Kerosene heaters can serve as your home’s main or secondary heating source. Regardless of its intended use, it should burn completely to prevent the buildup of hazardous gases inside. So you might be wondering what shade a kerosene heater’s flame should be.
A properly functioning kerosene heater should produce a distinct blue flame with a slight bit of yellow shining toward the tip. However, a sooty flame from your heater indicates that the gas didn’t completely burn.
Additionally, inefficient combustion is taking place because other condensates are burning alongside the methane if the pilot light of the gas heater is primarily yellow, orange, red, purple, or green. Dust, rust, tar, and oil are a few examples of the potentially hazardous materials that these condensates may contain. At this point, you ought to contact your HVAC professional.
Continue reading to learn more about the significance of the aforementioned flame colors and the dangers that other flame colors present. In addition, we’ll cover what to do if your heater produces colors other than blue. Before selecting a kerosene heater for your heating system, we’ll also offer some aspects you should take into account. Finally, we’ll provide you with advice on how to use a kerosene heater safely.
What Does A Kerosene Heater’s Blue Flame Mean?
In a flame, the color blue denotes total combustion. This demonstrates that there is no wasted or unburned gas, demonstrating effective gas combustion.
When there is complete combustion, you get the highest heat output from your gas and need less gas to generate heat, regardless of the appliance you are using.
You also lessen or stop the production of carbon monoxide.
Why Is It Dangerous If The Flame From Your Kerosene Heater Produces Colors Other Than Blue?
If your flame is yellow or orange in color, or if you see bursts of yellow or orange, you have a combustion problem that has to be handled by a specialist.
Long streaks of any color, including yellow, orange, or green, suggest that your furnace needs to be adjusted or cleaned by a qualified HVAC specialist.
Along with wasted fuel, higher energy expenditures, and more soot, the main concern of improper combustion is the increased carbon monoxide (CO) production of the combustion process.
CO is a colorless, odorless gas that has the potential to kill. It can also lead to headaches, nausea, hallucinations, blackouts, and death. Some people liken the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning to the flu.
The CDC reports that every year, over 20,000 Americans seek medical assistance for CO leakage, resulting in over 400 fatalities from unintentional CO poisoning.
How Can You Keep Your Kerosene Heater Running With Blue Flame?
The wicks need to be cleaned frequently. The kerosene heater is placed outside and allowed to burn using fiberglass wicks until the fuel runs out. The wick is cleaned of tar and other accumulated debris by burning it.
If the heater is typically left on all the time, this ought to be done at least once every week. Never let the heater run completely dry while cleaning it with cotton wicks. To clean instead, wipe the top of the wick with a paper towel to remove any debris. The wick will eventually become ineffective and need to be replaced.
Keep in mind the manufacturer’s recommendations as well, especially the part about ventilating the heater. To encourage airflow and proper ventilation, keep a window open or leave a nearby room’s door open.
Kerosene burns while consuming oxygen, especially in confined spaces like garages and work sheds, so you must make sure the area is properly ventilated. Keep a window cracked to allow mechanical ventilation to remove airborne contaminants and bring in fresh air.
What Dangers Do Kerosene Heaters Pose?
The following are some security risks associated with using kerosene heaters:
- Since kerosene heaters frequently lack venting systems, all combustion byproducts are released into the air of the house. They include low levels of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.
- If a kerosene heater is not properly calibrated, fueled, or maintained, it will discharge more pollutants, especially due to incomplete combustion. Kerosene heaters should never be used in a house with poor ventilation.
- If oxygen is burned more quickly than it takes for additional atmosphere to enter space to replace the oxygen that has been destroyed, carbon monoxide production increases quickly. The lethal gas will kill everyone in the room since carbon monoxide cannot escape.
- Similar to other heaters that burn organic fuel, kerosene heaters have the potential to run out of oxygen and release potentially lethal amounts of soot and carbon monoxide. If you ignore safety instructions, you could suffer from asphyxiation or carbon monoxide poisoning.
- In addition, there is a risk of fire and burns due to the heater’s hot surfaces. The open flame poses an explosive risk in locations where flammable gases may be present, such as a garage. The use of contaminated or inappropriate fuel could lead to poor performance, a fire, or an explosion. Kerosene storage and recharging the heater carry the normal risks.
- Using impure fuel may result in extra soot being produced. In many nations, it is against the law to put gasoline or other liquids into authorized containers like kerosene bottles due to the potential for explosions when even little amounts of the fuel are mixed with them.
What Elements Must Be Taken Into Account When Purchasing A Kerosene Heater?
Take a look at these things you need to think about first before choosing to get a kerosene heater:
A whole house cannot be sufficiently heated by any heater. One or two rooms is a decent starting point. Examine the heater’s label carefully to determine its BTU output.
Use Only Heaters On The List
Verify that one of the top testing facilities, such as UL, has evaluated the heater’s design and safety features.
Used, reconditioned, or second-hand heaters may be risky investments and fire hazards. Purchase any used or rebuilt heaters along with the owner’s manual or operating instructions.
The condition of the grill that covers the heating element, the fuel gauge, the ignition system, the gasoline tank, and the tip-over switch are other factors to take into account.
Look for a seal from a reputable safety laboratory as well (UL).
Verify whether the heater uses a match to light itself or has an internal igniter. There must be an automatic shutoff on a heater. If the heater tips over, ask the dealer to show you how to use it safely.
How Can A Kerosene Heater Be Operated Safely?
Follow these safety recommendations to lower the risk of fire and potential health effects from indoor air pollution:
Purchase & Use the Proper Fuel
Use just one water-clear K-grade kerosene at a time. Utilize no gas. Gasoline and kerosene are not the same. When coupled with gasoline, other combustible fuels, or solvents, kerosene is far more likely to ignite or explode.
When purchasing kerosene at the pump, be sure to use the kerosene pump rather than the gasoline pump. Some gas stations feature separate islands for kerosene. Some oil companies have also implemented quality control procedures to lessen the possibility of kerosene contaminating gasoline.
You must purchase 1-K grade kerosene from a supplier who can guarantee the reliability of the fuel. Kerosene quality assurance programs that are managed by the public and private sectors exist in some states.
The introduction of more toxins into your home in grades other than K-1 poses a potential health risk. Given that different grades of kerosene can appear to be identical, the dealer must certify that the product being sold is 1-K grade.
Proper Kerosene Storage
Kerosene should never be kept in an empty or previously used gasoline container. Always keep it in a separate, kerosene-specific container. You can avoid unintentionally using contaminated or incorrect fuel by doing this. Kerosene and gasoline are commonly stored in blue and red containers, respectively.
Fill Up The Outdoor Heater with Fuel
Never refill the heater inside the home. Only fill the tank once the heater has been turned off and has had time to cool outside, away from combustible materials. Avoid refueling the heater while it is hot or running.
Never fill the fuel tank past the point where it says “full.” The space above the “full” indicator is there to permit expansion of the fuel room without causing leaks while the heater is operating.
In The Event Of A Fire, Immediately Turn Off The Heater
If there is a flare-up or uncontrollable flame, don’t move or carry the heater. This can make the flames worse. If there is a manual shut-off switch, turn it on to turn the heater off.
You need to get out of the house right away and call the fire department if this doesn’t put out the fire. As an added measure of safety, place a smoke detector close to each bedroom or on each floor of the house.
Maintain Your Heater Regularly
You can reduce your exposure to contaminants in indoor air by using and maintaining your portable kerosene heater properly. Portable kerosene heaters burn fuel very efficiently, but they also emit small amounts of some pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.
Particularly for those who already have a chronic respiratory or circulatory health condition, low levels of exposure to these pollutants may be dangerous.
Kerosene heaters should also produce blue flames, as should almost all gas heaters. This indicates that the fuel in your heater was totally burned by the heater. Additionally, this protects you from the risks of breathing harmful gases like carbon monoxide.