Can Diesel Fuel be Used in a Kerosene Heater? Risks and Benefits (2023)

Kerosene is one of the most common and popular fuels around the world, and is regularly used in heaters, cooking appliances and more. Although it’s no longer quite as popular in North America as it used to be, it is still a reliable standby for various types of portable heaters.

Can Diesel Fuel be Used in a Kerosene Heater? Risks and Benefits (1)

Every prepper, naturally, will want to keep a sizable stash of kerosene on hand to keep their heaters working, but what happens if you run out of kerosene?

Some folks say that it is possible to use diesel fuel as an alternate to kerosene in normal kerosene heaters. Is it true? Is it possible? Can diesel really be used in a kerosene heater?

Yes, diesel fuel can be used safely in a kerosene heater with just a little bit of isopropyl alcohol as an additive.

This is definitely great information to know since it provides you with more flexibility using the same appliance, whatever it is.

As it turns out, kerosene is really just a form of diesel fuel itself and that easily explains why common diesel fuel, also known as No.2 diesel, will still work in a kerosene heater.

Of course, there is plenty more you should know before you try this yourself, so keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it…

Why Burn Diesel in a Kerosene Heater at All?

The simplest answer is that you are simply out of kerosene fuel. Having alternate liquid fuel types for any sort of vehicle, tool or appliance is only a good thing when it comes to preparedness.

Just like how some generators can accept both gasoline and propane, or even additional fuels besides, it’s good to know you can rely on a diesel as a backup to your usual supply of kerosene.

(Video) Update on Diesel Fuel in Kerosene Heater

Now, from a performance perspective, there’s no great reason to use diesel instead of kerosene.

Diesel does not put out quite as much heat as kerosene, although they are very close, and it tends to produce a little more odor and also burn up wicks quicker than kerosene.

But make no mistake, your heater will work normally and safely, and you’ll definitely stay warm!

Is it Safe to Use Diesel in an Indoor Kerosene Heater?

Yes, it is safe to use diesel in an indoor kerosene heater if the heater is otherwise used in a safe manner.

Diesel doesn’t make any given heater in any given environment more or less safe. Said another way, as long as you have taken all reasonable precautions to provide ventilation and prevent accidental fires, you can safely use diesel in your indoor kerosene heater.

But the reverse is also true. If you’re using your kerosene heater in an unsafe way, or operating it in an unsafe location or during times of heightened fire risk or with poor circulation, using diesel isn’t going to make it any safer…

Which Kind of Diesel Can Be Used to Replace Kerosene?

You can use common, garden variety No.2 diesel fuel of the type which you typically use in motor vehicles. Preferably, you’ll use high-quality, Ultra-low-sulfur diesel, or ULSD.

Now, if you research this topic for any length of time, you have it by now probably come across at least one or two sources urging you to seek out No.1 diesel for use in kerosene heaters thanks to its superior performance characteristics.

I don’t want to be the one to let the cat out of the bag, but No.1 diesel is basically just kerosene!

(Video) Secret to using Diesel in a Kerosene Heater

That is indeed why it works so much better in a kerosene heater, but this is not a difference that is so great you should go out of your way to find No.1 diesel.

If you have it handy, great, but if not you can just use regular diesel from the pump with one simple additive which we will get into in a moment.


How Do You Use Diesel in a Kerosene Heater?

You use diesel fuel in a kerosene heater the exact same way that you would use kerosene. All the safety, handling and fueling procedures are exactly the same.

However, there is one thing you’ll need to add to the diesel to ensure an even burn and proper functionality.

That additive is a common 91% isopropyl alcohol. And it takes very, very little, too: you should add about 5 ml of isopropyl alcohol to every pint of diesel before using it to fuel your kerosene heater.

Simply add the isopropyl alcohol, stir vigorously for about a minute, and then you are ready to use it in your heater. That’s it!

Can All Types of Kerosene Heater Use Diesel?

Yes. All types of kerosene heater, be they portable or not, radiant or not, can use diesel fuel safely as described above. Torpedo-style kerosene heaters included, but they might need extra maintenance after using diesel. See below.

Do You Need to Modify a Heater to Accept Diesel?

