Cotton Wicks for Burning Diesel Fuel in kerosene heaters

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Diesel Fuel & Cotton Wicks

Cotton Wicks in Modern Catalytic Heaters for Burning Diesel Fuel

Due to the extreme price differential between kerosene and diesel fuel, many people are now contemplating burning diesel fuel in their modern catalytic burner design heater. Flame spreaders were invented and patented in 1885 for center draft lamps, then the lamps were scaled up as heaters. All of the "traditional" heaters made until the early 1980's were of flame spreader design, when production effectively ended for this style heater. Catalytic burners were developed in Japan in the mid to late 1970's to promote cleaner burning by raising the flame temperature directly above the wick in a catalytic cylinder and quickly replaced the older flame spreader design concept heaters. That higher temperature at the top of the wick mandated a new wick material - fiberglass fibers - which could take that heat because cotton was quickly consumed by the heat. But fiberglass wicks are quickly fouled and ruined by the burning of diesel fuel.

Diesel engines have their fuel pump bearings lubricated by the fuel. There IS an oily component in diesel fuel because fuel injector pumps are quite expensive. And that oily component results in a rapid buildup of tar and carbon deposits on top of the wick. That deposit of tar ruins capillary action and can quickly build to the point that the wick cannot even be retracted to shut off the heater - a dangerous situation for a device used inside a home.

Isopropyl alcohol can be mixed with diesel to thin it, absorb most of the oily component in diesel fuel, and raise the flame temperature.  Click here to jump to the discussion below of mixing alcohol with diesel fuel.

The concept behind using all-cotton wicks when burning diesel fuel is for the wick to burn down a little with each use to burn off the tar deposits. Pinned wicks are not adjustable: when the wick burns down it cannot be raised in the wick sleeve, so wick life is too short to be cost effective.

 Wicks without pins can be raised in the wick sleeve as the wicks burn down during use.  When the wick becomes too short to reach the fuel, strips of felt can be sewn/tacked or stapled (using an office stapler) to the bottom of the wick so the strips fall into the fuel and reach the bottom of the tank, thus greatly extending wick life.

Burning diesel with cotton wicks in a catalytic burner heater is an experiment by the purchaser and user of the wicks and no guarantee can be extended either to the wick or attaining the desired result.

Cotton

#3L

2 9/16'' (64 mm) diameter all-cotton wick to replace fiberglass wick #4E for those who want to try burning diesel fuel with a pint of alcohol per gallon in a Heat Mate/Sengoku HMN/CTN-110 radiant heater. Not guaranteed as diesel fuel varies in oil content.  Wick #3L commercial factory wick.

$10.95

Cotton

#6Z

2 15/16'' (75mm) diameter wick (#6, #6A, 6X, 24) for those who wish to burn an all-cotton wick with diesel fuel.  Not guaranteed as diesel fuel varies.  All-cotton wick to replace fiberglass wicks  #6X, #9A, #19, #24, etc.  Custom wick using thick cotton woven wick material. 
To see list of heaters  using wicks
#6, #6A, 6X, 24, click here.

$15.95

Cotton

#1Z

3 3/8'' (85mm) diameter wick (#1, #1A, 1X, #2) for those who wish to burn an all-cotton wick with diesel fuel.  Not guaranteed as diesel fuel varies.  All-cotton wick to replace fiberglass wicks #1X & #2.  Custom wick using thick cotton woven wick material. 
To see list of heaters  using wicks
#1, #1A,#1D, 1X, #2, click here.

$15.95

#7Z 3 3/4'' (95mm) diameter all-cotton wick to replace fiberglass wicks #7X and #27 for those who want to try burning diesel fuel with a pint of alcohol per gallon in an Alpaca, Fujix or similar heater. To see list of heaters  using wicks #7X & #27, etc, click here.

$15.95

#5Z 4 1/8'' (105mm) diameter all-cotton wick to replace fiberglass wick #5.  No pins! Does not replace with #5C.  Not guaranteed as diesel fuel varies.

