Tool Box: Paraffin heater pays out greenhouse dividends

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S first greenhouse, built in Oxford more than 300 years ago, was heated by a charcoal brazier on wheels, which was shunted up and down the 60ft-long building on cold nights by a devoted professional trundler. Nowadays, staff are hard to find and most gardeners rely on heaters powered by electricity or liquid fuel.

'What about paraffin?' was a reaction to our recent report on the compact, convenient and efficient Findlay Irvine Autoheat.

So we tested the twin-burner Parasene 582, which costs pounds 38.98 and has an output of about 1.25kW or 4,200 BTU per hour.

The pounds 25 advantage in price compared with the Autoheat 1250 is rendered all the more attractive by the difference in running costs. A gallon of paraffin set me back a mere pounds 1.60, and exceeded Parasene's claim by keeping the wicks burning for more than a week. Compare that with the 10p an hour that I was quoted for 1.25kW of the best Welsh electricity.

On the minus side, the Parasene 582 takes up a lot more space in a small greenhouse, ventilation is essential and the wicks require a certain amount of attention. Electricity gets top marks for convenience, but paraffin burns a much smaller hole in your pocket.

Parasene, M H Berlyn Co Ltd, Dudley Rd, Halesowen, West Midlands B63 3LR (021 550 1951).