Dura Heat Kerosene Heater – Item of the Day — 30 Comments

  1. I have been using this one model for about 7 years now. IT IS FANTASTIC as a backup and has been required several times during power outages. When your primary heat source goes out in the middle of the winter, you weigh your risks, CO2, (which I think should be just CO) or let your family freeze to death or allow pipes to freeze. Since we have never died, you know where I stand. We exercise precautions and I have even trained my young daughter on the matter and she is more educated than her older cousins who do not have such backups because of it. So many benefits.

    I got them at such a value, I bought 3 since I thought it would take 2 for our home. I was wrong in that regard, 1 unit keeps us warm enough. I had another to use in our barn if needed for the livestock, but I have never made use of that either. Finally, I wanted a spare in case 1 went out, 2 is 1, 1 is none. And also to loan out to a neighbor if they should need one. Much social capital there.

    Don’t forget to get a can or 2 for fuel and a siphon makes the job cleaner and safer than trying to pour a 5 gallon jug. Good luck.

    • CO and CO2 are both concerns with regard to burning fuel indoors. But.

      CO is Carbon Monoxide. It is far far more dangerous than CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), because hemoglobin ‘likes’ CO more than it does oxygen. CO exposure takes longer to remove from the body, which is why anyone surviving it will be given oxygen by the paramedics. CO symptoms include (google it) headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, confusion, blurred vision, ‘shortness of breath,’ loss of consciousness…

      Hemoglobin does not (chemically) ‘like’ CO2 as much, which is why we’re able to exhale it.

      An improper burn will produce CO… so, it’s best to have CO detectors in the house when burning fuel indoors – even for those folks with central gas heat – you never know when the heat exchanger may fail and burn through. Amazon searches for CO2 detector mostly find CO detectors…(make of that what you will)

      A properly operating kerosene heater should produce little to no CO. As Jack recommends, allow a little air in the room/cracked window, when in use.

  2. I have one of these units and absolutely love it. I used it as a primary heater when my cast iron boiler cracked a few winters back. It worked well, was easy to use, didn’t smell (except when filling it), and was safe. Highly recommend these for anyone that can store Kerosene.

  3. I live in the Chicago area, where kerosene is fairly hard to find, although I just discovered that many Thornton’s gas stations have kerosene, including one about 15-20 minutes from my home.

    I’m really on the fence between kerosene and propane – how much more efficient is a kerosene heater? How well does kerosene store – a 20 lb propane tank has a near indefinite shelf life…. Also, a part of me is worried if I only have one or two gas stations in a reasonable radius to get kerosene, that over the next few years they may stop selling it…

    • Stabalized Kero will store at least 5 years.

      By efficient I am more about the heater than the fuel. If you have propane space heaters through out a house it is very efficient but a small portable is not. One heater like this will easily keep 1000 sf warm if centrally located, a Big Buddy is great but it won’t do that.

    • Since my house has a pretty open floor plan (on the first floor), sounds like kerosene would be the way to go to heat that open space most efficiently…

    • Jack… I’m featuring this in a up coming video. I’ve been spending time in Michigan. I have kerosene stored from 1996 in both metal 5 gallon cans and in blue poly cans. Both have been sealed for 20 years…both are FINE… CLEAR, NON-YELLOW Kerosene and PERFECT for us in a kerosene heater. Kerosene does OXIDIZE when exposed to the air and it turns first straw yellow (ok) and then a deep PISS YELLOW (really contaminated). In the video I show kerosene lanterns running on clear kero, slighly yellow kero, and piss yellow kero. Kerosene CAN BE a multi decade fuel when stored properly. I highly endorse it as a back up heating and cooking method. Kerosene is a great fuel and in the 1990’s I decided that it was going to be the fuel that I kept, used and stored for having a ‘years’ worth of food and needing to cook bread everyday, heat a room and do other cooking. I settled on an Alpaca ‘cooker’ which can also be a heater and kerosene fuel. Like I said, I did this OVER 20 years ago and stored well over 100 gallons of kerosene and have now checked on it some 20 years later. STILL GOOD !! Right now K1 Kerosene at the gas station pump in Michigan is $4.99 / gallon. I bought mine for $1.35 in 1996. Great Thread…. LOVE the heater on Amazon. I WOULD trust it and I WOULD USED IT. Steve

  4. I don’t care what you say Jack these things are far from safe. Yes I have heard of people dying from them and yes they can start fires, burn people or kill you with CO2. I will never use one, ever.

