A Guide To Storing And Inspecting Kerosene Fuel

Oil is an exceptional fuel for heating and per unit volume it contains a huge amount of heat. It is also easily transported and its flow can be easily controlled. To reduce pollution, domestic fuel oils, like kerosene, have low sulphur content. You should only use fuel in kerosene heaters that is advertised as K-1 kerosene. Clear K-1 fuel should on visual examination at ambient temperatures, be bright, clear and free from undissolved and solid matters.

How Should I Store The Fuel For My Heater?

Kerosene should be stored in containers that are constructed for the purposes of holding this particular fuel and be marked appropriately. You must never use old engine oil tins, plastic containers, and gas cans as cross contamination will occur which may possibly cause heater problems including fires and explosions.

As with may fuel oils, the constituent materials of kerosene will began to breakdown and condensate will also occur within the storage container if stored for long periods. Since fuel oil is derived from fossil fuels, molds and bacteria can live in and also feed on the fuel. This will eventually, especially in warmer weather, start turning to sludge inside the storage container, which will affect the viscosity and makeup of the fuel. Using fuel in this state may lead to poor burning that may consequently cause bad odors, soot, carbon monoxide and kerosene heater component failure. We recommend storing oil fuel no longer than 4 to 12 weeks. In essence, always try to buy fresh fuel and discard any aged fuel responsibly.

Is There Any Way Of Telling If My Fuel Is Contaminated?

Checking the viability of your fuel is simple. Since water is heavier than kerosene, any water present in the fuel will settle to the bottom of the storage container. Using a small siphon, take a sample of the fuel from the bottom of storage container and place in a small clear glass jar. After about one hour, check the contents of the jar. If there appears to be air bubbles at the bottom of the fuel sample than this indicates that they are not air bubbles but water particles. Floating solid matter also point towards contamination. Any yellowish appearance or other discoloration of the kerosene sample also indicates contamination. Unfortunately, if you use fuel that contains a red dye then this may hamper your inspection. If in doubt, always buy fresh fuel.


Fuel for kerosene heaters must be fresh as possible, stored correctly in new, approved containers, appropriately labelled and kept in a cool place and away from strong sunlight. The fuel itself must be clear, apart from dyed fuel, and have no visible water particles, dissolved or solid matter within it. You should never use fuel in a heating appliance that has become contaminated, has been stored in direct light or subjected to heat or stored for a very long time. Always read your heating appliance’s user instructions or manual for further information on the storage and use of kerosene. Your safety and the safety of your family are paramount.

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