How to Keep Kerosene Heaters from Smelling

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Kerosene heaters have been used in homes and businesses for many years. This is because kerosene is cheaper compared to electricity. However, despite the saving cost-benefit,

the kerosene heater has a strong odor that may cause discomfort in the house. Many users have reported the issue. This article will share tips how to keep kerosene heaters from smelling.

Usually, a kerosene heater shouldn’t emit a bad odor in the house. Many users lack proper maintenance skills and fail to follow usage precautions directed in the user manual.

How to Keep Kerosene Heaters from Smelling

How to Keep Kerosene Heaters from Smelling
Kerosene jerrycan

How to Choose the Appropriate Kerosene Heater

There are two types of kerosene heaters you may choose. Take a look;

  • Convective heaters

They are mostly circular, with the fuel tank installed under the wick and the combustion chamber. Convective heaters are designed to warm large areas or several rooms in a house.

They work by circulating heated air outwards and upwards to move in all directions. Users claim one heater is capable of heating a whole house.

  • Radiant heaters

They are rectangular and designed for small areas. The units are designed with a wick and combustion chamber like the convective heaters. However, they have reflectors adjusted to direct heat to various desired directions.

Some radiant heaters have a removable fuel tank, making it easier to siphon the fuel while cleaning.

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How to Keep Kerosene Heaters from Smelling
kerosene lantern

Tips How to Keep Kerosene Heaters from Smelling

To enjoy the warmth comfortably during winter, I’ll share with you tips to eliminate bad odor from your kerosene heater. And without further ado, let’s dive in;

1st Tip: Use in a Well-Ventilated Room

Oxygen supports burning in kerosene heaters. Fuel is incompletely burnt if the room is not well ventilated to allow enough oxygen. As a result, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide gases are released, causing an irritating smell.

2nd Tip: Use Quality Kerosene

You’ll find two types of kerosene; 1-K and 2-K. I-K type has 0.004% sulphur concentration while 2-K contains 0.3% sulphur concentration.

Once you compare the two, you’ll notice 1-K type is purer than the latter, thus will produce less smoke and smell.

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How to Keep Kerosene Heaters from Smelling
kerosene lantern

3rd Tip: Avoid Old Kerosene

If stored for an extended period, kerosene may go bad. As a result, it produces a bad smell and soot. To avoid irritating odors and soot, use fresh kerosene.

On the other hand, if old kerosene is your only option, filter it first to remove contaminants. Afterward, add a fuel stabilizer to improve its quality.

4th Tip: Appropriately Set Your Burner

If the burner doesn’t properly sit on the heater base, it may allow excessive or less air into the combustion chamber. Excess may lead to incomplete combustion. When the fuel isn’t burned completely, it smells and smoke.

5th Tip: Clean the Fuel Tank

The fuel tank may contain contaminants, especially if you have stored the heater with fuel throughout the summer season.

First, siphon the fuel and filter it to remove contaminants. Then, use a clean, soft cloth to wipe the tank and rinse it with 1-K fuel. Afterward, siphon out the rinsing fuel and dispose of it.

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6th Tip: Properly Adjust the Wick

When the wick is adjusted too low, it may not burn all the fuel. On the other hand, if it’s set too high, it may burn a higher amount of fuel than the oxygen supply. As a result, smoke and bad smells are released in both cases.

To be safe, check on the user manual to confirm the appropriate length to set the wick.

7th Tip: Regularly Inspect the Wick

With time, carbon deposits form on the wick and lead to heavy smoke and smell. The solution is to trim the wick and get rid of the deposits.

If the wick is dirty, clean it for easy fuel flow and burning. However, if your wick is old or worn, replace it.

8th Tip: Check the Vent Cap

A cracked vent cap lets the vapor out with less burnt fuel. An important tip on how to vent a kerosene heater is to have a quality vent cap.

A broken vent cap can also let in more oxygen, increasing the fuel amount being burned.

9th Tip: Shut off the Heater outdoors

Once the heater is shut off, some fuel is left incompletely burnt. As a result, it produces a bad smell and smoke. To evade the smell, carry your portable heater outside, shut it off and give it a few minutes before storing.

10th Tip: Light Any Long-Stored Kerosene Heater Outdoors

When the heater is stored mainly during the summer season, it collects dust and debris into the combustion chamber. Once it’s lit, the dust and debris may produce a bad smell in the room.

Light your kerosene burner outside and allow it to burn for around 10 minutes before taking it inside.

FAQs on Kerosene Heaters

Can You Burn Coleman Fuel in a Kerosene Lamp?

Using Coleman fuel in a kerosene lamp or heater may be hazardous. However, you need to observe safety even while using kerosene because of the dangers discussed below;

Explosion or fire – you shouldn’t set your burner near furniture or any objects. Second, wrong fuel may cause explosions. It’s recommendable to choose the appropriate fuel. Third, avoid lighting your kerosene burner near combustible flames. Finally, don’t try to hang clothing near the heaters to dry them.
Burns – Keep the children or pets at a distance from the kerosene burner to avoid fire accidents.
Harmful gases – if set in a small or poorly ventilated room, reduced oxygen leads to incomplete fuel burning. Incompletely burned kerosene produces nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. Carbon dioxide is an odorless and colorless gas that kills if breathed for a more extended period.

How Long Will a Full Kerosene Heater Burn?

Kerosene heater burning hours depend on the fuel tank capacity set by the manufacturer. Some heaters are claimed to burn for around 8 hours when filled with fuel.

Is it Safe to Leave a Kerosene Heater on All Night?

Although many kerosene heaters have safety shut-off devices, don’t leave them while burning. Turn off when going to bed or any time you leave the building to avoid a fire hazard. Keep the kerosene heater from smelling using the above tips for your respiratory health. 

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