noodle New Reader
Jan. 21, 2009 4:35 p.m.

I really need to get off my arse and finish my 95 Black Miata project, it's been sitting in the garage for about 2 years. A friend at work gave me his old forced air kerosene heater. My problem is that I'm too cheap to pay $50 for 5 gallons at Home Depot, especially when diesel sells for $2.50 right now.

Can I use diesel in my heater?

Woody Dork
Jan. 21, 2009 4:38 p.m.

Don't mess with alternative fuels in heaters, EVER.

And if you use any type of kerosene heater (I suggest that you don't), make sure you have a Carbon Monoxide detector right next to it.

Waking up dead really sucks.

Kramer Reader
Jan. 21, 2009 4:53 p.m.

As long as it's number 1 diesel...

What's the difference between ULSD and number 2 diesel? I always thought #1 was "clean" diesel (or kerosene), and #2 was dirty (500 ppm sulfur). Now that ULSD is 15 ppm sulfur, is it as clean as kerosene?

Kramer Reader
Jan. 21, 2009 4:55 p.m.

Oh yeah, many gas stations where I've lived (Ohio, Indiana and Michigan) have a kerosene pump. It's not as cheap as diesel, but it's not $10/gal.

Bobzilla Reader
Jan. 21, 2009 4:56 p.m.

^ Yeah, I just bought 15 gallons of K1 for 2.69/gallon

Nashco SuperDork
Jan. 21, 2009 4:59 p.m.

Most cities will have kerosene at a pump if you look hard enough. Usually places that have a variety of diesel (on road and off road diesel) are your best bet. When it's available at the pump, in my experience it's about 1.5-2 times the price of regular gasoline...but it's been a couple of years since I bought it at a pump. My dad has one that we used for his huge shop when it was really cold (working in 10 degree temps sucks!), as mentioned you want to be aware of how long you use it, but the pump stuff usually burns pretty stinky. Diesel will be really stinky.

I'm not quite like Woody, I like to fiddle with alternative fuels. Here's an interesting forum if you wanted to fiddle with different fuels, these guys might have ideas for you. The older salamander/torpedo heaters were a little more tolerant of the relatively new ones, but the newest ones are now offered with multi-fuel capability. Pretty cool stuff!

Personally, I have a hard time justifying the space/noise/fumes to make heat until it gets down into the teens or lower. If you put on a few layers, some gloves, and a beanie then get to work, you'll be sweating and pulling off a layer before you know it. Working hard is hard work!


ignorant SuperDork
Jan. 21, 2009 5:29 p.m.

be careful with woodstoves and heaters. A Guy I and 92dxman know lost most of his cars(a goodly amount of italian stuff) to a woodstove in the barn.

including a delta integrale HF

Woody Dork
Jan. 21, 2009 5:39 p.m.

I should point out that I expressed my concerns because at work, I'm the officer on the fire truck that responds when stuff goes bad with portable heaters. And stuff goes bad with them often. Houses burn down, people die of CO poisoning, etc.

Just buy the stuff that's supposed to go in them.

porschenut New Reader
Jan. 21, 2009 6:02 p.m.

I have an old torpedo heater, use diesel or kero in it. Fumes are equally bad. Invest in a propane radiant heater, they have the least offensive smell.

If you want to experiment with your ole heater, just take it outside and have a LONG extension cord. That way if it blows nothing else gate taken out.

ManofFewWords Reader
Jan. 21, 2009 6:06 p.m.

I use an old kerosene heater in my shop. There are several kerosene dealers in my area. Gas here is 1.80, kero is 2.95. It actually works well, but I'm careful to open a door every once in awhile to ventilate the area.

Nashco SuperDork
Jan. 21, 2009 6:39 p.m.
Woody wrote: I should point out that I expressed my concerns because at work, I'm the officer on the fire truck that responds when stuff goes bad with portable heaters. And stuff goes bad with them often. Houses burn down, people die of CO poisoning, etc. Just buy the stuff that's supposed to go in them.

Woody, people will tinker at their own risk...IMO, tinkering with using alternate fuels in your heater is just as safe (safer?) as doing it with your vehicles, common sense prevails. Of course, I say that because I've never burned down a car or house, nor have I ever died of CO poisoning. Alas, I can already see the retort...

