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Kerosese Heater Near Oil Burner

ed wallace
ed wallace Member Posts: 1,613
guess hes looking to kill himself you cant outlaw stupidity just ask the goverment

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  • Ernst
    Ernst Member Posts: 1
    Kerosene Heater Near Oil Burner

    I have an oil fired steam system. The pipes are well insulated so the boiler does not give off much heat to my cellar. I was thinking of getting a kerosene heater to use in the cellar if I am down there working. Will its placement in the same space near my oil burner cause any issues as far as the two appliances competing for fresh air? Or any problems with the fumes from the Kerosene heater getting sucked into the oil burner intake, etc.? Would my oil burner need to be re-tuned?

    Just want to be sure it won't be a problem.
  • Leo
    Leo Member Posts: 770

    "Or any problems with the fumes from the Kerosene heater getting sucked into the oil burner intake, etc.?"

    If this is vented into the room YOU WILL BREATHING THE FUMES whch include CO.
  • Ernst_2
    Ernst_2 Member Posts: 1

    The unit is a small free-standing one, meant to be used indoors without a vent. Maybe I just answered my own question - that it shouldn't be a problem...But I am just wondering about its proximity to the oil burner that is all. Any comments specifically about that?
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Don't do it...

    ... running a combustion appliance inside an enclosed space without a proper flue system is asking for trouble, IMO. It would be a lot safer to rig up some baseboard, a circulator, and a thermostat.
  • Leo
    Leo Member Posts: 770

    "The unit is a small free-standing one, meant to be used indoors without a vent."

    They aren't allowed to be sold in my state. Just becuase they are sold doesn't make it right. Cigarettes are sold too but how many people have quit smoking.

    At one of the Wetstocks when the food was wheeled into the room the guy at the CO table had a CO detector and it jumped because of the sterno.


  • Ernst_3
    Ernst_3 Member Posts: 1

    "But I am just wondering about its proximity to the oil burner that is all"

    That is my very specific and limited question folks.

    The units(KeroSun)are legal and are sold in my state. They are used on house boats and in trailers, etc. where there are no other heat sources. Please forget about all of that - I am not looking for a discussion on whether or not you personally would buy one or whether or not you think they are a good idea being near humans.

    My specific question is relative to their proximity to my oil burner which also needs air, etc. This is a very specific oil man question - will placing such a unit near my oil burner create the possibility that my draft, air, flame, etc will need to be readjusted? If you do not know the answer to that very specific question then you need not reply. Thanks.

    At this time I am not looking for a response relative to anything other than the possible effects, if any, on my oil burner.

    Here is the question again re-worded:

    Will placing a kerosene heater near an oil burner have any effect on the oil burner? Only experienced Oil Techs need reply. Thanks
  • Leo
    Leo Member Posts: 770

    Yes I am an experienced oil burner tech and yes the possibility exists that the situation you describe will cause a problem. Units using direct vent which means the exhaust goes through the wall and the intake comes back in often have to be rearranged because of cross contamination. As a professional it is my duty to inform one of the dangers in a given situation that is what I did in my previous posts. I WILL NOT CONDONE an unsafe situation.

  • Al Corelli
    Al Corelli Member Posts: 454

    Leave Darwin alone.
  • Ernst_4
    Ernst_4 Member Posts: 1

    I am sorry you ignorant folks have never seen a portable kerosene heater before. Your right - I was stupid to think I could get an informed answer from posting here. I've used the unit fine upstairs, just never in the cellar near the boiler before. Didn't know if that would affect the boiler, but turns out you guys have no idea what I am talking about anyway.

    See this link:


    I'll call them tomorrow since they sell the product they should know. I just figured being the weekend and them being closed that I could get an answer from the "experts" here first. Yes, that was stupid.
  • ed wallace
    ed wallace Member Posts: 1,613
    unvented heater

    OK i might be dumb about things but I seem to remember kerosene fumes are flammable and oil burners produce a spark do your family a favor and at least give them a chance at living and dont due something stupid

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  • Jeff Lawrence_24
    Jeff Lawrence_24 Member Posts: 593
    Okay, Ernst

    While it MAY be safe to use a kerosene heater near an oil burner, the people that have responded here are more concerned with your safety (and the safety of your family).

