Can I Use Diesel In A Kerosene Heater

Have you been thinking about throwing your kerosene heater away because of the price hike? Well, in that case you need to use an alternative. Diesel is one of the best alternatives you can think of.

But the crucial question arises: can I use diesel in a kerosene heater? To be frank, buddy, you can use it. However, you have to use the right type of diesel to get the maximum output.

But, let’s now begin with some elementary ideas first, and then move on to the twist and turn later. 

Can I use diesel in a kerosene heater

What are the types of kerosene heaters available?

A kerosene heater, also known as a paraffin heater, is a space heating device. It’s portable and fueled by kerosene. Using a burning kerosene heater, you can get 11,000 to 24,000 BTUs per hour.

There are two types of kerosene heaters. Let us put some light on the types of kerosene heaters.

Convective heater

Convective is a round-shaped kerosene heater. It has a combustion chamber and a fuel tank below the wick. This heater is a better option for larger areas. 

Because it makes warm air flow up and out in all the corners of your house, you can heat up your entire house with just one convective heater.

Radiant heater

Radiant rectangular-shaped heater is suitable for a smaller area. This type of heater also has a combustion chamber and a wick. The only difference between these two is the area coverage.

Is burning diesel fuel in a kerosene heater safe?

Yes, you can safely use diesel in a kerosene space heater. These two fuels have a lot in common.

The only difference is that diesel creates little less heat than kerosene. And diesel will also emit more carbon than kerosene. 

It does not matter which one you use in your room heater. Both are perfect for using.

What kind of diesel fuel to use in a kerosene heater?

Liquid diesel does not create enough heat to make your house warm. Diesel will diminish the power of your heater. The heating particles evaporate once you start to burn diesel. Because of this evaporation, liquid diesel can not create much heat.

Can You use the number one diesel in a kerosene heater? Yes, that’s the optimal type of kerosene heater fuel alternative.

Number one diesel fuel will burn clearer if you add some kerosene additive to it. Not mixing some kerosene additives will cause damage to the heater or wick.

For the best output, with each pint of diesel fuel, add five milliliters of 91% or more isopropyl alcohol. You can also mix some kerosene with it if you want. Choose a wick that has 100% high-quality cotton.

Diesel fuel is less expensive and more effective than kerosene. It will save you some money if you buy a gallon of diesel fuel instead of kerosene.

How to use diesel fuel in a kerosene heater?

No matter which side you are in of diesel vs. kerosene in the heater, a Diesel-burning heater will always win. But before using diesel, you should learn the process. Let us explain the process to you.

Collect necessary items

Gather all the essential supplies before starting the heater. Preparation is important if you are going camping or hiking. 

Now here are the necessary items for diesel-burning:

  • A gallon of number one diesel fuel
  • Diesel additive ( kerosene additive, isopropyl alcohol,  or kerosene)
  • Wick that is 100% cotton

Buy the right type of additive and wick

The right type of additive will help the diesel burn more effectively. Diesel requires a higher temperature to burn. It can lead to reduced flow of fuel or improper combustion. 

Your wick will clog or build up carbon due to the incomplete burning. This will reduce the lifespan of the wick. To prevent this from happening, use a fiberglass wick or a 100% cotton wick.

An additive will help the diesel to burn much clearer. You can use straight kerosene, Kerosene fuel additives, diesel fuel additives, or isopropyl alcohol in your room heater.

You can also use some kerosene additives for the best outcome. Let us help you find suitable additives and wicks.


This is one of the best and effective ways to burn diesel. You do not need any special additives or any exact ratio.

Fill the heater tank with kerosene after filling it up with 2/3 or ¾ diesel. The more kerosene you add, the more it will protect the wick.

Kerosene additives

The kerosene additives will help the diesel to burn clearer. Read the instructions on the bottle of kerosene additives. Mix them following the recommended process.

Diesel fuel additives

These additives are normally used in the diesel engine. They make the engines perform better. There is no harm in mixing them with the diesel in your heater. 

Isopropyl alcohol

They should be 91% pure or higher. Go to a store, and you will find them near the hydrogen peroxide. You have to mix 5ml or isopropyl alcohol with one pint of number one diesel for the best possible outcome.

The quality of diesel fuel differs. Not every gas station sells the same diesel fuel. You might have to adjust the mixture depending on the quality of diesel.


Wick is the most important element of a space heater. If you don’t have a quality wick, the best diesel or kerosene will not work. To get the most out of any heater, you will need a 100% cotton wick. 

There are fiberglass wicks, cotton wicks, pinned, and non-pinned wicks available. The most popular choice is the new cotton wick. Let us shed some light on the different types of heater.

  • Fiberglass wick

Just like the name, a fiberglass wick has a ring of fiberglass. They are the strongest option out of them all. But the strongest does not always mean the best.

The ideal option for diesel-burning is the cotton wick. Because, once the carbon covers the fiberglass on the top of the heater, you can not trim or remove it. The carbon will not let the wick burn well. 

If you choose a fiberglass wick, then you have to remove it sometimes and wash it. If carbon clogs the wick, it will not work properly. 

  • Cotton wick

Cotton wicks are the perfect choice for diesel burning. Though cotton wicks do not last as long as fiberglass, we have a solution for you.  You can trim the carbon away from the wick. This will make the cotton wick long-lasting. 

