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Kerosene heater problem

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have used a kero - torpedo heater as a backup heat source in my shop for the past three years. Suddenly I am having a nasty reaction to the fumes. My eyes start to burn instantly - almost like when peeling an onion. It is bad enough that I can't stay in the room for more than a few seconds. Is there something wrong with that tank of kerosene? Is there something wrong with the heater (improper combustion)? Or have I developed some kind of allergic reaction? Very strange and I'm finding it tough to operate a band saw with my eyes closed .
post #2 of 22
well it could be a bad batch of kero ...

or you could have developed a 'sensitivity' to kero ...

i can't walk into a room with one one ... eyes water , itch, burn then my asthma kicks in ...

be careful , please !
post #3 of 22
I'd dump out the fuel you have in there now and try a new batch and see what happens.
post #4 of 22
Did you buy 2-K instead of 1-K? 2-K is foul burning stuff--very nasty. Not supposed to use it in indoor kerosene heaters.

Is the fuel old?

Is your wick old, dirty, covered in soot?
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
I bought it at the same place that I always buy kerosene and there is only one option whick is K1 - but I suppose their shipment could have been the wrong stuff. Wick and all parts were just serviced about a month ago so it shouldn't be that. I will definately dump out what I've got and try another batch of kero. Very weird - the reaction to it today was so bad I went home and took a shower. My throat got sore - eyes burning like crazy. I have used kerosene heat for quite a few years and never had any kind of reaction at all until now.
post #6 of 22
if the problem and the recent service happened about the same time, that might be the problem

with oil burners anyway, adjustment is a subjective adjustment made by the technician
post #7 of 22
There is no wick in a bullet heater. There is a spark plug though and it arcs the whole time the heater runs. I'd pull it and make sure it's clean and gapped properly. You might just replace it since it's a cheap part and is a wear item anyhow.
post #8 of 22
CLEAN THE DAM AIR FILTER. MOST LIKLY THE PROBLEM. keep your fuel out side in cold weather and any water in the fuel will turn to ice.then you can bring it in and strain it through a filter
post #9 of 22
sounds like a wick problem....
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockhoppingmike View Post
sounds like a wick problem....

No wick Mike.
Air filter should be clean too... Didn't even think about that one
Not enough O2 and you get an incomplete burn. *cough*
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by canyondiver View Post
No wick Mike.
Air filter should be clean too... Didn't even think about that one
Not enough O2 and you get an incomplete burn. *cough*


Actually, they will generate carbon monoxide and kill you even when you can't smell the fumes from an incomplete burn. I'd check with the manufacturer to determine if the unit is safe for indoor use - most are not - and were designed for open construction sites and "ventilated" garages. A vented heater designed for indoor use is a better choice.
post #12 of 22
Just what Maine CoonCat said have you made any changes to you shop making it more airtight. If so you are getting CO2 in the building try cracking a window or door like he said. THomT
post #13 of 22
Good point Maine and Thom,
My place is so leaky, I have no problems with this stuff!
You definitely don't want to burn up your O2 in a space. This is the way to wake up dead.
I read an article about this stuff and one example was a couple on a sailboat.
It was cold and they closed the boat up very well and only had lamps burning. They were found at anchor, passed away on their vessel.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by canyondiver View Post
Good point Maine and Thom,
My place is so leaky, I have no problems with this stuff!
You definitely don't want to burn up your O2 in a space. This is the way to wake up dead.
I read an article about this stuff and one example was a couple on a sailboat.
It was cold and they closed the boat up very well and only had lamps burning. They were found at anchor, passed away on their vessel.


A Coleman lantern "cleanly" burning Coleman fuel (white gas) can generate enough carbon monoxide to kill anyone in an enclosed tent or room. Coleman will tell you that, but few people read the manuals. Likewise burning charcoal indoors or using an outdoor propane gas grill will lead to "problems" (death). Most torpedo heaters are designed for "outdoor" or open space use where the air is not recirculated back to the heater. If it is recirculated, carbon monoxide levels will rise. If you were using one that the manufacturer explicitly states is safe for use in a confined area (none are) , at the very least I'd keep it at an open door so it pulls outside air in, and forces the warm "burned" air out.

A week ago here in RI, they arrested a man for improperly installing a natural gas furnace (poor venting) which allowed carbon monoxide levels to rise in a home killing three people the night of the installation.

Hundreds of people die every year from exposure; tens of thousands suffer chronic effects. Some effects of chronic exposure: http://www.coheadquarters.com/ChronicCO/coSyndrome1.htm

The home carbon monoxide monitors are cheap and you definitely should have one in any heated space.
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post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just a litle update and background. As far as the space I'm in and the use of the heater - it is secondary heat source. I use it in a large somewhat drafty space to get the temp up first thing in the morning. In the room in question I burn wood as a primary heat source. The torpedo runs for about 10 minutes first thing in the morning and then the thermostat shuts it off. It will usually kick on one more time before the wood stove is hot enough to keep the room comfortable. During the average day it probably runs less than 20 minutes in an 8 hour period. I'll grab my detector though - just for kicks.

I took the heater back to the shop and explained the problem. I asked about a combustion issue after I explained the watery eyes etc and he said there was an air pressure adjustment that might have been the culprit (aparently that controls combustion in some way). They adjusted it and everything runs fine now - no watery eyes - no death - all good things.

Thanks to all for the help.

Ryan
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