Prepping 101: Off Grid Heating With Diesel and Oil

Send to Kindle

If you heat with home heating oil, there is an efficient to utilize the fuel in your tank for survival.  New production kerosene heaters are not terribly expensive, and they can deliver up to 23,000 BTUs of heat.

If you heat with home heating oil, there is an efficient to utilize the fuel in your tank for survival. New production kerosene heaters are not terribly expensive, and they can deliver up to 23,000 BTUs of heat.


Resources:
Kero-World Heaters at Kerosene-Wicks.com
Kero-World Heaters on Ebay
Perfection Heaters
Aladdin Heaters
Replacement Wicks at Kerosene-Wicks.com
All American Pressure Canner at Red Hill
Pressure Canners at Lehmans
Tegmart Devil Watt Thermoelectric Generator

My research of late has taken me back to the subject of heating for the winter. About this time last year I reviewed the US Military H-45 stove, which burns diesel and gasoline, and at full tilt, it is a bit much of a stove to handle, and it consumes a good deal of fuel. If you already burn home heating oil to heat your house in the winter, it is an emergency heater you should take a look at. But for long term survival, where every ounce of fuel counts, there are some better options.

These heaters are currently under the brand Kero-World, and cost generally under $150.  The larger one on the right holds 2 gallons and burns 9-12 hours. The one of the left holds just over 1 gallon and burns 12 hours.

These heaters are currently under the brand Kero-World, and cost generally under $150. The larger one on the right holds 2 gallons and burns 9-12 hours. The one of the left holds just over 1 gallon and burns 12 hours.

Except for the military H-45 stove that I reviewed about a year ago, all kerosene heaters, old and new, use wicks. These are Perfection heaters, some of them from the 1800s, and they are not much different from the new models.

Except for the military H-45 stove that I reviewed about a year ago, all kerosene heaters, old and new, use wicks. These are Perfection heaters, some of them from the 1800s, and they are not much different from the new models.

If you don’t burn home heating oil for your home, most likely you rely on natural gas. Some people have their own gas wells, which is fantastic, but if you are on city natural gas, it is probably a good idea to have a backup plan that can last you through at least a winter. Storing diesel fuel is a lot less scary than storing gasoline, because it will not ignite without a wick, and diesel produces no flammable gas like gasoline. For this article I am taking a look at a few different kerosene space heaters, burning diesel, which is now down to just over $2 per gallon. These space heaters are meant for indoor use, and they use a lot less fuel than the H-45. All of these heaters lit easily and ran reliably with diesel, and I was also able to can some veggies with a pressure canner on top of one of them. If you have been putting off a solution for post disaster winter heating, these stoves are not that much money, and they won’t fail you.

I tested these heaters with diesel fuel. Chemically it seems to be interchangeable with kerosene, and I don't find it to be any more smelly. At $2.26 a gallon locally, diesel is the most stable and inexpensive fuel you can buy at this point.

I tested these heaters with diesel fuel. Chemically it seems to be interchangeable with kerosene, and I don’t find it to be any more smelly. At $2.26 a gallon locally, diesel is the most stable and inexpensive fuel you can buy at this point.


You may be wondering why you can’t just adapt your existing oil burner to off-grid, and of course you can. But home heating oil, without some sort of wick, requires that it be heated before it will aerosolize and burn in open air. Therefore your oil burner has an electric heater in it, as well as a fuel pump, and it requires a significant amount of electricity. I haven’t dug into the research as to how many amps the average oil burner consumes, but since a heater is involved, it is probably outside the bounds of low cost solar, especially in grey winter skies. You would have to run a fuel burning generator to burn your home heating fuel, and that is horribly inefficient. A full home heating system also heats the whole house, whether you need the whole house or not.

You can see from the pictures that these heaters are made for 1-K kerosene, not diesel. From my research, there is very little if any difference in the two, and these days it is nearly impossible to get actual clear kerosene for less than $10 per gallon. Even the kerosene that is available out there, that has a red dye in it, is over $5 per gallon, and the red dye has been known to clog wicks.

I didn't compare these heaters with kerosene, but this is the smaller Kero-World heater just getting going with diesel. After the wick was soaked, it took about 5 minutes for the flow to reach steady.

I didn’t compare these heaters with kerosene, but this is the smaller Kero-World heater just getting going with diesel. After the wick was soaked, it took about 5 minutes for the flow to reach steady.


Proving that diesel is essentially kerosene is not an easy task. There are a number of names for kerosene worldwide, and in some countries kerosene and diesel are used interchangeably. Kerosene is also called paraffin, so it gets really confusing, because some products, like Aladdin lamps, specifically say don’t use paraffin. Add to that a lot of obfuscation in the camping equipment world about what fuels can be used in various stoves, cookers and heaters. You can go around and around as you’ll see some people suggest paraffin for certain things, kerosene for others, and diesel, jet fuel, and home heating oil interchangeably with all of the above. So I looked at the Wikipedia page for Fuel Oil. It seems that the diesel is an alias for the same fuel as kerosene, which in practice, for many years, has been my understanding. The Kerosene Page explains that “Heat of combustion of kerosene is similar to that of diesel; its lower heating value is 43.1 MJ/kg (around 18,500 Btu/lb), and its higher heating value is 46.2 MJ/kg.” It also says that “JP-8, (for “Jet Propellant 8″) a kerosene-based fuel, is used by the US military as a replacement in diesel fueled vehicles and for powering aircraft. JP-8 is also by the U.S. military and its NATO allies as a fuel for heaters, stoves, tanks and as a replacement for diesel fuel in the engines of nearly all tactical ground vehicles and electrical generators.”
I was able to light the larger heater with the electronic ignition after installing the batteries, but the small one preferred a match.

I was able to light the larger heater with the electronic ignition after installing the batteries, but the small one preferred a match. I did not however let this sit with fuel for an hour as is instructed in the directions. I suspect it would have gone better.


In general it seems that kerosene, jet fuel and diesel are somewhat interchangeable, and that diesel certainly poses no hazards that you would find with gasoline or Coleman Fuel/white gas, used in a similar manner. That said, my tests here are for my benefit, and I am not suggesting that you do anything with the stoves here besides follow the manufacturer directions. This is a research article, not an instructional article.

The complaints you will hear about running diesel in these stoves is mostly the smell, but I don’t find it any different than kerosene. The Kero-World manuals say that “fuels other than kerosene” can contain sulfur, and lead to a rotten egg smell. I’m not sure this is true in the US diesel right now, because I have had no hint of it whatsoever.

Otherwise, the kerosene/diesel burning smell really bothers some people. My wife can’t even take being in the same room with an oil lamp with a 1/2″ wick, because the smell gives her a headache. I just worked with 5 of these stoves all day, with the fumes in my face (in the Florida heat) and I love the smell. It smells like camping lol. Diesel doesn’t light quite as easily as kerosene, but I find that if you wet the wick directly with the diesel, then let it soak in the fuel for a while, it lights fine with a match. The new production stoves you see here have electronic glow igniters, and they didn’t work great, but it was probably just because I didn’t let them sit for an hour with fuel in them as it suggests in the instructions, which I read later. You don’t have to use the igniter if the batteries die regardless. A match works fine.

As complicated as the newer heaters may look, they are no more complicated than the 100 year old Perfection heaters.  A wick is a wick is a wick.

As complicated as the newer heaters may look, they are no more complicated than the 100 year old Perfection heaters. A wick is a wick is a wick.


As you can see from the pictures, I tested 5 different stoves. Two of them are new, made by the Kero-Heat company, or Sengoku, depending on what labeling you get. The come in the 23,000 BTU size which is the larger one here, and the 10,500 BTU smaller version here as well, plus a square 10,000 BTU version I didn’t test. The big one at full retail is $149, and it is rare that you will beat that price when shipping is included. Spare wicks are available for about $12 each. The smaller new caged heater is tough to find cheaper than $130 or so including shipping. Since you can turn down the larger one, I would just get that. Demand is so high for them right now that winter has arrived, don’t expect a deal. I got one a little cheaper than it should have gone, but it came with a broken mica window and no manual. The manual can be found in PDF online.
The Perfection heaters seem to be all the same. They are just a steel frame that holds this tank and burner assembly.

