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Posted: 9/14/2010 6:15:46 PM EDT
I'm thinking about getting some kerosene appliances for home use during power outages. I am looking at stoves and lighting appliances, mainly. Perhaps some heating too, but that is not really necessary in my AO.

What sort of efficiency does kerosene have vs alternatives? How much fuel would one want to store considering heating would not be an issue - only cooking?

What sort of storage life does kerosene have, and are there any additives to extend it? Any other tricks for extending its life?

Thanks.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 10:10:25 PM EDT
Kerosene is stable.
Stored in sealed metal can,
Shelf life is indefinite.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 5:27:36 AM EDT
Kerosene if just a form of more highly refined diesel
the next steps up from Kerosene are Jet Fuels

I have found that with the cost of Kerosene and how it can spike in price that it isn't a really good deal for me for emergency heat

Before I got a wood stove, my Kerosene heater would burn through about 2 gallons of fuel in about 14 hours
I can cut wood basically for free


A good wood stove can heat the house and provide a cooking surface also.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 6:12:45 AM EDT

Don't know about cooking, but IIRC our aladdin lamp uses about 2-3 ounces / hour for light.

-Slice
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 6:37:31 AM EDT
To the OP - K1 clear kerosene stores for a LONG time (years) in a steel can. Cooking will use up about a quart or two per week, depending on what you are cooking. Kerosene cooking stoves are kind of unusual, but work well if you find one.

There are different grades of kerosene, two of which are readily available. K1 is the clear kerosene sold for use in kerosene heaters, the price is kinda volatile so fill a couple of 5 gallon cans when it's cheap. It works well in all kerosene appliances and has much less odor. #1 fuel oil is yellow kerosene, this is also used as jet fuel and Arctic diesel fuel. Next is #2 diesel fuel which with the paraffin wax is still dissolved in the fuel. It will work in your kero lamps and cookstove, and is not recommended for kerosene heaters as if gives off an odor when burned in a kero heater. Lastly, #2 fuel oil or #2 diesel is not recommended in any kero lamp or stove. I have heard of folks using the #2 ULSD in kero stoves and lamps, not sure if this will work in a kero appliance.

Wick type kerosene lamps will run a long time. I have a Dietz "Lil' Wizard" with a one quart tank, on a low setting it will go for almost 48 hours on one filling.

Ops

Link Posted: 9/15/2010 6:41:07 AM EDT
also don't buy Kerosene at Lowes or a big box store. too high

find a fuel/lube distributor and take your own can and fill it there.

about 30% savings
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 6:51:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2010 7:26:38 AM EDT by callgood]
I used to use it infrequently to keep my garage from freezing (paint, plants, etc.).
As the number of dealers declined the price has become prohibitive. I still have 5 gallons for a winter power outage but otherwise I use an oil filled heater I got on closeout at Lowes.

I keep charcoal briquettes soaking in kerosene and use one briquette to start my lump charcoal bbq fires or to burn out stumps.


The last kerosene I got was dyed red.

Is this ok for kerosene heaters
?
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 6:52:38 AM EDT
from a little digging...it looks to me like kerosene is totally fine when stored in plastic gas
containers....what do you guys think?
I have 2 - 5gal Red plastic gas containers filled with kerosene that I spray painted K1 on so there is no
confusion of what is in it.....
Steel might be better for long term?
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 7:38:25 AM EDT
Used some K-1 last winter that I had stored outside in plastic containers for just over 3 years at that point....burned just fine in the Kero Heater no problems.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 7:48:15 AM EDT
I have been looking at kerosene cook tops a little and I have seen some very old ones that I understand that the owners grandmothers used to can with! There are modern ones out there too but they can be pretty expensive for the option of using kereosene:

http://www.lehmans.com/store/Stoves___Cook_Stoves___Gas_and_Kerosene_Burning___Perfection_Kerosene_Cookstoves___62822

Right now I use Kerosene for my lanterns, I have a cook top for my Dientz lantern, and I have a pair of kerosene heaters. Right now I am storing 15-gal of Kerosene and I would rely on propane for cooking but it would be nice to use kerosene in a cook top but I have not found teh right option for me... yet!
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 8:03:00 AM EDT
I was looking at some of the stuff these guys have to offer, particularly the 16 wick stove and the oven (stove and oven combo):

Kerosene stoves

Anyone have any experience with these products?

