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The instruction books say not to burn kerosene heaters at night. Of course - that is what lawyers and product liability are all about. But it is perfectly safe to burn them during the day, all day long, with children and pets around, and never have to worry about them -- heck, they even automatically extinguish themselves if jostled! Huh? Wait a minute! If those heaters are that safe to burn in daylight, why are they unsafe when the sun goes down? Last time I checked I didn't see any solar panel that told them it was dark outside and they could suddenly go crazy and burn down your house. As long as a window is cracked to admit oxygen burned during the combustion process -- the same as done during the day -- I burn a small radiant all night long on really cold nights. It keeps half the house at 70 F and takes the chill off the rest of the house, and only consumes 5/8 of a gallon of kerosene. If I turn off all the heat at night, it takes more than a gallon of kerosene in a much larger convection heater to GAIN heat in the morning, as maintaining heat requires only a fraction of the energy needed to actually gain, or increase, temperature, so it is more cost effective (and vastly more comfortable) to leave a small radiant burning on freezing nights. Of course I am assuming your are careful and don't have small children sleeping next to a burning kerosene heater.


If you choose to burn a kerosene heater at night, the most likely reason is to simply keep the chill off the house - not keep the whole house at 70F all night long.  For that purpose, you need a heater that uses a small diameter wick.  The heat output from a kerosene heater is directly related to fuel consumption, and fuel consumption is a factor of the capillary action ("wicking" action) of the wick.  The number of individual fiberglass fibers in a wick depends upon the circumference and thickness of the wick, and large wicks are usually thick.  As circumference is 3.14159 x the diameter, the circumference grows at a constant rate with the diameter.  So, we can concentrate on only the diameter of wicks, not their circumference and thickness, to find the right sized wick (and therefore the heater) for a specific purpose.

For low BTU nighttime heating, a heater which uses the smallest diameter wick should be the heater of choice...keeps the chill off the house while also being by far the most fuel efficient in the process.

The small diameter wicks are from 2 to 2 15/16" in diameter, and are numbers 4, 4A, 4B, 6, 7, 12, 19, 24, 25, 30,  31, 34A, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42 and 42A. 

If you live in the far North, you are probably using a heater with a large diameter wick during the day for maximum heat output. The large diameter wicks are from 4 1/8" to 4 3/4" in diameter, and are numbers 3, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3X, 5, 5A, 5B, 5C, 5X,  8, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 23, 28, 29, 32, 33 and 40. 

Medium diameter wicks would be a good choice for nighttime heaters in the far North and daytime heaters in more moderate climes.  Medium diameter wick numbers are 1, 2, 7, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 22, 26, 27, 34, 35 and 36.

So, when you purchase a kerosene heater for a specific purpose, check the "All Heaters" list by wick number to see what size wick that heater uses, and compare that with the lists above of comparative wick diameters!

Comment from reader Scott in Anchorage.

If you have CO and smoke detectors in your house, you can minimize the additional risk created by being asleep.  You can get battery-powered smoke and CO detectors, so you don't have to have electricity to use them.

See also Kerosene Heater Safety by clicking that link in blue.





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Heater Information below

Lamp Wicks:

Center Draft Wicks - Wicks available only from this Wick Shop.

Flat lamp wicks

Aladdin Lamp Wicks & parts

Lamp Chimneys:

Center Draft Lamp chimneys
from Junior "Tiny" to Mammoth lamps.

Fabulous "Sans Rival" borosilicate chimney for 14''' Kosmos lamps

Student Lamp Sans Rival Chimney with 1 7/8" fitter!!!

Standard glass lamp chimneys

Sonnenbrenner Lamp Chimneys

Information on lamps:

Center Draft Kerosene Lamps
(Photos, information and history, etc)

Photos of restored center draft lamps 

Care, Feeding and Restoration of Center Draft Lamps (and wick installation for many)

Center Draft Lamp manufacturers and brand names

Lamp Chimneys - Dimension of nominal base diameter by make, model and "line".

Early American Metal Font & Specialty Lamps

Aladdin Lamp History

Aladdin Lamp Wicks & Chimneys,

Aladdin - Exploded burner views

Kosmos-Brenner lamps and wicks

Flame Spreaders and "Smoke Consumers" from Alex Marrack

  • Vulcan, Imperial, Veritas, Belgian, Hinks, Messenger's, Young's Court, etc.

    Articles by Alex Marrack:

Home Page

Site Index

Site Index for all things Perfection

Kindler Wicking For Oil Stoves & Ranges

Kerosene Heaters

Alphabetical list of most kerosene heaters and the proper wick, & cart checkout.

List by wick number and the heaters that fit them. (A helpful guide for buying on eBay)

Measurements needed if you have an unlisted heater.

Care and Maintenance of Kerosene Heater Wicks

Installing Kerosene Heater Wicks - generic for unpinned wicks

Owner's_Manuals & information for many kerosene heaters

Kerosene Heaters - General types, how they work, recommendations for some good ones - and those I would avoid.

Economic Benefits of Kerosene Heaters

Kerosene Heater Safety

Regular maintenance   

Troubleshooting kerosene heater common problems

Breaking In New Kerosene Appliances

Burning Kerosene Heaters at Night

WATER IN KEROSENE causing "dwindling" and poor performance.

Flame Spreader Heaters and Lamps -
A Century of Excellence

Kerosene Heater Carts -
why carry your heater around?

Kerosene Fuel Primer 

Sweet Smelling Kerosene

Kerosene tank cradles (photo) Building a Cradle



Beatrice Boiling Stoves & Mini kerosene heaters you can make

Sad Iron stoves; Wicks & Installation instructions

Wicking For Oil Burning "WICKLESS" Stoves & Ranges

Photo Album

Photos of Wicks

Mail Order Form

Kerosene Stoves, Lanterns and Ovens

Kerosene Stoves -

 Recommendations on different models 

Kerosene Stove Maintenance and Storage

Butterfly A-822, 22 wick
, all-aluminum premium stove.   

Butterfly #2487, 16 wick stove Butterfly #2412 Pressure Stove; instructions for virtually any pressure stove.

Butterfly #2418 Double Burner Stove; good with any gravity flow stove.

Butterfly #2421 Oven for Kerosene Stoves

Butterfly #2641, 10 Wick Stove -
the least expensive emergency stove.

Butterfly #2698 Cook Stove -

THE Best Heavy Duty Cook Stove.

Butterfly #828R Pressure Lantern;
same for most pressure lanterns.

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