Kerosene heater

Kerosene heater

A kerosene heater, also known as a paraffin heater, is a portable, unvented, kerosene-fueled, space-heating device. In the United States they are used mainly for supplemental heat or as a source of emergency heat during a power outage. In some countries, particularly in Japan, they are used as the primary source of home heat. Most kerosene heaters produce between 3.3 and 6.8 kW (11000 to 23000 BTU per hour).


A kerosene heater operates much like a large kerosene lamp. A circular wick made from fiberglass is integrated into a burner unit mounted above a font (tank) filled with 1-K kerosene. The wick draws kerosene from the tank via capillary action. Once lit, the wick emits flames into the burner unit which heats air via convection or nearby objects via radiation. The burner is designed to properly oxygenate and distribute the flames. The flame height is controlled by raising or lowering the exposed wick height inside the burner unit via an adjusting mechanism. The kerosene heater is extinguished by fully retracting the wick into a cavity below the burner, which will snuff out the flame.

Kerosene heaters require no electricity to operate. Most heaters contain a battery-operated or piezo-electric ignitor to light the heater without the need for matches. If the ignitor should fail the heater can still be lighted manually.

The wick requires routine maintenance. Usually the kerosene heater is placed outdoors and allowed to operate until it runs out of fuel. Tar and other leftover deposits on the wick are burned off. The wick will eventually deteriorate to the point where it will need to be replaced.

afety Concerns

Because kerosene heaters are usually unvented, all combustion products are released into the indoor air. Among these are soot, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and some carbon monoxide. An improperly adjusted, fueled, or poorly maintained kerosene heater will release more pollutants. Use of a kerosene heater in a poorly ventilated home, especially in modern well insulated ones, could pose a health risk. Most manufacturers suggest that a window be left cracked open. Kerosene heaters should not be left unattended, especially while sleeping. A kerosene heater, as any heater that uses organic fuel, when running out of oxygen can produce massive amounts of soot and carbon monoxide. Failure to abide by these precautions could result in asphyxiation or carbon monoxide poisoning, but as modern heaters automatically shut off when there is no oxygen left in the room, and as they burn at very high efficiency, they make CO poisoning almost impossible.

Hot surfaces on the heater pose a fire and burn risk. The open flame poses an explosion risk in environments where flammable vapors may be present, such as in a garage. Use of improper or contaminated fuel could cause poor performance, a fire or an explosion. There are risks involved with the storage of kerosene and while refilling the heater.

Laser heaters

Modern laser heaters have little or no safety concerns as stated above. They will deactivate when there are dangerously low levels of oxygen left in the room. Additionally, as a special purified type of kerosene is used as a fuel, they burn at almost 100% efficiency, making the heater nearly odor-free, efficient and safe for indoor use.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • kerosene heater — noun heater that burns oil (as kerosine) for heating or cooking • Syn: ↑oil heater, ↑oilstove, ↑kerosine heater • Hypernyms: ↑heater, ↑warmer …   Useful english dictionary

  • Portable kerosene heater —   A heater that uses kerosene and that can be picked up and moved.   U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration s Energy Glossary …   Energy terms

  • Heater — A heater is any object that emits heat or causes another body to achieve a higher temperature. In a household or domestic setting, heaters are commonly used to generate heating (ie. warmth).Types of heaters*Block heater *Cathy heater *Central… …   Wikipedia

  • heater — Synonyms and related words: Bunsen burner, Dutch oven, automatic, bedpan, bloom heater, blowgun, blowpipe, brazier, brick oven, burner, calefactory, caliduct, car heater, cooker, cookery, defroster, dielectric heater, dielectric preheater,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • heater — n. an electric; hot water, immersion (BE); kerosene (AE), paraffin (BE); oil; space heater * * * [ hiːtə] hot water oil space heater kerosene (AE) immersion (BE) paraffin (BE) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • heater — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ convector (BrE), fan (esp. BrE), storage (BrE) ▪ portable ▪ electric, gas, kerosene (esp. AmE) …   Collocations dictionary

  • kerosene — noun Kerosene is used before these nouns: ↑heater, ↑lamp …   Collocations dictionary

  • Laser heater — A laser heater is a type of kerosene heater. Fact|date=May 2008 These heaters use an electronically guided system that burns the kerosene fuel at a high efficiency (almost 100%). Fact|date=May 2008 These units produce almost no combustion exhaust …   Wikipedia

  • oil heater — oil heater, oil heater oil heater . A heating or cooking device that burns oil (such as kerosine) as a fuel. Syn: oilstove, kerosene heater, kerosine heater. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • oil-heater — oil heater, oil heater oil heater . A heating or cooking device that burns oil (such as kerosine) as a fuel. Syn: oilstove, kerosene heater, kerosine heater. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.