

Back before our electricity was hooked up, a cold spell hit and Mark and I got desperate. "I'm so cold!" I whined as I tried to wash vegetables with frozen fingers. "Get in the car," Mark replied.

We turned on the heat...then headed straight to Lowes to check out the propane heater options. Only one was labeled as safe for indoor use --- Mr. Buddy, which is made to run on little one-pound cylinders but can be easily converted over to the larger canisters that are swappable at various stores in town. On high, you get about an hour of heat per pound of propane...which is a serious amount of warmth that can quickly heat up a large room. On low, we kept our living space moderately warm for a week on a fifteen-pound canister.

Although Mr. Buddy sits solidly in the column of "desperation = money spent," the heater will be a good backup during power outages (which I hear are just as serious here as they were back in Virginia). Of course, we still plan to hook up our wood stove as well, but it never hurts to have extra redundancies for necessities as important as winter heat.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Thanks for the review. This looks like a good option for me since I don't have a woodstove and probably can't put one in my doublewide.
Comment by Nayan Wed Nov 29 10:41:36 2017

Hey guys,

I've used the same heater over the past few years. It really helps out during the "shoulder season" when heating with wood. My first year, it was my only source of heat.

However, I just wanted to make sure you guys are using the right hose. According to the Mr. Buddy website, there was a problem with using regular hoses. The pressure from a larger tank (rather than the small one-pound tanks that screw directly on the sides) would cause some leaching of the rubber into the gas stream.

This leaching would dirty up the unit and ruin it. In other words, the pressure was too much, so you were basically burning propane and small amounts of rubber; which over time would gunk up the whole thing.

The company came up with a filter on the hose which really helped. Eventually, they realized that what was really needed was a separate pressure regulator on the hose.

So, double-check your hose to make sure it has its own pressure regulator or at the very least has the filter attached. It will make your unit last much longer and be much, much safer to operate.

Oh, when you get a chance, please do provide updates on your hot water heater. I'm really curious to find out how well it works. I'm going to need to replace mine in the not too distant future.

Been following you guys for years and lovin' every minute.

Thanks, Steve

Comment by Anonymous Wed Nov 29 11:35:32 2017

I bought the hubby one last year for Christmas. He uses it in our garage which is small and boy does that thing put off some heat. I would definitely buy another one if we ever need it in case our furnace goes out.


Comment by bleueaugust Wed Nov 29 19:06:50 2017

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