If you love taking your parties to the backyard, you probably understand how helpful a portable heater can be during cold seasons. Kerosene heaters are a go-to option for any homeowner who wants to enjoy cozy, radiant heat without breaking the bank. These heaters are ideal for small rooms, garage heating, and outdoor spaces where electrical units aren’t practical or a favorite option. You will also want to have a kerosene heater as a backup if you live in an area prone to storms or power outages. It can be worrying if you don’t have a reliable heating source, say a custom fireplace for the younger children, older adults, and senior pets in your household.
Knowing how to light a kerosene heater doesn’t require advanced skills, but it comes with challenges and know-how if you’re a beginner. Moreover, you can do it in multiple ways. Some homeowners may choose to go the manual way. On the other hand, some may find the automatic ignition less stressful. Whichever option you choose, a high-quality kerosene heater guarantees clean emission without any noticeable scents. This article highlights the different ways of lighting a kerosene heater, the advantages of owning a unit, and answers the most frequently asked questions about these appliances.
How to Set Up a Kerosene Heater
After shipping the kerosene heater to your home, setting it up is relatively easy since there is no installation required. You don’t need to mount it on the wall or bolt it on the floor; these units are highly portable for convenience. Follow these steps to have the heater ready for the evening:
Since a kerosene heater doesn’t require electrical power to operate, you’ll need to find a reliable fuel. Typically, most of these products will use grade 1-K kerosene. Grade 1-K kerosene is a unique fuel with hassle-free maintenance. It contains fewer toxins and deposits, hence ideal for indoor stoves and kerosene heaters. Most importantly, this fuel has lower sulfur content than K-2 grade and freezes at about -40° C. Thus; you’ll be sure of a fuel that burns faster even in extreme weather. However, not all heaters may use grade -1-K kerosene. Always watch out for the recommended fuel in the manufacturer’s user guide.
Grade 1-K kerosene is readily available in all your favorite hardware stores. Whether you opt for water-clear or red-dyed kerosene, it is safe for use and will burn without smoke or unpleasant smells.
After determining the right fuel for your kerosene heater, you’ll now need to add it to the system. Even though every brand comes with instructions on adding fuel, the process is nearly the same for all. Rotate the fuel cap (situated at the bottom) anticlockwise to open it. Please don’t remove the attached cord as it prevents the cap from complete removal or probably getting lost. Then, use the manual siphon pump to add grade K-1 kerosene into the heater without overfilling the fuel meter. We recommend doing this work out outdoors for safety, especially if the fuel spills.
How to Light a Kerosene Heater
If you want to light a brand new kerosene heater, you would want to let the weak soak properly in the fuel before igniting the system. Turn the wick knob to the left to ensure that you fully submerge it into the fuel. Moreover, the manufacturer may also recommend the soaking duration in the user manual; sometimes, it can be more than an hour. After soaking the wick for the recommended time, you can now turn the knob right (on-position) to raise it to the right level for burning. Then, you can light the heater either using a match stick or the automatic ignition system.
1. Lighting the Heater with a Matchstick
Follow this procedure when lighting kerosene heaters with a matchstick:
- Open the door of the burn chamber to adjust the wick into a perfect lighting position. On most models, the door to the burn chamber will be on the front side of the heater, above the wick knob. However, you should only open this door when lighting the wick or confirming whether the heater is off after extinguishing.
- Use the burner knob to lift the burn chamber. There is around, metal knob attached to the burn chamber. Use two fingers to raise the chamber by pulling up this knob until you see the wick exposed underneath. Also, the burner knob serves as a handle when changing the position of the ignition chamber. This knob features non-conductive metals, making it safe to handle even when the heater is hot.
- Light a matchstick and hold it next to the exposed wick. Then, insert the burning head into the space you created after raising the ignition chamber. However, ensure that your fingers don’t go deep into the chamber as they can burn when the wick catches fire. You can also use grill matches with longer sticks to feel safer.
- Adjust the flame to the height recommended in the user manual. On most models, this height is about ½-inch or 1.3 cm above the flame dispersal disk. Remember, turning the knob to the right raises the wick while turning it the left lowers it.
2. Lighting the Heater with the Automatic Ignition System
Save yourself the stress of using matchsticks and opt for the automatic ignition system to light kerosene heaters. You’ll find this system helpful when lighting the heater outdoors on a windy evening. Follow these steps:
- Press the automatic ignition lever. Locate the automatic ignition lever at the base of the kerosene heater. The ignition lever looks differently in various brands but will resemble a small horizontal button in most cases. Press the lever down to activate the automatic igniter. This brings the wick closer to the rising kerosene fumes.
