Can I buy a propane heater/furnace with a pilot light
March 12, 2018 5:35 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone recently purchased a new Rinnai-like propane (not oil) heater/furnace that has a pilot light versus electronic ignition?

I currently have a ~15-year-old Monitor propane heater with electronic ignition that came with the condo I purchased 5 years ago. It works like a champ, but I'm out of luck when the power goes out. I happily made it through the 1998 ice storm alone in a camp in the woods with a pilot-light heater and would like to have that same sense of security 20 years later (and 20 years older).

Am completely comfortable lighting the lights - years of experience with various gas appliances. I'm googling but it's difficult to scope out the pilot light vs electronic options. It appears that gas ranges with pilot lights are no longer available at all, which is disappointing.
posted by Gnella to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
If you can't find one, I would expect the cheapest available computer-grade uninterruptible power supply to be more than sufficient to run the spark igniter in a gas heater.
posted by flabdablet at 6:43 AM on March 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Sadly, I can't find the date on this, but it suggests that stoves with a pilot light are an option. You would need this installed by a plumber probably, so ask some plumbers; they will know what's available. Also, check backcountry and off-grid suppliers. My stove has electric ignition, but the burners will light with a match. I have put a cast iron pan on a burner and lit the burner to keep the kitchen a bit warmer in an outage. I have a wood stove, though.

Solar panels have come way down in price. You could get a panel, charge a battery, use an inverter to plug things in, and have emergency heat (from the Monitor) and light for a couple hundred dollars.
posted by theora55 at 7:00 AM on March 12, 2018

I searched offgrid heater and found one with push button spark pilot lighting. You could probably call them and learn more.
posted by theora55 at 7:03 AM on March 12, 2018

Thanks, flabdablet & theora55, you've given me great ideas and leads and hope.
posted by Gnella at 8:41 AM on March 12, 2018

Solar is actually a great option these days now that you can get kilowatt class battery packs for a not-punishing price. If you normally store it in a cool place at about 80% charge (topping it off every couple of months as needed if it drops below 40% or so) and charge it up from the grid you can generate enough power post storm with solar or things like a Biolite stove to last several days worth of LED lighting and powering an electronic igniter.

For a couple grand you can run a window AC, some lights, and a TV indefinitely if you have enough sun, including enough battery to last through morning.
posted by wierdo at 10:48 AM on March 12, 2018

A bottom-end UPS will plug right in, needing no actual installation, and costs around $50.
posted by flabdablet at 11:59 AM on March 12, 2018

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