Can red kerosene be used?
The Federal government requires that kerosene that is not intended
for road use and therefore not subject to a 24.9¢ tax be
dyed red. As long as it is advertised as K-1 kerosene it can be
used in your heater. We recommend the use of clear K-1 kerosene
when available as it is much easier to see contamination in the
How should kerosene be stored?
Store kerosene only in a new, clean, sealed container
clearly marked for kerosene. Such containers as used drums, milk
containers, used plastic jugs, and used gasoline cans will contaminate
kerosene and will harm the wick or cause a fire.
How long can I store kerosene?
One to three months is the longest we recommend storing fuel.
Kerosene should not be stored from one season to the next, including
inside the heater tank. If allowed to sit over the summer, the
fuel will break down and absorb water. There are bacteria and
molds that live in the kerosene and feed off fossil fuels. As
this process speeds up over the warm summer months, sludge develops
in the fuel. If this fuel is used the following season it can
clog the wick and cause odor, low burn and wick hardening. It
is best to buy kerosene in small quantities so that you are assured
of the freshest fuel possible. Find a supplier that you can trust
to have good fuel and stick with them.
How can I tell if my kerosene is good?
The best way to tell if you have good fuel is to siphon off a
small amount of fuel from the bottom of your storage container
into a small clear jar. It is important to pump from the bottom
because if there is water present that's where it will be since
it has a higher specific gravity than kerosene. Allow the sample
to sit for at least an hour and observe to see if there is anything
floating in the fuel. Bubbles at the bottom are not good –
they are water bubbles, not air. You should not be able to see
particles floating. If the fuel is clear it should be crystal
clear with no separation. Anything cloudy or yellowed is contaminated
and should not be used. Red fuel will be harder to see contamination
but should be translucent – much like Kool Aid , not cloudy
or opaque. The fuel should also smell like kerosene and have no
diesel or gasoline smell to it. If you have any doubt about the
fuel - get fresh. The final test is burning the heater; the flame
should be bright and even. Any kerosene odor should become very
faint after the heater reaches optimum burn (usually after 45-60
Characteristics of High Quality Kerosene:
High quality kerosene is usually as clear as tap water or dyed
Has no visible dirt or debris.
Has been properly stored in an approved container.
Has been kept in a cool dark location.
Characteristics of Poor Quality Kerosene:
Poor quality kerosene has a yellow or cloudy cast.
May have visible debris or other contaminates.
May have water collected on bottom of container.
May have been stored in direct sunlight or in high heat.
May have been stored for an extended period of time.