Can You Use Diesel in a Kerosene Heater? (How To Mix)

When you go to gas-type heaters, it is all about the fuel. If you burn the wrong kind you could damage your kerosene heater and make a large mess. You may not get the performance you expected either. The key is as always, just be careful.

Can you use diesel in a kerosene heater? Yes, diesel is supposed to be a reliable and safe alternative to burning kerosene. The trick is to make sure you mix the diesel fuel well with another important ingredient. That ingredient is 91% isopropyl alcohol and you only need 5ml of alcohol per pint of diesel fuel.

To learn more about burning diesel fuel in a kerosene heater, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about to have a safe time heating your RV or trailer. When you can’t find kerosene, you can use the next best thing.

Will kerosene Heater Burn Diesel?

Will kerosene-Heate- Burn-Diesel

Yes, this is not a problem and there are a couple of reasons why you can make this switch. The first reason is that kerosene is actually #1 diesel fuel. That flammable liquid is not much different from #2 diesel which you burn in your vehicles.

The second reason you can do this is that diesel can be mixed with other liquids making it easier to burn in a heater. The results you get may be different from the results other people have received.

For example, some people have noted that their wicks burn out faster than if they used kerosene. Another result was that the diesel did not heat up as much as kerosene did. other diesel users said they saw no difference in either category.

You will also note that some experts say to use #1 diesel as that is the closest to kerosene. However, those people have made a mistake as #1 diesel is kerosene. It is just a lighter version of diesel fuel.

That lighter version doesn’t burn as well as #2 diesel even though some people say otherwise.

Is it Safe to Burn Diesel in a Kerosene Heater?

One of the problems you will find when you search the internet on these types of topics is that people don't agree with each other. That makes it hard to learn what is really true until you use the fuel yourself and see what your results are.

Yes, diesel fuel is safe to burn in a kerosene heater, although wicks may get burnt up faster than normal. Wicks are cheap and a very minor issue. Also, diesel fuel may not emit the many harmful gases that kerosene does making it the safer option of the two.

Usually, diesel does not burn as clean as kerosene does but that too is not a safety issue. Diesel burns at 139,000 BTU while kerosene only burns at 135,000 and is another minor point in this discussion.

Using a kerosene heater, no matter the fuel, is going to be your biggest risk. It is an appliance that needs good ventilation no matter which fuel is in its fuel tank. A lack of ventilation will be your biggest safety issue even when you use diesel to heat your RV.

Diesel vs Kerosene in Heater


The differences are going to be minor especially when you mix the diesel with different additives to help it burn better. The kerosene heater will heat up extremely well making it a fire hazard if you are not careful.

That goes for both fuels, not one or the other. Then both fuels will emit some harmful gasses. Because of that fact, you have to ventilate the room properly for both fuels, not just one.

Then no matter which fuel you use, you should not let the kerosene heater burn throughout the night. It would be best to switch to a different heat source when you go to bed. The reason for that is when the fuel gets low, the heater can emit more harmful gasses.

The biggest difference you will find between these two fuels is their cost. Depending on where you live in the country and how big the demand is for either fuel, you should save money using one fuel over the other. Both fuels should provide you with enough heat to stay warm on a very cold day.

Can you use Diesel Fuel in a Kerosene Torpedo Heater?

A kerosene torpedo heater is a kerosene heater so yes, you can use diesel fuel to run the heater. The problem may come in that the diesel, if not mixed carefully or well enough may clog up the burner.

If that happens, you may have a long cleaning task to deal with before your next use. Another issue is that the diesel will smell a lot more than the kerosene will and that smell may make it hard to live in your RV, etc.

The good thing about using diesel fuel in your kerosene heater is that it is a better lubricant. So your heater’s parts get lubricated a lot better than if you are stuck with kerosene fuel.

Another good aspect is that diesel fuel is often cheaper than kerosene and if you are looking to save money, consider using diesel fuel. The trick in using diesel fuel though is the mixture. You do not run straight diesel through the heater.

Make sure to follow the mixing instructions and use the right additives to have the diesel wick and burn correctly.

Can you Mix Kerosene and Diesel in a Torpedo Heater?


Yes, this is one of the mixtures that are acceptable when you switch to diesel fuel. You may have to play with the ratios a little bit as one person said to fill the fuel tank 2/3 or 3/4 full with diesel then use kerosene to go the rest of the way.