  5. I have this heater. I use it mainly to heat my 2 1/2 car garage if I have work on my vehicles in the winter. It raises the temperature from 20 degress to 40 in about an hour and a half. 50 degrees in another hour. Gets as high as 65 degrees if I’m out there long enough. I put a battery operated CO monitor in the garage when the heater is on. It never reads higher than 12 on the meter. I shut the heater off, open the overhead door and move the car over and bring the other car in. The CO alarm goes off about 30 seconds after starting the engine – even with the overhead door open. I have casement windows throughout the house. If you barely crack a window, it lets too much cold air in. I use a section of pipe insulation over the edge of the sash – leaving a 4″ section of the insulation removed at the bottom. It lets just enough air in. I’ve never had to use it in the house, but have tried it just to be ready…. Same reading on the monitor as in the garage -12-. In the suburbs near Chicago. Kerosene at the pump available at 2 nearby gas stations . $4.47/gal.

    • Bob, I’m in the northern burbs of Chicago, and am curious where you’ve found kerosene in the burbs. Looking at Thornton’s website I see a few stations near me (Park Ridge, Waukegan, and Franklin Park), which aren’t too far away, but I’m curious where you’ve found kerosene too. Thanks!

      • I’m in elmhurst….

        Speedway gas station
        1150 S. main street
        Lombard, Illinois 630-932-7061
        (1 Block south of Roosevelt Road on Main street)
        Today 12/23/16 $3.39 gallon

        Phillips 66 gas station
        409 N. Lake street
        Maywood, Illinois
        (lake Street + 9th Avenue)
        Haven’t been there this year- they had it last year)

        • Thanks. I’ll add those to my list of kerosene sources. Seems there are enough around to support going with a kerosene heater.

  6. Jack, I was doing research on kerosene heaters and stumbled across several different people claiming to use Diesel in kerosene heaters. They did say to add either 90% rubbing alcohol add a quart to 5 gallons of kerosene to help the ignition and some say add diesel supplements that help condition the diesel.
    What prompted me to research was based on a mistake I made. I had to drain diesel out of a car and I had run out of yellow diesel cans so I porued the remaining diesel into a blue container I had not marked the container so when my kerosene heater was about halfway empty I decided to top it up and thought I had a full container of kerosene. when I started putting it in I became suspicious at that point and remembered “hey this could be diesel.” I had already put a substantial amount in before I decided to stop – I went to the internet started researching and found many “peo-diesel” advocates however I was still cautious and put the stove outside let it burn for several minutes. It didn’t catch on fire or blow up so I movde the unit into my shed and watched it for quite a while it seemed to actually burn hotter and did not have to turn the control as high to get the same heat coming up.

    So, can you or others weigh in, have you heard of this, does it make sense? Is there any major drawback using diesel assuming it is treated or conditioned? It would sure save some money and much more readily available than kerosene.

    • LORD NO DO NOT USE DIESEL AND ALCOHOL IN A KEROSENE HEATER !!!!! You have to be crazy. Its a completely different animal. There are OUT DOOR HEATERS like torpedo heaters that run on either diesel #2 or Kerosene but that IS NOT using a wick based flame. its using a fuel pump, a sprayer and a flame combustion zone with a ‘flame keeper’. I have one and have used it on both kerosene and diesel #2. Its MUCH BETTER on kerosene and its designed for an out building, construction zone or a garage and is NOT designed for inside a house…. let alone the crazy idea of putting in alcohol into the diesel, let alone knowing that must ‘rubbing alcohol’ is only 70% alcohol and 30% FUEL. I HAVE wick based kerosene heaters AND wick based kerosene cookers…. they run on pure #1 kerosene only. Either clear or dyed red kerosene ONLY. Messing around with them in any way radically disrupts the flame and will turn it into a stinky smoking machine that stinks and smokes up the house or turn it into something producing a LOT of CO (as in carbon monoxide, the poisonous stuff) DO NOT ADD ALCOHOL TO DIESEL FUEL and put it in a wick based kerosene inside heater !!!! Steven Harris Note: see my comment above on the shelf life of kerosene….