The Perfection heaters seem to be all the same. They are just a steel frame that holds this tank and burner assembly.


I also reviewed a few older kerosene heaters because I know that so many readers of this column are on tight prepping budgets. But surprisingly, the old heaters don’t go for cheap on the used market. Even rusty and beat up they are somewhat collectible, and because replacement wicks are still readily available, people in the know value their simplicity and bulletproof reliability. I am including them here in case you have seen one at a local junk shop that you can buy at a discount from what you would find online, or if you are also so inclined toward simplicity.

Also note that from what I have researched thus far, the H-45 is the only option for kerosene/diesel that does not require a wick. With that heater you thrown in a ball of paper to light as a temporary wick, then the heat of the can aerosolizes the diesel and sucks it through the system. I am working on a separate article right now on kerosene cookers, and those are split into two categories, those with a wick and those without a wick. With heaters, wicks are pretty much universal, except for that one military stove. Diesel reportedly clogs the wicks on some of these heaters after a few burns, though I have only seen evidence of that through anecdotal stories. Is it just fiberglass wicks? Cotton wicks? The H-45 is a no-wick option that at least removes that variable.

After dousing the burners with some fuel, the wicks came right out and the raising mechanisms worked fine. This is a new Perfection 500 wick, readily available online.

After dousing the burners with some fuel, the wicks came right out and the raising mechanisms worked fine. This is a new Perfection 500 wick, readily available online.


Of the wick heater stoves, there are very few actual designs, despite the different names they were produced under. The “Perfection” heater is probably the most common. You can usually find about a dozen for sale on Ebay at any given time under the Perfection name, and in decent shape they’ll go for $100, which is what I paid for the black one you see here. The white one I got is all rusted and was just under $100 with shipping, and it still words fine. Occasionally you’ll find a Perfection from an estate sale that was bought as an emergency backup and never used, but they sell generally for over $200. If you look around and just search for “kerosene heater,” you’ll see the exact same design under many other names, usually a little cheaper. I didn’t experiment with ordering these in hopes that they would take the same wick.

Wicks for all of these heaters, old and new, are cheapest I have found at the Red Hill General Store. They have a specific site I have linked above, called Kerosene-Wicks.com, and they also sell the Kero-World heaters. The new large heater takes a fiberglass wick. The smaller one seems to be either cotton like the older heaters, or it is a fluffier fiberglass.

The Kero-World heaters both came with the wicks installed, and I was able to install new wicks in both designs of these Perfection heaters and fire them up with no problems at all. I have included pictures so you can see all the parts required for a complete unit, thereby you can ask the seller to test the wick raiser. Don’t be scared away by surface rust, even on the removable tank and burner assembly. The white heater you see here was covered in rust and probably hadn’t been used for over 50 years, if not 100, but I soaked the rusted parts in diesel for a bit, after which it worked fine. Not every single one you find will work well. I bought a separate just tank/burner also on Ebay, with no heater shell, and the wick is pretty stuck to the cylinder that holds it, and it will require work to get it back to working order. If you decide to buy a Perfection, just read the description and ask the seller if the wick will raise and lower without being lubricated. If it won’t, it still may be worth making a cheap offer in hopes that a little bit of fuel will loosen it. The mechanism itself is very simple. The downside to the old stoves is that they have no fuel gauge or automatic shutoff.

The other heater I reviewed is the Aladdin Blue Flame. This one was made in England, and came with a new wick in it.

The other heater I reviewed is the Aladdin Blue Flame. This one was made in England, and came with a new wick in it.


The other old heater is the Aladdin Blue Flame. They sell for as much as $200 online in the condition you see here, because of the collectible name brand. In pristine, unused estate condition I have seen them sell for into the $400s. The Blue Flame has been a favorite in icefishing shanties for generations, and like the Perfection, it is fairly simple to use. The Blue Flame was made in England, and I’ve also seen some made in Iran, and supposedly some came from Germany. Keep that in mind as you research what you will pay for utility vs. the collectability of them. There are a number of different model names, and there even Blue Flame heaters that came with a grate on top for cooking. Be patient if you are shopping for one of these heaters. Using the pictures here you should be able to recognize all of the parts, so you may be able to snatch one that the seller advertises as “may not be complete” but is complete. Just make sure the wick riser works. Aladdin has made many many other stoves under many many model names over the years, but the Blue Flame are the most popular and collectible.

The Blue Flame burns the carbon monoxide, and it does have a blue flame. I was unable to get all of the yellow flame out, because my wick was uneven.

The Blue Flame burns the carbon monoxide, and it does have a blue flame. I was unable to get all of the yellow flame out, because my wick was uneven.


The burner assembly on the Blue Flame is lot like the Perfection, but it doesn’t lift out. It also doesn’t have a cap that sits on top of the wick. Aladdin figured out a stationary central cap design that when choked down with a thin tube of air using a center draft point, will burn the carbon monoxide from the flame, which results in a blue flame, and one that smells less and is 100% safe to use in a small space (like an icefishing shanty). I was only moderately successful getting the blue flame, because I hadn’t yet gotten the Aladdin Wick Cleaner, which goes for just over $20 with shipping. It is just a disc that fits over the wick and evens it. My wick that came with the Blue Flame you see here was almost new, but not of even height all the way around, so there were yellow flames on the long edge. The heater specifically says don’t allow yellow flames, so I ordered the wick cleaner.
There are many different models of Blue Flame. This one, with a cooking grate, just sold on Ebay the other day.

There are many different models of Blue Flame. This one, with a cooking grate, just sold on Ebay the other day.


The wick raiser on the Blue Flame is not what I would call as robust as the Perfection. Since my wick was new, I didn’t need to replace it with the replacement I got online, which is good because I got the wrong one. My model is called the J280, and the wick on the heater has two buttons that ride inside holes in the wick carrier. My replacement wick has hooks, which come from a different model Blue Flame but that I can probably adapt to this model. Overall my impression is that the Aladdin is probably the cream of the crop when it comes to a kerosene heater, but like every perfected system, it is a little cantankerous and likes to get its way.

Fuel Pumps and Storage

Can you imagine freezing to death when you have a full tank of fuel in your basement? I am sure that in the Northeast, that will be the case after the grid goes down. Most people have no concept of how their oil burner works, nor do they have the ability to get the oil out of the tank. A can opener won’t work. You need to buy at least a length of fuel-safe hose so you can mouth siphon it. I strongly suggest against this, and I would instead get at the very least a cheap liquid transfer pump. They can be found for about ten bucks online, but you should get a longer takeup hose that reaches the bottom of your fuel tank. You can also make your own with a squeeze ball and hose. The important thing is to just do it.

The only removable parts on the Aladdin are the burner ring and that cap in the middle. The wick pushes down over the center draft cylinder, like the Perfection.

The only removable parts on the Aladdin are the burner ring and that cap in the middle. The wick pushes down over the center draft cylinder, like the Perfection.


I used to live in the Northeast where fuel oil heating is nearly ubiquitous. Most of those systems contain a hot water heater, so most people don’t let their fuel sit from season to season. At some point the water heater on our system broke and we would have had to replace the whole burner (out of budget), so I installed an electric hot water heater. That meant that our oil burner would lie dormant for at least 5 months per year. I never took any precautions for preserving our fuel, but I have since learned that diesel fuel, home heating oil and kerosene suck water out of the air, and that can lead to mold and fungus clouding your fuel. Jet fuel, which is 1-K kerosene, has anti-fungals added to it, and you can do this same thing with Pri-D Fuel additive found on Amazon. It is more expensive than the Walmart fuel additives, but I think it is worth it.

Cooking, Canning, Charging Your Phone

My first experiment was to try my little Coleman camp oven with the larger heater. It maintained a temp of 275-300 degrees.

My Coleman camp oven maintained a temp of 275-300 degrees.


Whenever generating heat is involved, I always think about what could be done at the same time. These stoves are not monsters. You do need a handle to carry them, but there is no blast of heat, like the H-45 stove, which actually creaks as it gets hot and will scare the daylights out of you the first few times you run it. I didn’t think to try cooking and canning on the H-45 when I tested it a year ago, so I have been thinking about breaking it out again. Since I live in South Florida, none of these heaters are really relevant to my life, so call me selfish, I have moved on.

