Kerosene Heater

A kerosene heater is a very old type of heater that is still in much use. Even in homes that have modern electric space heaters, kerosene heaters are used as a supplementary source of heating that comes in use in case there is a power outage. Kerosene heaters operate with kerosene, which is a hydrocarbon fuel. Since kerosene is also known as paraffin in most parts of the world, these heaters are also referred to as paraffin heaters.

The heaters require some amount of setting up. There is a lower compartment in which the kerosene is meant to be introduced. This needs to be done carefully. Once the required amount of kerosene is put (which will mostly depend on how long the person wants the kerosene heater to remain working), a lid is put on the compartment. This lid has a wick passing through it.

The principle of working of the kerosene heater is simple. Once the wick has been dipped into the kerosene, some amount of kerosene will rise into it due to the capillary action. To start the heater, the wick is ignited. As it starts burning, the kerosene present in it will get depleted. As a result, more kerosene will be drawn up through the wick by capillary action. This continuous action of uptake keeps the wick burning. It is the flame produced by the wick that contributes to heating up the room.

There are various mechanical adjustments provided for getting the right amount of heating effect in the room. The amount of heat radiated in the room can be altered by adjusting the size of the flame. This is done by a wick control valve that can pull the wick up or down. This ensures that only the required amount of wick is exposed and the flame size can thus be controlled. When the heater has to be put off, the wick can be completely taken inside so that the flame extinguishes for want of oxygen.

Though kerosene heaters have been in use since a long time, there have also been a lot of criticisms leveled against them. One of the main criticisms has been that they can pollute the space with gases, some of them harmful to the health. As kerosene burns, it releases mainly carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, but because of the impurities present in it, some amounts of sulfur dioxide are also produced. Carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide have known toxic effects and carbon dioxide can be dangerous because it can lead to asphyxiation. If the oxygen level goes down to zero, the person may also die.

This is improvised in some of the modern kerosene heaters. Here, the adjustment is done in such a way that the wick will automatically get extinguished when it senses that the level of oxygen in the environment is low. This prevents the wick from undergoing incomplete combustion later on, which in turn prevents the risk of asphyxiation.

Kerosene heaters cannot be used with children or pets within the space. Apart from the real risk that they might topple over the heater with an open flame, there is also the danger of them getting affected by the unvented fumes that these heaters give out. There are also serious risks if the air contains some traces of inflammable gases, which is why kerosene heaters are a very bad option to use in industrial areas.

However, kerosene heaters are still popular for their very low prices and for the fact that they do not need any kind of installation. They can be taken along during camping trips and can be used in any space without much hassle.

This Kerosene Heater Review is Written/Updated on Jan 16th, 2010 and filed under Home Appliances. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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