    Kerosun sells kerosene heaters and may tell you what you want to hear, and that may not be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

    Please don't call us ignorant because we don't answer your question with a 'Yes' or a 'No.' We want to alive and breathing, not poisoned by CO.

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  • Firedragon_4
    Firedragon_4 Member Posts: 1,436
    Read this:

    space heating

    I guess you proved there is no such thing as a stupid question, just...............

  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620

    Ernst, First to answer your question yes the possibility exists that if there is not enough combustion air for the heater and your oil burner in the same room you may experience adverse effects from one or both appliances.

    As for the health and safety concerns others here have mentioned please consider them. These guys are passionate and truly care. I’m familiar with a unit similar to the one you’re using and I may stand corrected but I think if you read the operating instructions they mention leaving a window or windows cracked open to replace the oxygen being depleted by the free standing unit. Hence the concerns of the folks here.

    Best of luck to you.

    Your friend in the industry,
    Alan R. Mercurio


    Your friend in the industry,

    Alan R. Mercurio

  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728

    The answer is, It depends. We need to know more info to give you an accurate solution (answer). Probably the biggest concern I would have would be if the current oil burner has MORE than enough combustion air to begin with. If you don't have enough air, you WILL have problems. I'd (before you turn it on, cause it seems as though your gonna turn it on anyway) would get myself a quaility CO detector and open some windows. The best advice I have would be to relocate your family first, then........go for it!

    Get it?

    Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • Ernst_5
    Ernst_5 Member Posts: 1
    Thank you

    Thank you Alan for the information about cracking the window, etc.

    Thank you Firedragon for the informative link concerning space heaters. I appreciated it.

    That is the kind of useful info was looking for.

  • Firedragon_4
    Firedragon_4 Member Posts: 1,436
    I KNOW that

    leaving a window open and operating a space heater in the same smoke enclosure as an oilburner is a long way from safe, FACT!
  • Guy_6
    Guy_6 Member Posts: 450

    This may have been overlooked as well, but you will essentially be storing a volume (albeit small) of highly flammable liquid, and worse, the fumes from the raw fuel, near the burner.
    A) Do what you will, but I am not a fan of combustibles near boilers/furnaces/water heaters. The chances of an incident are PROBABLY slim, but they still are chances that I wouldn't take. Your insurance Co. probably wouldn't either, regardless of whether the Kero unit is legal.

    B) The products of combustion will have an effect on the oil burner, and depending on the hours of operation of BOTH burners, may prove troublesome. Enough has already been said about air quality.

    Have you considered a small hydro coil (unit heater) off of the water in the base of the steam boiler. A simple switch to energize the circ and fan, and you are SAFELY in business.
  • Ernst_6
    Ernst_6 Member Posts: 1

    And the kerosene heater itself gives off more than a spark - it has an open flame inside. So imagine that - the unit burns kerosene but then you think these "flammable fumes" (which somehow avoid getting sucked back into the unit itself and exploding) instead are going to get ignited by an oil burner some greater distance away. How far away? Farther than the kerosene unit itself which created the fumes in the first place which has an open flame in it. Brilliant analysis. I wonder how all these years people have had lit candles and cigarettes around these units without those flammable fumes exploding. I already know your answer to that - stupid people are sometimes lucky. Yes, very brilliant and helpful indeed.
  • RoosterBoy
    RoosterBoy Member Posts: 459

    the available O in the room will be consumed .like You ,the burner requires adequate O to Breathe. The combustion process in the burner on the boiler will burn whatever it can from anywhere it can...the fire in other words will become toxic. the effectiveness of the burner will be drastically reduced,this means... it will cost more to operate. if you have air to feed the boilers burner with an opening and pipe leading from outside to the burner,then, the kero heater will only be doing the same thing to you as it would be doing to a boiler without a dedicated air supply.It will be consuming Your O to breathe.