No, not really. Any functional and well-maintained kerosene heater can use diesel fuel as described above without any modifications to the heater itself, and nor should you try to modify it beyond normal function!

That is a whole lot more likely to introduce an unsafe condition than the use of the diesel itself.

(Video) Kerosene heater burning diesel. CO test.

That being said, you can get somewhat better performance and better longevity out of your kerosene heater if you switch out a fiberglass wick for a cotton one.

Fiberglass wicks tend to attract moisture and carbonize significantly quicker than cotton wicks when diesel fuel is burned.

But, once again the difference is marginal in the scheme of things and wicks are quite cheap and easy to replace, so you don’t need to fiddle with it if you don’t want to or you are in a bind for time.

Do You Need to Do Anything to Your Heater After Burning Diesel in It?

No. Not usually, anyway. Any kerosene heater that burns diesel as fuel will still be ready to accept kerosene in the future when more is obtained. There are no special modifications to be made one way or the other after using diesel.

That said, certain types of kerosene heater, and torpedo heaters in particular, might be prone to clogging up and getting grimy if you use diesel that is not properly mixed with isopropyl alcohol.

This might make your next scheduled maintenance interval a bit more of a pain in the butt, but that’s the worst that could happen.

What are the Advantages of Using Diesel in a Kerosene Heater?

The biggest advantage to using diesel as opposed to kerosene in your kerosene heater is that diesel is often significantly cheaper, even when you factor in the tiny cost of alcohol to cut it with. In many places, diesel is also more widely available than your regular kerosene.

And of course, if you don’t have kerosene, the fact that you have diesel fuel means you are still in business as opposed to just being out of gas!

What are the Drawbacks of Using Diesel in a Kerosene Heater?

There aren’t too many drawbacks to using diesel fuel in your kerosene heater. We’ve already touched on most of them.

(Video) Kerosene heater using Diesel WILL IT WORK Part 2

Ideally, you will use diesel fuel with a cotton wick as mentioned above because cotton wicks last longer and work a little better compared to fiberglass wicks.

Also you’ll need to contend with a somewhat dirtier heater with certain designs, particularly torpedo heaters.

This isn’t much to worry about at the time, but it does make maintenance somewhat more aggravating. Possibly the single biggest drawback to using diesel is that diesel, as opposed to true kerosene, smells significantly worse.

You’ll definitely notice an increase in odor, even though the total emissions will be pretty much the same assuming the heater is functioning properly.

And then there’s the fact that diesel does not put out quite as much heat as kerosene, although this difference is so small as to be virtually not worth mentioning under typical circumstances.

The post Can Diesel Fuel be Used in a Kerosene Heater? Risks and Benefits appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

By: Tom Marlowe
Title: Can Diesel Fuel be Used in a Kerosene Heater? Risks and Benefits
Sourced From:
Published Date: Mon, 22 May 2023 16:00:00 +0000


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Can Diesel Fuel be Used in a Kerosene Heater? Risks and Benefits? ›

You can actually use off-road diesel in your kerosene heaters. In fact, diesel burns very well in your regular kerosene heater, but can come with the risk of reducing the life of the wick. As a temporary replacement though, diesel works just fine.

What happens when you mix kerosene and diesel? ›


The primary reason for blending diesel fuel with kerosene is to improve cold flow operability. Kerosene has a better cold filter plugging point (CFPP) than diesel fuel, which means it can be successfully passed through a filter at a lower temperature than untreated diesel fuel.

Is it better to burn kerosene or diesel? ›

Kerosene also contains less BTU's (British Thermal Units) than diesel fuel. This means that using kerosene leads to reduced fuel efficiency and engine performance. Specifically, kerosene has a BTU content of about 130,000 per gallon while diesel has an average of 140,000 per gallon.

Is it safe to use a diesel heater indoors? ›

In addition, gasoline- or diesel-powered generators and appliances can produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide and should never be operated inside the home or garage.

Can you use ultra low sulfur diesel in a kerosene heater? ›

Ultra-low sulfur dyed diesel works in virtually all home heating and space heating equipment that uses kerosene. You won't have to replace your equipment or alter it to enjoy the benefits of ultra-low sulfur dyed diesel.

