Kerosene Heater Indoors
Every winter, power outages unavoidably hit. When they do, hundreds or even thousands of people find themselves without a source of heat during the dead of winter. Because of how common power outages are (including outages that last for 3+ days!), all homes should have an emergency heater.
A kerosene indoor heater is one of the best options for most people.
Unlike most other fuel-based heaters, kerosene heaters necessitate a wick. The wick absorbs the kerosene. When burned, it carries the flame into the kerosene fuel to light it and produces heat through fire.
The design of the heater allows the amount of oxygen reaching the fuel to be controlled. The flame can also be regulated by increasing or decreasing the length of the wick.
Admittedly, kerosene heaters aren’t my first choice of the backup heater. I have a wood-burning stove with a duct system that channels the heat throughout the entire home.
However, most people don’t have a reliable source of wood nor do they want to chop lots of wood or install an expensive system “just in case.”
By comparison, kerosene heaters are fairly cheap to buy and don’t require any installation. You just take out the heater as needed during emergencies.
- Kerosene heaters are inexpensive
- Come in unlike sizes
- Rapidly heats a small space or room
- Kerosene is usually very cost actual
- Kerosene can be stowed for long stages of time
- Produces no smoke or fumes
- Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
- Units can be loud
- Kerosene might not be readily available where you live
- An open flame can be a hazard
- Fumes can cause health effects
- Poor-quality fuel or incomplete burning can cause a bad odor
- The unit has to be filled, which might result in spills
Selecting a Portable Kerosene Heater
There are two types of kerosene heaters. You must get the right type for your space or you can end up with problems like too much carbon monoxide being released.
Convection Kerosene Heaters:
These are frequently cylindrical. The fuel tank is on the bottom and the wick on the top. A grid around the heater is added for security.
Convective heaters will allocate warmth upwards and outwards. They are designed for large areas or multiple rooms. You’ll have to move the whole unit outdoors to refuel.
Radiant Kerosene Heaters:
These are typically rectangular. They have an indicator or even a fan for guiding heat in one direction.
Most of these heaters will have a detachable fuel tank, so you won’t have to move the entire unit for refueling. Radiant heaters are only appropriate for smaller spaces.
The BTU rating is the measure of energy produced by a unit. Do not make the mistake of buying a kerosene heater with a higher BTU rating than you need! While it might seem reasonable to buy a high BTU heater “just in case,” a unit rate too high for space can cause difficulties. First off, there are issues of efficiency. A kerosene heater will only function efficiently if it is run at its maximum BTU. Trying to decrease the heat level will just cause you to waste fuel. It can also cause incomplete burning and bad smells. Another issue is that high BTU heaters will produce more carbon monoxide. When used in a small space, this can be dangerous.
Is It Harmless to Use Kerosene Heaters Indoors?
Yes, it is very safe, but as with any type of burning heater (including gas, propane, and wood), there are always some best practices to follow.
Kerosene and Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Kerosene indoor heaters (along with oil, wood, gas, and propane heaters) burn oxygen in the air and release carbon monoxide. In addition to the CO, kerosene heaters can also release other pollutants such as Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. To decrease the risk of asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide poisoning, you must vent the room being heated. This is as simple as leaving the door to an adjoining room open or opening a window 1 inch.
I would also acclaim that you install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
As a general rule, you will need 1-4 square inches of fresh air ventilation for each 1000 BTU of heater capacity.
Toxic Smokes from Kerosene
Kerosene is a liquid, but it can evaporate into the air. When it evaporates, it can produce toxic fumes. Generally, these fumes aren’t a big concern. People long used kerosene for killing head lice and cleaning (though health agencies advise against this now). However, to play it safe, you should make sure that you aren’t exposed to any kerosene fumes. Always refuel your kerosene heater outdoors.
Dyna-Glo Delux Kerosene Forced Air Heater
This model of Dyno-Glo kerosene indoor heater arises in different BTUs, from 50k to 220k. It lives up to its “Deluxe” name. There are lots of controls and I particularly love that the fuel gauge shows how many hours of heating you have left. With the 75k option, you can heat up to 1,750 square feet with the heater. And it will heat the space FAST! Of course, that quantity of strength means you’ll go through fuel pretty quickly. The only downside of this heater is that it is a bit loud when running (which is to be predictable of powerful kerosene heaters). I also wish the settings would allow for smaller additions. It only allows you to adjust the heat in 10-degree increments. Also, note that this is a forced-air heater. It needs to be plugged in for the fan to work.
Dura Kerosene Heater DH2304
This kerosene heater is the convection type, which means it was intended to heat large rooms. It will heat a room to 1,000 square feet. I like that the wick is easily adaptable and the controls are very straightforward. As for competence, the heater is fairly good. The only thing that I don’t like about this kerosene heater is that it isn’t adjustable. The heater also won’t automatically shut off when out of fuel. If you don’t pay attention to the fuel level, you’ll start smelling some nasty fumes as it tries to run on empty. It has 23,800 BTU ratings. It also has a 9-gallon fuel tank; one tank is enough for 9-12 hours of use. It has an emergency shutoff option in case of increasing the heat. It has a 27lbs weight.