Maintenance Of Kerosene Heater Wicks

The wick of a kerosene heater are made from glass fiber or cotton or combination of both and is the most important part of the appliance. Too often, owners of heaters tend to neglect wicks simply because they are either hidden inside of the appliance and therefore forgot about or the heater has been stored for several years since it was last called into use.

An old but well maintained heater will provide heat for many years. A common problem faced with wicks is fuel contamination. Poor fuel quality including the presence of water will detrimentally affect the performance of a wick and consequently the operation and efficiency of a kerosene heater, which may include bad odors, poor flame shape, soot deposits and dangerous carbon monoxide. Below, are a few tips in the maintenance of kerosene heater wicks.

Replace Wicks With Genuine Or CUI Branded Wicks

We strongly recommend that any defective wick is replaced using a genuine or CUI branded quality wick of the correct type and size recommended by the maker of the indoor kerosene heater. Wick replacement part numbers can be usually found in the users instructions or manual. Using a non-specific replacement wick may cause problems, for example, poor ignition and ineffective operation.

Poor Quality Wicks Will Often Lead To Problems

Cheap wicks are often constructed of poor and thin materials that permit vaporized fuel to pass through without burning, which will eventually start to overwork the heater’s catalytic converter and begin to emit very strong odors into the area been heated. Unfortunately, many people often mistake the performance of a cheap kerosene heater wick and the consequential odors with that of contaminated fuel.

Burning Dry A Glass Fiber Wick

We suggest that after each use of the kerosene heater, glass fiber wicks are visually inspected to discover whether or not ‘tar balls’ are present. If they are then the wick can be ‘burned dry’ to remove the deposits and improve efficiency. A further indication requiring the wick to be burned dry is when it becomes difficult to raise and lower. Please note, burning dry of cotton wicks must not be carried out as they will simply be destroyed.

To burn dry a glass fiber wick, first move the appliance outdoors and empty any kerosene from the heater’s fuel tank into an approved storage container. Then light the heater normally and allow it to burn all of the fuel held within the wick until the flame extinguishes. Once completed, the wick will be ready for further action. Unfortunately, there maybe occasions when deposits on the wick are too large for removal by burning dry the wick and will require a new kerosene heater wick replacement.

How Long Will It Take To Burning Dry A Wick?

Depending on the size of a convection kerosene heaters, it may take up to one hour to burn dry the wick. However, after removing a fuel tank from a radiant heater there will be fuel left in the sump and depending upon the size of the appliance, it could take up to three hours to burn dry the wick.

How Frequently Should A Wick Be Burn Dry?

There are numerous issues that determine when a heater wick should be burn dry. A heater using K-1 clear kerosene with a new or almost new wick should be allowed to consume a minimum of 30 gallons of fuel before requiring to be burn dry. Unfortunately, fuel containing a red dye can hide a lot of problems. Therefore, it would be wise to use 15 gallons of fuel before burning dry the wick. Wicks used with inferior quality dyed fuel may require burning dry after every 5 to 10 gallons of fuel consumed.

Always consult your user instructions or manual before dry burning any heater wick.

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