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Old 05-01-2018, 18:49   #1
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Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

Good evening all,

We have a Taylorís 79K kerosene cabin heater. It worked fine a couple years ago, but after a long hiatus without using it now whenever I fire it up there is a really strong kerosene odor and the fumes start to sting the eyes, cause breathing issues, all kinds of badness. There is no visible smoke coming off the burner (which I have rebuilt 3 times this week). We had bad kerosene (when I pulled the tank it was brown/yellow) and had carboned up one burner beyond repair so I switched to Jet-A since I can get it cheap.

What do you do for ventilation when using these heaters? I only used the heater a few times in the past and donít remember having to leave anything open, but thought this might be a point to start from.

Any suggestions would be appreciated as we are a live aboard on the Chesapeak and Iíd like to not be dependent on space heaters this winter.

Thanks!

Shawn
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Old 05-01-2018, 18:54   #2
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

Check your exhaust...
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Old 05-01-2018, 18:58   #3
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

The Charlie-noble is clear, is there anything I should be looking for with/without the heater running?
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Old 05-01-2018, 19:15   #4
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

These heaters need incoming air and if your boat is well sealed you'll need to crack a port or hatch. Sometimes the chimney needs a good cleaning.
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Old 05-01-2018, 19:28   #5
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

I have read that jet fuel has a bunch of nasty additives that make it a poor choice for a kerosene burner. I don’t KNOW that, I’ve just read it.

I have these bulkhead heaters and the cookers in both boats. I’m having a bit of issue with some brown kerosene myself at the moment but it’s not causing the problems you are describing

What color is the flame: blue or does it have a whole lot of yellow?

I suggest you pull off the diffuser, the thing with lots of holes the gas burns through, and look at its underside.

The gas shoots up out of the jet, hits the underside of the diffuser, and rushes out the holes as a gas to be burned. If you had some bad Kero you MAY have some carbon deposits on the inside of this but that is messing with the gas distribution. Scrape off he carbon deposits and try again.

Not sure, but dead easy to check.
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Old 06-01-2018, 08:25   #6
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

Jet A is a low grade kerosene, don't use it! Go back to good kerosene and I'll bet your problems will go away. You may try and mix the two for starters but my experience with burning Jet A is not good.
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Old 06-01-2018, 08:46   #7
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Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

I use Jet-A exclusively in my heaters I have in the hangar for years, cause itís a much higher grade of Kerosene than I can buy locally, and I can get it cheap, and it burns cleaner.
If I use I think itís called K1 kerosene then a heater stinks and clogs up and I need a new one in a year or two, and I used to get the Jet-A for free too, just drain it out of the airplane every now and again.

However your problem does indeed sound like cheap kerosene or incomplete combustion, Iíd certainly go buy some of the white clear as water kerosene and give it a try after emptying out every drop of the Jet you can.
Stay away from the pale yellow stuff, I tried that years ago with the results you are having now.
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:16   #8
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

Thanks for all the input!

Regarding the color of the flame, itís blue all the way around with occasional bits of yellow close to the diffuser (~1/4Ē long). These come and go every couple of minutes. Iíll pull the diffuser and clean it today.

The Charlie noble and chimney appear clear.

The boat itself is very well sealed up, so Iíll pop a bomar or two open next time and see if that helps.

When standing above the heater you get a pretty strong smell of kero with the eyes burning etc. It didnít bother me too much but my wife found it quite objectionable. Something else I noticed was a spot at our workbench where I had spilt some of the jet-a (wiped it up) smelled pretty strongly of the fuel after the fact and gave my wife a violent reaction (coughing, sinuses closing up, headache, nausea, the whole nine yards).

a64pilot,
Do you get Jet-A without PRIST or have you not noticed an issue? If you burn it and donít have any issues, it makes me think there is something up with the heater. Could it be something else being added to the fuel and the FBO just isnít telling me/doesnít know?
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:26   #9
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

Frankly mine never put out enough heat to be worth the trouble starting and smelling. If I was going to go Kerosene I would use one of the popular big box store units, they burn clean and put out massive btu compared with Force 10, Taylors etc.
Never burn without a hatch etc open!
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Old 06-01-2018, 14:27   #10
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

Funny, ours work quite well. Not for primary heat when it’s down in the 30’s for that I use an Espar. But for cool evenings it’s just the ticket.
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Old 06-01-2018, 14:33   #11
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

Is this an unvented heater, exhausting into the cabin? Bad joss if so!

Jim
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Old 06-01-2018, 15:51   #12
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

It’s not, has a stack and a Charlie Nobel.
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Old 06-01-2018, 15:55   #13
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

We have a Taylor heater and two burner stove. The other day I noticed similar concerns with burning eyes, but it was after a generous use of alcohol used to warm and preheat the burners. I was under the impression it was from the alcohol, as the problem quickly dissipated after the burners were fully heated. Prior to the kerosene burners, we used the a alcohol stove and the fumes were always uncomfortable and eye irritating.
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Old 06-01-2018, 16:26   #14
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Frankly mine never put out enough heat to be worth the trouble starting and smelling. If I was going to go Kerosene I would use one of the popular big box store units, they burn clean and put out massive btu compared with Force 10, Taylors etc.
Never burn without a hatch etc open!
X2 on opening a hatch. A stove or any other fuel burning device has the ability of depleting the oxygen in a closed space. Many people have died this way.
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Old 06-01-2018, 17:00   #15
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Re: Kerosene cabin heater stinking/burning eyes help appreciated

Not exactly spot on topic but relevant

https://classiccampstoves.com/thread...utorial.33569/
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