10 Tips On How To Stop a Kerosene Heater From Smelling

how to stop kerosene heater from smelling

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Many people find that they have an issue with their kerosene heater giving off a bad smell.  

Kerosene heaters are very popular for home (and outdoor) heating, but the issue of how to keep kerosene heaters from smelling can be difficult.  

We’re going to take a look at how you can prevent this unpleasant odor from coming out of your heater.

10 ways how to stop kerosene heater from smelling

1.  Keep your kerosene heater in a well-ventilated area

This is the most important way to stop the kerosene heater from smelling that you can follow. If you try to shelter your kerosene heater by keeping it in an enclosed space, this will create a carbon monoxide problem which could be very dangerous. The gas can’t escape into the air if there’s nowhere for it to go, so instead, it just keeps building up inside of your house and making everyone sick as they breathe it in.  

Also, keep some windows open as much as possible while you’re using your kerosene heater. This will help greatly in removing some of the odor that can’t be controlled.

2.  Clean out your tank at least once a month

If you don’t clean your tank, it’s going to start smelling real bad real quick.  Stopping the smell starts with cleaning out your heater after each use, and then doing it monthly if you’re not using it very frequently during the winter months. 

First off, pour any remaining gas or oil into an approved container for safe disposal later on (in accordance to local regulations).  Next, take a damp cloth and wipe out any debris left inside of the tank – this can be dirt, dust, or any other buildup that was left behind.  

Run water through your tank until it comes out clean – you can use a small amount of dish soap if it helps break up anything that’s still stuck in there.

3.  Keep your wick trimmed to the correct height

Doing this will help keep the kerosene heater from smelling since the whole point is to make sure that the wick is drawing in enough oil (or gas) to properly heat your home while not wasting any fuel by having excessive vapors leave the tank and go unused.   

This will also ensure that too much carbon monoxide doesn’t build up. How you should do this depends on what kind of kerosene heater you’re using. For example, if it’s an Aladdin lamp, then you’ll need to cut your wick down by about 2mm after each time you use the heater.

4.  Make sure that your vent cap is in good condition

If your vent cap is loose or damaged, this will let out some of the unburned vapors before they can be burned off while also letting some oxygen get mixed in with the gas mixture, resulting in increased fuel consumption and more wasted fuel that just escapes into the air instead of heating your home. 

This will also increase your kerosene heater smell.

The best way to tell if there’s something wrong with your vent cap is if there are cracks around it or damage anywhere on the vent assembly. These issues will need to be fixed before you can continue using your heater without worrying.

5.  Keep the wick clean by wiping it down with a wet cloth

After each time you use your kerosene heater, take a wet rag and wipe down the wick to remove any dirt, dust, or other debris that may have been left behind. This will help ensure that it’s drawing up enough fuel while also maximizing your fuel efficiency for maximum heat output per dollar spent on fuel.   

If there is too much buildup on the wick, however, this can reduce efficiency as well as cause kerosene heater odor if the wick isn’t working correctly.

6.  Make sure you’re using clean fuel

Since this is a fuel-burning appliance, if your fuel is dirty or contaminated with water (or other substances like gasoline), then it’s going to start spreading a kerosene smell in the house as soon as it starts burning and unburned vapors begin wafting out of the vent.   

7.  Try adding some baking soda directly into the tank after each time you use it

Baking soda has long been used as a way to neutralize bad odors, and it can work on kerosene heater odors as well.

Add a small handful of baking soda directly into your tank after each use, and then give it a shake before putting the cap back on to ensure that all of the baking soda gets mixed with the remaining fuel inside.

8.  Buy additives from most hardware stores to help control the smell

There are also some products you can purchase separately (or as part of a combination product) that will not only serve as a kerosene odor eliminator, but also increase efficiency and reduce maintenance requirements over time.  

Using one or more additives like these may be worth looking into if you’re tired of dealing with the odors that are coming out of your heater.  As always, read the label carefully to make sure that whatever additive you end up using is compatible with the type of kerosene heater you have.

9.  If all else fails, replace your wick

If even adding baking soda or using an additive doesn’t help control the kerosene heater smell, then it may be time to replace your wick in order to get back to heating your home efficiently and for pennies on the dollar when compared with other heating methods.  When replacing your wick, make sure you use a new one made specifically for safety reasons – never try reusing a used wick.

10.  Make sure that your kerosene heater is in good condition

This seems like an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget things when you’re dealing with something as mundane as maintaining your kerosene heater.  Just make sure that everything is in proper working order before you use it, including the burner assembly and controls.  

If anything looks or feels damaged, don’t try using it! Contact the manufacturer for any replacement parts you may need.

In Conclusion

Now that you know how to stop your kerosene heater from smelling, all you need is a little patience with the odor.

If it still smells after several days of running in this manner, there may be an issue with the fuel supply or burner assembly. In that case, seek out your kerosene heater repair specialist who can help you troubleshoot the problem. Or get an odor-free heater!


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