How Long Does A Wick Last In A Kerosene Heater?

It’s important to know how long a wick lasts in a kerosene heater because they can be expensive, and you might not want to replace the wick as often as needed. 

This post will give you detailed information about how long a wick should last, how to replace it, maintenance tips, and plenty of other helpful information.

How Long Does a Wick Last in a Kerosene Heater?

The average wick in a kerosene heater lasts for about 1 week. The life of the wick can vary depending on how much you use your heater and the type of fuel that is being used. 

You should change your wick at least once a month or when it becomes difficult to light, whichever happens first.

What is Kerosene Wick and What Does it Do?

A kerosene wick is the component of a kerosene heater that carries fuel to the burner. 

You must adjust the height and width of the wick for best results in terms of heat output, flame height, etc. 

You should use good quality material to make sure your heating needs are adequately met.

Kerosene wicks are the primary source of fuel for kerosene heaters. They draw up and vaporize liquid or gas fuels, such as oil or alcohol, becoming combustible gasses and burning. 

Kerosene wicks consist of a long fabric pull-through tube with porous material on an outer shell that draws in today’s lighter kerosene oils. 

The function behind them is to burn cleanly and safely while heating your home or business space during extremely cold weather times when there’s no power available (i.e., blizzard conditions).

Also Read- how to light kerosene heater

How Do I Know if My Kerosene Heater Wick is Bad?

A Kerosene heater wick that is not in good condition will need to be replaced if it no longer holds the fuel or absorbs kerosene from a bucket. 

In addition, poor airflow can cause your kerosene heater to shut off even though there’s still plenty of fuel in the tank. 

If you notice blue flames and hear popping sounds when turning on your heating unit, this could also indicate a bad wick.

Some of the common signs of a bad kerosene heater wick include:

  • When the wick is no longer able to hold or absorb kerosene from a bucket.
  • Blue flames are visible while lit & hear popping sounds when turning on the heating unit.
  • There’s plenty of fuel in the tank, but your heater shuts off anyways.

You can also check for bad kerosene heater wicks by removing them and inspecting them visually before purchasing a new one at hardware stores or from online-based retailers.

You can also check other kerosene heater wick problems and troubleshoot.

What Causes a Kerosene Heater Wick to Go Bad?

A kerosene heater wick typically goes bad because it becomes dirty. When the dirt builds up on the heating element, this reduces efficiency and causes damage to the system’s components over time. 

A dirty or damaged wick will need to be replaced after a few weeks of regular use. 

Other factors that contribute to natural wear and tear can also cause an increase in fuel consumption. They also affect how long a kerosene heater wick lasts. 

These factors include:

  • Using low-quality gasoline instead of clean-burning kerosene fuel.
  • Leaving your burner turned on when you are not using it for extended periods. 
  • Overfilling the tank with too much liquid fuel.
  • Not having a properly working wick adjustment system. 
  • Operating your heater outdoors in harsh weather conditions. 
  • Overhauling and cleaning the burner system too frequently.

Can You Replace the Wick in a Kerosene Heater?

Wicks for kerosene heaters vary in length and thickness, depending on the heater. It is possible to replace them. However, it can be difficult if you do not know what you’re doing. 

The best way to go about replacing a wick is by purchasing one that matches the specific model of your kerosene heater. 

If this isn’t an option, purchase a new one after measuring how long yours is currently. This will help you have something to reference when looking at other ones in-store. 

When taking apart your old wick, ensure all pieces are accounted for before throwing away or recycling any parts out of safety concerns. Especially if there is residual fuel left over from the last time they were used.

How Do You Replace Kerosene Heater Wick? Step-by-Step

Replacing a kerosene heater wick is quite easy. Here are the simple steps you need to take.

  1. The first step is to turn off the heater and unplug it.
  2. Empty all of the fuel from the tank so that you can work with ease.
  3. Finally, insert the new wick into your tank. Ensure that it’s inserted at a 45-degree angle and then tighten up the bolts to hold it in place.

You should note that in most cases, one wick lasts about a year before needing replacement. But it can vary depending on how often it’s used and what type of kerosene is being burned in it.

If you want to get another season or two out of your old wick, then clean them up when they start getting clogged. This will ensure they don’t stick together. 

But if you do decide to replace yours, here’s some more information about doing such!

How to Trim Kerosene Heater Wick

Wicks need regular maintenance, and proper trimming techniques will help ensure their long life span. Let’s take a look at how often you should be trimming the wick on your kerosene space heater:

You only want to replace the entire kerosene heater wick if is soot buildup around its base.