For this kerosene wick heater article I decided to try cooking some chicken in my little Coleman camp oven, and after confirming that water will boil even on the smaller heaters, I tried to can some vegetables. As you can see from the pictures, both experiments worked perfectly, though at varying levels. The large 23,000 BTU heater maintained an average temp in the tiny oven of 275-300 degrees, fine to cook bread, meat, whatever.

This is plenty of heat to cook meat and bread.

This is plenty of heat to cook meat and bread.


The canning also worked, but I didn’t monitor the process. It is slow going, and I got bored waiting for the canner to heat up, so I went out to the 7pm movie. Then, lo and behold, they were doing a preview showing of the last Hunger Games movie at 9:30, so I stayed for two movies and got home at midnight. I had started the heater with about a half a tank of fuel at 2pm, so when I got back, the stove had quit, the canner was cooling, and I went to bed. In the morning I opened the canner and the 1/2 gallon glass jars of beets and carrots were sealed, with the pressure buttons sucked in, so I did something right. You aren’t even supposed to do 1/2 gallon jars with low acid foods, but I always have and they last fine. But as always, these are just my experiments I am not giving advice.
The smaller heaters held the oven at just over 200 degrees, so I was correct in assuming they would boil water. This is the 10,500 BTU Kero-World.

The smaller heaters held the oven at just over 200 degrees, so I was correct in assuming they would boil water. This is the 10,500 BTU Kero-World.


My take is that canning will be a huge benefit after the collapse. If there is still farming, and their may very well be, farmers have always had the problem of too much food at one time. Your own garden will show you this quickly as well, especially if you grow zucchini. That is why we have a money system, so you can get some zucchini when the farmer has way too much, but you don’t have anything specifically that the farmer needs right now. You pay him money, which he can store and use to buy what he wants, because everyone recognizes the same value of the same money. But when the money collapses (and it has to at some point in the near future), the farmer is only going to swap for things of value. That may be silver and gold, but it also may be a sewing machine, a guitar for his son, or, you guessed it, an Aladdin Blue Flame heater and some extra wicks.
So I decided to try some canning. I just happened to fall upon some cheap beets and carrots in bulk, and I'm trying to not leave my canning jars empty in storage.

So I decided to try some canning. I just happened to fall upon some cheap beets and carrots in bulk, and I’m trying to not leave my canning jars empty in storage.


However I don’t think there is going to be a lot of commerce for 3 beets and 3 carrots, because you lack refrigeration and can’t eat more than that right now. At least initially, I think the deal will be for a case of beets, or 20 cases of beets. In order to live off of deals like this, you’ll need to be able to can food. I have I am no newcomer to it. The information you can find online these days is more vast than any of us could have imagined back when this whole party began, and from a survival perspective, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to learn everything. There are experts on every single one of these topics online somewhere, and as a prepper you need to become a true jack of all trades. I didn’t know anything about aerosolized and wicked diesel fuel two weeks ago, even though I bought and physically tested the H-45 stove a year ago. I thought I knew a lot about Russian gas masks until I researched the back story on them online, and cut a filter open.

My approach is to learn only as much as I need to in order to move on to the next thing. Now I have fully experimented with wick heaters, and after SHOT when I return to this column we will be looking at kerosene cookers as well as Aladdin and other center draft lamps, using of course, diesel.

I mention this because of the sometimes nasty back and forths we get on the comments here on these articles. Oftentimes, the commentators are experts in that particular field, but they only clicked on the article because they wanted to see if it matched up with what they “know.” Otherwise, they are not people who are focused on the coming collapse, and they are not people who are going to survive when this charade we live in ends. Sometimes they have some great advice, in a best case scenario environment, not survival, and our focus here is purely on long term survival after a system collapse.

I have to admit that I was lax in monitoring the process after the canner got up to steam temp. But hey, it worked. When I got home from the movies at midnight the stove was out of fuel and the canner was cooling. In the morning, the jars were perfect.

I have to admit that I was lax in monitoring the process after the canner got up to steam temp. But hey, it worked. When I got home from the movies at midnight the stove was out of fuel and the canner was cooling. In the morning, the jars were perfect.


Sometimes the people leaving the comments are just armchair fools trying to make themselves feel good. One of the downsides of the internet is that it has given a loud voice to people who have not earned it. It may seem that I am vicious at times in responding to comments, but I only beat up people who are clearly adding nothing of value, for whatever reasons. Sometimes these comments are just nonsense. Sometimes plain lying. I spend as much as 30 hours and $2,000 on some of these articles. My experiences are extremely valuable, and I have yet to find a prepping and survival site or magazine that has comparable, tested information. A few months ago I actually bought a news stand large format survival magazine, and it actually had a feature article on choosing a bug out backpack for children, because Columbia was a major advertiser.
For this experiment I used my All American Canner with the 10 pound setting, once I had bled off the air in the pot. I knew the stove had a couple hours of fuel left, and the canning time for these 1/2 gallon jars is probably over 70 minutes.

For this experiment I used my All American Canner with the 10 pound setting, once I had bled off the air in the pot. I knew the stove had a couple hours of fuel left, and the canning time for these 1/2 gallon jars is probably over 70 minutes.


So should I just delete the self serving bonehead comments?

I think not, because it gives us all the opportunity to confront the voices in our head (pun intended) that tell us that survival is too complicated, and that we should just do nothing. That is the goal of nearly every one of these comments, to paralyze you into inaction. I think we all should do our best to prepare for what at this point is an inevitable upheaval in our society. The story isn’t the Donald Trump, Isis, theater. It is one of oligarchs perverting the monetary exchange system of the entire world, and a sick experience in Geoengineering that has all but guaranteed the extinction of man within possibly even this generation.

My only failed experiment was the Devil Watt. I couldn't get it to charge the batteries. The fan never moved. Perhaps the 10 watt requires a lower operating temp.

My only failed experiment was the Devil Watt. I couldn’t get it to charge the batteries. The fan never moved. Perhaps the 10 watt requires a lower operating temp.


And as my regular readers know, I’m not writing this column and calling people names in the comments because I think I’m going to survive while less prepared people will for sure die. I think that prepping is about forward thinking, and I come from a history of that, as I’ll explain.

Though I have to admit it does inflate my ego a bit, I linked above to my 1997 book about internet automation to show you that I am somewhat forward thinking. I am writing this article you are reading on an internet automation system called WordPress. It was directly inspired by my book. My “Web Post” system was the first open source free system in the world (to my knowledge) for form based remote content authoring.

The small Kero-World has a nice glass viewing window, but it is less durable than the larger 23,000 BTU unit which uses a mica window.

The small Kero-World has a nice glass viewing window, but it is less durable than the larger 23,000 BTU unit which uses a mica window.


Also, my father, Richard Helinski, was one of the initial inventors” of color ink jet printing, and the sole inventor, and patent holder for 3D printing in 1989. All of the 3D printers in universities you see were licensed on my father’s patent, and it is only because that patent expired that 3D printing was able to take off without having to pay royalties.

I am sharing this stuff very deep in the article because I know that only my regular readers will read it. I just want you to go out and do something, rather than just read this column as entertainment. Forward thinking is the only reason any of this matters, and I’m trying to explain that forward thinking is in my blood. Real survival isn’t TV reality theater where you can learn how to equip your underground bunker with a propane flamethrower guard system (yes, I have at least watched the prepper shows once). The only driving motive to learn and do this stuff is to envision yourself after the lights go out. Click. No more supermarket. No more refrigerator. No more city water. No more cell phones. No more internet. And for this article, no more oil burner.

The Perfection components are of course the outside shell, which controls the draft, and the burner and tank assembly. This cap rides on the outside of the wick, and the ring you see here is the only other piece you need to make sure you have.

The Perfection components are of course the outside shell, which controls the draft, and the burner and tank assembly. This cap rides on the outside of the wick, and the ring you see here is the only other piece you need to make sure you have.

Is Anyone Safe for the Winter?

From what I have researched, those of you on natural gas will have it a little easier, because the natural gas systems themselves run on natural gas. But what if part of what’s coming is some kind of revolution, and the infrastructure is intentionally destroyed by one side or the other? When everything adds up to bad, you have to forward think yourself into a world with no outside resources. Do you want to say damn it I should have taken this seriously when I could have?