  • Pinned and unpinned wicks

Pinned wicks have three metal pins which the non-pinned wicks do not have. The pins hold a wick in their place.

However, you can move up the non-pinned wicks while trimming them. So, the best option for you is the cotton wick. It will work better than anything in a kerosene heater.

Things to do before starting the heater

After putting diesel in a kerosene heater, wait for 30 minutes before starting it. In this time, the wick will soak up the diesel. 

For the cotton wicks, this is a must. If you don’t give the wick enough time to absorb the diesel, it will burn itself. To avoid damages to the wick, follow our advice.

Safety reminders

We have previously talked about the accidents related to heaters. So it becomes our duty to let you know the techniques to prevent such accidents. Take note of our safety measures. 

Follow this safety measure carefully to prevent damages to the heater and your house.

Maintain proper ventilation 

Diesel burning emits harmful byproducts like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. These byproducts are responsible for asphyxiation and respiratory illness.

So you have to make way for these byproducts to get out. Keep some of the windows open while using a kerosene heater.

You can also install a CO2 detector in your house. This device will let you know the CO2 level in your house. 

Don’t place the heater near flammable objects

Place the heater in an open space. Put it away from any flammable objects like bedding, furniture, paper, fuel, curtains, or clothing. 

While going out with all your family members, turn the heater off. Don’t let your children or pets go near the heater. Make sure to put it in a high place so that you don’t trip over.

Refiling the tanks

The safest way to refill your heater is to take it outside. Refilling inside your house might result in spillage on your furniture or carpet. 

Use a fuel gauge and siphon tube for refilling. If diesel comes in contact with your skin, it can cause irritation. So use thick rubber gloves to prevent irritation. 

Do not refill the heater while it is on. Always turn off the heater before refilling. Seal the lid tightly and look for any excess diesel to wipe off after refilling.

Avoiding unpleasant smell

The strong and unpleasant smell of diesel-burning can make you uncomfortable. If you notice a lot of smoke and odor while diesel is burning, it’s a bad sign.

This may happen due to inadequate air support to the kerosene heater. So always place the heater in a place where the air comes in. 

Keep shifting the heater from one place to another to prevent odor and smoke. In this way, your heater will run for hours. Make sure there is enough oxygen and zero CO in your house. 

Don’t worry if you witness some smoke and odor while turning the heater on or off.

The Cons of using diesel in a kerosene heater

Yes, there are a few disadvantages of using diesel. Diesel will not burn as clearly as the kerosene and cause damages to the wick.

Let us explain it to you.

  1. Shortens the lifespan of the wick

Diesel is not like the fuels that are readily combustible. This means you can ignite a puddle of diesel but can’t burn it.

To make diesel burn, you have to spray it as a fine mist. That’s why we need to inject diesel into the engines.

Diesel does not evaporate like kerosene. Diesel will require a much longer time to reach up the wick. So the wick will burn if you replace it frequently.

  1. Doesn’t burn clearly

As we mentioned before, diesel burns cooler than kerosene. So it is not good at generating heat.

The incomplete combustion allows the heater to create carbon at a faster rate. So you will notice a quick carbon build-up on the wick.

Because of the improper evaporation, diesel might char the wick completely. So you will have to replace the wick more frequently.

  1. Creates dark-colored smoke

The quality of smoke that diesel creates is not as clean as kerosene. Burning diesel creates dark-colored or tinted smoke. This kind of smoke will stain the wick and the walls of your house.

  1. Releases harmful byproducts

The byproducts from diesel-burning can cause damage to your lungs and eyes.

Some of these harmful byproducts are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. They can cause serious respiratory issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make kerosene from diesel?

Turning a gallon of on-road or biodiesel into kerosene-like dyed kerosene or k kerosene needs expert supervision.
A diesel to kerosene transformation will produce toxic fumes like propane and ethane.
The jet engines can turn diesel into kerosene for jet fuel.

Can you use ultra-low sulfur diesel in a kerosene heater?

Yes, you can use ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) in a kerosene heater. The ULSD is a cheaper option for your heater. It’s best if you can use ULSD off-road. 

Can you use home heating oil in a kerosene heater?

No. Don’t burn home heating or vegetable oil in  kerosene heaters. Kerosene is the light grade of number one while home heating oil is number 2. Home heating fuel oil or lamp oil is less combustible and heavier than kerosene.

Can I use diesel in a kerosene torpedo heater?

It’s possible to use diesel in a kerosene torpedo heater. But you have to place your heater in a ventilated area. Diesel has ultra-low sulfur, so it will not be a problem.

Can you use a diesel heater indoor?

Diesel heaters are safe for indoor use. Diesel heaters have better efficiency than gasoline engines. And they also create less carbon monoxide. To prevent the heaters from overheating and fires, they have modern shutdown mechanisms. 

What happens if you put diesel in a kerosene heater?

If you put diesel in a kero heater, it will create

1. incomplete combustion and reduced fuel flow. 
2. byproducts like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide.
3. serious respiratory issues.

But these problems can be avoided by taking safety measures.

Final words

It will not require anything special to use diesel in a kerosene heater. Always remember the safety tips to use diesel fuel in your kerosene heater.

You should not face any problems as long as you understand the risks. Now that you know what you can use instead of kerosene.

Voila, buddy. Here we leave you today. Have a safe heater and be warm!!

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