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Daily Motivation Tips

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Elijah Wood
Elijah Wood


Oil lamp fuel for lanterns, oil lamps, and torches. Select from oil lamp fuel approved for indoor use that's practical to have on hand during unexpected storms for bright emergency lighting. While only three lamp oil fuel options below are recommended for burning inside, this entire selection of lantern oil is appropiate for fueling the warm light of porch or campsite lanterns. From having emergency light in hurricane season, illuminating a backwoods off-grid cabin card game after sunset, to the timeless glow of lanterns outside along a row of posts, we have the best fuel for your oil lamps and lanterns. Learn the differences between lamp oils like kerosene, paraffin, and vegetable oil alternatives for everything you need to know to select the best clean-burning fuel.


For every gallon of oil burned 1/4 - 3/8 inch of wick is consumed. Oil lamps/lanterns burn about a 1/2 ounce of oil per hour. A gallon of oil will last you 258 hours! This generalization will significantly vary depending upon the size of your wick, type of oil, height of wick, among other variables. The point: a small amount of oil will go a long way. Click to read how long your wick should be.

Use room temperature oil to fill lamps. Lamp oil exposed to heat expands while temperatures below 20 degrees fahrenheit will cause freezing; both temperature reactions prevent the oil from ideal burning.

There are many oil lamp fuel options. Just as there are many styles of oil lamps. Technically you can burn any oil to create light. Only a few oil lamp oils are approved by national standards. Yet, there are others worth mentioning. In Table 2 below see the list of approved oil lamp fuels to use in cold blast oil lanterns and flat wick oil lamps.

In addition to lamp oil and kerosene (more info about lamp oil vs. kerosene), which are approved fuels, some oil lamps are built to operate with olive oil, nut and seed oils, hemp oil, vegetable oil, fish oil, castor oil and others. Butter, tallow or fish oil can be burned for a smoky light. Sesame oil and peanut oil are popular oils for burning, but the cleanest burning oil is olive oil. We do not recommend burning olive oil in a conventional kerosene lamp or lantern; but you can make or retrofit an olive oil lamp of your own! Read more about burning olive oil in an oil lamp.

Kitchen vegetable oils like those mentioned above wick slower so they require a shorter wick distance between the burner and oil. Conventional oil lamps and lanterns, especially those with 1/2" wide wicks or larger, do not adequately draw up the oil.

The quality of the lamp or lantern burn is affected by the size of the wick, how far it is from the oil, and the properties of the oil, among other factors. Use strategic caution when trying new fuel oil and oil lamps; do your research and experiment. We hope you love excuses for science experiments just as much as we do.

It is not recommended to use citronella oil or tiki torch oil in kerosene lamps or lanterns. Nevertheless, citronella oil and tiki torch oil can be burned in kerosene oil lamps and lanterns only outdoors. These oils are designed to produce smoke and harmful particulate matter for repelling bugs. Burning citronella oil or tiki torch oil in a kerosene oil lamp will quickly deteriorate the wick and is hard to remove from the lamp. For a cleaner burn mix with 50:50 kerosene.

So, you want to burn an oil lamp inside without the harmful effects of particulate matter and smoke from incomplete kerosene combustion? We can help. From conventional indoor oil for lamps to oils we have in our kitchen there are loads of indoor lamp oil options.

Fuels approved for indoor use are listed in Table 2 below. Present day oil lamps standardly use what is known as "lamp oil." It is derived from the same hydrocarbons as kerosene but is significantly refined to produce little or no smoke and odor. Like all things, lamp oil varies in quality and performance. It takes some experimenting to find your favorite.

For thousands of years humans have used olive oil for indoor lamp lighting. Olive oil is 99% pure and burns at a much slower and lower temperature than petroleum-based oils. There is no smoke, odor or harmful byproducts produced when burning an olive oil lamp. Because olive oil has a higher flash point and is "heavier" the wick and burner must be very close to the oil, unlike most antique oil lamps. Read more about burning olive oil in lamps here.

What kind of oil goes into a lamp? Table 2 below lists examples of the approved fuels safe to use inside or outside in flat wick oil lamps, round wick oil lamps and old fashioned tubular lanterns. Klean heat, like most fuels listed below, is available to order at the top of this page or found at most local hardware stores. These fuels are suitable for all oil lamp sizes. For a discussion of all types of oil lamp oil click here.