So egos aside, if I beat up comments here, it is because I want us to all learn something from this process, but not to the point of paralysis. Sure, there are experts on collecting and storing rainwater, and lots of specialty equipment, which I am going to eventually get to, but at the end of the day, for pure survival, you need gutters and a cistern. Sure, you can spend $200 on a gas mask, but a $20 Russian mask will give you a few hours to flee if your radiation detector tells you that fallout is going to kill you. For this article, to use your 200 gallons sitting there of home heating oil, you need a wick heater and a pump to get the oil out of the tank.

Good advice here in the comments, like how to trim or clean wicks, is always welcome. And hopefully we are all the better off for it. I hope there is a happy ending here, and I’d like my kids to live to see it. You and your kids too.

My mica window was broken and the replacement I ordered wasn't correct but covered the hole.

My mica window was broken and the replacement I ordered wasn’t correct but covered the hole.

There was no off taste to the chicken wings I cooked.  I wish I had tried a dutch oven, but I really need to do a whole article on how to use dutch ovens.

There was no off taste to the chicken wings I cooked. I wish I had tried a dutch oven, but I really need to do a whole article on how to use dutch ovens.

The Kero-World heaters come with a wick installed, and you can buy replacement wicks online for under $20 each.  They are a lot more complicated to change than the older heaters though.

The Kero-World heaters come with a wick installed, and you can buy replacement wicks online for under $20 each. They are a lot more complicated to change than the older heaters though.

This is the Perfection burner and tank I bought without a shell, just to see. The wick collar is stuck and needs to be cut and pried off.

This is the Perfection burner and tank I bought without a shell, just to see. The wick collar is stuck and needs to be cut and pried off.

I douse my wicks with fuel rather than make them suck it up naturally. It's like priming a well pump I figure.

I douse my wicks with fuel rather than make them suck it up naturally. It’s like priming a well pump I figure.

Both of  the Kero-World heaters came with batteries for the igniters.

Both of the Kero-World heaters came with batteries for the igniters.

This is a closeup of the different types of Aladdin wick hardware. My heater has a button, but the hooks will probably work.

This is a closeup of the different types of Aladdin wick hardware. My heater has a button, but the hooks will probably work.

This label doesn't say J280, but if you do the research there are only a few different types.

This label doesn’t say J280, but if you do the research there are only a few different types.

Lighting the Perfection heaters is really easy, but you do need the shells or they smoke horribly. The burner itself is useless.

Lighting the Perfection heaters is really easy, but you do need the shells or they smoke horribly. The burner itself is useless.

Please note that you can never run gasoline or Coleman fuel in these heaters. They are for kerosene, which seems to be the same thing as diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil.

Please note that you can never run gasoline or Coleman fuel in these heaters. They are for kerosene, which seems to be the same thing as diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil.

The nice thing about the new heaters is that they have fuel gauges and emergency shutoffs. If you can, get the new ones.

The nice thing about the new heaters is that they have fuel gauges and emergency shutoffs. If you can, get the new ones.

To some degree what is old is now new again, but why deal with rusty parts and small tanks for not a lot less money?

To some degree what is old is now new again, but why deal with rusty parts and small tanks for not a lot less money?

{ 59 comments… add one }
  • Bryan March 6, 2017, 5:49 pm

    I used a couple of the 23,000 btu kerosene heaters this winter to heat my house due to the natural gas being disconnected. I live in northern Utah, and this winter has been pretty brutal. I can tell you from my experience that my heaters would burn fine for the first 2 tanks, then the wicks would get clogged and would not burn well at all. I was even adding a pint of 91% isopropyl alcohol to every 5 gallons of diesel. I tried everything I could think of to clean and re-use them and haven’t had any luck. I haven’t given up though. But long story short, to keep warm this winter I used a lot of wicks to run my kerosene heaters with ulsd fuel.

    • Paul Helinski March 6, 2017, 6:43 pm

      Yes those polyester wicks are the only ones that clog with diesel. I would try home heating oil, which is actually cheaper.

  • John Carroll January 19, 2017, 8:00 pm

    Nice article and great pictures. You saved me time by making options clear. The chicken pictures were too much I am very hungry now…Thanks!

  • Greg Hall November 13, 2016, 10:20 am

    The design of your Perfection heaters is from 1906, not 1800’s. They were produced thru 1983, virtually unchanged.
    Also blue flame kerosene heaters do NOT burn carbon monoxide. They produce more carbon monoxide than a yellow flame heater. To learn about what is produced and what is going on inside a kerosene heater during operation go here: http://heatburner.websitetoolbox.com/post/kerosene-burners-102-what-really-happens-after-you-strike-the-match-or-why-blue-flame-7955397?pid=1293483725. You may have to sign up to read it.

  • StoutBroux May 16, 2016, 8:19 pm

    What an awesome and through article you have written. The wealth of information has made some easy choices for me that I would have had to look on a multitude of sites to gather. Beautiful pics too! Thank you

  • Jan Labij April 18, 2016, 4:46 pm

    Those burners that you start with a piece of flaming toilet tissue are called pot burners. The have a device they call a “carburetor” that feeds the oil into the pot. It is not a carburetor, really, because it does not produce an air-fuel mixture. The Dickenson Stove, mentioned in one of the comments is one of these. These can only really burn kerosene or No. 1 stove oil. Dickenson found that by putting a disc connected to another disc vertically in the pot, it would burn #2 diesel without visable smoke. How does it work? The upper disc gets almost red hot, the stem transmits the heat to the bottom disc, which heats the fuel enough to burn all of it.
    On our Michigan farm, we had one of those pot type furnaces burning #1 stove oil for house heating. We used it until I installed a stoker fed Hobart coal burning furnace. Then the whole house was warm. All of these pot type burners need a stack. Normally no smell in the house.

  • Jacob January 12, 2016, 4:30 pm

    I’ve been burning diesel in a Toyo TSC-15 for two months now. What I’ve learned is that the diesel is EXTREMELY hard to light compared to kerosene. I wonder if that’s why some people think diesel has clogged their wicks. I can hold a regular bbq lighter on the wick till the sun goes down. Takes forever to light. However, if I use a propane torch set as low as it will go without extinguishing itself, it will light the wick right up. After letting the heater burn for 5-10 minutes outside and it gets to operating temperature, it’s absolutely fine inside and puts out a very good amount of heat. So, if you think your wick is clogged from diesel, try a propane torch set on low to light it. My .02 cents.

    • George January 12, 2016, 11:01 pm

      Thanks Jacob,

      My heater lights up and runs for about an hour and starts to smoke and choke and stink and dies 🙁 Mine is a duraheat DH2304 from home depot…

      • Jacob January 13, 2016, 11:14 am

        That’s too bad. I think my wick is all cotton whereas yours is probably fiberglass? Have you put any additives in the diesel such as alcohol or diesel injector cleaner? I would play around with amounts and even where you buy the diesel. I think diesel engines are far from picky about fuels and diesel quality probably varies considerably from place to place. Also, I’ve read “winter diesel” and “winterized diesel” are different mixes and may play a part in how they burn. Just a thought (and a guess)…

    • JR March 4, 2016, 5:58 am

      Diesel fuel is a heavier fuel than K1. It is more resistant to ignition but once lit will burn a little slower than K1. This is primarily why K1 is suggested over diesel, K1 will ignite quicker and soot less. Once you get that sooty smell in the house it’s hard to get rid of and people tend to associate that with the performance of the heater. Doing what you do by taking it outside to ignite and shutdown is the best solution.

      Diesel fuel also has a slightly higher BTU content than K1 but I’m not sure it’s enough to notice a difference. Given the price difference between the two fuels I have always burned diesel with no problems.

  • George January 3, 2016, 7:10 am

    I had the same experience. Put diesel and Kleen diesel and ran fine for about an hour then started to smoke and clog. I figured it might be the wick so I replaced it. Same thing. Diesel was from Chevron and had a yellow tint.

    • Paul Helinski January 3, 2016, 11:12 am

      Have never had that experience so far, in heaters and lamps.

      • George January 9, 2016, 10:25 pm

        Thanks Paul. Any brand of fuel you use? I’m in Texas. Blend issue?

