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
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.