In table 3 you may notice you can burn tiki torch fuel in an oil lamp, but only outside. The chemical makeup of the fuel creates more smoke and particulate matter byproducts hazardous to health when burned; you really dont want to be inside breathing it. More about using tiki torch oil in oil lamps.

Successfully burning olive oil depends on the size and build of your oil lamp. Conventional lanterns and lamps are designed to wick up petroleum lantern fuels. Petroleum fuels have a higher viscosity and require more distance from the wick to the burner. The opposite is true for olive oil and most other oils of our kitchen cabinets. If you want to burn olive oil in a lamp, its easy to make one yourself, see our blog post with DIY olive oil lamp instructions.

Indoor burning of kerosene oil lamps and heaters must be ventilated. If the power is out and the weather is freezing adequate ventilation may be a problem. Sure, kerosene has been used for heat and light for about 170 years and it may be just right for you, but it can be life threatening if youre burning it in a small space with no ventilation. Burning kerosene fuel oil releases the odorless gas carbon monoxide; which is poisonous to humans and life threatening - read about carbon monoxide here. Kerosene lamps also produce black carbon, a byproduct of incomplete combustion. Black carbon has serious health effects and contributes more to atmospheric warming than carbon dioxide. Read more about how kerosene lamps impact your health.

The minimum recommended flashpoint of kerosene is 124 degrees. Kerosene for oil lamps should be between 124 and 150 degrees fahrenheit. Flash points above 150 degrees contribute to reports of lanterns developing run away flames; when the flame flares upward and burns uncontrollably. If you experience a run-away flame the only way to put it out is to smother it - place a bucket over the lamp or shovel on the dirt to put out the flame.

Theres a difference between common lamp oil and paraffin oil, read about it below. Or just skip to the list of lamp oil approved for indoor use. Paraffin oil in the United States is meant for small oil lamps and lanterns (with wicks smaller than 1/4" round or 1/2" flat).

Theres some confusion about paraffin oil because the process of refining it varies between nations and manufacturers. Due to the refined nature of paraffin oil, the many paraffin oil product versions have no labeling standard. So what do you need to know about paraffin oil and using it in oil lamps? Here's the 411 -

Learn the approved indoor and outdoor oils for lamps and lanterns. Using approved oils will fast track you to a clean-burning lantern thats a joy to operate. Tiki torch fuel is petroleum-based and meant only for outside use and for repelling insects. Tiki torch fuel smokes when it is burned.

If you must use tiki torch fuel in an oil lamp, it is only safe to do so outside and it can be cut with 50:50 kerosene to achieve a longer wick life. The tiki torch oils approved for outdoor use in oil lamps are listed in table 3 under approved outdoor oil for lamps.

Youre already well on your way to prevent unhealthy carbon monoxide exposure. Becoming informed is step one. Install a carbon monoxide detector inside your home, especially if youre burning oil lamps inside, it could save your life! Replace the battery in your detector when you change the clocks in the spring and fall. Place the detector where it will wake you up if it goes off, like outside your bedroom door.

Black carbon is generated by burning kerosene. Kerosene oil wick lamps produce a very bright flame and black carbon as a incomplete combustion byproduct of burning kerosene. This carbon must be trimmed off the wick before each use (how to trim a wick). This is the same sooty black material produced by coal power plants.

To answer the whole of this question it is important to understand that across the world, many people in developing countries use kerosene lamps every day. K-1 kerosene is the cheapest fuel to buy for an oil lamp and if youre using it every day youll want the most affordable fuel option. Those without electric lighting carry a huge disportionate health risk exposure.

In a 2012 epidemiological study in Nepal researchers at UC Berkeleys School of Public Health found, women who used kerosene lamps in the home had 9.4 times the rate of tuberculosis in households that did not use lamps.

The takeaway: There are personal health implications when burning kerosene. For infrequent oil lamp and lantern users you have nothing to worry about. If youre outside, youll hot be exposed to anything bad for your health. If you do intend to burn oil lamps and lanterns indoors, use a fuel like kleenheat - a refined kerosene sold for complete combustion and no black emissions. Our list of approved lamp oils includes fuel oils safe to use indoors.

To determine if a bottle of lamp oil is too old to use you can inspect how clear it is. If it is discolored or cloudy or thick it is probably past its time. If it is clear the oil is likely safe to use. If the oil is questionable, responsibly dispose of it and replenish your supply; better to be healthy and have working gunk-free lanterns and oil lamps. 041b061a72


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