Kerosene Heater Wicks - Kerosene Heater Wick

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Kerosene Heater Questions

 

What causes bad odor?

Bad odor after the heater is burning is most often caused by low quality fuel. If there is high sulphur content in the fuel you are using or if it is lower grade kerosene it cannot be burned completely at the temperatures reached in a portable kerosene heater. These unburnt hydrocarbons collect on the wick and harden causing low burn and odor problems. Also be very careful when fueling your heater to not let any fuel drip on the heater. Fuel on the outside of the heater or on the drip pan can cause a strong kerosene smell when the heater gets hot. In addition, if the heater is operated at too low of a temperature setting or with the wick installed too low, incomplete burning of the fuel will cause odor. A heater should always be operated on high, turned down just enough to keep from sooting. Refer to your owner's manual for the proper wick height for your model.

Why won't my kerosene heater stay burning?

When having trouble keeping the heater burning there are several things that you should check. Is this the heater's initial use? If so, then the problem may be caused by not allowing the wick to soak long enough before lighting. Because it is the kerosene vapors that burn above the top surface of the wick, it is very important to wait at least 30-60 minutes with the wick in the down position in a full tank of fuel to be sure that the wick is fully saturated and can support the burn.
If you light the heater too quickly it may light, but air bubbles may develop in the capillaries of the wick and then it isn’t able to keep enough kerosene “wicking” to the surface to keep your heater burning properly. If a problem develops after the first tank of fuel has been burned, then the problem may be fuel-related. Poor quality or water-contaminated fuel clogs the wick fibers and impedes the fuel flow to the wick surface. This starves the flame of fuel. The best solution may be to replace the wick and fuel in your heater and start over.

Why does my kerosene heater smoke?

First of all make sure that the heater is filled with K-1 kerosene. Other fuel, such as gasoline, burn too hot causing the heater to burn out of control. NEVER USE GASOLINE or any other fuel described as flammable. If there is any question about the fuel in your heater it is best to drain it and replace the wick and start with fresh K-1 kerosene. If you are sure of your fuel and your heater is giving off sooty black smoke it is a sign that the fuel/air mix is off. Make sure the chimney is seated correctly. If it didn’t seat into place correctly after lighting you may be getting a very high flame on one side. If it’s a high orange flame all the way around try rolling the wick adjuster knob down within the adjustment range - the wick may just be too high. If these things do not fix the problem wait until the heater is cool and inspect the burner cylinder. If there are any holes plugged with soot it needs to be cleaned or if it’s dented or buckled it needs to be replaced. After you have checked the fuel and burner you should check to make sure the wick is installed at the correct height. Refer to the owner's manual for exact height. If the wick isn't installed correctly or there is no obvious defect it is best to take the heater to a service center to determine the cause.

Why won't my kerosene heater light?

Is this the first time lighting the heater? If so, then you need to make sure the heater has been filled with good K-1 kerosene, and that the wick has been allowed to soak in the lowered position for 60 minutes in a full tank of fuel. This insures the wick is completely saturated with kerosene. Then raise the wick to the “high” position.
When you push the “ignite” button you should see the igniter move into position to light the kerosene vapor above the top of the wick surface. The igniter should be glowing a bright orange.
The igniter should come into position right to the top surface of the wick but not touching the wick. If the igniter goes into the side of the wick it will not light – only the kerosene vapors just above the top surface of the wick will light. You may have to lower the wick adjuster mechanism a bit to make sure that the igniter is coming into contact correctly. If the igniter isn’t glowing check the batteries. They may need to be replaced or the igniter filament may be broken. If the batteries need to be replaced use only regular duty non-alkaline replacement batteries. Alkaline batteries deliver too strong an initial jolt and may blow the igniter).

Why won't my igniter glow?

When your igniter won’t glow the first most obvious cause is dead batteries. The batteries should only be replaced with regular duty non-alkaline batteries. Although alkaline batteries perform better and last longer in some small appliances they have too strong an initial jolt and often burn out the igniter filament. Strongest isn’t best in this application. If you have fresh non-alkaline batteries and it still won’t glow, the igniter probably needs to be replaced. To prevent igniter burn-out do not let the igniter come in contact with the side of the wick or stay in the flame after ignition.

Why won't my kerosene heater shut-off?

When you hit the shut-off knob and the wick won’t drop, it is most likely because of tar and carbon build-up. If the heater has been burnt too low or contaminated fuel has been used, a sticky tar forms on the wick and it hardens. As the wick gets harder and thicker it becomes more and more difficult to raise and lower the wick until it will no longer slide between the wick adjuster and the primary air tube. Bad water contamination in the fuel can also cause the cotton fibers in the wick to swell and not allow it to move freely in all cases. The wick should be replaced.

Where can I find a manual for my kerosene heater?

See our Kerosene Heater Manuals page for manuals for some of the more popular models. This list is by no means all inclusive and if you don't find the manual you are looking for then please consult your kerosene heater's manufacturers website or call them.