  • RLAry January 1, 2016, 7:18 pm

    What a great, informative article. I read it because I want to heat my cold apartment with the least amount of support and money thrown at the local power company. The amount of information on how to do that is time-consuming; daunting; and influenced, I’m sure, by advertising. I’ve spent hours and hours, trying to figure out the best way, equipment, prices.

    Here’s my question to anyone who has an answer for me. What do I do and buy, while using the least amount of my $, and using little to no mechanical knowledge, as a single, female without “guy” knowledge available to me anywhere in my life?

    Thanks for any comments and help you have to offer!

  • Gees Mill December 27, 2015, 3:30 pm

    Great article Paul. I’ve been digging into ideas on prepping and your articles are very informative. I work for an Electric Provider in the southwest and after San Diego going dark some of our training we have received has been what I call interesting, i.e. attending DOE training on WAPA systems in the event of civil unrest.

    One thing from your article I wanted to comment on was in reference to natural gas. You talked about natural gas systems being powered by natural gas compression. This is true, but is changing in different areas of the country. I work in operations, coordinating generation and load and my company provides Megawatts to Enterprise Products ( as well as other pipeline operators in our service area) to power several of their large natural gas compressors. Due to environmental regulations Enterprise and other operators are having to go to electric compression stations to comply with emission standards. While they do continue to operate gas fired compressors they have to deal with the regulations as do the rest of us. This creates for some interesting discussions on emergency operations during a grid down/blackstart situation. You see as more and more of the coal fired generation plants are retired we are bringing on more natural gas generation that are fed by the same natural gas system. I will not even get into inertial mass and fuel storage, but we have experienced some tense situations when extreme winter weather has caused electrical outages resulting in compressors being offline, while at the same time extreme cold has caused freeze-offs of the wells and the gathering system reducing line pack and pressures throughout the gas system causing issues at the gas powered generation stations.

    Let’s just say as more and more of the older coal fired plants are retired and more gas generators are brought into the mix backup power and heating sources are going to become even more important. Keep up the great and informative work.

  • Mitch December 12, 2015, 11:30 am

    Oh, I forgot one other comment. Here, many of the homes are set up in “zones”. Whereas, certain areas can be controlled separately from others. I’ve seen single family dwellings divided into as many as 8 zones, all served by one furnace/boiler. Just food for thought.

  • Mitch December 12, 2015, 11:21 am

    Great article, Paul. The information is much appreciated as I have 4 various-sized kero heaters I use for different applications/times. I live in the land of trees and rocks in Northeastern Pennsylvania where many, many homes use oil burners (both for forced air and hydronic heating systems). Not only do I use an oil burner, I also worked for Suburban Energy, cleaning and servicing oil burners, professionally. As a friendly comment, I have not seen an oil burner with a fuel pre-heater. Fuel from the 275 gallon (normal size) supply tank goes through a filter and then to a small mechanical pump (mounted on the burner assembly). The fuel is pressurized to 100 psi and then atomized by a fuel nozzle, and then the ‘mist’ is ignited by a high-voltage electric arc. No fuel heater involved. One other comment I have is that fuel oil suppliers in this area do mix kerosene with the fuel oil to keep it from gelling when storage tanks are outside. BTW, when I get the opportunity, I’ll check and see how much amperage the entire burner draws and let you know, if you would like. Thanks again for your effort on the article.

  • Eric December 11, 2015, 5:38 am

    If you want a heater that burns most fuels including waste oils check out the Choofa or orchard heaters. They can be found for around 100 nowadays. They are not really an indoor heater but will heat a camping area nicely. You tube videos show them working.

  • jan labij December 6, 2015, 2:34 pm

    There is a high quality stove for cooking, with oven. It is also a heater. The brand name is Dickenson, and can be found in a West Marine catalog.

  • Mark December 4, 2015, 11:50 am

    I was about to give away 2 of my kerosene heaters because of the cost of fuel and the availability of kerosene. Thank you for your research and sharing it with us. Now I’m going to get more diesel and test mine. If everything goes ok, I’ll just get 50 gallons of diesel as a backup.

    I used these heaters I’ll Illinois several times when we lost power for a number of days. Two of the larger heaters kept the 2,500 square foot home warm in zero degree temp.

  • SmokeHillFarm December 4, 2015, 5:48 am

    Back when I was stationed in Izmir, Turkey, in the early 70s, almost all of us Americans quickly discovered that apartments & houses there were usually rented unfurnished — which meant no refrigerator, no stove, and no HEATING SYSTEM. However, usually the troops (and their families) moving in usually could find the appliances for sale on the bulletin board by those were rotating back to CONUS. I recall paying about $25 for an Aladdin Blue Flame that still looked pretty new, but I also bought (like everyone else) a large used “stove” (for lack of a better word) that also ran off the same fuel — largely some type of kerosene or diesel. Most people had a 55-gal drum of the stuff on their balcony that fed the bigger stove, and another drum from which they could draw fuel for their Aladdin Blue Flames (often used in bedrooms or kitchens if they were a bit far from the more centrally-located big stove. Unfortunately, my memory on the brand of that big stove is blank. I do recall that it was basically identical to the one I grew up with in Washington State, fed by a drum of diesel on stilts behind the house. It was strictly gravity feed, like the big stove in Turkey. I want to say that the big stove was a Coleman, but I can’t swear to it. I know it was the same brand as my mother used, identical except that mine had an electric fan to spread the heat around (a great addition, also). This stove was truly butt-simple, with no pump … just some little device on the outside of the stove whose exact function I have forgotten. The fuel went thru this thing, then into the circular burn chamber inside the stove (which was really just a large safety enclosure around the burn chamber). We lit the thing by first moving some lever on that little device, which then allowed fuel to enter the floor of the burn chamber. Then we lit a twisted piece of toilet paper (just one square), dropped it in on the by-now visible fuel, and the stove began to burn. It was basically a large space heater, with open louvers everywhere on the outside, and you could heat coffee or hot chocolate by placing it on the top louvers. My mother also kept a pan of water up there to help humidify the house in the winter.

    I have never seen one of these stoves since, though they were certainly common as could be in SW Washington State as late as the 70s, but it seems to me as if they would be tremendously useful things in any prepping environment. The fuel usage seemed to be very efficient, though a bedroom down the hall from a centrally-located stove could get really cold in a Washington winter, perhaps partly because my mother had never heard of those circulating fan attachments (also made by the same company, I do recall).

    I apologize for not having more detail on this larger kerosene/diesel stove, but surely there are some other preppers out there who can fill in the blanks for us.

    Of course now I deeply regret selling that stove to an incoming sergeant when I left Turkey (for about $75 or so). I did bring one of the Aladdins home, never really had much use for it, and unfortunately gave it away about 15 yrs ago, before I got deadly serious about long-term prepping.

    Thanks for emphasizing the need for that Aladdin wick cleaner, which may work on other brands with similar-sized wicks. Without that cleaning disk, running the Aladdin is a constant battle of trying to achieve the perfect blue flame by scraping & trimming with a sharp knife or boxcutter … which doesn’t work nearly as well because it isn’t levelling the wick surface. My experience was that an Aladdin wick would last for many, many years, but having a couple of extras seems smart anyhow.

    • Paul Helinski December 4, 2015, 7:05 am

      This is great info thanks. I wonder if the H-45 stove is the modern adaptation of that old stove you used in washington. The fuel is gravity onto the floor of it, and you use a piece of toilet paper to start it.

  • Bohica66 December 4, 2015, 12:43 am

    Paul, I search the net frequently for prepper articles and stumbled on this one. You are the first person I have found that sees the benifits of kerosene in a shtf or extended period of loss of electric. I came to the decision to center my preps around kerosene about 2 years ago. It is reasonably safe, stable, can be stored in large quantities and provides adequate heat and light. When I was a kid we always had “coal oil” lamps for when the lights went out, a couple of them that we kept in reserve had set so long the kerosene was brown in color but in a pinch they would light, albeit with some sputtering. My Grandfather used a “monkey heater” what you call a perfection to heat an enclosed but uninsulated or heated back porch to smoke his cigars (Grandma hated the smell of cigars). I have a new in the box Kero-sun and extra wicks, probable a dozen lamps and extra wicks, food grade plastic barrells from 30 gallons to 55 gallons to store fuel along with a barrell pump and smaller plastic gas cans to transfer fuel. I’m looking to get 2 small butterfly cookstoves from St.Paul Mercantile plus extra wicks next. I believe low tech is the best way to go, they are still using these things in third world countries every day. Thanks for the great articles.

