An indoor kerosene heater, which is sometimes referred to as a paraffin heater, is a portable space-heating appliance. This type of heater has being used for many years in the United States and evolved over time to become more compact, safer, fuel-efficient and almost odor free when operating. Today, many people take advantage of these heaters to provide either a primary or secondary source of heating, particularly during the winter months when power supplies fail. A kerosene heater for the home will typically emit heat between 10,000 and 23,000 BTU’s per hour.
In the fall of 2008, I bought one new and one used convection heater after suffering a power outage in the winter of 2007, which as of a consequence caused personal heartache when my home suffered substantial damage due to water pipes freezing and then bursting. However, since learning from my costly lesson my heater investments proved their worth last winter. Living in a remote rural area, my family and I witnessed one of the harshest winters that we had ever seen. After heavy snow and drifting caused power lines to fall, we were left isolated for 9 days and without electricity with temperatures outside failing to rise above freezing during the day. However, we fired up our used kerosene heater, which did an excellent job of keeping us warm and also prevented our plumbing from freezing. The new heater was kept as standby.
A radiant kerosene heater emits heat in one direction and can therefore be safely placed against walls. These appliances are ideal for small spaces and apartments and have a fuel tank capacity of approximately 1 gallon that provides fuel for heating that will last between 10 and 15 hours. Unlike a convection indoor kerosene heater, most new radiant heaters do not frequently require to be turned on and off as they are thermostatically controlled and will turn off when the desired temperature is reached. Some radiant indoor kerosene heaters are installed with an electric fan that circulates the warm air around the room to help prevent cold spots and, for safety reasons, have a timer that will shutdown the heater after approximately 3 hours of use. If there is a power outage, a radiant heater will still work without the electric fan.
A convection heater emits its heat centrally by reflecting heat from the burner component into the heating space by bouncing the infrared radiation off a curved metal plate. A convection kerosene heater requires a space of at least 3 feet from any combustible materials and most new models come with a safety guard to help prevent objects from entering the heater and are ideal for heating large homes, garages, workshops and barns. A new convection indoor kerosene heater will usually have a starter that is energised by batteries, which make them very simple to use. On average this type of heater will emit heat for 8 to 12 hours on one gallon of fuel. One drawback of the convection heater is that the heated space may become too hot and since there is no thermostatic control, the appliance will have to be manually turned off and then restarted when required.
As their name suggests, a forced air kerosene heater forces heated air over large areas such as workshops and commercial applications etc. These machines are energy efficient and are capable of emitting heat from 50,000BTU’s per hour right up to 500,000+BTU’s per hour. A forced air indoor heater are constructed from heavy duty materials and comprise different safety features when compared to a domestic indoor heater. Naturally, a forced air indoor heater will require a constant source of kerosene fuel to provide the required heat emission levels expected from it.
In conclusion, the kerosene heater is a superb secondary source of heating when your primary source is not available. However, the heaters are not without dangers but if used appropriately and as per the manufacturer’s instructions then a kerosene heater should never present a significant problem or danger to the user. It is always better to use fresh kerosene fuel in an indoor heater to prevent lighting and operation problems. You should always consider the pros and cons when comparing a radiant and convector heaters before purchasing one for your needs.
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