How to light kerosene heater

Published by John Martin on

light kerosene heater

A kerosene heater is a good option for getting heat in small and remote places where you cannot have the luxury of gas or electric heaters. It’s small and effective, but you have to understand how it works before you light up the heater.

Lighting the kerosene heater is easy, but it’s the safety risks that you should be aware of before you go on to light a kerosene heater.

In this article, we will learn how to light the kerosene heater. We will also try to cover the topic from all sides and look at how does a kerosene heater work and what safety measures you must take before using a kerosene heater, so lets jump start.

How does a Kerosene Heater Works?

A Kerosene heater is a heater that uses liquid kerosene as a fuel. So it’s different from any other heater like gas, electric, or even pellet stove heater. Heat is produced by burning the wick that is wet in kerosene.

Though it seems easy and simple to light a kerosene heater, it involves too many dangers if not used properly. So you have to make sure you follow all safety guidelines when using a kerosene heater.

These heaters are only made to be fueled by liquid kerosene. You cannot use any other fuel for the heater and mixing different fuels can be very dangerous.

Also, you will be using the liquid kerosene for the heater. That means you need a container filled with kerosene and keep its store in a safe place where it is away from any light, heat source, or kids.

Possible Threats of a Kerosene Heater

Here are some possible threats of a kerosene heater.


It is a highly combustible heater. It got liquid kerosene in the bottom, and if it catches fire while you are transferring the kerosene in the tank, it may explode causing some serious injuries.

Also, if you have anything combustible near the heater like clothes, drapes, any furniture, it may catch fire easily.


It does not have a cool exterior, and if you or any pet or kid accidentally touch the surface, he may get some serious burns.


Kerosene fire consumes oxygen. It consumes oxygen that you need for breathing. So if you are using it in a tiny room, it is not advisable to sleep with a lighted heater. Also, you need a better flow of air across the room. Poor ventilation may lead to asphyxiation.

Releases Carbon Monoxide

The burning kerosene not only consumes oxygen, but it also releases carbon monoxide that is a very dangerous gas for humans. If you inhale, it will compete with oxygen in your body and prevent it from reaching different parts of your body.

Not only carbon monoxide, but it also releases some other dangerous gases like nitrogen gas and sulfur dioxide. So these gases, especially carbon monoxide, can be life-threatening if consumed in high concentration.

Pollutes your indoor air

Just like we said, the kerosene heater can pollute the indoor air to a considerable extent. The number of gases released by the heater should not be inhaled by pregnant women or people with asthma or other respiratory issues.

To avoid all these safety risks, what you can do is to choose the right heater and to make sure all the safety guidelines.

Pick the model Carefully

Kerosene heaters come in two types:

01. Radiant Kerosene heaters.

Radiant heaters have the fuel in the lower chamber of the heater. It sends fuel to the wick that is soaked in the kerosene and burns for providing heat. It is suitable for small spaces. It also features a reflector for directing the heat where you need it. Some of the radiant kerosene heaters have removable fuel tanks, so you have to carry the tank to where you store kerosene for refueling.

02. Convection heaters.

The convection heater works with the same wick, a combustible chamber, and a fuel tank underneath. It blows warm air from the heater across the room. These units are more for large spaces, halls, or open spaces. These heaters don’t have the removable fuel tank, so you have to carry the whole heater for refueling. Make sure you use a siphon for refueling.

Right Size

So make sure you choose the right size and type of kerosene heater to stay safe. Choosing a large unit for a small room can be life-threatening. It will consume more oxygen and produce more gases like carbon monoxide in large quantities. So always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation to see if the particular heater is designed for the area or room in square feet.

Safety Measures

Here are a few safety measures you must take for averting any dangers of a kerosene heater.

Keep the heater at a safe place

Kerosene heater has an open flame, so you should keep it at a very safe where it is not near any cloth, furniture, drapes, or any other combustible material.

Check the wick and fuel chamber: keep checking the wick and if it is dirty clean it properly.

Keep kids away from the kids

As it has open fire, you have to be extra careful with kids and pets. Even the exterior of the heater can be hot, and there is a burning hazard. There are special cages for keeping kids and pets at length. You can invest in those security cages as well.

Not flammable the liquid in the room: make sure you don’t have any combustible sprays in the room.

Clean the spillage

If you have spillage while transferring the fuel, make sure you wipe it clean immediately. It’s a highly combustible fuel and can catch fire easily.

Proper Air Circulation

Make sure you have proper air circulation in the space where you are using or intend to use the kerosene heater. It should be airy with plenty of oxygen supply.

Never refuel When the heater is still hot

For refueling, you should give it some rest and let the heater cool down. Handling too hot fuel chamber can be dangerous, and besides some serious burning injuries, it may even cause an explosion. So make sure the fuel chamber is cool on touch when you try to remove it from the combusting chamber.

How to Light the Kerosene Heater

Lighting the kerosene heater is not very difficult. Only, you have to be careful of all the safety guidelines. Now for lighting the kerosene, two methods are depending on which type of kerosene heater you are using.

Fill in the liquid kerosene in the fuel chamber

You can make use of a siphon for transferring the liquid kerosene. Both glasses of water clear and Red kerosene are safe for use in the kerosene heater. Also, check the recommendation of manufacturers.

Remove the fuel cap and pour in the liquid kerosene.

Keep an eye on the gauge of the fuel tank, so you don’t overfill it. You need to fill just the right quantity in the tank.

Let the wick soak in

Once you have filled the kerosene, leave the heater for an hour. Let the wick gets soaked in kerosene.  Turn on the wick knob

Igniting the Light

Ignition depends on the type of heater you have. It may have an electric ignition system or a manual burning chamber.

For automatic ignition, you need to pull down the ignition lever. It will activate an automatic ignition system that will hover over the wick.

For manually lighting the heater, you will have to light the wick with a matchstick or a lighter. Make sure you use a long stick or a long lighter for lighting the wick.

Once you see the wick catches fire, you need to adjust the flames as per your choice. We recommend keeping it about half an inch high. Too high flames can cause an excessive amount of soot and smoke that is not good for your health. It will also produce more carbon monoxide that is again almost lethal.

You can rotate the wick knob anti-clockwise to adjust the flames.

For turning off the heater, simply rotate the wick knob to the left, and once the wick is in the right position simply put out the flame.

While still holding the wick in the right position shut off the heater. Keep an eye on the wick even a few seconds after you put out the light to confirm the wick is not still burning.

Final Words

Kerosene Heaters can be used for heating purposes for places where you have no gas or other fuel. You can carry the fuel tank along for the heater. But kerosene heater needs a lot of safety measures, and you have to keep the heater well maintained all the time.

Make sure you follow all the manufactures’ guidelines while using the kerosene heater.  Keep the room airy and well ventilated to prevent any suffocation or lack of oxygen.


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