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How to Fix These Common Kerosene Heater Problems?

When you’re using a kerosene heater you might have to face some problems. And, as with any other device, you need to know how to deal with them properly to avoid any accidents. Whether you’re having kerosene heater wick problems or trouble with the knobs – even an innocent-looking problem may prove to be disastrous with this type of heating device.

So, let’s go over the most common kerosene heater problems and how to fix them.

Kerosene heater uneven flame

The most common reason for this problem is the tar buildup on the wick. The way to fix this is by burning the wick “dry” in order to remove the tar and resin deposits off of it. This must always be done outdoors as it will produce a lot of smelly and harmful gases. To do this simply turn the wick up to the maximum height before it goes off.

Alternatively, your wick may just be too old and irreparably dirty. In that case, you’ll simply need to replace your wick with a new one.

Kerosene heater wick won’t raise

The typical reason for that also lies in a dirty wick or a wick that’s just too old to use. To fix this, simply follow the steps above to burn your wick “dry” or replace it altogether.

Kerosene heater will not shut off

If you can’t turn the heater off or you can’t lower the wick back down, you’ll need to first find a way to safely smother the flame before you can deal with the wick. Either blow the flame out or use a wet blanket to smother it completely. After that and once the heater unit is completely cooled off, remove the burner unit and remove the wick with pliers. If it wasn’t lowering properly, which is the most likely reason why the heater wouldn’t turn off, the wick is probably too dirty. So, try burning it “dry” as it’s removed from the heater and reinstall it back afterward. Or, if it’s too far gone – simply replace it.

Kerosene heater won’t light

If your kerosene heater refuses to ignite or is hard to ignite, there are several common reasons you might want to look for:

  1. The igniter on your heater is defective. Unfortunately, if that’s the case, there isn’t much you can do to fix it. Instead, the best course of action here is to simply replace the igniter with a new one. The prices may vary depending on the model and the brand but it shouldn’t be too costly in any case.
  2. The batteries have run down. This is a much simpler problem we’re used to from all other electronic devices we use on a daily basis. To fix this, simply get new batteries of the appropriate type and replace the old ones.
  3. The wick needs cleaning. A rather familiar problem at this point, if your wick is covered with tar and dirt it is normal for the heater to face troubles igniting it. To fix this, remove the wick and burn it dry before reinstalling it into the heater. If it’s in too bad of a shape you might want to replace it with a new one.

Kerosene heater ignites but is slow to warm up

Again, this problem is most commonly caused by a dirty or older wick. Remove the wick from the heater and burn it dry outdoors before reinstalling it back in the device. If the wick can’t be salvaged – replace it.

Kerosene heater gives off a strong odor

This is a problem with several possible causes but each of them needs to be solved as soon as possible as you don’t want to risk inhaling too many unhealthy fumes. Here are the most probable issues:

  1. The heater is in an unventilated room. Even good kerosene heaters with quality kerosene fuel still need proper ventilation to avoid the buildup of unhealthy fumes in the air. Simply open a couple of windows to create some cross ventilation.
  2. You haven’t sealed the bottom of the burner unit properly. To fix this you should move the burner left or right to make sure that it’s properly sealed.
  3. You’ve set the wick too high or too low. This is a very common problem – the wick should always be set at the appropriate height of half an inch (1.3 cm). When your kerosene heater is burning you should keep an eye on the wick’s height at least once every hour.
  4. The fuel you’re burning isn’t of good quality. Either your kerosene has gone bad or you’re using another type of fuel that isn’t meant for a kerosene heater.

Kerosene heater gives off soot and smoke

This happens most often when the wick is set too high. This is easily fixed as the wick simply needs to be readjusted to the right height, however, it needs to be done as soon as possible.

Alternatively, it’s also possible that the bottom of the burner assembly isn’t properly sealed. Try turning it left or right to seal it well enough or open it and check for resin buildup that might prevent it from sealing off properly.

Kerosene heater ignites but goes out too soon

This will most commonly happen if you’ve run out of fuel or you have water in the fuel reservoir. To fix it you’ll have to either add more fuel if there isn’t enough or completely empty the tank and replace the wick if there’s water inside the tank.

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