Informational Guide

Lighting a Kerosene Heater

Kickstarting any flammable heater can be difficult. Learn how to light a kerosene heater with our complete safety guide.

by Josh M

Kerosene heaters are great for offering more heat to smaller spaces and rooms- they even work outside! If you can’t use an electric heater, then they’re also a wonderful alternative. The best indoor heaters should keep you very comfortable.

If you need to learn more about how to light a kerosene heater, make sure to continue reading!

Dura Heat DH1051 Indoor Kerosene Heater

Kerosene heaters burn natural fuel to provide homes with heat.

They’re very popular in Japan, where they’re the main heat source for many families.

You may want one for emergencies since they can even run during a power outage.

Abraham Gesner invented the kerosene heater in the late 1840s.

His method provided a cleaner-burning, which reduced the smell of the gas in homes.


How To Light Up a Kerosene Heater Using The Automatic Ignition System

First, you’ll need to make sure you have the right kerosene for your heater. Most portable heaters use 1-K kerosene, which doesn’t have a smell. Always make sure to check the manual that comes with your heater, however. You don’t want to use the wrong types of kerosene.

Next, fill the fuel tank with kerosene. You don’t want to overfill it, so keep a close eye on the fuel gauge. Also, never do this indoors! It could be a major hazard if you spill.

Then, you need to wait for one hour before lighting the wick. This time allows the wick to soak and absorb the kerosene. You only need to do this if this is the first time you’re using it. Make sure the wick is submerged into the kerosene using the wick knob on the unit.

For the automatic ignition system, you press the ignition at the bottom of the unit. Stop pressing when you see that the wick is lit- it’s a very simple process, and you don’t have to light it yourself. Finally, turn the wick knob to adjust the height of the flame.

Kerosene Automatic Ignition System

How To Light A Kerosene Heater By Using A Match? (Safe Manual Steps)

If you need to know how to light a kerosene heater manually, you can safely use a match. Again, start by adding the correct amount of fuel into the heater. Then, allow the wick to soak for an hour to absorb the gas.

Next, open the door on the heater. This should lead to the burn chamber. Often, you’ll find it right above the wick knob. For your safety, don’t open this while the kerosene is burning.

Use the knob to bring up the burn chamber and expose the wick. Then, you can hold your lit match to it. All you need to do is touch the flame to the wick. Be very careful not to put your hand in too far into the chamber. Finally, adjust the flame using the wick knob.

To turn off the heater when you’re done, hold down the “off” button until the flame goes out. You shouldn’t relight it until it’s cooled down thoroughly.

Why Won’t My Kerosene Heater Light?

The Igniter Is Defective

Often, the igniter breaks or runs into other issues. If this happens, you’ll need to replace the igniter. They aren’t expensive, but the price can vary depending on the brand or length of wick that you require. Overall, replacing a defective light is the best option for you.

The Batteries Have Run Down

Your kerosene heater also probably uses batteries. To correct this problem, you just need to swap out the old batteries with fresh ones. Make sure that you have all of the batteries facing the correct way in the unit. This is a cheap and easy fix! You can always test the old batteries in other devices to see if they’re actually dead.

The Wick Needs Cleaning

Finally, the wick may be too dirty to light. This can happen with Dyna Glo kerosene heaters, as well as many other brands. You’ll need to take out the wick and dry burn it before placing it back into the unit. If it’s too dirty to clean, you can replace it.

Lighting Kerosene Heaters Popular Models

Dyna Glo

Many popular Dyna Glo models come with automatic lighting features. Push the valve control knob on the front of the heater into the “light” or “start” position. From there, push the knob in and hold it. The unit should light after receiving gas.


You can manually light the Duraheat or use the automatic lighting, depending on the model. In addition, there is an ignite button on the newer units that you can use.

Also check other heating solutions using different power sources for your home:

Most Efficient Heating Systems
Best Infrared Heaters
Best Pellet Stoves
Best Gas Fireplace
Best Oil Filled Heaters

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Why will a kerosene heater not stay lit?

The unit might not have enough fuel, the kerosene expired, or the wick is bad. Run through each of these solutions first to get it working again.

How long does a kerosene heater stay lit?

Many modern kerosene heaters stay lit for at least eight hours. Then, you’ll need to add more fuel.

Are Kerosene heaters dangerous?

They aren’t dangerous, as long as you’re careful with them. They do produce carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Leave doors to the room open at all times.

Do you have to vent a kerosene heater?

You don’t need to vent the heater, but you should have adequate ventilation in the room. That means you have plenty of windows and doors in the area.


Overall, it’s not hard to light a kerosene heater after you get some practice. It can be hard at first, but you’ll get used to it!

Also see – lighting a patio heater

Last Updated on November 24, 2021

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.