Kerosene: What Is It and How Is It Used?

Burt’s Reliable provides Eastern Long Island’s most reliable kerosene delivery

kerosene uses long island, ny Long Island’s East End and North Fork can get frosty cold this time of year. Owners of mobile homes and households with outdoor fuel tanks can’t always rely on heating oil when nighttime temperatures are in the teens or lower.

That’s why many Burt’s Reliable customers count on us for kerosene delivery. Plenty of fuel companies consider this fuel to be an afterthought. We understand how vital it is for families and businesses in our region of New York.

But what exactly is kerosene, and how is it different from other fuel oils?

Kerosene is a distillate of crude oil produced at extremely high temperatures. It burns hotter and does not freeze or “gel” as quickly as other fuels. Let’s get into some more detail about this valuable, versatile product.

The history of kerosene

The distillation process for creating Kerosene has existed for centuries, primarily for use as lamp oil. You can find references to it in a 10th-century Persian book, and the Chinese have been creating a kerosene product at least since the Ming Dynasty — potentially even earlier.

During the Industrial Revolution, chemists began creating kerosene-like distillates from coal oil and coal tar, although they never achieved the same popularity as whale oil for producing light.

It’s worth noting that this fuel product was never called kerosene in all these hundreds of years. That changed in 1846 when Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner created his own process for distilling coal oil and gave the fuel the name we use today. He patented it in 1853. Not long after, he opened a kerosene factory on Long Island!

Kerosene’s contemporary uses

In the 20th century, electricity dethroned kerosene for lighting, and natural gas, heating oil and other fuels became America’s preferred ways to heat homes and cook. Kerosene fell out of wide use. But it hasn’t disappeared completely.

Kerosene is still widely used for:

  • heating and cooking for mobile homes and houses with outdoor fuel storage
  • industrial cleaning and lubrication
  • jet and rocket fuel
  • live performances, including fire breathing, fire juggling and fire dancing!

Kerosene vs. heating oil

Kerosene and traditional heating oil are both distillates of crude oil, but they cannot be used interchangeably.

Kerosene is a “light” fuel that burns at a much higher temperature than heating oil. You can store kerosene in the same kind of tank as heating oil, but it can damage boilers, furnaces and other equipment that is designed to burn heating oil. You need specialized equipment designed to burn kerosene.

The main difference between heating oil and kerosene is that kerosene can sit in sustained freezing temperatures longer without solidifying. Generally speaking, you use kerosene (or a blend of kerosene and other fuels) if your tank is outside, and you use heating oil if your tank is inside your home.

If you aren’t sure which type of fuel your system needs — or if you’re looking for a reliable kerosene provider — the Burt’s Reliable team can help. Get in touch with us today.