Ice Storm in Memphis

Well, I’m back in Memphis at my 100 year old mother in law’s house. I’d say half of Memphis is without power and half the traffic lights not working. The drive inside Memphis was rather scary. They say over 100,000 houses are without power   Thankfully our farm in north Mississippi has power.

So after work, I loaded up my truck with the dual fuel generator, lots of extension cords, 25 gallons of gasoline and 5 of my 40 pound LP gas tanks. Also brought two of my Humless solar generators and my LP gas ventless heater. I don’t trust ventless heaters, so I placed it in front of the fireplace. She has natural gas logs but they won’t keep the room warm. This LP gas heater keeps the room toasty warm and only runs about 10% of the time. 


  • Comments (12)

    • 4


    • 3

      Nice! Your M-I-L is lucky to have you to rely on!

      What is the brand/make of your ventless heater? Is it thermostatically controlled? I could use one for the same purposes and reasoning. Our fireplace is highly inefficient. I have used one of those small tank mounted heaters but they run constantly, and we only have electric heat otherwise!


      • 1

        I’m interested in the ventless heater too.  II have gas heat but if the power is out, so is the furnace controls and fan, but the and a gas log fireplace (insert) would work as you say inefficiently.  I have the Mr. Heater for this situation and would have the same issues as Mr. Mark.  

    • 1

      I have one of those decorative gas log fire places and they don’t really add much heat like you said. Good tip to place the heater in front of the fireplace though to benefit off some of the ventilation.

      Stay warm ya’ll.

    • 2

      I have a Mr Heater 30,000 BTU propane ventless heater.  I can’t begin to state how impressed I am with it. It has a thermostat, with numbers from 1 thru 5. We have it set on 2 in a room that is 16’ x 30’.  5 would run us out of the house.  Most of the time, the only thing running is the pilot light   But when needed, it fires up and heats the whole room quickly.  What I find amazing, is the whole room is uniformly warm. It is not hot near the heater and cool farther away

      it has an electric (battery) igniter which is super easy to use. I chose to use LP gas over natural gas to give me flexibility in using the heater wherever I need. I ordered a Mr Heater kit which has all the components necessary to hook to a tank. That includes a good 90 degree fitting which is needed as the gas fitting is on the bottom of the unit. Also has a nice long hose and regulator

      Being ventless, the unit is very efficient, as you can tell by the beautiful blue flame. It does have the necessary safety features  such as an oxygen depletion sensor which will shut off the heater if you don’t have proper air flow in the room   I personally don’t trust such technology so I strongly suggest providing proper ventilation  I’m keeping the damper open in the fireplace since we have closed off this room

      I’m trying to figure out how it is so effective in heating the whole room. I think it has to do with the shape of the heater that directs the heat out… not up like gas logs   They sell a fan unit but I read reviews that said it really wasn’t necessary and I agree. I feel a better option would be some small fans that could be used to spread the heat further thru a house. In our situation, we have closed off the other rooms

      This might be the single best item I have ever purchased… for the money   Nothing worse than getting uncomfortably cold in a crisis. And like I said, this unit allows me to shut off the generator while we sleep and still stay toasty warm. That is a huge advantage. Also nice to know if the generator failed, we would continue to stay warm

      it does  come with the necessary hardware if you want to permanently mount in a wall

    • 2

      Thought I’d monitor run time on the heater while we are watching the Winter Olympics, thanks to the generator and tv antenna (cable is down).  

      We are in the living room with dining room at the far end. Combined it is around 16’ x 30’ with an entry hall and front door open to this room. There is an outside wall running the full length with large picture windows with drapes closed 

      With an outdoor temp of 26 degrees, the heater runs for around 3 minutes and shuts down for about 12.  This is with the heater on setting 2 of 5

      A 30,000 BTU heater can run for around 3 hours on a gallon of LP gas. My 40 pound tanks holds 9.4 gallons of gas each. With the heater running nonstop, one of my 40 pound tanks should last a bit over a day. But as stated, the heater doesn’t run nonstop.  Let’s say the heater runs 15 minutes each hour here. That means this heater should run for over 4 days on a tank

      • 1

        Awesome job going to the rescue of your MIL! While many were freezing and struggling you guys were sitting cozy watching the Olympics! Now that’s prepping for ya.

        Did you ever figure out what was wrong with some of your LP gas tanks from your post a month ago?

      • 3

        Yep.  This is a good time to be a prepper.  I ain’t so crazy anymore.

        No definitive answer.  Nobody at the LP dealer had an answer and when I tried again, after I got home, the LP tanks worked fine.  These past few days I started running the generator on LP gas in new bottles and it worked fine for a few hours & then shut off.  I changed tanks & same thing after a few hours.  This time however, I was better prepared in that I also brought up 25 gallons of gasoline, so yesterday I switched to it with no problems.

        I have looked a little deeper into the internet & might know the issue.  It seems like there is a warm weather LP & a cool weather.  The warm weather has more impurities, normally butane, which can freeze up in below freezing weather.  Also some folks say these smaller LP tanks lose pressure as you use them & that often they will stop working when around half empty when below freezing.  That seems like what happened this trip.  Folks talk about keeping these small tanks heated or maybe putting the tank where the warm generator exhaust can keep the tank warmer.

        The temperature issue seems to correlate with what I’ve experienced.  Those two tanks that failed me on the first trip, worked fine a few days later when I was doing tests.  And yes, it was much warmer during the test.  I just got home & unloaded the generator & tanks.  I added a healthy dose of gasoline stabilizer & ran the generator for 5 minutes to let that coat everything.  I then hooked up one of the LP tanks that gave me problems yesterday, and let the generator run for about 20 minutes… with no issues.  It is now sunny & above freezing.  I like to run the generator on propane before storing it, as that should help clean out the carburetor… I think.

        So at least for me, I’ve learned not to trust LP gas in small tanks when below freezing.  I’ll use gasoline and save the LP for the heater, or for use with the generator when warm out.

      • 1

        Nice job testing and researching to find out the issue. I was thinking that it might have something to do with the temperature of the fuel.

        It’s not the same but butane lighters don’t always work that well in cold temperatures but a Zippo lighter with liquid fuel does no problem. Sort of like what you have going on with your LP gas not working that well in cold but the liquid gasoline does.

        Wish I had “Prepper of the week” awards to hand out. You would win it this week. 

      • 2

        Thank you sir.  It is always beneficial to actually use our preps, in real circumstances.  Around here in north Mississippi, the two main events causing electric outages are summer storms/tornadoes… and winter ice storms.  I still think a dual fuel generator is a great way to go.

    • 1

      Do you guys in the US have those house safe Catalytic Propane Heaters????

      • 2

        Don’t seem to be common here.  I understand they are very expensive and seems most I’ve looked at don’t put out a lot of BTU.