Maybe a few lamps and lanterns for lighting, too.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 8:19:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2010 12:15:49 PM EDT by dablues]
...and an oft-quoted link, http://www.milesstair.com/

All things KEROSENE ! Parts, wicks, FAQ's
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 9:22:56 AM EDT
Kerosene is great. It stores for a long time and can be used with very simple appliances. For kerosene cooking I have 2 old Perfection 2 burner stoves. They use a round wick and have no pressure pumps etc. They work great. For light I have an Aladdin lamp and several flat wicks. The Aladdin provides a lot of light but takes mantles whihc can be fragile and break. The flat wicks I have picked up at junk shops etc for a couple of bucks each. I bought some spare wicks and a spare chimney for each. They provide enough light to do tasks and read but wont light a room like the Aladdin. I have a couple of old round wick lamps that I got out of my grandmothers house that I got going. THey provide more light than the flat wicks but are fuel hogs. For storage I keep the kero in 5 gal NATO cans. I found a place here locall ythat sells the clear or undyed kerosene. THis is much better than the dyed stuff as the dye can clog wicks. If you are looking for clear kero call around to local gas stations and fuel oil dealers. If they dont have it they can point you in the right direction. As for consumption it depends on the lamp. When I did my calculations I figured an ounce of fuel an hour which is what the Aladdin consumes. The smaller flat wicks consume half that but I used the oz/hr anyway. Burning 2 lamps for 4 hrs a night is 8 oz a night or 16 nights a gallon. Dont know what the consumption for the stove is but I used 12 oz a day for my estimate. This is probably on the high end. Total for both is 20 oz a day. A gallon is about 6.5 days so 5 gallons gives 32.5 days or about a month. So I have 2 months of light and cooking from kerosene. I need to get another 2 cans filled and I will have 4 months worth of kerosene. We heat with wood so in the winter the kero would be strictly for lighting. Summer I woudl cook outside on a rocket stove I purchased using small sticks for fuel.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 9:46:15 AM EDT
Price the fuel and examine expected fuel consumption and consider what you will do if kerosene goes up in price a dollar or two per gallon when you need to replace the kerosene you have used.

I used to live in an apartment with no heating system. It was over a bakery and with the bakery open and running no real heating system was needed. But the bakery was shut down while I was there so I learned a bit about space heaters.

Electric was expensive where I used to live so I rarely used electric space heaters. I never really liked electric space heaters for much more than running them overnight while I was sleeping. No worries about co build up using electric space heaters. I just shut everything down at night since east tn does not get all that cold and I hate monthly bills.

I had some of the various propane portable heaters and if I had owned the building I would have probably installed some wall mounted propane heaters.

I got tired of going through the 1lb canisters of propane so I got the hose and used my 20lb tanks of propane. The propane was perfect for short stuff in small rooms, like heating up the bathroom while I was taking a shower and then shutting the heater down once I was done using the bathroom.

When cooking or washing dishes the propane heater was also nice.

The propane heaters put out a decent bit of heat and are quick to start and shut down. So for being very portable with 1lb tanks and being quick and easy to use they have a definate place in my life. Buddy heaters and knockoffs are what I use. Get the ones made for indoor use and while they are simple my main problem came from using the rubber extension hose to the 20 gallon tank without a filter. Either buy a filter with your extension hose or use the expensive hose that won't let good build up in the heater. Some searches will turn up info on this stuff.

For kerosene heaters I just like the round tower heaters. I never have had luck with the rectangular kerosene heaters and the tower heaters put out more heat so I just stuck to the tower heaters.

The tower heaters take a little bit to warm up so I only used them when I would be home for a while. They would handle heating the whole apartment when temps were well below freezing and what not.

I just got in the habit of coming home and filling them up outside, starting them up outside and letting them warm up outside. Once warmed up they don't put off much smell and while the instructions say not to move a lit heater I have moved a few while lit and I have also just not cared about a bit of smell and lit them inside and not worried about a little bit of kerosene smell.

Some people are very sensitive to kerosene smells so you might want to mess with some kerosene stuff before buying a whole lot of it at once.

I have run kerosene in my oil lamps but I generally try to stock enough lamp oil that I don't have to run kerosene in the lamps.

Right now I think a gallon of kerosene is running about the cost of diesel fuel or more, 3 bucks to 3.50 a gallon I think. I priced it but did not buy it over the summer. It never dropped in price like I wanted it to.

I had some of the metal round cans of kerosene that is 5 gallons in size and you find it at home depot and lowes in the paint department a lot. The metal cans were used for several years but the little plastic spout is dead and the cans are rusting as well.

I am going to use them for some projects or throw them out. No longer do I trust them to store kerosene.

Kerosene stored in plastic will usually discolor a bit but work fine. I prefer to use really good cans or drums if I am going to store something long term.

If I was planning to use some kerosene this winter then the plastic cans are what I would use.

If planning to store a whole lot of kerosene for years and years I would go with drums most likely since good surplus fuel cans are expensive these days. I have a lot of surplus cans so I will keep some odds adn ends in them but the drums are easy to find and you can rig them up for gravity feed or use a hand pump if you wish to use a hand pump.

Propane has similar issues with price in my opinion but it is easy to scrounge up the 20lb tanks and if I get a camper I would put 30lb or 40lb dot rated tanks on it probably. Need to find a place local to refill your good tanks though. You can run a search on how exchanging tanks does not get you a filled tank anymore. I exchange old or yucky tanks for good tanks and then keep the good tanks.

I also have a wood stove in storage, due to renting I am not about to install it but I could if I had to do so.

Wood heat with your own woods in your own yard is the only thing I know of where the price is pretty easy to control.

