Kerosene Heater Burning Black Smoke- A Complete Guide

Kerosene heaters have been the first line of defence against the bone-chilling winter for decades. As they use kerosene as their relatively cheap fuel, they can be found in almost every household.

However, often users see kerosene heaters burning black smoke is given out. There might be many reasons why your kerosene heater may be burning to produce black smoke. Most often, using the wrong fuel or wrong wick and the incorrect placement of the chimney can cause black smoke. In some cases, the burner cylinder also acts as the culprit. 

In most cases, if your kerosene heater is burning and producing black smoke, there is nothing to worry about as it is pretty standard. To know more about this, keep reading.

Kerosene Heater Burning Black Smoke

Why Is Kerosene Heater Burning Black Smoke?

These are the usual reasons that can cause your kerosene heater to burn black smoke.

Correct Fuel Is Key

Kerosene heaters run on kerosene. As kerosene is an inexpensive fuel and is found everywhere, people do not check it. You can say that it is the heart of the heater. 

Therefore, using the correct kind of kerosene is very important to ensure that your heater will keep on running safely for a long time. 

There are mainly two types of kerosene fuel: K 1 kerosene and K 2 kerosene. K 1 kerosene is mainly used for unvented kerosene heaters that are portable. 

But do not be fooled by the “K 1 Kerosene” labeling on the package. Frequently, K 1 kerosene contains red dyes, which should not be used in kerosene heaters.

The amount of smoke and the smell produced by your kerosene heater is dependent on the quality of your kerosene. 

If you are using K 2 kerosene, immediately change your fuel as K 2 has a very high sulfur content, and it is one of the leading causes behind kerosene heaters producing black smoke. 

Using cheaper kerosene can lead to increased production of black smoke and carbon soot which is harmful to health.

Use The Correct Wick

Now you may ask, how can you know what wick to use? If your kerosene heater uses a wick, make sure you use the wick intended for your heater. The manufacturer of your heater will tell you which wick to use.

As your wick is the thing that burns, it plays a vital role in producing smoke. If your kerosene heater produces smoke after 10-15 after ignition minutes, then there is a high chance your wick is causing the trouble. 

It is also essential that the wick fits appropriately on the heater. It is seen that generic wick adjusters do not correctly fit the wick.

Also, adjust the height of your wick to ensure that your wick burns evenly without producing any smoke.

Check Your Cylinder

If your kerosene heater emits black smoke almost immediately after ignition, then chances are there might be a problem in your cylinder. The cylinder in your kerosene heater is essential for the health of your kerosene heater.  

In the case of a forced-air kerosene heater, you should check the burner cylinder after checking the wick. The wick most of the time causes problems, but if it is brand new and correctly adjusted, check your burner cylinder.

The burner cylinder causes problems if it is clogged or dented. In case of unfortunate clogging, you can fix it yourself. However, if your burner cylinder is dented, you have to take it back to the shop

Positioning of the Chimney 

The chimney of your kerosene heater must sit correctly on the heater. Your heater might give out black smoke if it does not sit properly.

How can you understand that your chimney is not seated correctly? The answer is quite simple. 

Look at the flame, and if you see an uneven flame which means that there is a high orange flame on one side, you will know for sure that your chimney is not sitting correctly.

You can easily adjust the chimney and check if the issue is solved. If not, you might have to get your kerosene checked out by professionals. 

Tips And Tricks To Prevent Kerosene Heater Burning Black Smoke

Most people do not know that kerosene heaters produce pretty to smoke. As it burns kerosene, it is only natural that a little bit of smoke is produced. 

Here are some tips that you can put up your sleeve to prevent your kerosene heater from giving out black smoke:

  • Replace your wick regularly- As kerosene heaters burn wicks, you should replace them by following the rules listed by the manufacturer. Replacing wicks is very important as carbon or tar often build up, or wicks harden and damage over time.
  • Use high-quality fuel- High-quality fuels will prevent your kerosene heater from producing smoke. Apart from that, it will also reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning and soot production.
  • Clean your cylinders- As kerosene heaters burn kerosene, lots of dirt can accumulate over time. Cleaning your cylinders and the chimneys will open up any blocked holes so that the smoke can pass through easily.

How To Remove Kerosene Soot

Everyone who uses a kerosene heater knows that the production of black kerosene soot is one of the main problems. Your walls and your furniture can get stained.

Now the question may arise: how to remove the kerosene soot? A soot sponge can absorb soot. When removing the kerosene soot from the wall, begin by vacuuming the area. Then use a soft sponge. 

Next, mix one tablespoon of trisodium phosphate (TSP) with one gallon of tap water. Then use a clean cloth, dip it into the mixture, and clean the area.

If you cannot remove the soot using the method mentioned above, then you can use a strong cleaner such as bleach or cleaning powder to remove it.

Are Kerosene Fumes Harmful

The fumes generated by kerosene heaters consist of many gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other toxic gases. These gases are harmful to our bodies if we inhale them.

Exposure to kerosene fumes can cause many health problems. Inhaling kerosene often causes headaches and nausea. Lungs disease such as asthma, emphysema, and heart diseases can also occur.

The skin can also be irritated by kerosene fumes. For example, our skin can crack or get dry. Skin disease such as fungal disease called eczema can also stem from exposure to kerosene fumes.

Safety Measures When The Kerosene Heater Burning Black Smoke

Often when people see dense, black smoke coming from their heaters, they lose their cool and start to panic. These are some safety guidelines that you should follow:

  • Keep your heater away from flammable objects and furniture.
  • Do not mix fuels and refrain from using combustible fuels like gasoline.
  • Avoid overfilling your heater to prevent oil spills and oil leaks.
  • Kerosene heaters produce carbon monoxide and other harmful gases, so you should use your kerosene heater in an open space.
  • Use carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to detect smoke easily, saving you from carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Keep your heater away from your children and your pets, and never leave it unsupervised.


How do I stop my kerosene heater from smoking? 

The mixture of fuel is the main culprit here for producing black smoke. On the other hand, be sure that you are not using Gasoline or any type of fuel like it. The black smoke may also occur due to the air for that, keep your heater aloof from a ceiling fan or drafty areas. 

Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from a kerosene heater? 

Carbon monoxide when emitted at an abnormal rate from heaters then it will bring with it toxic elements as well.  So it causes serious harm to the elderly and pregnant women. Also, it causes risk to the person who has cardiovascular disease.

Is it safe to burn a kerosene heater in the house? 

Like other heating elements, kerosene produces monoxide too. Therefore, you should keep your kitchen well-ventilated or leave the doors open so the carbon monoxide won’t get trapped inside and cause serious risk to you and your family. 


Kerosene heaters are convenient when it comes to battling cold winters. It burns kerosene to keep your home deliciously warm and cozy.

If your kerosene heater burning black smoke, you have nothing to stress about. A little bit of smoke is standard, but you should get it checked if dense, black smoke is produced. Normally a wick or fuel change usually solves the issue. 

With that hope in mind, I hope this article answers all your queries about kerosene heaters, and you can finally enjoy every winter with your trusty kerosene heater!

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