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Kerosene Fuel Questions

Can red kerosene be used?
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The Federal government requires that kerosene that is not intended for road use and therefore not subject to a 24.9¢ tax be dyed red. As long as it is advertised as K-1 kerosene it can be used in your heater. We recommend the use of clear K-1 kerosene when available as it is much easier to see contamination in the clear kerosene.

How should kerosene be stored?
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Store kerosene only in a new, clean, sealed container clearly marked for kerosene. Such containers as used drums, milk containers, used plastic jugs, and used gasoline cans will contaminate kerosene and will harm the wick or cause a fire.

How long can I store kerosene?
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One to three months is the longest we recommend storing fuel. Kerosene should not be stored from one season to the next, including inside the heater tank. If allowed to sit over the summer, the fuel will break down and absorb water. There are bacteria and molds that live in the kerosene and feed off fossil fuels. As this process speeds up over the warm summer months, sludge develops in the fuel. If this fuel is used the following season it can clog the wick and cause odor, low burn and wick hardening. It is best to buy kerosene in small quantities so that you are assured of the freshest fuel possible. Find a supplier that you can trust to have good fuel and stick with them.

How can I tell if my kerosene is good?
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The best way to tell if you have good fuel is to siphon off a small amount of fuel from the bottom of your storage container into a small clear jar. It is important to pump from the bottom because if there is water present that's where it will be since it has a higher specific gravity than kerosene. Allow the sample to sit for at least an hour and observe to see if there is anything floating in the fuel. Bubbles at the bottom are not good – they are water bubbles, not air. You should not be able to see particles floating. If the fuel is clear it should be crystal clear with no separation. Anything cloudy or yellowed is contaminated and should not be used. Red fuel will be harder to see contamination but should be translucent – much like Kool Aid , not cloudy or opaque. The fuel should also smell like kerosene and have no diesel or gasoline smell to it. If you have any doubt about the fuel - get fresh. The final test is burning the heater; the flame should be bright and even. Any kerosene odor should become very faint after the heater reaches optimum burn (usually after 45-60 minutes).

Characteristics of High Quality Kerosene:
High quality kerosene is usually as clear as tap water or dyed red.
Has no visible dirt or debris.
Has been properly stored in an approved container.
Has been kept in a cool dark location.
Purchased recently.

Characteristics of Poor Quality Kerosene:
Poor quality kerosene has a yellow or cloudy cast.
May have visible debris or other contaminates.
May have water collected on bottom of container.
May have been stored in direct sunlight or in high heat.
May have been stored for an extended period of time.