  7. OMG… I watched the video that Jack has posted from the guy on youtube about mixing in diesel fuel treatment and also mixing in alcohol (91% rubbing alcohol) with your diesel fuel and the kero heater. I would NOT do it under any circumstances. Then I went to find out a video about the type of ‘torepedo’ heater that I mention that DOES run diesel fuel or kerosene fuel and the guy is saying that he puts in 1 gallon of gasoline with 5 gallons of diesel to run in his heater…. CRAZY !! I would not do it, I would not suggest it. I know these hydrocarbons well and the science of combustion behind a wick based heater and one with a spray pump and a nozzle and I’d not do it. That’s about all I’m going to say here. Steve

    • I tend to agree with you on the first part but that red neck and a shit load more are doing it. It seems to work, and it does seem to only work with cotton wicks.

      I don’t know what to think really. When many people are doing something and it works no matter what I personally believe I have to be open to being wrong.

  8. I used one for my sole heat source for many years and never had an issue. I am going to get another one now.
    And yes, they do trip off of tipped.
    Thanks for the reminder Jack!

  9. I’ve had a Kero-Sun for 13+ years. It looks nearly identical to that one (probably is). It has always worked well. One was sufficient for emergency heat in a typical suburbian house in New Hampshire. For a big 1-week outage from an ice storm, it worked great for that. I also used them in a drafty cabin in Maine that I used to have… it was so drafty that it required two. But, it did the job.

    I would never put anything other than actual K1 (1K? I get that mixed up) kero in it. I messed up one of them with tainted kero. I think it had heating oil mixed in it. The cabin came with a 275 gallon kero tank and a kero furnace which I had removed since it was junk, so I was like “well what do I do with the remaining contents of this tank?” I thought I’d burn it, since it had worked to power the furnace before. It seemed to burn fine for 6 hours or so, then suddenly black smoke started pouring out and the smoke detectors started beeping. The entire inside was heavily coated with black soot, everywhere, and all moving parts frozen up and wick destroyed… unusable. A weekend’s worth of heavy cleaning managed to get the thing working again. But… don’t do what I did!

  10. I have used one of these for many years and it is very safe. Almost everybody who is scared of them, have never actually used one. I live in a 2-story house about 2750 sq/ft.; on low this thing will hold the downstairs (where the heater is) at 74 deg and the upstairs 70. To me the only downsides are finding kerosene, and the smell when you cut it off. I highly recommend this unit.

  11. I own two convection style heaters, (like the one shown above), and plan on buying a used radiant-style, (glass chimney and can be set against walls as they project heat out rather than 360 degrees), and yes, with proper fuel and maintenance, these run well with no smell and no CO2 levels into the danger zone. Always crack a window for fresh oxygen and for temp regulation as these can make it rather toasty in short order. I also filter the fuel prior to use in the units as water or debris in the fuel absolutely KILLS fiberglass wick efficiency and is typically found at gas station K1 pumps due to underground metal tanks’ condensation in cold weather climes. My favorite is the Mr. Filter and it’s about 14 bucks on Amazon.

    I grew up around them, use them, and yes, these are more than ideal as back-up, primary, or supplemental heat sources. Wick maintenance, clean fuel, and simple common sense can go a long way with these.

    I would strongly suggest that you check out for downloadable manuals, tips, maintenance regimens and wicks for your heaters. Misconceptions abound with these heaters, (same with kerosene or propane-fired salamander heaters), so educate yourselves prior to use to ensure proper application.

