How Do The Amish Heat Their Homes?

Amish people don’t use electricity as they consider it a threat to their beliefs and values. This makes other people wonder how they keep their homes warm during the cold season. 

Amish rely on fireplaces, kerosene heaters, and wood-burning stoves to heat their homes. Others use coal furnaces to keep their place nice and warm.

If you are curious to know how they do it and how each method works, read on.

Amish Fireplaces

Amish Fireplaces

Fireplaces are not exclusive to the Amish, even it is one of the oldest and most widely used heaters ever since. You can see one anywhere across the globe.

For the Amish, it’s one of the most popular choices for heating homes, since most of them do woodwork. The wood scraps left after woodworking end up in their fireplaces. 

And for those who don’t, it’s not a big problem. Since it’s a basic need for each family, there are lots of shops that sell cheap firewood everywhere.

Aside from being an effective traditional space heater, Amish fireplaces have also become a way to bring families closer.

While an “English” family, as they call outsiders, gather in front of a television holding a remote control and having their family movie night, Amish families spend the evening around their fireplace while enjoying the warmth of each other’s company.

As long as it’s not below freezing outside, an Amish fireplace is usually more than enough to create a comfortable living environment for the family.

Kerosene Heater

A kerosene heater works like a large kerosene lamp. A wick from fiberglass and cotton integrates into a burner unit ascended above a tank filled with kerosene. The wick absorbs kerosene from the tank via the capillary effect.

A kerosene heater has been one of the most accessible heaters for the community since the beginning. However, it poses some safety hazards.

The list includes nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide poisoning, explosion risks caused by environmental factors or incorrect fuel, and even moisture problems inside the homes. As a result, many have switched to more conservative heaters.

Wood-Burning Stoves

More conservative Amish families use wood-burning stoves to heat their homes comfortably. In fact, it’s been a widely used method of heating homes since the 1800s. 

Many choose these stoves over a traditional fireplace and other space heaters because they have more heat output.

Wood Burning Stoves
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Plus, they help save more firewood costs in the long run since they can better regulate heat compared to fireplaces. When building homes, they place the stove in the center of the house, providing each room with equal warmth.

Many also prefer wood-burning stoves because, aside from warming homes, they can also be used to prepare food.

Coal Furnace

Some Amish homes have coal furnaces built into them. Lumps of coal are thrown into a fire pit to power them. The coals stay fire-hot longer than wood, making them a practical space heater.

Adding coals to furnaces, however, has downsides. One of them is clearing ash from burned coals. As a solution, Amish people usually shake furnaces during the wee hours or before bedtime to avoid disturbing anyone.

Another downside is that it requires a constant supply of coal. It can become a money pit for some families. Hence, only a select few homes have these.

Amish Electric Fireplaces

If you search for Amish heaters online, you’ll see many websites with electric fireplaces for sale. They claim that these products can miraculously lower one’s heating bill.

However, these products caused much controversy more than a decade ago since “electric fireplace” and “the Amish” seem ironic.

The company’s representatives quickly changed how they presented their ad for their electric fireplace; they insisted that the Amish handcrafted the mantel while the electronic components of their electric fireplace came from China.

Today, they no longer include the community’s name in their marketing schemes for their Amish electric fireplace units.

The Amish and The Use of Electricity

Some things never change for the Amish community. While the rest of society embraces the conveniences of modern technology and electricity, they still consider it a temptation that would cause vanity, arrogance, and damage to their community.

They believe that dependence on electricity and access to power grids may connect them too closely to the public and harm their well-preserved culture.

The Amish and The Use of Electricity
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Some use phones and devices that most people may consider modern today. Some have already adapted the usage of community telephones to contact doctors, veterinarians, first responders, and suppliers for businesses.

Amish’s use of such technology varies for each community. But whatever the order they belong to, they have one fundamental law: electricity and other modern tools must stay inside their shop and not inside their home.

Due to this, they’re sticking to non-electric space heaters they have adapted from older generations.

Conclusion

Like most families, the Amish need to heat their homes to keep everyone comfortable and warm during the cold season. Without electricity, the idea seems to be a bit challenging.

However, by using natural resources like wood, the Amish communities are able to keep their place at the right and safe temperature even during winter.


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