Can You Mix Kerosene And Home Heating Oil?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If there’s one thing that took me by surprise, it was the sheer variety of fuels that are used to heat up a regular home and provide power to it. Two of the more common fuels that you can use are home heating oil and kerosene. Both are used to bring up heat in a home, so some people might feel the need to pool the two together. But, is this really a good idea?

Do not mix kerosene and home heating oil. Mixing these two components is very dangerous because they will produce toxic fumes that can enter your home. Additionally, this situation can increase the risk of a fire. Not to mention, this will damage your appliance, costing you hundreds of dollars in repairs.

People who are tempted to mix heating oils as a way to save on bills better listen up. This is a fairly bad idea, even if you think it sounds alright. This article will help shed light on why, and maybe turn up the heat on your common sense.

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Is It Possible To Mix Kerosene And Home Heating Oil?

Worried about being stuck indoors without heat? Chances are that you will be advised to switch out kerosene and heating oil if you are very low on fuel. Many people are able to keep their homes warm by doing this. However, there’s a major caveat that comes with this usage.

While it’s possible to do once in a while, as a regular practice, it’s a safety hazard. Mixing these two fuels means that you will have less predictability when it comes to the way that you heat up your home. What this translates into is a higher risk of toxic fumes as well as a higher risk of fire. As a result, it’s not advisable in the least bit.

How Dangerous Is Mixing Kerosene And Heating Oil?

This all depends on the application, but it’s generally deemed to be a less-than-stellar idea. Since the fuels have different ignition temperatures and different outputs during a burn, this can lead to fire as well as excessive fumes. It’s not unheard of for carbon monoxide alarms to start going off as a result of mixing kerosene and heating oil together.

It’s worth noting that heating appliances tend to be designed more for one fuel or the other, and that this means mixing can pose a problem to your home’s equipment. A couple of one-off uses might not harm anything, but regular use of the wrong fuel may lead to malfunctioning pipes and burns.

Is It Legal To Mix The Two Together?

Though it’s generally not considered to be a bright idea, there is no federal law that could stop you from mixing the two heating fuels together. Even on a state level, you won’t find a law barring you from doing it if you so choose. With that said, a handful of towns and cities have codes against it. They are a deep minority, though.

Are Kerosene And Home Heating Oil The Same Thing?

While most people tend to think of them as similar substances, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Kerosene is kerosene. Home heating oil isn’t; it’s diesel. They are not the same thing and should not be treated that way. This means that the molecular structures of both fuels are fairly different and they tend to be used in different ways. Here are the biggest differences between the two:

  • Flashpoints. A flashpoint is the temperature that will cause a chemical to ignite. Kerosene has a lower flashpoint, at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Diesel heating oil will have a flashpoint of around 140 degrees. This makes it less likely to spontaneously light, which means you get a lower risk of a fire.
  • Clean Burning. Kerosene burns cleaner, and some would say more efficiently. Diesel burning can lead to fumes, which is why many homes that run diesel need long flues to make it a viable option. Even so, home heating oil is considered to be the safer choice due to its low combustibility.
  • Price. Kerosene is more expensive than diesel home heating oil.
  • Consistency. Kerosene won’t gel up during the winter, but diesel heating oil might.
  • Storage Preferences. Remember when we said that kerosene won’t gel? This tends to make kerosene a better oil to store outside than diesel. Or, at least, that’s the default case. Most heating fuel distributors will include an additive like Hot Shot in their diesel fuel to prevent it from gelling during colder months.
  • Color.  Kerosene doesn’t really have a color and can be difficult to keep in oil form. Diesel tends to be given a red dye and is kept in liquid form fairly easily.

Why Is Kerosene Considered To Be More Dangerous Than Diesel?

Kerosene’s considered to be more dangerous due to the fumes as well as the increased chances of flammability. Kerosene naturally wants to turn into gas in warmer temperatures. This means the oil will give off fumes. If you have a loose gas cap, it’s possible to get fumes that make you dizzy or even cause fainting from kerosene. Should an errant spark occur, kerosene will be far more likely to ignite than diesel.

Why Do People Prefer To Use Kerosene To Heat Their Homes?

If you’re wondering why people prefer kerosene in many cases, it’s understandable. Believe it or not, kerosene is the most common heating oil in several countries, such as Australia. The reason why people are willing to pay a little extra for this fuel is simple: it burns clean and it also is highly efficient at heating up a home.

Diesel can occasionally leave a slightly foul odor when it burns, which can make heating up your home a little unpleasant. It also can take a little longer for your house to heat up. But, that’s the price one has to pay for safety, isn’t it? That is why most homes in the United States have diesel as a mandated fuel.

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Related Questions

What happens if you breathe in kerosene fumes?

The effects of inhaling kerosene fumes will depend on how much fumes you inhale, as well as the ventilation around you. In light doses, kerosene fumes can cause dizziness, lethargy, and headaches. In larger doses, kerosene becomes a major peril that is connected to a loss of muscle control, coma, seizures, and death.

Why can’t you use kerosene in a car?

Kerosene is closest in build to diesel fuel, which means that a car that runs using it would have to have an engine similar to diesel. Unlike diesel, kerosene isn’t refined enough to handle a typical car motor’s demands. Along with a bad run, the exhaust that you will be dirtier than what you would typically have in a car today. It just wouldn’t pass inspection.

How do you get rid of a kerosene smell indoors?

Vacuuming your upholstery after spreading coffee grounds can work if just opening up a window won’t. If that doesn’t, spritzing your furniture with white vinegar will usually do the trick. Some people have also gotten good results by using a Lampe Berger, a bottle of Febreze, or a similar deodorizing product.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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