    • Paul Helinski December 4, 2015, 7:15 am

      Try diesel in your kerosene stuff. The emmissions requirements have reduced the sulphur so there is no rotten egg smell at all, and the cost is less than half. I was testing diesel in aladdin lamps the other night and it works great.

  • ats November 26, 2015, 12:09 pm

    Just purchased the large heater 23,800 BTU from TractorSupply on sail or $99.00 and our local K-1 is only $4/Gal. Not bad. Now we need to understand long term storage of K-1 and volatility of the oil.

    • Goat November 28, 2015, 1:09 am

      Kerosene will last almost indefinitely if properly sealed. Bought a heater that had several five gallon cans of kerosene (bought it for the kerosene, so sold the heater and the kerosene was basically free) that was bought before y2k from a guy a couple years back, and it still ran fine. Key is proper seal, and cooler the better. It isn’t as volatile like say gasoline, which also makes it very safe also. In fact, without a carrier like a wick, it is hard to get it to burn even with an open flame.

  • Paul J. B. November 23, 2015, 10:46 pm

    Thanks for the article. I was just at the point that I was ready to do research for winter heating. Your article helped me take a big step toward getting what information I need.

  • SeekingAnswers November 23, 2015, 4:45 pm

    Great article…thanks. As a note, we exclusively used Aladdin kerosene stoves to heat our house during the cold Italian winters on the Adriatic coast when I was posted to San Vito dei Normanni Air Station during the early 80’s. We just moved them from room to room as needed for comfort. They worked fine as long as you kept the wicks clean and trimmed and cracked a window or two for fresh air.

  • Bill Johnston November 23, 2015, 2:24 pm

    Jet A is the same as K1.

  • Bill McGraw November 23, 2015, 1:52 pm

    Good article. I lived on a subsistence farm for many summers, before my time in the Depression GM had a kerosene Frigidaire, made ice and convinced GF it was a good deal for 50 cents/week to pay for it, hot water and cooking was on a wood stove, had 4 inefficient fireplaces, only used one but there was an unlimited amount of oak and hickory growing in the woods. Hogs were salt cured and smoked, beef processed commercially, eggs, ham, sausage, bacon and biscuits daily breakfast plus fresh or canned vegetables, cornbread and fruit for other meals, fresh chickens and beef most daily, had potato storage under ground, truck crops, corn bin for corn meal and livestock feed along with oats and hay ground together for hogs and a later dairy operation. My GM, GF, GGF and uncles made cane syrup and by products for moon shiners, yeah, that too. We had a coal oil/kerosene 4 burner stove mostly used for storage of fuel for Aladdin mantel lamps, outdoor privy, much more and very long story for a part time farm kid that learned how to fish, hunt,catch snakes and work on a farm.

    I salvaged an Aladdin lamp in a farm dump, have it, two gas (one car gas) Coleman’s, a single stove, pump up kerosene and a Rayo lamp, Aladdin stove with cook top. I missed a lot of equipment and tools including GGF’s shop with bellows and coal operated black smith shop but other family members got most of it.

    GF said to never mortgage your land or home, build your own house, pay cash for everything possible and save money.

  • Craig Wilcox November 23, 2015, 1:21 pm

    Paul, thanks for a VERY informative article. My bug out location is out in the middle of a forested 900-acre area, and consists of a plywood “lean-to” affair. Was wondering if there was a better way of heating than a campfire, and you have certainly pointed me in a good location. Now, if would just help me put up about 600′ of barbed wire fence (to keep the cattle out of “my” area< I would be dancing with joy! Appreciate all the articles for sure!

    • Paul Helinski November 23, 2015, 1:28 pm

      Might I suggest a .22 rifle with a 2 liter bottle taped on it and a pressure canner instead?

  • Shane November 23, 2015, 1:13 pm

    Another comprehensive article, thank you, Paul.
    A little off-topic, but whenever somebody asks me about alternative energy or back-up sources for anything, I always like to see first where they might could reduce their need for them, be it heat, fuel, light, electricity, water, etc., before focusing on ways to produce or stock up on more of it.
    Regarding shelter heating and cooling, for a new place I’m building, I looked first at decreasing my need for heating/cooling by insulating better/smarter/cheaper. After a few weeks searching around, I recently picked up 3,400 sq ft of used surplus freezer panels for 50 cents a sq ft. These are 4″ of polyurethane sandwiched between galvanized steel on both sides, most 4′ wide and 12′ long, also got the heavy freezer door/frame, too. New rigid foam panels of only 1″ thickness would have cost more than that per sq ft and still require external sheathing to protect them, these won’t with their steel facings. They cut quick/easy with a Sawsall and I’ve pressure washed them and will paint them inside and out after I’m done with the installation. They aren’t rated for load bearing, so they’re not really SIP panels, but they’ll do just fine for where and how I’m using them in the walls and roof. If you’ve got the need, they might be worthwhile keeping an eye out to scoop up a trailer full when some outfit is upgrading their freezers or coolers or shutting down their operation altogether. If you called around you might get heads up of somebodies plans to upgrade/dispose of their locker soon, ideal then would be to offer free demolition of their soon to be retired cooler/freezer to ‘dispose of them’, thus also assuring they don’t get fouled up in the dismantling.
    – Shane

    • Paul Helinski November 23, 2015, 1:40 pm

      Yeah, that is great stuff Shane. I actually did an article Steve Harris’s sun heating and insulation books and I was surprised at how informative they were. As I’ve said in a couple other articles here, I had a greenhouse at elevation in western mass that had green grass growing year round. I just try to keep a very round perspective because everyone has their level of push back, and I try to speak to everyone’s comfort zone. I personally would never use diesel to heat when I can use the sun to heat and cook with my diesel rather than walk further and further to gather sticks for my rocket stove. Cooking and canning is of primary concern for me. A hundred gallons of diesel will go a long way, and it keeps forever. But being from New Hampshire, I know that you absolutely have to have a backup plan when it comes to heat. I don’t care how much insulation you have, the cold always gets through. My idea of setting up a family sized tent in the living room, even with a stove jack, is still something I’d love to test, but alas, I live in south florida lol.

  • Rob November 23, 2015, 10:22 am

    Great article. Maybe I missed it, but how do these heaters run on lamp oil or even vegetable and could these oils be mixed with
    kerosene or diesel?

    • Paul Helinski November 23, 2015, 10:36 am

      Lamp oil is liquid paraffin and from what I have read, it clogs the wicks. It is also ~$10 a gallon. I personally wouldn’t burn vegetable oil when I can live off of it, but I don’t think you would get a ton of BTUs out of it regardless.

      • Rob November 23, 2015, 12:21 pm

        Thanks! I’m curious to find out how liquid parrafin would clog the wick of a kerosene heater but not the wick of an oil lamp.
        Personally I have used oil lamps burning 50/50 kerosene and olive oil just to “stretch” the kerosene. The lamp burned fine and with less of the smell. Maybe I’ll do an experiment and mix diesel and vegetable oil 50/50 and see what happens if I burn that mixture in my own kerosene heater.
        An additive called Biobor JF is also good to stabilize diesel and to keep it from gelling. It treats 1280 gallons with 16 oz versus 256 gallons with 16 oz of Pri-D and the price is about the same.

      • Goat November 28, 2015, 12:52 am

        Actually lamp oil and kerosene is the same thing. The lamp oil just has a little color and scent in it, usually.

