Can You Sleep With A Kerosene Heater On?

Kerosene heaters provide warmth for those freezing winter days. If you are one of its users, you must wonder if it is okay to sleep while one is running. Is it safe or not? This is precisely what we researched, and here are the answers that we got:

No, it would be best if you did not sleep with the kerosene heater on. These type of heater release toxic gases into the air as it functions. It can harm you as it releases dangerous toxic into the air. Furthermore, an unattended oil heater can ignite a house fire.

What are the specific hazards that we are talking about? Should you stop using your oil heater altogether? We will discuss these things in this post, as well as other related things that can help you use your kerosene heater smartly. If you are interested in learning them, then keep on scrolling down!

Why You Should Not Sleep With A Kerosene Heater On

paraffin heater starting blue flame

Even though kerosene heaters are good heating devices, there are several reasons why you should not let one run overnight. Since these are crucial, we will discuss each of them thoroughly by starting with their adverse effects on the people exposed to their warmth. 

It Has Negative Effects In Your Health

Whenever the heater turns kerosene into gas and burns it to provide heat, air pollutants are emitted indoors. These contaminants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, threaten a person's health.

Below are the effects that each of these pollutants causes when inhaled in high amounts.

Carbon monoxide

This gas replaces the oxygen inside our body, damaging the organs, especially those which require oxygen the most to function, such as the heart, brain, and liver. It can also cause suffocation and loss of consciousness. 

Nitrogen dioxide 

An irritant to our respiratory system, nitrogen dioxide can cause lung inflammation and coughing, which can easily trigger asthma attacks.

Sulfur dioxide 

This gas mainly attacks the mucous membranes and worsens acute pulmonary diseases. 

Young and elderly people have the highest risk, especially those with existing respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema. That is why we highly suggest avoiding running your kerosene heater overnight if you have residents with this particular comorbidity at home. The longer the kerosene is burnt, the more harmful gases you can inhale, whether conscious or not.

The Heater Can Cause a Fire

Every year, there is more than 2,000 kerosene heater-related fire. This is due to many reasons, such as improper usage, fueling, a lack of maintenance, or even a simple lousy placement. 

Here are some safety precautions that you must observe when using a kerosene heater:

  • If you spill the kerosene, wipe it clean immediately.
  • Use 1-K grade kerosene only. 
  • Do not place the device near combustible materials. 
  • If you are going to move the heater to another spot, blow off the flame first.
  • Clean the kerosene heater according to the instructions given by the manufacturer once it is dirty.

It Can Also Harm The Environment

blue flame kerosene heater

Whenever you open your windows or vent out the air from the place with a kerosene heater on, the air pollutants we discussed (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide) will be released outdoors.

From there, these three contaminants starts reacting with other elements in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Aside from that, they can also affect plants and crop growth. They are also an ingredient to produce acid rain and haze which can be extremely harmful to the ecosystem.

Having trouble with the flame of your kerosene heater? Check out this article to learn more about this: Your Kerosene Heater Flame Is Too High, Too Low, Or Uneven? Here's Why & What To Do

What Type Of Heater Can Be Left On All Night?

Ceramic, infrared, and oil-filled heaters are the top three warmers that you can leave unattended overnight. However, some safety measures must still be observed to be sure of everyone's safety.

Take a look at some of the preventive things that you can do:

  1. Plug it straight into the electric outlet instead of extensions. 
  2. Make sure that the device is in very good condition.
  3. Refrain from placing the heater in a non-traffic spot. 
  4. Do not cover it with combustible material such as cloth.

Noticed your fan heater sparked? Read the meaning behind that action here: Should A Fan Heater Spark? [Here's What You Need To Know!]

Can You Get Carbon Monoxide Poisoning From A Kerosene Heater?

Yes, you can get carbon monoxide poisoning from a kerosene heater. However, this is under the condition that your place is not properly ventilated whenever you are using the heater or is fully enclosed.

This is because the little amount of carbon monoxide that it releases in the air will be inhaled by the people present instead of being vented.

red flame oil heater kerosene stove, Can You Sleep With A Kerosene Heater On?

If you suspect you are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, refer to the following symptoms below.

  • Headache or dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain

A simple act of keeping the vents unblocked and making sure that the carbon monoxide detector in your home is working properly can prevent you from this health risk. 

Where Is The Best Place In The House To Put A Carbon Monoxide Detector?

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that carbon monoxide detectors be placed where people sleep. This way, you will always be woken up when the alarm goes off. Opening the door and windows or going out in an open space is the first thing you should do.

Wondering if you can use lamp oil in a kerosene heater? Find out the answer by reading this article: Can You Use Lamp Oil In A Kerosene Heater? Should You?

How Often Should You Dry Burn A Kerosene Heater?

You can dry burn your kerosene heater as often as once a week. Doing so can actually improve your heater's condition. Just make sure to do the proper procedure in dry burning to prevent more damage to the device. 

How High Should The Flame Be On A Kerosene Heater?

The ideal height of the flame on the kerosene heater is only half an inch. Adjust the knob to keep the wick at this level. This will prevent the kerosene heater from producing too much smoke and an unpleasant odor. Do not forget to check the flame once in a while to make sure that it is not higher or lower than the suggested height. 

Can You Put Out A Kerosene Fire With Water?

kerosene heater oil stove

No, you cannot use water in putting out a kerosene fire because it is lighter than your supposed extinguisher. Use a foam fire extinguisher (blue) instead to extinguish the kerosene fire effectively.

Check out this home fire extinguisher from Amazon

Can I Refill Kerosene Heater While Running?

No, you cannot refill the kerosene heater while it is still running. You should turn the flame off first and wait for it to cool down before doing so. 

Another thing that you should take note of is that the refilling activity should be done outside so that the kerosene fumes won't be trapped indoors.

Kerosene fumes can make a person dizzy, drowsy, and even have a headache when inhaled. If you want to refrain from these effects, you can wear a face mask when filling the heater up. Wearing protective gloves is also advised, as the kerosene irritates the skin also.

In Summary

red flame oil heater kerosene stove

You should not sleep with the kerosene heater on to keep you warm while resting. This is because the longer it produces heat, the more carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide will be released. These toxic gases are the main cause of the danger.
First is your health. If you are a person with chronic or respiratory disease,  you are at greater risk because these gases irritate your mucous membranes and respiratory system. It also replaces the oxygen inside your body, damaging the organs that use it for functioning.

Second, leaving the kerosene heater on may cause fire by simply placing it near a combustible material.

Lastly, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide are also very harmful to the environment, and can contribute to acid rain and haze. Oil-filled, infrared, and ceramic heaters are safer alternatives if you want to leave on a space heating device while sleeping.

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