In response to a question I received, here is an explanation of how we light our home. We have 3 lighting sources at this time.
1. For the kids (ages 4 & 6) we have the battery operated Coleman lanterns. These use 4 D-cell batteries, but will give up to 188 hours of lighting on one set of batteries. We chose these for safety reasons. We didn’t want them to have access to the oil lamps.
2. Oil lamps are our main lighting source. Instead of lamp oil, we purchase kerosene at a fuel station. A quart of lamp oil costs $6 at the local stores, while the kerosene costs $5.29/gallon. Quite a big difference in the budget. The kerosene burns just as well as the lamp oil, the only difference is that the kerosene will smoke more if you have the wick too high. There are little deflectors that rest above the oil lamp chimney which you can buy to prevent any soot from getting on the ceiling or wall. These are good to have whether you use lamp oil or kerosene.
3. We have a Coleman propane lantern. It is the type that you attach the small propane bottle to the bottle of. When we use it, the lighting is as bright as electric lights, but the propane can only lasts 6 hours. At a price of about $2.50 per bottle (twin pak at Walmart is $5), this lighting is not cost effective. We don’t use it very often. Actually, only use it about twice a month at the most.
The lighting that we are planning for is to install gas lighting. You can still buy through mail order the wall sconce lights that are fueled with propane. They contain the silk mantels, just like the camping lanterns use. These are very safe to use if installed properly. Many Amish homes use this form of lighting. The lights are bright as electricity.
We had tried candles, but found that not only were they a fire hazard we didn’t want to risk around little ones, but the price was not cost effective. We spent way too much on them.
Using the battery operated lanterns for the kids, the oil lamps, and the propane camp style lantern, our monthly lighting cost averages about $35 per month.