Can I run diesel in a kerosene heater? ›

You can actually use off-road diesel in your kerosene heaters. In fact, diesel burns very well in your regular kerosene heater, but can come with the risk of reducing the life of the wick. As a temporary replacement though, diesel works just fine.

Can I mix diesel and kerosene in a heater? ›

Yes, it is generally safe to use diesel in a kerosene heater. However, if not careful, you could end up with more fumes or carbon monoxide.

What is the best fuel for a kerosene heater? ›

The only fuel approved for indoor kerosene heaters is K-1 kerosene. K-1 kerosene is most commonly found at local convenience stores and service stations. Only buy kerosene that is rated K-1. Lesser quality fuels will produce odor and may cause other problems.

What is the alternative fuel for kerosene heaters? ›

Klean-Strip Klean Heat is the perfect choice to use in place of K-1 kerosene in kerosene-burning appliances such as heaters, lamps and stoves. This premium fuel is safer and more convenient to store than kerosene. It contains less sulfur and aromatics so it has no kerosene odor - before, during, and after burning.

What is the best fuel for a multi fuel heater? ›

However, K1 Kerosene is the manufacturer's recommended fuel for optimal, cleaner burns and long lasting product life.

Can you sleep with diesel heater on? ›

The combustion chamber is completely sealed, and all exhaust is vented outside. For those who are spending the night on the road or at sea, not only is our diesel heater safe to use while operating the vehicle or vessel but it can also be used while you sleep as there is no possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.

How long can you leave a diesel heater on? ›

Normal usage of heaters is around 500 hours. Replacement parts after that time are usually the glow plug, filter and burner cartridge.

Do you need ventilation when using a diesel heater? ›

Direct diesel space heaters are 98% efficient. You should ensure adequate ventilation and take all safe precautions as advised in the manual.

Is #1 diesel fuel the same as kerosene? ›

Kerosene is also called #1 diesel fuel oil, whereas regular diesel is designated as #2 diesel fuel oil. Some people consider it similar enough that they may try to use it interchangeably with regular (#2) diesel fuel.

Can you use jet fuel in a kerosene heater? ›

In addition, never use diesel, jet "A" fuel, No. 1 fuel oil, No. 2 fuel oil or gasoline in your heater. The use of any of these fuels could result in a fire or explosion that could cause death or injury.

Is kerosene the same as red diesel? ›

There are two types of heating oil – gas oil and kerosene. Gas oil (also known as red diesel and 35-second oil) is generally for commercial and agricultural use. Kerosene (also known as home heating oil or 28-second oil) is a lighter oil that is used in many homes.

How long will 10 gallons of diesel last in furnace? ›

How long will 10 gallons of heating oil last? Following our previous calculations, 10 gallons of heating oil at a consumption rate of 1.7 gallons per hour should last 5.8 hours. (10-gallon tank / 1.7 gallons per hour = 5.8 hours).

What is a cheaper alternative to kerosene? ›

The Solution: Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils (HVO)

How long will 5 gallons of kerosene last in a heater? ›

It will run for approximately 9 hours on one tank. Using that to calculate from, I should get about 22 hours of heat from 5 gallons.

Which is cheaper to run propane or kerosene heater? ›

Even though kerosene can be more expensive than propane, it may cost less for heating when you factor in that heating efficiency. If the environment is a concern, propane burns much cleaner than kerosene so your carbon footprint is reduced by using propane.

What is the cheapest fuel to heat with? ›

Natural gas is likely to prove the cheapest way to heat a home if you have this heating option available to you where you live. Although prices have risen, natural gas is the least costly form of space heating. This is followed by electricity, propane, and heating oil, from the next cheapest to the most expensive.

What is the cleanest burning fuel for heaters? ›

It's safe – with a low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and a clean burn, kerosene is one of the safest fuels available. It's cheaper than gas – it's economical to produce and has incredibly cheap prices, making it one of the most cost-effective ways to heat your home.

What is the cleanest burning liquid fuel? ›

Bioethanol is pure alcohol. The combustion of bioethanol is clean which makes it an efficient and effective source of heat because there is no soot, ash or harmful emissions that need to be extracted through a flue - meaning all the heat stays in your room.

Are diesel fuel heaters safe? ›

Diesel heaters are widely used and considered to be very safe. They include an auto-shutdown if the system temperature exceeds a safe operating level, the same as LPG heaters. Where diesel heaters provide extra safety is in regards to combustion and inhalation.

Do I need a carbon monoxide detector with a diesel heater? ›

Always fit a carbon monoxide alarm with any diesel heater or gas cooker. FIT AN ALARM AND MAKE SURE ANY DIESEL HEATER YOU PURCHASE ARE CE MARKED.

Why get a diesel heater? ›

Diesel heaters are reliable since they run on diesel as their primary source of fuel. They work great even in the lowest temperatures without using up too much fuel or energy. This product will provide heat and warmth to your vehicle in no time.

How long will a diesel heater run on 1 gallon? ›

The diesel heater features an oil pump that precisely controls the fuel inlet for 100% combustion. The efficient air heater takes around one gallon for one night to keep cozy during cold weather.

How hot does the air get in a diesel heater? ›

In case of probable overheating, the surface heats up to a most of 90 °Celsius. The local air can meet a temperature of up to most of 150 °Celsius.

How hot can a diesel heater get? ›

A diesel heater has a combustion chamber like all diesel engines do. Air compresses until the temperature reaches around 550 degrees.

Where is the best place to put a diesel heater? ›

Select a Spot to Install your Diesel Heater

Generally, the best place for installation is either under the dinette seating or under the bed. You will need a bit of room around the unit for the air intake pipe, so make sure to allow for that.

Where should a diesel heater be placed? ›

It is recommended to install the heater unit in the 'normal position' which is with exhaust outlet at the bottom and the heater body at flush to the floor. If this is not possible there is a maximum recommended allowance of 30 degrees tilt from end to end.

Do diesel heaters use a lot of electricity? ›

A diesel heater will need a 12 V power supply, but the electricity consumption is also very low. Wallas heaters require 10-12 amps to start, but once the heater is running, it will only need approximately 0.5-4 amps.

Is diesel more toxic than kerosene? ›

The comparison showed that at very high contamination levels (10 and 15%) kerosene was 1.3-1.6 times more phytotoxic than diesel fuel and 1.3-1.4 times more toxic than crude oil, and at low (1 and 2%) and medium (3 and 5%) levels the toxicity of these contaminants was close differing by a factor of 1.1-1.2.

Why is kerosene cheaper than diesel? ›

Some people add a bit of kerosene to their diesel fuel during the colder months to lower the temperature at which diesel begins to solidify. Kerosene is usually less expensive than diesel as well, due to the road taxes added to the price of diesel fuel.

Is kerosene cheaper than diesel? ›

Kerosene is typically cheaper than diesel, and it burns at a lower temperature than diesel which prevents gelling in freezing temperatures, so it may sound like the perfect replacement for your engine.

Is it safe to run a kerosene heater indoors? ›

Because of their increased risk of causing fires or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, kerosene heaters should only be used indoors for limited periods of time with consistent breaks in between use. You should install CO detectors throughout your house, especially near bedrooms and rooms closest to the heater.

What is the difference between kerosene and k1 kerosene? ›

K-1 Versus K-2 Kerosene

A: The main difference is the sulfur content. K-1 is very pure kerosene with low sulfur content and is most commonly used. K-2 can have as much as 10 times more sulfur. The fewer the impurities in the fuel, the cleaner it will burn.

Why is jet fuel so cheap? ›

Jet-A is used in a much higher volume than 100LL. All the jet engine commercial aircraft each day burn through orders of magnitude more Jet-A than piston aircraft burn through 100LL. That means that there is a much higher production volume, and therefore a cost savings as a result.

Can diesel fuel be used as kerosene? ›

The very short answer is yes, it can. Diesel is close enough to home heating oil to act as a substitute, and it will burn fairly safely.

Can you use diesel fuel in a kerosene torpedo heater? ›

my experience is that it will work, it will however smoke a little more, and produce noticeably more fumes. Diesel is much more oily than kerosene, remember that in a diesel motor, the fuel acts as an upper cylinder lube.