    Take care and stay warm!

  12. Finally had to look into a heater after moving up here. I went with HMN-110.

    It’s a small reflective kerosene heater. I can move it closer to the wall than the one you show. It’s also 10k btu’s instead of the 23k this one is, which is perfect for my apartment. Keep 10 gallons of fuel inside also. I ditched the gas caps that came with them and put a solid one on there to store.


    Soon as my lease is up I can move out of this small apartment and heat with wood.

  13. We have been using a kerosene heater (same one!) for more than 20 years, and in the wintertime, run it daily as the daytime heat source.  We have it on the fireplace hearth in a great-room, so there’s plenty of space without needing to crack a window open.  (It is 15 degrees outside here in PA so today we have 2 running, one on the main level, one in the basement/garage area.)  We do use box fans to circulate air to get the warmth to the rest of the house.  We also keep CO detector/monitors, which have never gone off.  We start the heater outdoors, and let it burn 5 minutes to get any residue off the wick before bringing it inside.  We always take it outside to shut it off, or hopefully we have only put in the necessary amount of kerosene needed for the day and we let it burn out, outside.  This virtually eliminates the “smell” inside the house, and the only smell is minor when first lighting it outside, and when allowing it to burn out, outside.

    We prefer to use clear kerosene, but have used dyed kerosene in storage.

    Three times, we have stored kerosene for 4 years in a (new) fuel oil tank with no problems, and no stabilizer.

    When using dyed kerosene, we found it necessary to add 1-2 teaspoons of 91% alcohol to the fuel we put in the heater for the day’s burning.  The alcohol extends the life of the wick, as the dye will “gum” up the wick.  The wick used with dyed kerosene will likely only last a year.  (We only used dyed because we could get a bulk delivery (200 gallons) for storage purposes; we are no longer able to get bulk delivery of clear kerosene here.)  Also, as my husband reminded me, we discovered the active ingredient in kerosene fuel treatment was – alcohol! 91% alcohol is cheap; a bottle of treatment costs $1 per ounce!

    If the heater stinks, ask yourself:

    1.  Has the heater been used more than 2 times without “burning out”?
    2.  Are you using dyed kerosene, which may not burn as “cleanly”?
    3.  If using dyed kerosene, did you add the 91% alcohol to the heater after filling it?
    4.  Did you let the wick soak up the kerosene for at least 5 minutes between filling the tank and lighting it?
    5.  Did you light the wick outside?
    6.  Did you “settle” the wick/flame after lighting it?
    7.  Did you let it burn 5 minutes or so before bringing it inside?
    8.  Does the wick need cleaned or replaced?

    I enjoy the wonderful, warm, clean heat of a good kerosene heater.  It is a great investment; treat your heater with care, and it will help take care of you for many, many years.

  14. I just picked up one of these from Lowe’s for $99.00 (28% off).  Don’t know how long the sale will run.

  15. Been using  these heaters since the 1st one showed on the market middle 70’s  I guess. Only takes common sense, if you don’t have it  don’t buy one. Cheap to run and perfect with K1 kero. Keep it clean and it runs clean simple as that.

  16. Just thought I’d throw this out there, but if you’ve got a local farmers co-OP, I’ve usually found the best price per gallon when you buy a 55 gallon drum, then just buy a cheap hand pump that screws directly to the drum. It’s a chunk of change, obviously, but it’s also good storage.

    And I’ve had this exact heater for over 15 years. They’re awesome.

  17. Does anyone use the red K-1 fuel in their heater? The instructions warn me saying:


    One thing I am trying to understand is why I can’t use red K-1, only clear K-1 fuel in the heater? I called an oil fuel provider (the ones that sell the stuff).

    The sales person said “the red dye is cancer causing”. Seriously? Is that the reason?

    Does this make sense to anyone? Is it true that RED K-1 FUEL can cause cancer because of the red dye in the fuel oil??

    I get that I can only use K-1, but do I need to be concerned about red vs clear?

    We are heating a yurt (450sf) so we have plenty of ventilation.