How to Stop Kerosene Heater from Smelling

How To Stop Kerosene Heater from Smelling?

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Enjoy an odorless kerosene heater by following two simple steps. However, it’s applicable for all models, including Convection, Radiant, and Forced Air items. 

  1. Ensure the cleanest burn. (I’ll define how to do it on specific models)
  2. Also, using higher grade kerosene is essential here.

Here’s the guideline to make your SPECIFIC kerosene heaters odor-free. Additionally, read my scientific analysis on “Why odor spreads during kerosene heater operation” below this paragraph to enrich your knowledge and get the NINJA Hack!.

Note: Must ensure that you’re using the best quality kerosene; otherways nothing will work properly. It’s the first condition for all these procedures.

Way to Stop Forced Air Kerosene Heater From Smelling  

Air Pump’s Malfunctioning is the main reason for spreading pungent kerosene odors and fumes while operating torpedo heaters. (If not, there must be a leakage in the fuel tank.)


If a particular amount of the air doesn’t get mixed with the fuel, the sprayer nozzle can’t be able to sprinkle the kerosene properly. As a result, a few drops of kerosene stay unburnt, and odor spreads along with the forced air.

Here’re the steps of maintenance to solve this issue.

Note: Must ensure the unit is unplugged and the fuel tank is empty.

Step 1: Cleaning Air Inlet Filter 

Detach the LID of your torpedo heater by unscrewing all the nuts. Slightly slide it forward if there’re attachment clips inside.

You’ll find these 3-main parts similar to the following picture.

torpedo heater inner side

A. Air Inlet Filter

B. Air Outlet Filter (You need to open the chamber to get it.)

C. Air Pressure Pump.

Firstly, clean the Air Inlet Filter with mild detergent, and replace it after drying.

Step 2: Checking Air Pump Pressure 

Before doing this, attach an air pressure gauge with the air pump following the picture.

Checking Air Pump Pressure

Now turn ON the heater and check the pressure gauge. Generally, it remains around 3 PSI but varies on the heater’s model. So check the body sticker to find your ones.

If there’s any abnormality, then move on to next.

Step 3: Cleaning Air Outlet Filter

Open the Air Pump’s cap, and you’ll find the air outlet filter. Clean it using compressed air, don’t make it wet. Here’s the demo picture.

Cleaning Air Outlet Filter

Step 4: Cleaning Air Pump Rotor

Now unscrew the air pump gently; you’ll find

F. Sealer Lid

G. Rotor

Cleaning Air Pump Rotor

Clean all the sticky dust from the sealer lid first. Then keep the rotor outside.

You’ll find sticky dust inside the rotor chamber. (Pointed as H in the picture) Clean it using dry cloths. Or you may use some Spirit for gentle cleaning.

Once you clean these things, reassemble the rotor and the air pump gently.

Step 5: Cleaning the Fuel Nozzle

In front of the fan, you’ll find 4-main parts.

I. Fuel line

J. Pressure Air Line

K. Nozzle Bolt

L. Sparker. (You need not touch it.)

Now detach the fuel line, pressure line, and nozzle bolt. Pass compressed air inside the fuel & pressure line to clean it. 

Then disassemble the nozzle as I’ve done in the picture below.

Cleaning the Fuel Nozzle-2

Pass compressed air through all the nozzle parts, and if it’s been rusty, change it wholly.

Now reassemble the nozzle and all the pipelines gently.

Step 6: Cleaning the CAD cell.

Cleaning the CAD cell

Below the nozzle, you’ll find the CAD cell (pointed as M in the picture); pull it out gently.

Now you’ll find the glassy part of the cad cell similar to the following image.

Cleaning the CAD cell-2

Gently clean the glassy parts, then reassemble them nicely.

Step 7: Cleaning Oil Filter

You’ll find the fuel outlet line just below the nozzle or anywhere around it. Pull it out and unscrew the oil filter. (Pointed as “O” in the image)

Gently clean it using compressed air, or if it’s too damaged, replace it.

Step 8: Clean the Kerosene Tank

Clean the Kerosene Tank

Inside the kerosene, carbon and dirt get clogged after a long time of use.