  • Goat November 23, 2015, 10:13 am

    I love my kerosene heaters, They are all I use in the winter. I have tried diesel one time and it was not a pleasant experience, though I’ve been meaning to try it again. Kerosene here runs about $3 per gallon at the pump at present, upward to $4. Using kerosene heaters is not plug and play, there is some things that are an absolute must to learn before using them for good results consistent results. The number 1 one is to add a little 90% alcohol to the can before you use it to absorb any water that may be present in the kerosene. If you don’t you will get a wick that becomes saturated with water and very poor burns. Some say that that is the end of the wick, but I have found that if you add the 90% right to the tank, you can get the wick to “dry” out. You also need to let the wick burn off every so often by allowing it to run dry (only for fiber glass wicks). And you will need extra wicks. However, some of the unpinned wicks you can set rather high then called for so you can get very good use out of them. I have come to find that the smaller round models are much better then the big ones, becuase the big ones will not only use a lot of fuel, but will run you out of a small area. It is better try to heat small areas in zone mode then a large area with a large heater. Unfortunately, the small (modern) heaters are harder to find, though they are out there if you hunt for them. There are some on ebay that are both new and small, that resemble the moonlighter ones. As far as cooking, the smaller ones are also better, and you also want one that doesn’t have the wire over the top, or one that you can remove the wire to set the pans right on top the heat, though generally for most things you will want something under the pan (like another pan) for a heat spreader so it doesn’t get to hot (the smaller heaters are better for this as well). Miles Stair has a very good site on using kerosene heaters and stoves, and I would recommend reading it well, even if I have covered the most important topics.
    http://www.milesstair.com/kero_heaters.html

  • Patrick Colahan November 23, 2015, 9:20 am

    Interesting article. A note about the difference between diesel and kerosene is the diesel will have a more oil in it than the kerosene. That will result in a potential for more smoke and that obvious diesel smell. But both produce about the same amount of heat; Kerosene (No. 1 Fuel Oil) 134,000BTU/Gallon, Diesel (No. 2 Fuel Oil) 140,000BUT/Gallon.
    We live on board our boat have use diesel heat in the winter when the electric heaters cannot keep up with the extreme cold below freezing into the single digits. Very efficient and serves to provide us with hot water, keep my engines warm and since it is hydronic heat, the hoses keep moisture from forming in all the closets and cabinets where they run through to the different registers.
    I don’t know if you have thought about doing a prep article on using a boat, but they provide a unique advantage. For us we have twin diesel, which would provide a source to depart with all our gear from a bad area and find refuge in a secluded area here in the PNW not reliant on roads. We have generator for power, propane for cooking, multiple battery banks that can be recharged either by generator or from the main engines and most importantly an on board water maker, capable of several hundred gallons of freshwater from seawater daily. My electronics provide me a way of tracking anyone approaching the boat which adds to the security as well as communication to the authorities and other boaters.

    • Paul Helinski November 23, 2015, 9:27 am

      After the lids were closed I didn’t experience any smoke at all from any of the heaters.

    • Bob November 27, 2015, 11:44 am

      Boats are fantastic, but expensive. I can buy remote land and build a small compound on it for what you paid for your boat. A boat like that is just not a choice most people can make, nice that you could but I am planning on the remote land and cabin and my entire family are chipping in, IE it will be a multi family owned and supported. It will be a hunting & camping type retreat until SHTF.

  • ibjj November 23, 2015, 8:53 am

    The sulfur smell in diesel almost completely disappeared when the EPA mandated low sulfur fuel a few years ago. Thus, the new electronic injectors in use today. Some engine manufacturers even have to use a urea additive in their systems to meet the new low emission standards. (Volkswagon cars for one). Users of older diesel engines now have to use a “sulfur replacement” additive, because the sulfur content in early diesel fuel provided internal lubrication for the mechanical injectors. This especially affected GM’s 6V71 and 8V71 engines. To overcome the high combustion chamber pressures in a diesel engine the mechanical injectors operated near 2,000 psi.

    • Paul Helinski November 23, 2015, 9:26 am

      I suspect that this is the source of the different experiences with wick clogging as well. The anecdotal stories you hear about wick clogging are always old. Most likely the emissions requirements have eliminated this problem with modern diesel fuel.

      • Goat November 28, 2015, 12:58 am

        Probably not quite true, becuase there are two season of diesel. One of the cold months, and one for the warm months, In the cold months, they add lubricants and such to it, leastwise that is my understanding. As I said before though, I have tried to run diesel in one of mine, and it was not a happy experience and it hasn’t been relatively that long ago. I have been tempted to try some more when I get the chance, but it definitely will not be with one my coveted heaters, or indoors when I do.

  • Bill Searcher November 23, 2015, 8:27 am

    After my previous experience with commenting on one of your articles (and your failure to “moderate” my follow-up comment), I had decided not to comment on any more of your articles.

    But, your thought that the canning of the beets (and carrots?) was successful because the lid was depressed is just not true. The lid can be depressed after steam has formed inside the jar while being heated and then condensed when the can when the jar has cooled. This can happen after the contents reach the boiling temperature of water at your altitude / pressure.

    To kill the bacteria that cause botulism, the food has to reach an internal temperature of about 240 degrees (F), and that temperature must be maintained in the jar long enough that the temperature propagates to the inside of the food particles (e.g., chunks of carrot, beet, etc.) (and for a certain amount of time–I don’t know how long that is–just as a guess, that may be 10 minutes).

    (From what I recollect of reading USDA pages, the time / temperature for canning for commercial purposes is a minimum of 250 degrees for 3 minutes.)

    A fortunate thing is that, if you are feeling brave (or are uncertain about whether the canning process was successful), you can destroy the botulin toxin by heating the contents to a minimum of 180 degrees for a minimum of 10 minutes.

    Something I don’t know is how long it may take for botulism bacteria to grow in an improperly canned jar and produce the toxin. I’m sure it varies based on lots of factors, like how much bacteria was not destroyed in the canning process and the storage environment.

    If you really want to get into depth on the subject, I’ve read or skimmed some papers that seem to indicate that canning is sort of a statistical process–iiuc, even processing at the recommended temperatures (pressures) and times doesn’t necessarily kill all the botulism bacteria, but kill enough that it takes a very long time (measured in years) for the bacteria to regrow and create enough toxin to kill you.

    Oh, and re hanging that tarp temporarily at shoulder height, after further thought, I’d start by hanging and leveling two diagonally opposite corners and then hang and level the two remaining corners.

    I don’t know what to think if you don’t think people who haven’t done something can’t make plans to do something successfully, especially if they have knowledge and experience doing similar things.

    • Paul Helinski November 23, 2015, 8:42 am

      If you bothered to read the previous canning article here, all of those details are there already, so you aren’t educating us. I also specified that I vented the air before leaving, and that the heater had at least a couple hours of fuel.

      And no, I don’t. Planning to do something successful is what we all do. Doing it will show you the failure points that always occur. Nobody plans to fail, yet they do, because of your style of thinking.

      Why don’t you actually read the canning materials, and the proper temps and canning times. My previous article links to manuals for inexpensive canners, and Walmart still carries the $70 Presto, that has a great manual.

  • Ken November 23, 2015, 8:02 am

    I’m not sure where you guys are trying to buy your kerosene, but up here in PA it goes for about 3.50 per gallon at most of the stores and it’s the clear type needed for those heaters. I used to use my kerosene heater during the coldest days of the the winter to help keep my Heat Pump off of emergency heat. It was a kero-sun moon lighter and it made a nice glow and put out 22,000 btu on it’s high setting.

  • Kenneth Quesenberry November 23, 2015, 7:41 am

    Where I’m from in West Virginia, I doubt that anyone would suggest that using oil or kerosene for heating purposes is “off the grid.” In fact, it hasn’t been that many years since kerosene lamps were in common use. Coal and wood-burning stoves are still widely used, though not in town and I doubt much cooking is done on wood-burning stoves anymore. If you want to be off the grid, you first need to be outside of town. Still, a kerosene heater would be invaluable for heating a space that had no other heat source, either a barn, shed, garage or tent. I’ll go along with the idea that kerosene has a bad odor, in particular a clinging odor. But I understand that odorless lamp oil is available. Burning coal has a similar odor, too, and sometimes a room heated continuously with wood will smell smoky. But you don’t notice the odors after a while.

  • Jim November 23, 2015, 7:07 am

    In the mid 50’s when I was just a kid growing up in central Wyoming, many folks had fuel oil and diesel heaters for their homes. The tanks for the fuel oil would be stored outside in 55 gallon drums, on a stand, the drum being stored on it’s side, near the back of the house. A copper line would run from near the bottom of the tank through the wall into the house and to the central heater. That would leave a foot or two of the line out in the atmosphere in the elements. I can remember temperatures back in those days running sometimes in the minus 30 or minus 40 degree range. The fuel would gel, thus, the heater would run out of fuel to keep the house warm. I can remember often times running back and forth from inside the house, at two or three o’clock in the morning, to the tank with pans of hot water from the electric hot water heater to warm the fuel line. So, be wary of storing diesel or fuel oil outside in very cold temperatures, and attempting to get it to flow or to be able to light it for heat. For water lines, we used electric tape, but didn’t use on on the fuel lines for fear of fire.

