How To Light A Kerosene Heater Manually

Last Updated on December 6, 2022 by Vernon Scott

How To Light A Kerosene Heater Manually

The fuel that kerosene heaters use often makes them cost-effective. Apart from their cost-effectiveness, every user of kerosene heaters must consider their health safety. When a room space doesn’t have proper ventilation, the risk of contaminated air will be high. In this article, we shall learn how to run a kerosene heater manually.

What Is A Kerosene Heater?

Kerosene heaters don’t need electricity to keep you warm. They have tanks for fuel, and wicks that burn when you light them with a match stick. When there’s a power outage, these heaters come in handy, and very useful.

Unlike regular heating systems, the kerosene heater produces carbon monoxide from incomplete combustion (burning) of fuel. This process can cause concentrations of harmful fumes in rooms with poor ventilation. Additionally, kerosene heaters need much supply of oxygen to work efficiently.

What’s Are Some Common Differences Between Kerosene And Regular Space Heaters?

The Fuel Type

Generally, these heaters are different from your conventional heater. They use a special grade of fuel (or a different grade) that’s called the 1-K kerosene. Also, these heaters can run on many grades of kerosene – the water-clear, and red-dyed types.


Regular electric and natural gas heaters might have their safety concerns, but you should be very careful with kerosene heaters. Keep flammable substances away from open flames when lighting your kerosene heater. To see more safe methods of using the kerosene heater, check out this video.

Bad Odor

Since kerosene is from the hydrocarbon family, it might contain fossils. Usually, non-renewable fuel sources are not clean because they might contain high sulfur content. When you use low-grade kerosene for your heater, you’ll notice soot. 

Its type of fuel doesn’t burn completely. So you’ll see the wick producing soot residues. Consequently, incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons causes bad odor. This incomplete combustion often reduces the efficiency of machines.

Manual Operations

Since hydrocarbon fuels like kerosene and petrol need oxygen to burn, it might be hard to enjoy a clean supply of air in your room. The kerosene heater uses a wick inside its central ignition lever. You have to tip them over, and light the wick manually.

Benefits Of A Kerosene Heater

  • The kerosene heater is portable and can work outdoors.
  • It’s the right backup source of heat when you don’t have electricity.

How To Light A Kerosene Heater Manually

  • Without allowing a full saturation, the wick might burn with kerosene vapors. Also, the heater could burn if the wick soaks kerosene insufficiently. However, kerosene might not have enough ‘capillary force’ to move from the tank through the wick.
  • Avoid filling the kerosene tank to its fullest capacity because the fuel could soak the wick faster, and cause an explosion. Don’t pour gasoline on the heater’s tank because it has more affinity for fire than quality 1-K kerosene. When flammable fuels like gasoline (petrol) burn, they are too hot. The uncontrollable flames might cause a fire disaster.
  • When the heater produces sooty black smoke, you might need to replace the wick. Additionally, the sooty sign could indicate an insufficient mix of fuel and air.
  • With this video, you can learn the basics about kerosene heaters.
  • It’s important to use the fuel gauge when refilling your heater’s tank. While it’s unsafe to overfill your heater, you shouldn’t refill the tank indoors. Allow the wick soak for about an hour if your kerosene heater is new.
  • After filling the tank with high-quality 1-K kerosene, close the cap properly. Activate the wick knob by turning it clockwise or anticlockwise as indicated on the product.
  • There are two modes of running the ignition process of kerosene heaters. You can get a heater with automatic ignition lever. It works by pressing a button, but the other manual type needs you to strike a match. However, our focus in this article is on the manual types.
  • The manual types of kerosene heaters have doors and burn-chambers. In most models of kerosene heaters, they are both above the wick knob. You wouldn’t need to open this chamber except it’s to light the wick.
  • With the wick knob, you can adjust the flame’s intensity of any kerosene heater. to extinguish, press the shut-off button.


Read your kerosene heater’s operational manual before running it. It’s a simple manual process, but you must maintain a proper wick height before running a kerosene heater. Also, allow the wick to be soaked (saturated) with kerosene (fuel) before lighting it.

I am a Trained HVAC Technician and Author of EmiNick. I have been in the industry for over 10 years and have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. I have been involved in all aspects of HVAC, from design and installation to repair and maintenance. I am also a certified energy auditor and have experience in conducting energy audits for both residential and commercial customers. In addition to my HVAC experience, I am also a certified home inspector and have conducted many home inspections for both buyers and sellers. Follow Me: Linkedin

1 Comment
  1. This heater is our winter savior! It doesn’t just heat the room, but does it in a much faster manner, thus creating nice and comfortable leaving environment when it’s most needed. We usually use this heater in order to boost up the heating procedure and, once the temperature has been reached the desirable level, we turn it off. That helps to save the level of oxygen in the room, to save the fuel and the electricity. Another good feature of this heater is that it moves the excess moisture form the leaving space. We leave near the ocean and, in winter time, severe fogs, strong winds and ocean mist get “into the bones”. The heater makes the room warm and cozy.

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