How To Stop Kerosene Heater From Smelling and Producing Fumes

Numerous people use kerosene heaters indoors, mostly because kerosene is quite inexpensive to use.

From small handheld heaters or large kerosene heaters, we’ve enjoyed them for more than a century now. Plus, since kerosene is a prevalent fuel, it can be purchased by pretty much anyone.

That being said, the smell can be nauseating, and you must be wondering how to stop kerosene heater from smelling.

Not many strong kerosene smell – at least not when the kerosene heaters are working properly – but sometimes, they can release a peculiar kerosene smell.

To stop the bad kerosene heater smell, follow these simple steps and go through owner’s manual.

Stoping Kerosene Heater from Smelling

To stop the kerosene heater from smelling, properly operate it on high, and you can turn it down enough to keep from making soot.

The heater may release bad odor when operated at low temperature, or the wick adjuster knob is too low, causing incomplete burning that will replace room oxygen.

You need to understand the causes before you ask ways of stopping kerosene heater from smelling. But we’ll get into the causes in a bit.

Without further ado, here are a few tips to prevent the kerosene heater smell.

  • Clean the Heater

You may give it a superficial wipe, or you may give it a deep clean – but as long as you use the right cleaning products, you should be able to eliminate the smell.

This works best if the kerosene has not already saturated; it might be slightly more difficult to take off if it has. It is also much easier to work with if you are using a small, hand-held heater.

  • Use Paraffin Oil

If you can’t stop the kerosene heater smell, you need to remove the kerosene altogether. Deodorizing the kerosene by adding paraffin oil is likely one of the oldest techniques we have.

Two parts kerosene to one part paraffin oil should be sufficient to deodorize the oil.

  • Mix Rubbing Alcohol

If you can’t get some paraffin oil, you might want to use isopropyl alcohol – commonly known as rubbing alcohol. Campers typically use this method to decrease the smell coming from their kerosene stove.

Multiple professional additives may be bought from the store as well. In addition, certain manufacturers recommend particular kerosene deodorizers, so make sure to keep their suggestions in mind.

Read also:6 Best Kerosene Forced Air Heater – Ultimate Guide

Ways to Stop Kerosene Heater from Smoking and Smelling

If you use a kerosene heater in ventless fireplaces and it gives off a cloud of sooty black smoke, it’s a sign that the fuel/air mix may be off, hence carbon monoxide production.

Ensure the chimney is seated correctly, or you may notice a very high flame on one side. Avoid using the heater in drafty places and adjust the wick to the correct height.

Why Does My Kerosene Heater Smell

Kerosene heaters smell for various reasons – all of which you need to solve as quickly as possible.

It may not damage the unit per se (at least not immediately), but it can be a real danger to your health.

Here are the main reasons why kerosene heaters smell.

  • You are using the heater in an unventilated living space

Even the best quality heater with the best quality kerosene may begin to smell if you use it in a room that hasn’t seen proper ventilation for ages. You might notice this with the vent soot.

To avoid the buildup of unhealthy fumes in the air such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and the strong kerosene smell – you need to make sure the room’s air is changed regularly.

Whenever you are using the kerosene, make sure to pop open a couple of windows. This way, you should be able to allow some cross-ventilation to occur.

Alternatively, you opt for the best natural gas heaters for homes if you want to heat a large area or basement unit if you want to heat your basement.

  • You did not properly seal the bottom of the burner

When you don’t seal the kerosene heaters’ bottom properly, the smell may escape your heater – and your nose won’t like it. To fix this problem, you may want to ensure that the burner has been sealed properly by moving it left and right.

Newer kerosene heaters should make a clicking sound when they have been sealed, or at least come to a stop when you try to move it further.

  • The wick is set too high or too low.

Sometimes, a kerosene heater may release strong odor simply because the wick was left too high or went too low. This is actually one of the most common reasons why your kerosene heater could make an entire room smell.

Ensure that the wick is always set at the appropriate height, an inch and a half. Plus, make sure that you check on the heater at least once every hour to ensure it is still at the right height.

Also, use the right wick to stop the kerosene heater from giving off smoke.

  • You are burning low-quality fuel

This is a no-brainer. If your kerosene heaters emit odors, then the chances are very high that your burnt fuel is of low quality.

If that’s not the case, then think about the time you bought the kerosene or how you kept it because it may have gone bad.

There’s also the chance that you are not using the appropriate kind of kerosene (one suitable for heaters) to avoid carbon monoxide production, so make sure to check that as well.

Stop Kerosine Heater Smell for Good

Clean, breathable air is important to all of us. This is why you should keep an eye on your kerosene heater.

If you realize that your kerosene heater smells funny, try the tips above on how to stop kerosene heater from smelling. And if the smell irritates you so much, why not the best electric heater for home.

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Jesse Pinkman is a passionate HVAC professional writer who grew up repairing any home appliance on which he could lay his hands. He is responsible for ensuring that every article we publish is SPOT ON. When he's not in the office, he enjoys hiking, watching football, and spending time with his family.