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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Use Kerosene Heater to Stay Safe and Warm

LAS CRUCES -- Kerosene heaters work as good supplemental heat sources for homes or work areas, but they must be used carefully to ensure safe heating, said a New Mexico State University energy specialist.

"People are discovering that kerosene heaters do a good job providing supplemental heat when their central heating system is too expensive to use, or they have a space that is hard to heat," said JoAnn Emmel, with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.

Emmel offers the following guidelines to safely use kerosene heaters: *Don't use your kerosene heater to heat your whole house. Heat spaces that are cold, when there's no other heat available. Or, use it to heat one small space where you're working or living, while the rest of the house is kept cooler.

*Make sure your kerosene heater is working at top efficiency. Otherwise, you won't get the best use of your fuel, and you'll be polluting the air in your house. Check the manual and follow proper maintenance instructions.

*Only use 1 K kerosene; don't use any other fuels or any cheaper kerosene fuels.

*Always refill your heater and store any kerosene outside your home.

*Keep small children away from the kerosene heater, because it gets very hot. Also, make sure the heater isn't placed near anything combustible, and that it's located someplace where it won't tip over.

*Ventilate your house when you're using the kerosene heater, because as kerosene burns it gives off pollutants. If your house is fairly tightly sealed, crack open a window in the room or garage you're heating.