How To Troubleshoot Common Kerosene Heater Problems?

Common Kerosene Heater Problems

In an area with ice-cold temperatures where electrical outages are frequent, a kerosene heater is a must. A kerosene heater is inexpensive and keeps the area warm and comfortable. It is portable and can be moved from one room to the other easily. Whether there is an electrical outage or not, a kerosene heater does a great job in helping you keep warm. It has to be said that kerosene heaters are prone to damages and issues if not used in the right manner. In this article, we will be giving you guys information on troubleshooting some frequently occurring issues regarding kerosene heaters

Igniter Doesn’t Glow

As said before, we’ll be discussing a bunch of different problems and the first one among them is when the kerosene heater igniter doesn’t glow.

  • Before you start implementing all of the troubleshooting methods, make sure that the wick is soaked in the kerosene for at least an hour. Light the heater for the first time only after making sure that the wick has been soaked in fuel for one hour. 
  • If you still find that the igniter isn’t glowing, take a look at the batteries. Make sure they are working properly before bringing in a professional to handle the issue. Try replacing the batteries with non-alkaline batteries that are brand new. 
  • Even after doing all of this, if you find that the igniter doesn’t glow, the final solution is to get an igniter replacement. Do not worry much about the cost because igniter replacement is very cost-effective. 

In order to make sure that this doesn’t happen again, always see that the igniter is on the level above the wick.

Foul Smell

In case you start smelling a foul smell from the kerosene heater, here are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the issue. 

  1. First of all, take a look at the wick and see if it’s set too high. If that’s the case then lower it immediately and that should make the foul smell stop. 
  2. Smoke and foul smell show that there is more air in comparison to fuel in the heater. Another thing you should do is make sure that the heater is away from a fan or a draft or any source that produces air with high force. In case you find that the smoke isn’t stopping even after doing this, switch the heater off and let it cool down completely. After its cool, inspect the burner and determine whether a complete replacement or a cleaning is needed. You’ll know which option to choose after looking at the state of the burner. 
  3. One of the most important and obvious reasons for foul smell and smoke is the use of low-quality fuel. Usually, low-quality fuels tend to produce a foul smell. That is the reason, kerosene heater purchasers are recommended to use K-1 quality kerosene. If you are someone that is already using K-1 kerosene but still experiences a foul smell, try emptying the tank and start fresh. 
  4. Another aspect you should take a look at is the wick. When the wick is not placed at the right level and is installed at a low point, the fuel doesn’t burn effectively which results in a bad odor. You can either switch to a better fuel type or raise the level of the wick to fix this issue. 

Kerosene Heater Flickers But Goes Out Soon After

If you face a problem where your kerosene heater ignites without any issues but goes out after a short while. The below steps will troubleshoot the issue.

  1. Start by emptying the tank of all its fuel and take out the wick assembly. You’ll need to replace the wick assembly and the wick as well. When you’re done doing so, fill the tank with K-1 kerosene and the issue should be fixed. 
  2. Ignite the heater and make sure you do so with minimum fuel in the tank. Put it aside and let it burn until the flame goes off. Also, make sure you raise the wick to its highest point and let it burn till it goes off. 
  3. Set the kerosene heater aside for a while and after an hour or so, ignite the wick with a match and let it burn until it goes off again. Now, wait for the kerosene heater to cool down and clean the ash on the wick with the help of a toothbrush.

Kerosene Heater Wick Won't Raise

  1. Begin by turning the kerosene heater off manually. After that, grab a screwdriver and start removing the screws that secure the cabinet of the kerosene heater. When all the screws are removed, lift it by the handle to remove the cabinet. 
  2. The knob that is used to adjust the wick should be pulled off and to do so lift up the cabinet by pulling at its base in the back. 
  3. Now, you will have to activate the automatic shutoff system to do that, give the safety shutoff pendulum a push. 
  4. Put the kerosene heater together or reassemble it. Then, the wick adjustment knob has to be turned so that the wick will raise up.

Troubleshooting Issues Related To The Wick

Even small issues with the wick can result in huge damages to the entire kerosene heater. So, it is very crucial to take good care of it and to look for any possible issues. To give you some extra help, we have listed a few problems related to wicks and their solutions. 

Hardened Wick

Dust, Tar, and other sorts of debris get stuck to the wick which gives it a hard appearance. If the fuel is contaminated with water or if the wick is not raised to the required height, it gets hardened. A wick in such a condition should be replaced without further delay. 

Built-up Ash Around the Wick

When the wick is covered with ash, it prevents the wick from lighting. You will either need to burn the wick dry or replace it to fix the issue.


Apart from the ones discussed above, your kerosene heater can be subjected to many other forms of damage. No matter whatever type of issue it is, it can be avoided with proper maintenance and care beforehand. If you do end up witnessing any sort of problems with your kerosene heater, just check for the solution online before going for a professional to save both money and time.

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