You'll need to check the wick every week or two during the heating season. If it's dirty, clean it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
It's also essential to wipe up any kerosene spill-age at once - it's a fire hazard - and to remove dust and dirt regularly.
Kerosene heaters require 1-K grade kerosene. When colored or cloudy kerosene is burned, it will give off an odor, smoke and cause increased indoor pollution levels because the fuel's higher sulphur content sharply boosts sulphur dioxide emissions.
And kerosene other than 1-K grade can gum up the wick. Never use a substitute such as gasoline or camp stove fuel. In a kerosene heater, such fuels could start a fire or explode.
To avoid the risk of fire even in normal operation you should place kerosene heaters several feet away from all furniture, curtains, papers, clothes, bedding and other combustible materials.
Remember that kerosene heaters have a constant open flame and should not be used in a room where there are flammable solvents, aerosol sprays, lacquers, gasoline, kerosene containers or any type of oil.
Parents of babies, toddlers and young children, as well as pet owners, should be aware that touching any part of an operating kerosene heater above the open flame could result in a serious burn.
This is why safety cages - designed to keep small children and pets at a distance - have become popular.
Never attempt to move a lighted kerosene heater. Even a carrying handle could cause a burn. Extinguish the flame and allow the heater to cool before moving it.
And never refuel a kerosene heater in living quarters or when the heater is still hot. Wait for it to cool.
Fire officials strongly urge that kerosene heaters be turned off before you go to sleep. It's better to use your central heating system while the family is sleeping.
Remember that you can lessen the fire, serious burn, pollution and asphyxiation dangers from kerosene heaters by:
- Following safety tips.
- Maintaining a constant source of fresh air.
- Keeping doors to other rooms open.