Can I use green diesel instead of kerosene? ›

Thirdly, it is against the law to use Green tractor diesel as home heating oil. So, my answer is no, it is not suitable for use.

Does kerosene dissolve in diesel? ›

Kerosene can be mixed with diesel fuel to gain a couple of benefits. In the winter time, kerosene is extremely useful for changing the cold weather handling temperatures of diesel fuel.

How can you tell if diesel is mixed with kerosene? ›

Total sulphur, aniline point and atmospheric distillation (recovery at 250 °C) gives primary evidence for determining the presence of kerosene (adulterant) in diesel fuel.

Does kerosene and diesel separate? ›

Extraction of diesel and kerosene

Diesel and kerosene are both petroleum fuels extracted following oil refinery. They are part of the molecular components of crude oil characterized by simple and complex hydrocarbon chains. The distillation process separate these components based on different boiling points.

What is a mixture of kerosene petrol and diesel called? ›

Petroleum is a mixture of kerosene, home heating oil, petrol, petroleum gas, diesel fuel, and gasoline. Petroleum products are complex mixtures derived from crude oil and have similar chemical and physical properties.

What is a substitute for kerosene? ›

Klean-Strip Klean Heat is the perfect choice to use in kerosene-burning appliances such as heaters, lamps and stoves. This premium fuel is safer and more convenient to store than kerosene. It contains less sulfur and aromatics, so it has NO kerosene odor – before, during and after burning.

Does diesel burn slower than kerosene? ›

Under the same radiation intensity, the heat release rate, specific mass loss rate and effective heat combustion of kerosene are higher than those of diesel, while the time to reach the peak heat release rate, ignition time and combustion duration of kerosene are lower than those of diesel.

Does diesel catch fire easily? ›

If you toss a lit match into a puddle of diesel fuel, it'll go out. That's because diesel is much less flammable than gasoline. In a car, it takes intense pressure or sustained flame to ignite diesel.

How cold is 50 50 diesel good for? ›

For example, a 50/50 blend of No. 1 diesel and No. 2 diesel will give operability down to -16F. The premium diesel special has additives designed to keep the engine running clean and control the effects of condensation by lowering the temperature that ice crystals will form in fuel.

Is k1 kerosene the same as diesel? ›

Generally yes. Kerosene is also called #1 diesel fuel oil, whereas regular diesel is designated as #2 diesel fuel oil. Kerosene is a lighter diesel oil than #2, hence why it is designated as #1 diesel. The lighter weight means it contains slightly less energy – about 135,000 BTU per gallon vs.

Can you use diesel in a kerosene lamp? ›

Diesel and Aviation fuel should not be used in any wick lamp or lantern as the fumes from fuel additives can be FATAL if inhaled. THE MINIMUM RECOMMENDED FLASH POINT FOR KEROSENE FOR USE IN OIL LAMPS AND LANTERNS IS 124 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.

How long can diesel fuel sit in tank? ›

Diesel fuel can only be stored from 6 to 12 months on average — sometimes longer under the best conditions. Generally, to prolong the life of the quality of stored diesel fuel, it should be: Kept cool at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit; Treated with biocides and stabilizers.

Why is kerosene not used in cars? ›

Kerosene is closer to diesel fuel and is less refined. It can withstand higher temperatures before it vaporizes. This means combustion is not as easy as it is with gasoline. Therefore kerosene is not used a fuel for automobiles.

How do you convert diesel to kerosene? ›

The process is called fractional distillation. Crude oil is heated and the components are boiled off starting with gases and then light oil type products and then heavier oils. kerosene is lighter than diesel and would be evaporated sooner in the process. Each product is extracted separately.


1. Diesel in kerosene heater
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2. Petrol Diesel Kerosene - Testing -Which is dangerous
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3. Diesel in Kerosene Heater = 100% Cotton Wick
4. Are kerosene heaters safe to breathe?
(Ask About EVENTS)
5. Are kerosene heaters safe to use indoors?
(Ask About MOVIES)
6. Can You Run A Diesel On Used Engine Oil? Free Diesel Fuel? *EXPLAINED*
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