What to Look for When Buying a Kerosene Heater
If you’re looking for a kerosene heater for your home, garage, RV, fish house, workshop or to take out camping, here are some things to keep in mind, mostly about safety. Safety first, last, and as a middle name. Buying a kerosene heater is a good decision, you’ll have an inexpensive heat source on hand. Use it in case of an emergency when the power goes out, or as a supplemental heat source, when the weather conditions require a bit more heat for your comfort. Power outages can happen any time, if the temps are low, this can be an issue rather quickly. Be prepared with a reliable alternative heat source. Supplemental heating source, to save money. You can turn down the natural gas heating system in your home and heat only the area around you. Jobsite and workplace comfort. Since it’s portable, you can take it anywhere. They fire up instant heat, so you don’t waste any time waiting for it to warm up. A kerosene heater that has a fan can be used for heating larger rooms. A few of the more industrial kerosene heaters can heat 4,000+ square feet. These are great for warehouse use.
But Are Kerosene Heaters Dangerous? Yes, they can be…
Kerosene heaters are as safe as any other heater. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep in mind that kerosene is combustible. If you use the heater recklessly or incorrectly it can be as dangerous as any portable heater has the potential to be. So, let’s talk safety. How can you reduce the risk of fires? National reports have claimed space heaters as the possible cause of up to 32% of all home fires when a heating appliance is used. Fires occur if, contrary to directions, heaters are placed too close to combustibles: curtains, clothing, furniture, shop rags, etc. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and always give your heaters at least the minimum space required.
Fuel is explosive. Kerosene heaters, for indoor use, won’t explode unless the wrong fuel is used. Always use kerosene 1K-grade fuel. Only use certified 1K-grade kerosene. Never use gasoline, this could cause an explosion and fire, even just a small amount of gas from container cross-contamination could be catastrophic.
A safety tip that cannot be overstated, if you have multiple fuel types and containers on your property, make sure to keep them separate, color-coded, and clearly labeled to avoid any confusion. Use the Color Code for fuel types. Store kerosene fuel in a can that has never contained gasoline. Kerosene containers are blue, gasoline containers are red, and diesel is yellow. When you fill a kerosene container with a pump, check that the pump has not been used for gasoline. Many stations have separate islands for only kerosene fuel. Also, refill the tank outside. Turn the heater off, make sure the heater is cool to the touch before filling, and don’t overfill.
Follow all safety procedures and recommendations from the manufacturer when you are using a kerosene heater. They are made to be as safe as possible, but, like any other heater type, these units will cause damage if used incorrectly.
There are 2 main types of kerosene heaters: Convection and Radiant. Convection kerosene heaters are typically round in shape and can throw heat in a full 360°. The fuel reservoir in convection heaters is placed under the wick. The wick will absorb fuel, which then burns above in the combustion chamber. Convection kerosene heaters are made to heat large areas, they circulate hot air up and out in all directions. If centrally placed a convection kerosene heater could be ideal for your in-home, multi-room heating. Radiant kerosene heaters are typically rectangles. Radiant units are better for small areas and they do not throw heat in multiple directions at once. These heaters send warmth directly toward people or objects in front of them. These single-direction types of heaters are good as garage heaters, and for use along an edge or wall, always keeping a safe distance from the heater to anything in proximity. Don’t place anything flammable, in front of the heater, and keep it out of high traffic areas.
Something else that should be in your cart right now, is a high-quality carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide poisoning is real and deadly. Get a highly rated Carbon Monoxide Monitor. To lessen the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, place the heater in a well-ventilated area. Ventilation is crucial when you have any type of heating that may produce carbon monoxide. Adequate airflow ensures fresh oxygen can enter the room and carbon monoxide can escape. If you want to heat a bedroom, you should rethink your choice of the heater. From the many different types of kerosene heaters, find the model that has the safety features you want to make you and your family feel and be safe.
Overheat Protection- Provided by a sensor that ensures the heater instantly shuts off when it reaches a too high temperature. This feature protects you, and your property and will keep your heater working well for a long time.
Tip shut off- These switches are essential, especially if kids or pets are in the home. The anti-tip safety switch prevents fuel from leaking and combusting by instantly shutting off the unit if it tips.
Removable Fuel Tank- You don’t need to empty the tank before moving it. Instead, simply disconnect the fuel tank and store it in the garage, shed, or patio.
Kerosene Vs. Propane Heating
When it comes to using infrared space heaters, portable propane heaters, and kerosene heaters, each of these models has advantages and disadvantages. If you are wondering, “Can I use diesel in a kerosene heater?” No. Kerosene means kerosene. Let’s break down the pros and cons further: Propane is a clean-burning fuel, used more frequently for home heating than kerosene heaters. Propane fuel is low emission, making it more environmentally friendly. Propane fuel is heavier, and it usually comes compressed in tanks. Buy these tanks at any gas stations or hardware/convenience stores. Kerosene creates heat quickly instant-on, instant off. And considering propane costs more per gallon, kerosene is a more cost-efficient fuel. If propane is inhaled it can be dangerous, keep this in mind for yourself and others. Using the kerosene heater indoors? Always have plenty of fresh air coming into your room. Adequate ventilation is essential and can be as simple as cracking the window an inch or so. If the temps outside that window are significantly below zero, maybe set up a floor fan.
Two things we’ve mentioned that bear repeating. Fuel Powered heaters create Carbon Monoxide (CO). And storing Kerosene is serious business.
1. Along with many other heating appliances: wall heaters, gas heaters and stoves, candles, and even oil lamps, kerosene heaters produce carbon monoxide. Some kerosene units emit higher levels of carbon monoxide than others. Keep your heater running in tip-top shape, keep it well maintained, and when used in conjunction with a carbon monoxide detector, which will instantly alert you if it senses an increase in carbon monoxide levels, the risk from CO is neutralized.
2. For storing kerosene fuel, NEVER use a gasoline container. Use the color-coding system to keep gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and other fuels known just by the container they are in. There are horrifying stories of burn accidents because combustible fuel was stored improperly. Don’t endanger yourself or others by breaking the color code. Minimize the potential for burns, always let your heater fully cool before you refill it. Flareups could happen if you fill a heater that is still hot. Be cautious and make sure everyone else is too.
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