Kerosene is a type of fuel that is usually used for lamps and heaters in our homes. Especially in the cold winter months, kerosene can be quite useful. It has many names, including boiler fuel, burning oil, lamp oil, kero, 28 second, heating oil, paraffin, and kerosine, and all of these oils refer to the same fuel. 

Besides homes, kerosene is also used by businesses as fuel to generate power, light, and heat. According to the EIR, or the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy, which collects, researches, and distributes information on topics related to energy, kerosene is commonly used in commercial and military aircraft. 

Fans that are powered by kerosine are used by drywall and paint companies to dry paint, while it is also sometimes used to remove tar by asphalt and roofing companies.

In addition to that, quality Kerosene is also used for temporary lighting or heating on construction sites when the main power hasn’t yet been established or is out at the moment.

If you want to know whether kerosene can go bad over time, how long it lasts, and how long you can store kerosene, make sure that you read our article because here we explain it all.

History Of Kerosene

Razi, a renowned Persian scholar created the first written records of the distillation of kerosene, and this happened in the 9th century. In Kitab al-Asrar or his Book of Secret, he talked about two ways of producing kerosene. 

In the years between 1368 and 1644, during the Chinese Ming Dynasty, kerosene was produced by the Chinese through petroleum purification and extraction, which was then converted into lamp fuel.

Abraham Gesner, who was a Canadian geologist, claimed that he was the first person to discover kerosene in 1846. He heated coal during a demonstration to the public and fluid was distilled which he thought was the perfect lamp fuel. 

However, this discovery by Gesner had a few issues, and those were that using coal for distilling kerosene is pretty difficult to produce because it is extremely expensive.

Albertite was an option that is a lot more affordable, and the Canadian geologist quickly realized this. However, the court didn’t give him permission to use this in his hometown. However, Gesner was very persistent, and he managed to get a number of businessmen to support him after he moved to New York. For the first time, kerosene was produced successfully after they created the North American Gas Light Company.

How Long Can Kerosene Be Stored?

If you’re wondering whether stored kerosene can go bad, the answer is yes, it can. One of the culprits for kerosene going bad is condensation, which adds water to the fuel. Another reason is the fuel developing sludge from mold and bacteria that live in the kerosene and start to break it down.

Typically, Kerosene is sold in containers that are meant for you to store the kerosene in after you’ve opened them. Googling how long kerosene lasts will give you a range of answers completely different from one another. While some will say that kerosene lasts for around 20 years, others will say it lasts from 1 to 3 months. A good rule to follow is that kerosene lasts for 5 years.

Kerosene should be kept in a plastic container that is created for storing this type of fuel and that is opaque. The first reason is to preserve the fuel, and the second reason is for general safety. Kerosene stored in a heater, lamp, or any other device won’t make it last for a longer period of time than it would if you put it in an original container.

In case you have spoilt kerosene, you can use some of that fuel by mixing the bad kerosene with fresh fuel and removing contaminants. Even though it is reusable to a certain degree, it is important to note that it won’t be as efficient as kerosene that is in proper condition. 

In order to filter the bad kerosene and any sludge that might have developed in it, you can use a coffee filter. At the bottom of the container, you can also find water from condensation, which you can easily filter out. 

No-Spill 1456 5-Gallon Poly Kerosene Can (CARB & EPA Approved)
  • Thumb button control for precise pouring
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Where Can You Buy Kerosene and How to Make It Last Longer?

If it’s your first time using kerosene, the first question that will pop into your head is where can you buy it. Kerosene is sold by most hardware stores. It is also sold by some gas stations.

Compared to other types of fuels, kerosene is less liable to absorption of water. In order to make it last longer, make sure that instead of placing it in warm temperatures that you place it in cooler temperatures. The reason for this is that warm temperature aids in the forming of a biological material in the fuel.

The fuel systems can be gummed up by this sludge making it less effective. Like we previously mentioned, in case you see that sludge is forming in your fuel, you can mix it with new kerosene and filter it in order to be able to use it again. You can also do this process if it gets opaque or cloudy.

How To Properly Store Kerosene

Unlike other fuels such as gasoline, kerosene is considered a fuel that is non-volatile. What this means is that you don’t have to worry about kerosene exploding. In addition, there won’t be any significant degradation of the fuel for many years if you store it properly.

There are other fuels derived from oil such as heating oil, gasoline, and diesel in facilities where kerosene is stored. 

For this reason, many jurisdictions and districts in the United States ask kerosene to be stored in safety cans or blue containers, in order to easily differentiate other types of fuel and kerosene. However, if you’re storing kerosene at home, you should store it in an opaque plastic container as we previously mentioned.

Is Kerosene Dangerous?

Studies have shown that using kerosene in households is linked with increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, as well as impaired lung function and cancer. Just like most chemicals, in order for adverse health effects to happen, the amount of kerosene that you are exposed to needs to be above a certain degree and dangerous levels.

Drinking kerosene-based liquids or breathing large quantities of kerosene vapor can cause nonspecific symptoms such as vomiting, headache, and dizziness. Long-term effects probably aren’t going to happen as a result of a one-off and short exposure to kerosene.

Cost Of Kerosene

To keep the bills for heating on the lower end, it’s a smart idea that before the colder months and cold climates kick in, you buy kerosene during the autumn and summer months in bulk. 

The reason why you should do this is that the demand for kerosene during these periods is low, so the price is also lower. Instead of paying for intermittent and small deliveries, you can make some savings by buying in bulk.

Advantages of Kerosene

Below, we will go over some of the advantages that kerosene has to offer.

  • Efficient – Kerosene manages to warm up a space in a shorter period of time. You will be able to keep your costs on the lower side by cutting down on how much oil you use.
  • Cheap – In order to produce kerosene, the costs are a lot cheaper, and it is quite an affordable option. Like we already mentioned, the costs can be kept low by buying in bulk and buying at the right time.
  • More environmentally friendly than fuel – Unlike wood or coal, kerosene produces fewer fumes when it is burned in its paraffin form. Kerosene is an option that is much more environmentally friendly than other types of fossil fuels.
  • Versatility – Kerosene can be used in more than one way for your home. If your home is off the grid or the power is out, you can keep your home lit thanks to kerosene lamps. You can also cook with kerosene by using it as fuel for kerosene stoves. What this means is that kerosene can do a lot more than just heating up your home.
  • Shelf life – It’s not that kerosine has an indefinite shelf life, but kerosine will remain usable and stable for many years if it is stored in a temperature-controlled environment, appropriate container, and other proper conditions. Heating oil and gasoline don’t have the ability to last that long. In addition, during cold weather, kerosine doesn’t gel.

Final Thoughts

As you can see from this article, kerosene managed to stand the test of time thanks to its various applications and versatile nature. We hope that the guidelines we provided for you today will be of help, alongside the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer of the kerosene.

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