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Oil Lamp

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Just wondering if I can use the red dyed kerosene I purchase for my backup heater be used in the old style oil lamps?

This is potentially dangerous.  The red dye causes more soot and potentially creates harmful fumes.  It is placed in there to ensure it is used only in the outdoor applications for which it is taxed.  Very stupid and dangerous law, but there it is.  It is also harder to tell if red dyed kerosine has been contaminated, for example if someone mixed gasoline in it which is also dangerous.

Some of the Amish do it all the time.  Some don't because it gives them headaches.  I can smell the difference. 

I would set back a couple bottles of good lamp oil, it really does burn cleaner.  But I would not hesitate to use red if that was all I had.  For that matter, finding clear kerosene for your heater might be worth the few extra bucks.


We can't use the clear kerosene in the house due to the smell, only the more expensive lamp oil.
We stock both, but only plan on using the kero outside or in outbuildings.
I didn't know they were coloring kero, only knew the red was in diesel fuel for non road use.

Run down from one of the lamp retailers:
Lamp Oil or Kerosene? A Question of Indoor Air Quality.

Kerosene comes in two varieties: red kerosene and K-1. Red kerosene is dyed red for tax purposes and is generally used to fuel industrial equipment. DON’T ever burn red kerosene in an indoor oil lamp, because the fumes from the red dye can be harmful. K-1 Kerosene can be used in indoor lanterns but contains sulfur and other impurities that can give it an unpleasant, oily smell when it burns (which can give some people a headache). Because of these impurities, it also gives off considerably more smoke than pure lamp oil.

True, kerosene will save you a few bucks over lamp oil, but you're sacrificing purity. Keep your indoor air clean - stick with paraffin lamp oil this winter!


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