The dangers of using a kerosene heater include fires, explosions, burns, asphyxiation and carbon monoxide pollution. Kerosene heaters also emit nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, which can put the health of pregnant women and asthmatics at risk.
Using the wrong kind of fuel in a kerosene heater causes the equipment to burn too hot, which can result in a serious fire or explosion. Adding fuel while the heater is hot can also cause a fire by igniting the fumes. Kerosene heaters need to be refueled outdoors and away from buildings or areas that can catch on fire. It is important to keep children and pets away from kerosene heaters because direct contact with the equipment can result in burns.
A kerosene heater placed in a poorly ventilated or small room can be a safety hazard because it depletes the room’s oxygen to dangerously low levels. The low oxygen levels also reduce the fuel’s combustibility, which causes carbon monoxide to accumulate. Breathing in carbon monoxide over a period of time can lead to poisoning and death.
The dangers of kerosene heaters can be mitigated by keeping the heater away from anything flammable, which includes bedding, furniture, curtains, pets and people. Placing the heater in a well-ventilated room, or opening nearby doors and windows, can help prevent carbon monoxide hazards.