Attach a cloth with a flexible stick, then insert inside the kerosene tank and clean it wholly as best as you can. That’s all you need to do to enjoy an odor-free kerosene heater.

An important fact is that some particularly forced air kerosene heater from famous prestigious manufacturers have implemented modern engineering in air pumps, nozzles, sparkers, and compressors. As a result, the operation remains entirely odor-free if you ensure using good quality fuel for it.

Way to Stop Radiant Kerosene Heater From Smelling

Way to Stop Radiant Kerosene Heater From Smelling

There’re two different types of radiant kerosene heaters, wickless and wicked.

Wickless one needs electricity to be operated and works totally on the same method of a forced air kerosene heater. So, by following the upper guideline, you’ll be able to perform the maintenance for making it odor-free.

Here I’ll only discuss on Wicked radiant kerosene heater so that you can make it smell-free!

Reason: For older units, carbon molecules get clogged surrounding the air inlet, on the wall of the radiator, as well as the wick. It restricts the kerosene to remain half burnt and make black fumes. So, we need to clean it entirely.

There might be a leakage in the tank that spills fuel for newer units, or the tank-stopper needs to be sealed. (If not, your kerosene is of lower grade and produce carbon molecule while burning.

Step 1: Clean the Radiator

Clean the Radiator

Make sure there’s no fuel inside. 

Open the grill and take the radiator out of the heater. Then clean the radiator wholly using compressed air and Ethanol, ensure there are no sticky carbons.

Clean the Radiator-2

You’ll find sticky dust surrounding the wall and the air inlet. Apply Ethanol to clean those.

Step 2: Open the Case.

Open the Case

Opening the two screws from both sides, you’ll find the wick bucket. Using a dry cloth, properly clean the surrounding gears, springs, and chassis. 

Step 3: Replace the Wick

Replace the Wick

You’ll find 4 screws surrounding the wick bucket. Unscrew them and pull the bucket out.

Now place the wick maintaining the exact height similar to the following picture. It’s essential. If you install it over lengthly, the kerosene will make fumes and smells. Or if you install it shortly, you won’t get sufficient heat.

Replace the Wick-2

Now clean the fuel tank the same way I’ve shown for the forced air kerosene heater. Then reassemble the unit, refill the tank with higher grade kerosene, and it should be smell-free.

Way to Stop Convection Kerosene Heater From Smelling

Way to Stop Convection Kerosene Heater From Smelling

Cleaning all the internal components and replacing the wick will minimize the smell of a convection kerosene heater. If not, then here’s a NINJA TECHNIC which is also applicable for radiator heaters.

Mix Ethanol and Kerosene by 3:1 ratio. [Ethanol is cheaper than kerosene]

The more the EthanolEthanol you mix with kerosene, the more it will be smell free. But, I won’t recommend you cross the limit of 85% ethanol and 15% kerosene. It will provide you the best optimistic performance and be entirely odor-free.

Why do odors spread when you operate a kerosene heater?

We need a little bit of chemistry here. Kerosene is higher carbon petroleum which is mainly C12H26. Like all others else, it requires oxygen to be burnt.

But, 12 molecules of carbon require 18.5 molecules of oxygen to get broken properly and produce energy while burning. Here’s the balanced equation

C12H26 + 18.5-O2 → 12-CO2 + 13-H2O

Now the problem is, oxygen lack appears surrounding the heating burner during continuous operation, and the amount of CO2 starts increasing. So the equation be like

C12H26 + O2 → CO2 + C +H2O + [Vapourized Petroliums]

As a result, a fume appears, and black carbon layer spreads surround the glass/heater’s wall/roof, and the Petroleum Vapour causes odors. 

So, in airy places, kerosene heaters remain almost odorless, but it starts spreading pungent smells in compact space.

Now, What if we mix Ethanol? How it reduces the odors?

Ethanol is C2H6O, and as it contains six times less Carbon than Kerosene, it requires six times less oxygen to be properly burnt. 

Here’s the equation.

C2H6O + 3O2 = 2CO2 + 3H2O

So, when you mix kerosene with Ethanol, it requires a significantly lower amount of oxygen to get burnt, and fewer amounts of fumes and vapors appear. As a result, you get a smell-free kerosene heater.