Don’t wait until the wick is completely burned through before you replace it. That’s because this will cause your heater to give off a foul odor and provide little heat for your home.

Don’t remove the wick and replace it with a lightweight one because this will cause your heater to give off little heat. Instead, you want to use as heavy of a wick as you can find for optimal performance from your kerosene wick heater.

We also recommend using safety equipment like gloves and eye protection when performing any maintenance or repairs. This also includes when changing its height or replacing it altogether.

How Do You Clean a Kerosene Heater Wick? Step-by-Step

To properly clean your kerosene heater wick, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Remove the wick from your kerosene heater. If you have not used it for a long time, there will be some dirt on it that needs to be removed.
  2. Take off any old pieces of the wick with pliers or by hand if they are still attached to the heater. Ensure no small pieces are left behind as they can clog up your heater and reduce its efficiency.
  3. Put aside the damaged parts of the wick and use new ones instead. You should replace them every few months.
  4. Wash the old wick with soap and water to remove all dirt, dust, or other particles. Rinse it thoroughly before using your kerosene heater again.
  5. Insert a new wick into your kerosene heater according to how big you want it to be. If no replacement perfectly fits in, then try cutting down one from another type of appliance like a lamp or oil burner.

Kerosene Heater Maintenance Tips

Some of the most important kerosene heater maintenance tips include:

  • Ensure that the wick is clean and properly adjusted. A dirty or burnt-out wick will result in a poor burn, which means more toxic fumes for you to breathe. Also, ensure that you have a consistent flame height by adjusting as necessary. If your heater has an automatic light function, make sure it’s working correctly by lighting the burner manually first before turning on the switch. This will prevent any issues with starting up later on down the line.
  • Always ensure that your kerosene heater is used in a well-ventilated space. That’s because breathing indoor air with higher-than-normal levels of unburned gases will result in poor quality air and could cause dizziness or nausea.
  • Ensure that you have an electric or battery-operated smoke detector installed within a reasonable distance from your kerosene heater to avoid any risk of asphyxiation should there be a fire hazard. Kerosene heaters are not intended for use in small enclosed spaces. So, make sure they’re used properly and remain safe at all times.
  • In case of a power outage, keep all doors closed and windows shut while operating your kerosene heater to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from the significant buildup of unburned gases in an enclosed space.


Are Kerosene Heater Wicks Universal?

No, kerosene heater wicks are not universal. Instead, they come in various sizes and shapes depending on the make and model you buy. 

If you only have one heater, then standard wicks will be compatible. 

But if you purchase a few heaters and want to use the same type of kerosene in each fuel tank, make sure that the wick matches.

How High Should a Kerosene Heater Wick Be?

The height of the wick is very important to the burning kerosene heater. A too short or high can result in an uneven burn, which will cause soot and smoke production. 

For best performance, I would suggest keeping your wick two inches above the heat plate.

This is because the plate can become too hot to touch if it’s closer than two inches. In addition, the flame should be bright blue and not yellow or orange. This will indicate a problem with your wick’s height.

Is it OK to Let a Kerosene Heater Run Out of Fuel?

If you’re unlucky enough to have a kerosene heater run out of fuel, it can be an inconvenience. If your tank was left empty for more than 30 minutes, the wick might need replacing. 

However, if this is possible and affordable – do so!

The cleaning procedure of dry burning burns your heater and wick to a crisp. Because it can become stinky and give poisonous gases, do this operation outside. 

Just before the wick goes out, turn it up to its maximum height for optimum cleaning. The ignition-to-normal-burning duration is too long.

Can You Adjust the Wick on a Kerosene Heater? How to Adjust

Yes, you can adjust the wick on a kerosene heater. 

To adjust the wick in an upright model, follow these steps: 

  1. Turn off all controls to let it cool down completely before doing any workaround or near the unit. 
  2. Check that the chimney cap is firmly attached to your unit. 
  3. With an adjustable wrench, carefully open up the metal band that attaches your cap to your heater’s tank. 
  4. Remove the chimney from the top of the unit by lifting it straight up from the base with two hands.
  5. If necessary, use pliers or small wire cutters for stubborn screws holding the cooler in place.
  6. Lastly, thread a new cord from the top of the collar to the strip edge before knotting it in place at the other end.


As you’ve seen from this post, a kerosene heater wick plays a significant role in its operation, and proper maintenance is quite crucial.

I hope this post has helped you learn important things about the kerosene heater wick. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us through email, and we’ll be happy to help you out with anything.