    a solution might be to use a small panel radiator or pinner electrical radiator ...or a monitor heater .
  • Bill_24
    Bill_24 Member Posts: 26

    Also please don't forget the little cobb web like mess these things create may mess up the burner causing even bigger problem. Same soot can be created from poor quality candles.
  • JeffD
    JeffD Member Posts: 41

    Another issue to consider, burning kerosene produces about 8 pounds of water vapor per gallon burnt. Your basement will end up very humid, encouraging mold and eventual structual damage to your house. You can get vented kerosene heaters, sure they are a little more, but they are much safer all around. The vented kerosene heaters draw their combustion air from outside through a double pipe flue system. They sell under names like Monitor, Rinai etc. I'm an oil burner tech, and personally I would not burn an unvented kerosene heater in the same space as my boiler or oil storage tank. It's just not a safe practice.
  • Ernst

    Way back before I was a teen , the family was on hard times . We had no money to fix the boiler , so my dad got a few of those Kero-Sun heaters for one winter . There were no ill effects to the family , except maybe me and my demented mind . The house was not insulated and the windows leaked air good so fresh air was introduced all the time .

    We often see kero heaters in peoples basements , I guess for emergencies and they are very good for that situtation . Like anything else that burns fuel , extreme care needs to be taken .

    About running a Kero heater near an operational boiler , I don't think I'd try it in my home . If one unit steals fresh air from the other , nasty things can happen . What brand oil burner do you have ? Many brands come with an add on kit so you can run a fresh air intake from outside right to the burner . Better to be safe than real sorry .
  • Ernst_7
    Ernst_7 Member Posts: 1

    I am glad you posted that so folks can hear from another source that the units themselves are used in residential settings all of the time (ie in the living space) From some of the earlier posts it was like I had arrived on a foreign planet and no one had ever heard of these things before. I appreciate your input relative to the oil burner. That is info I was looking for but first I had to make sure the responder knew exactly what I was talking about. The fact that you are familiar with the Kerosuns (and realize they aren't going to spontaneously combust or some other foolish thing) assures me we are at least on the same page relative to the product. Thank you.
  • Ernst_8
    Ernst_8 Member Posts: 1

    That is an excellent point Jeff. I don't mind the extra humidity upstairs in the winter but my cellar beams may not like it. Good point. Thanks. That is the kind of hard data, no nonsesane, no BS facts I was looking for.
  • Leo
    Leo Member Posts: 770
    Hello Ernst

    Hello Ernst,

    Although I was critical of the unit you speak of the technology is not new. My great grandmother had one in the 50's for the chicken coop. The older version obvisouly wasn't safe the newer one being typical japanese (they added to our technology) has tip over safeties and oxygen depletion safties. My point still is is it healthy? That depleted oxygen is affecting you and yes to your original question it is affecting or can affect your burner. Although I spoke against these I didn't call you an idiot as you did me.

  • Just remember

    that the responses you get can also be read by others . The pros who post here want to be sure EVERYONE heeds the warnings associated with these types of heaters .

    That being said , there were 3 of us dumb kids and a crazy dog running all over the place with these heaters going . Sure , we'd knock into them from time to time , but we'd always get a rash of sh.. from the old man . Of course I have to say you definitely need a CO and fire alarm , as well as a few fire extinguishers very close to the heaters .
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796

    I don't think your hostile attitude is neccessary or constructive.

    You asked for opinions reagrdign the use of a unvented fuel-burning appliance and seem to be unhappy with the results from most posters here. Given that they have nothing to gain from giving you free advice, it is in your self-inerest to open your mind to the possibility that the advice they're giving you is sound.

    So, by all means, go ahead and burn that kerosene heater in the basement if you're determined to do it. But at least consider the option of keeping a good CO alarm close by to alert you to any CO danger the heater may pose. I recommend the COExperts or the National Comfort Institute models since, to the best of my knowledge, they're the only ones that will alert reliably and at low (but still dangerous) levels.
This discussion has been closed.