I should point out that I expressed my concerns because at work, I'm the officer in the patrol car that responds when stuff goes bad with alternative fuel vehicles. And stuff goes bad with them often. Cars burn down, people die of CO poisoning, etc.

Just buy the stuff that's supposed to go in them.

iceracer Reader
Jan. 21, 2009 6:49 p.m.

My heater says I can use kerosene,#1/#2 diesel, Jet A or JP 8

Trans_Maro Reader
Jan. 21, 2009 9:15 p.m.

Ok.. My repair shop is a warranty center for Mr Heater / Heatstar and we do out-of-warranty service on all other brands as well.

It' perfectly fine to run diesel or heating oil in your kerosene forced-air heater it shouldn't cause any problems. Never ever, EVER use gasoline for obvious reasons.

Diesel may not burn as clean as kerosene so you might want to run some "Meeco Red Devil" or similar oil furnace soot remover every ten tanks of fuel or so just to clean the burner out a bit. You may need to open the heater and clean the soot from the cad cell lens every few years as well but you'd probably have to do that with kerosene too.

If stuff goes bad with the heater, it's usually lack of maintenance or a faulty operator.

Propane heaters are the suck for anything but heating an open building. I know a lot of contractors that won't use them because of the amount of condensation that they create. For some reason you get a lot of moisture in the air when you burn propane, not so much with fuel oil.

Good luck with your heater, don't run it near anything flammable or tip it over. If you do, you'll need to answer to Woody.


P.S. If there's a marina near you, you can probably get kerosene from the pump. If not, open the yellow pages and look for heating oil. It's cheaper and it works fine.

Woody Dork
Jan. 21, 2009 9:19 p.m.

You won't have to answer to me, I just have to write an extra report.

Also, propane has a high moisture content, resulting in the condensation.

Kramer Reader
Jan. 22, 2009 7:05 a.m.

Whenever I use my torpedo heater, I crack open the door about 6". I never run it in a closed garage. It will still heat my 2-car garage to 65° very quickly.

Then I shut off the heater and close the door. And the heat quickly dissipates, and I have to do it all over again.

Jensenman SuperDork
Jan. 22, 2009 7:40 a.m.

I had a REAL scary experience with one of those propane heaters in an enclosed trailer several years ago. Since then I just freeze my arse off. If I move fast enough, body heat works well. I might get cold but at least I ain't dead.

noodle New Reader
Jan. 22, 2009 10:19 p.m.

Thanks for all the advice. I'm really not too big of a Bob Costas when it comes to the cold. I work outside and spend a lot of my time with insulated coveralls. Maybe I'm using the cold as an excuse to finishing the car.

xoxo Jp

DrBoost Dork
Jan. 30, 2010 7:37 a.m.

Kero burns cleaner and hotter than diesel. So, if you want to keep the heater clean, use Kero. I use a diesel fired engine pre-heater running through a coolant loop. 140,000 btu's is nice when the temp outside is 1 like right now.

Flynlow New Reader
Jan. 30, 2010 11:37 a.m.

I know the OP already has a heater, but for $200 I found this to be quite a good deal for inexpensive garage heat:$Ntt=kerosene%20heater$y=0$x=0

TSC has a bit more info:

It also has built in overheat/CO shutoffs, fill the tank, hit the ON switch, off you go. I like the simplicity and lack of wicks vs a traditional kerosene heater.

I was considering a forced air system for my pole barn, but for $200 vs. the $2000+ cost of forced air, plus running propane lines from the house, this was a much better, simpler answer for me.

Spinout007 HalfDork
Jan. 31, 2010 2:41 p.m.

Kero works fine, and look ANYWHERE BUT THE FREAKING HOME DEPOT! for kerosene, jeezum, I pay 3.99 for the clear stuff, and 2.99 for the tinted/stinky stuff. just make sure there is a draft or air source, which in my 40 year old mobile home there's plenty. I keep ours propped up on a metal stand to keep it away from anything remotely flamable, and the dogs stay in their kennels when it's running. Not that I think a 15lb Rat Terrier will knock anything over but, the husky or heinz would have no problems what so ever. Common sense, use it, you'll be fine.

Oh yeah, the above comment is from someone who works there....

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