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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I came close earlier this year to a threat of a power outage. In 1996, for all you Kansas folk, we had that October Snowstorm and I was without power for a week. Three years ago, my sophomore year, we had another one, but I was without power for only two days. Other people I knew went well over a week without power.

I almost bought a kerosene heater, but have known the potential dangers of using them. :shock: My folks strongly caution me NOT to get one. If we had to, we'd just keep our gas oven on and put the frogs in the kitchen.

I'm not too worried about the firebellied toads, Xenopus, and perhaps not even the tricolor or mantella. But the tinc and future saltwater tank, yes.

Then I've been hearing about "battery powered heaters"...I believe types you use for camping. Perhaps if I keep spare 10 gallons around, I can move the frogs into a small area where they can receive enough heat until the power came back on.

I virtually know nothing about these things, what power they require, etc. Anybody had experience using battery powered heaters or lamps?
 

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What is your budget for this project and what sort of endurance are you talking about (2 hours, 4 days)? Producing heat from electricity is one of the most energy consuming things you can do which is why most small heaters run off some sort of fossil fuel where you get a lot of energy in not a whole lot of space. I can almost assure you that a battery powered heater is not going to work very well unless it is hooked up to a bank of SLAB batteries or car batteries.

Kerosene fuel heaters can be pretty dangerous and it isn't really advisable to leave them unattended. LPG is commonly used as a non-electric heating source. So, depending on your budget, it is feasible to get a portable propane powered heater:

http://www.campinggurus.com/Coleman-Pow ... -2057.html
http://www.heater-home.com/product/E44.aspx

The second type heater hooks up to a standard propane tank (like for a BBQ pit), I think. You can have this can inside, or plumb it to the outside. Unless you are comfortable working with gas heaters, I would have somebody install it or look over your installation. I would get a carbon monoxide detector also.

If you can get your parents to buy into the idea, you could buy a small gasoline powered generator. Just make sure that you get one with enough juice to run a heater and whatever else the rest of the family wants to plug in. You also want to make sure it is a generator that you can run for the amount of time you need.

Another thing you can look at is some sort of insulation for the tank to keep heat from escaping so quickly or do that with your emergency 10 gallon tank. You will most certainly want to experiment and make sure you don't end up overheating the animals.

Best,

Marcos
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good thing I do have gas stove. We used to turn it on when the power went out, the oven and leave it open. It may be my only option.

I have seen those propane heaters at ACE. I have never used propane and am cautious. What worries me about any type of gas within the home is, like you said, Carbon monoxide.

I'm talking like a week. It's happened before, and something every frogger should well be aware of. I don't think I could convince my folks into a generator. These things don't happen often, but it is definitely something to be aware of.

What about the fireplace? I still have the old fashioned fire place. There is an area in front of it where I could easily sit emergency 10 gallon or critter keepers.

Question is, how long do tinctorius survive at 60 degrees? :shock: I know they will be fine at night, but during the day...?!?!

Personally I am not too worried about the tricolors and mantellas. They hate the heat, and thrive in the cold. My mantellas and tricolors will probably cycle for breeding as the temp in the basement frequently dips into the low sixties at night during the winter, rarely even making 70 in the day.
 

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That's an interesting link, you might want to check this out as well:

http://www.dansdata.com/diyups.htm

Endurance and providing current is still going to be your problem. I think your average electric heater is going to draw about 900-1500 watts which is 8.1 to 13.6 amps (Amp = Watts/Volts, assuming you are in 110v land). Your 12v or 24v battery is going to be wired to an inverter probably with a max rating of 300-600 watts on your average home UPS. I'm fairly certain unless you have a serious inverter you aren't going to be able to provide the amperage or wattage necessary for even a modest heater at a low setting for very long, if at all.

That article says "Your ordinary "seven amp-hour" 12 volt SLA brick may or may not be able to deliver as much power as you'd expect from that rating, even in the lower-current two-battery 24 volt configuration that a lot of UPSes use." So, using the figures above, even if you get the inverter to provide enough power, you will most likely only get less than 1 hour of heating at the lowest setting.

Most UPS are designed to keep the power going until (a) the equipment can be shut down safely or (b) the backup generators kick in, not to run equipment for extended periods of time. I worked in a fairly large data center, and our UPS only lasted like 20 minutes (and this was a huge, expensive industrial rig). It was there to regulate power from fluctuations and keep things going until the 3 backup diesel generators came up.

I think some sort of propane is still your best bet. People use them safely and if you talk to a local technician they may be able to allay your and your parent's fears.

Marcos
 
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