    • Doc January 15, 2016, 2:37 pm

      Pay attention to Jim – WE burned wood in an open fireplace with the old ‘Heat-a-lator’ box around the fire-pit. My Great Uncle, next door, used the gravity fed oil-pot stove. He had exactly the same problems – it was a trade off. We had to cut and haul and split wood all summer (on and off) till we had about 3 cords + 1 extra ‘just in case’. Grandpa would try to keep 5 cords in ‘reserve’ in case something happened to him, Grandma would still have heat and be able to cook on the old wood stove (Perfect Home) in the basement where there was also a Heat-a-lator fire place. All my Great Uncle had to do was have the tank filled on a monthly schedule. We’d (someone) would wake up about 2-3 am to put another oak log on a banked fire, and go back to bed. Our house was ALWAYS warm, not cozy warm, but warm enough in early morning to not freeze. My Great Uncle would as often as not wake up to a February house around 20-30*F because his oil had ‘jelled’. (and he had the outside feed tube insulated). He’d built a fire pit below the 200 gallon tank he had so he could build a small fire to bring it up to ‘flow’ temperature what ever temperature that was.

      Maybe Diesel has changed over the years, I don’t know. And pushing ‘old age’ I wonder if I’d still be into dealing with wood, or if I’d give it up and go oil. Right now we have central gas (power required) and two new ‘air tight’ fire-place inserts – and once it gets cold, the heater only kicks on several hours a week in the middle of the night. And we now buy our wood pre-split, and because I’m a vet, they also stack it for free. On the front porch – something my Grandmother and Mother would NEVER have allowed to happen.

      Diesel gelled and that was a HUGE problem for my Great Uncle. But he didn’t have to sweat in the June-July-Aug-Sept 100+ degree sun to fall, cut, stack the wood in our old Willys-Overland with a trailer, toss out to dry, split, then re-stack the wood, not to mention hauling down to the house every day or so to burn. Things change when you age. Maybe Diesel Oil would be better – but then, it DOES gel. And that is a REAL bitch.

  • Glenn johnston November 23, 2015, 6:37 am

    With diesel prices being lower than they have been in the past few years, I plan to fill a 400 gallon storage tank. I have read various articles on how to maintain the stability of diesel fuel long term and would like your take on the subject. Are you familiar with any additives that work well?

    • Paul Helinski November 23, 2015, 6:54 am

      The article mentions Pri-D fuel additive. I found it through Steven “last chance for my overpriced deal” Harris, so I can’t personally endorse it, but that is what I’m using for lack of an actual clue. The company website seems to be pretty thorough. Diesel doesn’t lose BTUs like gasoline. The big worry is it getting cloudy from fungus and mold, and that would for sure lead to wick clogging.

      • Shane November 23, 2015, 2:27 pm

        PRI-G or PRI-D is the best stuff out there, I’ve done my homework, compared them to all the rest, studying every outfits MSDS’s http://www.ki4u.com/Comparison%20-%20PRI%20G%20&%20Startron%20&%20Stabil.pdf , digging through all the PRI tests, reports and client experiences, like the nuke plants that now use it for their back up generators diesel. I’ve used it for years (both gas and diesel versions) and liked so much I became dealer just to buy wholesale by the case full for myself. (No, I don’t retail it.) We have over 500 gallons of gas and diesel each here at any time and I regularly use PRI treated fuel (both diesel and gas) that is often two years or older without any issues. Some diesel is 4+ years that I just re-treat once a year. It will even make good some already gone bad fuels, as it did for 1.8 million gallons of 15 year old diesel stored at TVA that they were, otherwise, preparing to have to expensively dispose of and replace…
        http://www.priproducts.com/pdfs/Reclaim%20Stale%20Gasoline.pdf
        http://www.priproducts.com/pdfs/PRI-D%20ASTM%20D2274%20Stability%20Test%20Data.pdf
        PRI is used by over 200 commercial shipping clients on the biggest ships, including cruise ships, making for more efficient fuel burn, sludge removal/burn, and less particulate exhaust…
        http://www.priproducts.com/pdfs/2012-August-Marine-Engineering-Review-pmax.pdf
        In my older vehicles, when used for the first time, I’ll get more carbon exhaust for the first couple tanks full, then it clears up and I get better gas mileage and less exhaust than before. For new vehicles it keeps carbon build up down and makes engine and fuel more efficient. Anyways, poke around http://www.priproducts.com (though site seems to have some issues this afternoon) and dig into the research papers, they actually got their start in the commercial marine field and now into everything. One little 16oz bottle of PRI-G or D will treat 256 gallons. It’ll be gold, IMO, when things get goofy and anybody has to buy or use suspect fuels sometime in a future pinch.

        • Paul Helinski November 23, 2015, 3:12 pm

          Those are great references Shane. I hadn’t dug in, and was reticent to endorse a product I had only tried a little. I’m working on kerosene cooker and both Rayo and Aladdin lamps now, all with diesel, so we’ll see. I hadn’t realized that a lot of the old information on diesel was incorrect because of the cleaner version we buy today. I wonder if they are is any difference at this point between kerosene and diesel. It seems that it has always been ok to use kerosene in place of diesel, and now the reverse seems to be true.

      • Fred G November 23, 2015, 11:14 pm

        You need to worry about Diesel fuel stability that is the asphaltenes dropping out of the fuel. Buy an asphaltene conditioner. Also do NOT purchase any diesel fuel which is bio based. Any bio diesel will spoil much quicker and requires frequent treatment. It absorbs water which promotes fungus growth. The irony is, sulfur in diesel fuel used to help prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria.

  • Wayne Farrell November 23, 2015, 5:51 am

    Hi,
    I have a couple of kerosene heaters by kerosene-sun. One looks identical to,one you have. I tried burning diesel and red kerosene as a substitute fuel since the 1-K fuel is ten bucks a gallon. Both diesel and red kerosene ruin the wicks! The diesel was fine the first burn making me think it was an okay substitute but soon the wick would not even light!

    The red kerosene diminished the intensity of the burn and I have to crank the wick all the way up for a low flame. I think there is a reason the manuf. says use only 1-K kerosene.

    That was my experience and I changed wicks on both heaters a couple of times.

    Thanks,

    Wayne

    • Paul Helinski November 23, 2015, 6:51 am

      The “wick clogging” behavior seems to be the big complaint with red kerosene, but with diesel you find stories both ways. That is why I dug into the fuel page on wikipedia, and there doesn’t seem to be any standardization to the cuts that come off as they distill the raw oil out of the ground. It seems to be saying that sometimes this cut is sold as diesel # whatever, and sometimes home heating oil. I suspect that the different grades are the reason for the varying anecdotal stories. Plus you don’t know how the fuel was stored. I’m going to run these heaters a few more times to see if I find the clogging.

      • dave November 23, 2015, 10:06 am

        Until recently diesel fuel contained a fair amount of sulphur. This is why you read not to use diesel fuel in kerosene heaters. It stems from back when diesel fuel contained significantly more sulphur than it does today. Be sure when buying diesel fuel that you buy “Low Sulphur” automotive diesel.
        Off road diesel may still contain significant quantity of sulphur. Off road diesel is identifiable because it has red dye added to it. It is cheaper because you are not paying federal and state highway taxes. The red dye is used so that people do not buy it and use if in automobiles. If the DOT inspectors sample the diesel tanks on your diesel truck and find red dye you will be in for some very steep fines. BTW 1 gallon of red dyed fuel will tint several hundreds of gallons of diesel without the dye.

        The difference between diesel / jet fuels and K-1 kerosene is that K-1 kerosene has few if any additives and the sulphur has been refined out.

        Different refining methods and additives are used to manipulate not only the flash point but the freezing point of the diesel and jet fuels. Here is a link showing the differences between the different grades of jet fuel. http://www.csgnetwork.com/jetfuel.html. Here isd a link showing the flash points of Diesel and other common fuels http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/flash-point-fuels-d_937.html

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend