Kerosene Heater Q&A

kerosene heater faq

A kerosene space heater can be a useful tool to warm your home or trailer, but like any appliance you have to know how to use it properly and safely.

Here are some basic facts about kerosene heaters. If you have any other questions, contact us today – we’re happy to help.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kerosene Heaters

  1. What kind of kerosene can I use in a heater?
    The only fuel approved for indoor kerosene heaters is K-1 kerosene. Lesser quality fuels will cause problems (see below).
  2. How should kerosene be stored?
    Store K-1 kerosene only in a new, clean, sealed container clearly marked for kerosene. Used drums, milk containers, plastic jugs, and gasoline cans will contaminate kerosene, causing harm to the wick and other problems. Always store kerosene in a cool, dark, dry place away from the living areas.
  3. How long will K-1 kerosene be usable?
    The longest we recommend storing K-1 Kerosene is six months. If allowed to sit for longer than that, the fuel can break down and absorb water, or become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold that can cause wick-clogging sludge (and other problems).
  4. How can I tell if my K-1 Kerosene is good?
    Siphon off a small amount of kerosene from the bottom of your storage container into a small clear jar. Allow the sample to sit for at least an hour, then see if there is anything floating in the fuel. Clear kerosene should have no separation – anything cloudy or yellowed is contaminated and should not be used. Red-dyed kerosene should be translucent, not cloudy or opaque. If you have any doubt about the quality of your kerosene, dispose of It properly and order more.
  5. What causes bad odor in kerosene?
    Bad odor is most often caused by low quality fuel. If there is too much sulfur in your kerosene, it can’t be burned completely in your portable heater. These un-burnt hydrocarbons collect on the wick and harden, causing low burn and odor problems.
  6. Why won’t my kerosene heater light?
    • If you’re using your heater for the first time, make sure it’s filled with high quality kerosene, and that the wick has been soaked for at least an hour.
    • When you push the “ignite” button, the igniter should move into position to light the kerosene vapor above the wick surface. The igniter should glow bright orange. The igniter should not touch the wick. You may have adjust the wick to ensure proper contact.
    • If the igniter isn’t glowing check the batteries. Use only regular duty non-alkaline replacement batteries. Alkaline batteries deliver too strong of an initial charge and may destroy the igniter.
  7. Why won’t my heater shut-off?
    When you hit the shut-off knob and the wick won’t drop, it is most likely because there is tar and carbon build-up on the wick.

    Burning poor quality kerosene can leave a sticky tar on the wick; as the wick hardens and thickens, it becomes more difficult to raise and lower. Water contamination in the kerosene can also be the culprit, since water causes cotton fibers in the wick to swell. In both cases, the wick should be replaced.

  8. How often should I change my wick?
    The American Lung Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety recommend you check and replace the wick before each heating season.

Having trouble finding kerosene for your North Fork or East End home or business? Call the pros at Burt’s. We offer kerosene and other fuel delivery and equipment service in Suffolk County, including Riverhead, Wading River, and Aqueboge. Contact us today to learn more.