Can I Use Diesel in a Kerosene Space Heater?

Using diesel in a kerosene space heater can be a viable option, but it requires careful consideration and understanding of the technical specifications. Diesel has a higher viscosity than kerosene, which can lead to incomplete combustion and increased emissions if not properly managed. However, with the right modifications and precautions, you can successfully use diesel in a kerosene space heater.

Understanding Fuel Compatibility

Kerosene space heaters are designed to operate on a range of liquid fuels, including diesel, kerosene, and even jet fuel. The manufacturer’s recommendations should always be the primary guide when determining the appropriate fuel for your specific heater model.

Many kerosene space heaters are capable of running on diesel, but the performance and efficiency may be affected due to the higher viscosity of diesel compared to kerosene. Diesel’s higher viscosity can lead to incomplete atomization in the burner, resulting in incomplete combustion and increased emissions.

Modifying Diesel for Improved Performance

can i use diesel in a kerosene space heater

To improve the performance and efficiency of using diesel in a kerosene space heater, you can consider mixing it with gasoline. This process, known as “thinning out” the diesel, can help reduce the viscosity and improve the fuel’s atomization in the burner.

A common recommendation is to mix four gallons of diesel with one gallon of gasoline. This ratio can help create a fuel mixture that is more similar to kerosene in terms of viscosity, allowing for better atomization and more complete combustion.

It’s important to note that the specific ratio of diesel to gasoline may vary depending on the heater model, ambient conditions, and other factors. It’s recommended to start with a lower gasoline ratio and gradually increase it until you achieve the desired performance and efficiency.

Fuel Quality and Maintenance

When using diesel in a kerosene space heater, it’s crucial to ensure that the fuel is clean, fresh, and meets the appropriate specifications for your heater. Using old or contaminated diesel can lead to clogged fuel filters, reduced performance, and increased emissions.

Regular maintenance of the heater, including cleaning the burner, replacing the fuel filter, and inspecting the fuel lines, is essential to maintain optimal performance and safety when using diesel.

Safety Considerations

Using diesel in a kerosene space heater requires additional safety precautions. Diesel has a higher flash point than kerosene, which means it may be more difficult to ignite. Ensure that the heater is properly ventilated and that you follow all safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Additionally, be aware of the potential for increased emissions and soot buildup when using diesel. Proper ventilation and monitoring of the heater’s operation are crucial to maintain a safe and healthy indoor environment.


While it is possible to use diesel in a kerosene space heater, it’s essential to understand the technical considerations and potential challenges. By following the manufacturer’s recommendations, properly modifying the fuel, and maintaining the heater, you can successfully use diesel in your kerosene space heater. However, it’s important to prioritize safety and monitor the heater’s performance to ensure efficient and clean-burning operation.

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