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Old 11-27-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
KMinAF
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Default Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

What if any are the advantages or disadvantages to the two types of fuel? I currently have been using kerosene in my torpedo style heater but diesel is cheaper. I have a 150000 BTU heater that I use in my garage (with adequate ventilation) but I was concerned that diesel might soot up the heater or have a strong smell where as if I understand correctly, kerosene burns cleaner and doesn't smell as bad.
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

I mix used engine oil with diesel and burn it in a Salamander heater. If you adjust the fuel pressure just right, it won't smoke, won't stink and will be pretty darned efficient.
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

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Originally Posted by KMinAF View Post
What if any are the advantages or disadvantages to the two types of fuel? I currently have been using kerosene in my torpedo style heater but diesel is cheaper. I have a 150000 BTU heater that I use in my garage (with adequate ventilation) but I was concerned that diesel might soot up the heater or have a strong smell where as if I understand correctly, kerosene burns cleaner and doesn't smell as bad.
You're correct. Kero is a lot nicer to be around, I agree it burns cleaner, less soot and doesn't smell as bad. I have a 215k BTU forced air heater and I run both in them depending on what I'm doing. I don't hang around too much with the diesel fumes though.

You may want to price going with a ventless heater or an actual vented forced air heater... the advantage of the ventless is they're still 100% efficient like the heater you have now.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

Find a place that sells kero bulk and it should be about the same $$ as diesel.

Unless your heater is designed or can be re-jetted for diesel, using the wrong fuel is a bad idea.

If this is any type of wick heater, don't do it...
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

I burn diesel in mine, It doesn't smell amy worse than kerosene, but they both smell bad to me.
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

Diesel has more BTU's per gallon then Kerosene and will burn hotter and also give better lubrication to the fuel pump. Kerosene will burn cleaner and therefore smell less. Big thing is both put off CO so ventilation is critical. If you start getting headaches after working in the shop for a while, you don't have enough ventilation.

If this is your home shop and is used part time, crack a door open for fresh air and you should be fine. If this is a full time shop, get heaters that vent the exhaust outside. Don't kill yourself to save a few dollars.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

I have a 150K BTU torpedo heater and found diesel to work VERY poorly in it. The smell was intolerable. Around here, kero from the gas station is about the same price as diesel.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

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I burn diesel in mine, It doesn't smell amy worse than kerosene, but they both smell bad to me.
Same here with the exception of old diesel. First got my heater it had some in it and I burnt that for awhile and couldn't stand it. Switched to Kero and it smelled better. Got sick of paying for it ($15 for 2.5 Gal at menards) so I switched back to diesel and the fresh stuff had the same smell as the kero.

I can run mine for hours without getting a headache but my garage is also made from an old barn boards that was sided over it (prev owner) so there is lots of natural vents in there. It's also pretty good sizes as well (rougly 30x40) so both of those help.

My heater is also a multi-fuel so it is designed for either fuel as well as a few others.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

I've got two torpedo heaters (60kBTU) that I run with diesel. They foul the spark plug a lot (hot surface ignitors don't have as many issues with diesel), but I made my own ignition system with a Beckett solid state transformer that doesn't foul (and has the extra spark needed to get diesel started reliably).

My biggest problem with diesel is the smell. It's awful.
If I adjust it rich, it smokes, and makes CO. If I adjust it lean, it doesn't make CO, but makes so much NOx that it burns my eyes. I haven't been able to find that happy medium yet, but kerosene is SO darned expensive around here.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

They don't sell kerosene at the pump anymore???
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

i use kerosene in mine. I get it from the pump at the local fleet farm and its still $4.49 a gallon right now.
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:40 PM   #12
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

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They don't sell kerosene at the pump anymore???
Depends on where you live, and how hard your willing to look. In big metropolitan areas it is harder, but not impossible.

The biggest cost is packaging. they charge a lot for those little one gallon cans, or even a 5 gallon can. I used to get it pumped bulk from a drum at a local hardware store, but they are gone.

Actually, its been years since I had to buy any; I can usually get it for free or close to it for the quantity I use, I still have at least 5 gallons around.
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

Anyone know in the SF Bay Area where to get kerosene in bulk besides Rotten Robbie gas stations? I can get it in 1 and 5 gallon cans at Home Depot but it's horribly expensive. Rotten Robbie charges $5.79/gal now, up $1.00 from last year even though crude is cheaper now. I'm not sure if $5.79/gal bulk is a good price or not but it sure heats nice and clean. What is everyone paying around the country this year?
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

The lukoil I go to sells kerosene.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:09 PM   #15
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

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Anyone know in the SF Bay Area where to get kerosene in bulk besides Rotten Robbie gas stations? I can get it in 1 and 5 gallon cans at Home Depot but it's horribly expensive. Rotten Robbie charges $5.79/gal now, up $1.00 from last year even though crude is cheaper now. I'm not sure if $5.79/gal bulk is a good price or not but it sure heats nice and clean. What is everyone paying around the country this year?
All fuels are more $$ in Kalifonia... Take a look at the gas pump prices we pay compared to ANYWHERE else. If you can, get it when you are out of the immediate bay area... (Just like gas)
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

So we're driving down from NorCal to SouCal next month down I-99 through farm country. Can I get it cheaper somewhere along the way, either on I-5 or I-99 in the central valley? It's relatively inert and safe to transport and I'm willing to pickup 20 gallons if there is somewhere that's much cheaper than $5.79/gallon. We'll be in the SUV so we have space to stow the blue 5-gal cans.

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All fuels are more $$ in Kalifonia... Take a look at the gas pump prices we pay compared to ANYWHERE else. If you can, get it when you are out of the immediate bay area... (Just like gas)
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:32 PM   #17
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

Maybe in Modesto or if you go that far, Fresno?? I have no specifics, but if gas/diesel is cheaper out there it follows kero should be also... maybe someone out in the Valley will Chime in. As I mentioned I haven't had to buy it retail in a long time. It might be worth hitting a truck stop and seeing what they have.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:21 PM   #18
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

Yeah, if someone can give me specific leads, I don't mind calling ahead of time. I just don't know where to start.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:38 PM   #19
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

I've run diesel in mine for years since all the places selling kero stopped selling it or closed up all togeather. Never had a issue running the diesel.
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:20 AM   #20
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Default Re: Kerosene or diesel in my heater?

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Yeah, if someone can give me specific leads, I don't mind calling ahead of time. I just don't know where to start.
Try "modesto bulk kerosene" in Google...
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