$16.95

#8Z

4 3/4'' (120 mm) diameter wick, unpinned, for those who which to burn an all-cotton wick with diesel fuel.  Not guaranteed as diesel fuel varies.  All-cotton wick to replace fiberglass wicks #3, 3A, 3X and #8.  Custom wick using thick cotton woven wick material.
To see list of heaters  using wicks
#3, #3A, 3X, #8, click here.

$17.95

Many people have asked if Dyna-Glo convection can have cotton wicks made for them, and the answer is NO, they use pinned wick #3C. If a convection heater uses pinned wick #3C, it was made by Dyna Glo. That heater was sold under quite a variety of brand names, including DuraHeat DH2300, 2301, 2302, 2303, 2304, the KeroHeat CV-2300, Dyna Glo CV2300, all models of RMC 95C & D + number, CV2300, 2301, 2301, 2303, 2304, etc, KC-2404, - 2404b; KW-2400 (all series: 2400, 2401, 2402, 2403, 2404); KW-24, -24B, -24C (all KW-24's and 2400's).

For a more complete list of wicks by number and if they have pins, click here

The photo at right shows one of three pins on the wick, the other two pins being on the back of the wick.  Note that the distance from the top of the wick down to the pin varies according to the design specifications of the manufacturer, the pin placement of the wick on the right being the lowest placement of any wick; it was just a more convenient and pretty picture.

ADDING ALCOHOL TO DIESEL

Quite a few experimenters have posted videos and articles online regarding burning diesel fuel altered with alcohol. The alcohol raises the flame temperature of the diesel fuel and that helps burn off the deposits on the top of the wick. Because diesel fuel varies in consistency from one area of the country to another, even from winter to summer, no absolutes can be given to the amount of alcohol that should be added per gallon of diesel fuel can be listed - experimentation is required. The alcohol used should be at least 91% pure and can be purchased from some pharmacy stores. Denatured alcohol can also be used and is available at most hardware stores.

To show how the quantity of isopropyl alcohol added per gallon is extremely critical, I ran some experiments using different amounts of fuel in diesel and burned it in easily-photographed mini-burners. The quantities of alcohol listed below are for QUARTS, not gallons.  And please note I was using isopropyl alcohol, NOT denatured alcohol. [The text in the photos says denatured alcohol, but those photos were taken last year when I was using denatured from an old container I purchased years ago.  The summer of 2016 I was having problems with a new can of denatured and it did not mix with kerosene.  See below.  Now I only use isopropyl alcohol.]

2.5 mL/quart, still charred 5 mL/quart, good burn 7.5 mL/quart, burned wick

To reiterate, fuel in different areas of the country are from different refineries and often produced to legislative-mandated compounds, as if bureaucrats actually used kerosene heaters and knew what they were doing, which they do not. Experimenting with the diesel fuel being used is absolutely mandatory if even reasonable results are to be expected. As a result there are no guarantees the fuel mixture used will result in good results and wick life - no guarantees the wick will work as anticipated.  This is an experiment by the purchaser and user of the wicks and no guarantee can be extended.

ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL VERSUS DENATURED ALCOHOL

I used denatured alcohol as an additive for years until last year when I saw large bubbles floating around in the fuel. I siphoned the fuel out into a glass jar and it was horribly cloudy with large bubbles floating and suspended in the fuel.  After letting it sit overnight the result was different layers of liquids - parts of the denatured alcohol were not mixing with the fuel!  Obviously that particular denatured ''alcohol'' was adulterated with a non-alcohol substance.

Install all-cotton wicks as shown in your heater’s owner’s manual. The wick WILL burn down faster than will a fiberglass wick burning water-clear 1K kerosene. As the wick burns down it can be burned ‘’dry,’‘ adjusted upward so the wick is 5/16'’ or so at full exposed height, and burned again. When the wick becomes too short to reach the fuel, strips of felt can be sewn/tacked or stapled (using an office stapler) to the bottom of the wick so the strips fall into the fuel and reach the bottom of the tank.

Burning diesel with cotton wicks in a catalytic burner heater is an experiment by the purchaser and user of the wicks and no guarantee can be extended either to the wick or attaining the desired result.

 

 

 

 

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