- Release the lever immediately the wick lights up. If kerosene heaters don’t light using the automatic lever, it is probably because the igniter is loose or wrongly positioned. Thus, you may need to adjust it manually.
- Adjust the flame to a comfortable glow. Most user manuals recommend a comfortable glow, flame height to be ½-inch. Turn the wick knob to the right until the flame raises 1.3 cm above the dispersal disk. You can always monitor the flame height through the flame window located near the burn chamber. Also, kindly note that adjusting the flame to a comfortable glow isn’t an aesthetic preference; it lowers the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning or accidental fires.
Shutting Down Your Kerosene Heater
Turning off kerosene heaters may be a complicated process, but the more you do it, the more you’ll find it easy. Whether you ignited the heater using a matchstick or the automatic lever, the process of shutting the system down is the same. Follow this process:
- Rotate the wick knob anticlockwise. You would want to lower the flame height as down as possible before putting it out. Turn the wick knob to the furthest left but don’t release it yet. If you release the knob, the flame will likely bounce back to the original height, making it tricky to put out.
- Press the shut-off button and hold it. With your fingers holding down the wick in the far left position, push down the shut-off button. Then, release the wick knob to its neutral position. You’ll need to perform these actions simultaneously to put off the flame completely. After that, wait for about 10-15 seconds to confirm if the flame is off. Most importantly, wait for at least 10 minutes. This timeframe allows any accumulated gas to disperse for safe ignition after extinguishing.
The Benefits of Having a Kerosene Heater
Many reasons could prompt you to have a kerosene heater instead of alternatives to wood fireplaces. Besides the relatively affordable price tags, you’ll likely enjoy the following benefits:
- Hassle-Free Maintenance
- Lower operating costs
- High portability
- A wide variety ( different designs and colors)
- Easy use (even for beginners)
- High efficiency and reliability
- Multiple applications
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Manually Light a Kerosene Heater?
Yes, you can light kerosene heaters manually, using a matchstick if you want to forgo the automatic ignition lever. However, using a matchstick requires more precautions than automatic ignition. You might burn your fingers if you release the wick knob in a rush. Instead of regular matchsticks, you can opt for heavy-duty grill matches that come with extra-long sticks. That way, you can avoid inserting your fingers into the ignition chamber.
How Do I Start My Kerosene Heater?
Setting up a kerosene heater is relatively easy. You need to determine the type of fuel used by a particular system. Most brands use K-1 grade kerosene because it burns quickly. Moreover, this fuel has fewer emissions compared to regular kerosene. Then, you‘ll need to open the heater’s base and fill it up. Most importantly, always ensure that the wick soaks properly (for at least an hour) before bringing your matchstick. You can also opt for the automatic ignition if you don’t want to wait until one hour.
How Do You Light a Kerosene Heater for the First Time?
You can light your kerosene heater for the first time using a matchstick or the automatic ignition lever. The choice of the ignition method is purely aesthetic and depends on what you prefer most. Even so, using the automatic ignition lever is appropriate when you’re in windy weather. Matchsticks are a go-to option if the automatic ignition isn’t working. Most importantly, it will help if you let the heater settle for about 10 minutes after extinguishing before attempting to light it again. This allows any by-product gas to disperse.
How Do You Light a Comfort Glow Kerosene Heater?
A comforting glow guarantees your safety and the family’s when the kerosene heater is on. Some people may see this as an aesthetic choice, especially if they want a big flame to illuminate the area. You’ll need to tweak the wick knob until the flame raises ½-inch above the disperse disk or 1.3 cm. Even so, watch out for what the manufacturer recommends in the user manual. Some brands may recommend a different height, say 1.5 cm. Also, remember that you need to lower the flame to the lowest level before putting it out.
Wrapping It Up
Lighting a kerosene heater is as easy as described in the steps above. It may be tricky for beginners, but you’ll get a hold of the process after doing it umpteen times. However, kindly note that operating a kerosene heater comes with many risks as opposed to electrical models. You would want to operate your kerosene heater in an open space to ventilate nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide gases (by-products of burning kerosene). It will help if you place the kerosene heater away from rugs, curtains, or anything that can result in accidental fires. Don’t forget to store any reserve fuel away from heat or combustible items. Running a kerosene heater is relatively affordable and more eco-friendly than electrical models. Follow this guide to set up your system, and you’re good to go.