I used to like kerosene a lot more when it was cheaper. I still like it but it is now mostly a backup setup for me.

The house I rent has propane heat that will work if the power is out and it is hooked to a 500 gallon tank so I can manage for a while on that along with all my various 20 gallon tanks and what not.

I go to cooking on propane if the power is out. I have an old 3 burner stove top mounted in an old kitchen drawer and it hooks up to a 20lb propane tank and lets me get by easily. I also have a propane grill but I still have not bought a replacement burner for it, plan to dismantle it and get a replacement this weekend though.

I drive a diesel vehicle and fluctuations in fuel prices are a weekly thing. I store some fuel for it but it is something I pay attention to all the time.

Propane and kerosene are something I generally price once a year since I am not using my kerosene heaters all winter anymore.

Other than price fluctuations I love kerosene and propane. Due to price fluctuations I keep some of both on hand and in a pinch I would use whatever was cheaper when refill time came along.

Right now I can afford to have both around but I also am not set up to the extent the original poster is talking about.

I only use clear kerosene.

Link Posted: 9/15/2010 10:50:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By callgood:
..........


The last kerosene I got was dyed red.

Is this ok for kerosene heaters
?

yes
they only put dye in it to prevent truckers from putting in their fuel tanks in the winter and running it with diesel
Kerosene does a great job preventing diesel from gelling up in very cold temps

They put dye in kerosene to signify that is is not taxed for highway fuel use

if you get caught with red dye in your tank it can be an automatic 10K fine
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 11:50:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By skunk-ape:

Originally Posted By callgood:
..........


The last kerosene I got was dyed red.

Is this ok for kerosene heaters
?

yes
they only put dye in it to prevent truckers from putting in their fuel tanks in the winter and running it with diesel
Kerosene does a great job preventing diesel from gelling up in very cold temps

They put dye in kerosene to signify that is is not taxed for highway fuel use

if you get caught with red dye in your tank it can be an automatic 10K fine


Dyed Kerosene has a tendency to gum up wicks more than K-1.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 12:59:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By fisterkev:
I was looking at some of the stuff these guys have to offer, particularly the 16 wick stove and the oven (stove and oven combo):

Kerosene stoves

Anyone have any experience with these products?

Maybe a few lamps and lanterns for lighting, too.


I bought a Butterfly lantern from them. They seem responsive to requests. The lantern itself was not very well made. I might look at what Lehmans has if you want something a bit higher quality.

Lehmans Link
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 1:03:14 PM EDT
I love the smell of kerosene
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 1:08:14 PM EDT
Kerosene can be used as a substitute for diesel fuel with a small amount of lube oil added (5%)
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 1:20:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By callgood:
I used to use it infrequently to keep my garage from freezing (paint, plants, etc.).
As the number of dealers declined the price has become prohibitive. I still have 5 gallons for a winter power outage but otherwise I use an oil filled heater I got on closeout at Lowes.

I keep charcoal briquettes soaking in kerosene and use one briquette to start my lump charcoal bbq fires or to burn out stumps.


The last kerosene I got was dyed red.

Is this ok for kerosene heaters
?


NO!!

The damn dye screws up the wick bigtime. You'd be better off with ULSD than that red shit!

Ops
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 4:20:13 PM EDT
The Butterfly brand of stoves are excellent and built like tanks. I cannot say enough about them. They also make good heaters as well. Got mine from a place in Utah. Just do a google search. I have stored untreated kero in a 55 gal drum for 10 years with no problems. Good luck.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 4:23:24 PM EDT
Here you go. I have the 2668 and love it.

http://www.harvestoutfitters.com/
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 6:52:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dablues:
...and an oft-quoted link, http://www.milesstair.com/

All things KEROSENE ! Parts, wicks, FAQ's

Dude you RULE! Great pricesw! I scored 2 Kero-Sun (circa 1980) heaters and was looking for wicks and infighters. I was about to buy from an eBay vendor, you just saved me a potful of dough! Arfcom never saves me money.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 9:31:50 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Sled_Dog:

Originally Posted By dablues:
...and an oft-quoted link, http://www.milesstair.com/

All things KEROSENE ! Parts, wicks, FAQ's

Dude you RULE! Great pricesw! I scored 2 Kero-Sun (circa 1980) heaters and was looking for wicks and infighters. I was about to buy from an eBay vendor, you just saved me a potful of dough! Arfcom never saves me money.


ditto I bought a kero-sun 36 at a garage sale with a burnt out wick for 10 bucks
Link Posted: 9/16/2010 4:05:04 AM EDT
To give you an idea as to how well Kerosene will remain viable as a fuel:

I spent years growing up on an island cottage. There was a nearby cottage that the owners abandoned. After it sitting there empty for several years my father went over and scavenged a few tools and other items, including a Kerosene convection heater. This was circa 1982... The heater sat in our shed for the next two decades. I took it home, cleaned it up, replaced the wick and fired it up. With the original kerosene that sat in the heater for 2+ decades the heater fired up and burned without difficulty.
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