Have you ever had your kerosene heater fired up, things are starting to get nice and toasty and you start to notice that something isn't smelling quite right? Well, what could cause that bad odor? Is it something that you should be worried about? And how can you prevent this odor in the future?
Many times, a bad odor after your heater is burning is caused by a fuel that is low quality. High sulfur content in your fuel, or lower grade kerosene cannot be burned completely at the temperatures that are reached in a portable kerosene heater. These unburnt hydrocarbons will collect on your heater wick which causes the wick to harden and will cause low burn and odor problems.
Another cause of this odor could be fuel that was dripped on the heater. You need to be highly careful not to drip any fuel onto your heater. Fuel that is on the outside of the heater or on the drip pan can cause a very strong kerosene smell when your heater gets hot.
A low temperature setting on your kerosene heater while it is operating, or a wick that is installed too low can cause incomplete burning of the fuel, this also can cause an odor. Your heater should always be operated on high, turned down just enough to keep it from sooting. For your wick height, you need to refer to the owner's manual for the proper wick height for your model.
As for safety, fumes in general are not good to breathe in, but if you follow the advice given above and always know and read your owner's manual and follow all instructions, do not leave the heater unattended, frequently check for recalls, and complete any maintenance on your heater when it is due then your heater should stay in working condition.