Another person said to mix kerosene with diesel on a 1:3 or a 1:5 ration. Adding kerosene is one way to prevent the wick from being completely ruined by diesel fuel. That is one of the biggest concerns most people have. Even though wicks are cheap, they do not like ruining them quickly.

The added kerosene makes sure the diesel burns correctly. By correctly, it is meant that diesel will produce a lot of carbon if burned on its own. That is something you want to avoid.

How to Burn Diesel in a Kerosene Heater

They say that kerosene heaters use a fiberglass wick. For some reason, this type of wick burns longer and better when it is burning kerosene fuel. The same cannot be said when you burn diesel with this wick.

The diesel fuel tends to ruin the fiberglass wicks. This means that when you want to burn diesel instead of kerosene, you should change wick types. Remove the fiberglass one and replace it with a 100% cotton wick.

The good thing about using a cotton wick is that you can trim off any portion of it when it becomes clogged and charred. You do not have this option when using a fiberglass wick.

Then, the cotton wick type will come in two varieties. The first is the pinned type which makes it harder to trim due to the 3 pins holding it in place. The unpinned type makes it very easy to trim and you just have to pull up until you get to a good spot to make your cut.

How to Mix Diesel for Kerosene Heater


This is not that hard to do and if you have mixed paint with paint thinner, you can do this task. It is just as easy and all you have to worry about is making any spills. The ratio for mixing 91% isopropyl alcohol is 5 ml to every pint of diesel.

Just pour the alcohol into the diesel stirring as you pour. The same goes for mixing kerosene as all you need to do is add 1 pint of that fuel to 3 or 5 pints of diesel. Mix as you pour and you should be fine.

You can try diesel fuel additives instead of those two liquids. However, those additives are designed to make a diesel engine run better not burn the fuel more efficiently.

Kerosene additives are a good choice though as they are designed to make kerosene burn better. These additives will help your diesel burn more efficiently. Just follow the instructions on the package.

Convert Kerosene Heater to Diesel

There is no real method to make this conversion. In other words, the burner on the kerosene heater will burn diesel without changing any parts. The conversion takes place in the actual fuel.

As you have just read, to burn diesel in a kerosene heater, you have to have the right fuel mixture and ratio between the additives and the diesel fuel. The burner on the kerosene heater should handle the mixture as easily as it does kerosene.

The only real change you will have to make is changing the wick. Stay away from the fiberglass wicks when burning diesel fuel. use a cotton one to make sure the fuel burns efficiently.

Once you do that, you have converted your kerosene heater into a diesel heater. The other thing that should have you worried about will be the odor. Diesel burns with a different odor than kerosene and most people do not like it when they smell it.

Can you use Number 2 Diesel in a Kerosene Heater?

Can-you-use-Number-2-Diesel i-a-Kerosene-Heater

Yes, and the reason you can is that diesel #2 is diesel fuel. Kerosene is called diesel #1 and while some people claim there is a difference between diesel #1 and kerosene, those differences remain to be seen.

Diesel #2 is the regular diesel you use in most other applications. It is a heavier fuel than kerosene which is one reason why it needs to be mixed with additives to burn better.

Why do people still use kerosene even though it may be the more expensive fuel? It just burns cleaner.

The number allocation on diesel fuels is just letting you know which fuel is lighter or heavier. That difference will tell you what you need to do when you want to use one or the other inside your kerosene heater.

If you are still not sure about which fuel is which, talk to a trusted mechanic or dealer in these fuels. They should be more specific and provide better details.

Can you use Red Diesel in a Kerosene Heater?

The first clarification that needs to be made is that the presence of the red dye does not indicate all the uses it can be applied to. The red dye is for tax purposes only. Also, since this fuel is designed for specific machinery the refining process may not be as great as other diesel fuels.

You can use this version of diesel fuel but it is highly recommended that you mix it with other additives first. By highly recommended we mean that this is a mandatory step.

The same issues apply to this version of diesel fuel as they do to all other diesel fuels. You will need to have good ventilation and when putting the flame out, you need to do it outside. In fact, do the refilling outside as well to avoid spills in the wrong place.

Other than that, this may be a good cheap fuel source to use.

Some Final Words

One would think that fuel is fuel but that is not the case. While you can replace kerosene with diesel, you have to use additives to get the diesel fuel in shape to be burnt.

The kerosene heaters will accommodate the change in fuel as long as you change the wick inside of them. Take the right steps and pick the fuel that will save you money. The risks are the same no matter which fuel you use.

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