how to light a kerosine heater

Lighting a kerosene heater requires caution and proper technique to ensure safety. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safely light a kerosene heater:

Tools and Materials You’ll Need:

  • Kerosene heater
  • Kerosene fuel
  • Match or lighter
  • Fire extinguisher (for safety)


  1. Select a Safe Location:
    • Place the kerosene heater in a well-ventilated area away from flammable materials, such as curtains, furniture, or paper.
  2. Check for Leaks and Damage:
    • Inspect the heater for any visible signs of damage or leaks. Ensure that all parts, including the wick and the fuel tank, are in good condition.
  3. Fill the Fuel Tank:
    • Open the fuel tank cap and carefully pour kerosene into the tank. Be sure not to overfill. Use a funnel to prevent spills. Replace the cap securely.
  4. Allow the Wick to Soak:
    • If your kerosene heater has a wick, allow it to soak in the kerosene for at least 10-15 minutes. This ensures the wick is fully saturated.
  5. Set the Wick Height:
    • Adjust the wick height according to your heater’s instructions. Typically, you’ll need to raise the wick slightly, leaving about 18 to 14 inch exposed. Refer to your heater’s manual for specific guidance.
  6. Prime the Heater:
    • Many kerosene heaters have a priming process. This usually involves turning a knob to the “Prime” position and allowing a small amount of kerosene to flow onto the wick. Refer to your heater’s manual for the correct priming procedure.
  7. Light the Heater:
    • Using a long fireplace match or a grill lighter with an extended reach, carefully ignite the wick or the primed area. Hold the match or lighter close to the wick while lighting it.
  8. Monitor the Flame:
    • Once the wick is lit, closely watch the flame. It should be steady and blue. If the flame is yellow or sputtering, this may indicate a problem. In such cases, extinguish the flame immediately.
  9. Adjust the Flame Height:
    • You can control the heat output by adjusting the wick height. Turning the wick knob or lever will raise or lower the wick, thus adjusting the flame’s height and heat output.
  10. Close All Vents:
    • Ensure that all the heater’s vents are closed except for the draft control vent. This helps control the burning rate and prevents excess heat loss.
  11. Maintain Ventilation:
    • Keep the room well-ventilated by cracking open a window or door slightly to allow fresh air to enter and provide proper oxygen supply for combustion.
  12. Monitor the Heater:
    • Never leave a burning kerosene heater unattended. Periodically check on the heater to ensure it’s functioning correctly and the flame remains steady.
  13. Extinguish the Heater:
    • To turn off the heater, simply adjust the wick to the lowest setting. The flame will gradually diminish and go out. Allow the heater to cool before refilling the fuel tank.
  14. Store Kerosene Safely:
    • Store kerosene fuel in a well-ventilated, cool, and dry area, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  15. Be Prepared for Emergencies:
    • Have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies. Know how to use it and understand the basic principles of fire safety.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific kerosene heater model, as the lighting and operating procedures may vary slightly. Additionally, ensure that you are using clean, high-quality kerosene fuel to prevent clogs and maintain safe operation.

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