Buying a kerosene heater?

The Old House Web
Parts of this story: Introduction ~~ Shopping for a kerosene heater ~~ Safety Rules~~

Space heaters or portableheaters--no matter what they are called--must be used correctly to avoidpersonal injury. Anyone using these heating devices should know about their widerange of safety problems. Fromthe Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources,University of Nebraska, Lincoln, here is a shopping list to usewhen looking for kerosene heaters.

  • The heater design should not allow flooding of the burner. Models with a wick fulfill this requirement. The fuel tank should be below the ignition point.
  • What happens if the heater is jarred or tips over? Is there suitable safety shut off that puts the flame out if the heater is tipped?
  • Does the heater have a low center of gravity--is it very stable (not "top heavy")?
  • Check for durability. Is it constructed of reasonably heavy materials?
  • Does it have a fuel gauge so the tank capacity can be easily monitored?
  • Check for push button lighting, especially on newer models. This does away with match problems.
  • Make sure there is no detectable odor or smoke as the unit operates.
  • Have the dealer demonstrate lighting, operating, securing and maintenance procedures. How often should the unit be serviced by a trained repairman?
  • Make sure it is tested by an approved testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory. The seal of the testing laboratory should be affixed to the heater.
  • Check the ratings. Estimate your Btu requirements by taking the square feet of floor area to be heated times 28. (A 20 x 20 ft. room = 400 sq. ft. x 28 or 11,200 Btu/hr.)
  • Check local codes for use of a kerosene heater in the home.
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