Monday, December 9, 2013

Kerosene Heaters

I have two radiant kerosene heaters as back-up for power failures.  I used one for about three days when we had a thermostat related failure.  The outside temps were about 25 degrees Fahrenheit and the one heater kept the living room/dining room/kitchen at about 55 F.  It ran through about a gallon of fuel a day.

I picked up a second heater at a yard sale.  They seem to run about $20, used.

Low temperature of 0 (zero) Fahrenheit predicted for this week, so it was time to dust them off and check to see if they are ready for service.

Hmmmm.  This one needs more than dusting off.  I had to evict a mouse.
These tanks are tall and skinny.  They are a fair devil for one person to fill unless you put them in a bucket to stabilize them.
These heaters use wicks.  The good thing about wicks is that they are very robust with respect to dirt.  The downside of wicks is that they are slow to soak up fuel if they have been run dry.  They are also a little bit fussy about how tall you run them up.

One other quirk about these wicks is that they are circular.  They are a dense fiberglass matting on top and they have a skirt that is almost like a grass, hula skirt that hangs down.  Many of the replacement wicks do not have the stitching that keeps the hula skirt organized very well cut.

That is, the stitching is not cut at all and the hula skirt, rather than hanging down into the kerosene reservoir, shinnies up the center post out of the reservoir.  So do your self a favor. Inspect your replacement wick and ensure that the grass skirt drapes freely.  You will see what I mean.

Incidentally, defective wicks may be the reason so many of these units are on the used market.  So don't be surprised if the heater you pick up at a yard sale does not work.  It probably needs a new that has been cut properly.

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