Storing Kerosene for Emergency Purposes

Peter Stec
February 28, 2021

Most machines and appliances today run on either electricity or gas (LPG). Automobile and several types of engines consume diesel and gas. Kerosene is a cheaper, longer-lasting substitute for these known fuels and storing them can become more than just handy in times of need.

Uses for Kerosene

Automatically, people would associate kerosene with lamps and camp stoves. This is because kerosene is ideal for small but efficient function. What most people do not know is that it can also be used to power larger machines like refrigerators, big stoves, and even tractors. In the event of a gas or electricity shortage, kerosene is the cheapest and easiest form of power source anyone can store and use. They are also much safer and least likely to cause hazardous complications if used within the house.

kerosene-smell

Advantage of Storing Kerosene Instead of Gasoline

Of all fuel types, kerosene is the most convenient, if not the easiest, to store. Unlike gasoline, kerosene is more energy-efficient and lasts much longer for consumption. It is more commonly used for cooking and lighting lamps rather than fuel for automobiles or motors. In the event of power shortages and similar scenarios, kerosene is the most efficient fuel to rely on.

Unlike gasoline, kerosene does not “freeze” under really cold temperature. It does not evaporate either, which makes people confident to store it for a longer period of time. There is no special form of treatment required in storing kerosene. If left in a clean, tight container under ideal temperature, kerosene will remain stable.

How to Store Kerosene Properly

Although kerosene requires no significant treatment, in particular, it does grow quite thick under such conditions and can be difficult to pour. Improper storage will result in a less efficient fuel. Kerosene that is stored in an unclean container will gather or “grow” organic elements that may result in thick, gooey substances. These can clog up engines or make kerosene hardly flammable.

Storing kerosene should be done safely, despite its safer quality compared to other gas fuels. Some people might think that stored kerosene in the garage is safe enough, but better precaution should be considered. A separate shed outdoors is the ideal place to store any form of fuel. It is also against most fire safety regulations to store flammable fuels inside the home.

Any type of approved container will be sufficient to store kerosene in, provided that it can be tightly sealed and has no leaks. Oil drums are the best choice because they have lockable seals. For larger quantities of kerosene, diesel tanks might serve more space while plastic bucket containers will suffice for smaller amounts. When storing with steel tanks, make sure to provide some ventilation since kerosene may tend to contract or expand depending on the temperature.  For smaller quantities, we like the Eagle Safety Can.

Eagle UI-50-SB Type I Metal Safety Can, Kerosene, 12-1/2

Do not, however, store any form of fuel in a glass container. Glass absorbs and increases heat, transmitting it into its interior which may ignite the kerosene inside. Even when placed in sheds, stored kerosene should be kept in ideal temperatures, at least nowhere near 563 degrees Fahrenheit. Kerosene will auto-ignite under that condition. Normally, red-colored containers indicate that it contains gasoline. Blue is the color to indicate “kerosene”. If a blue container is unavailable (you can get one fromAmazon ), labeling the tanks or buckets is highly preferred. This will help avoid accidental usage.

Finally, make sure to position containers where there are no other flammable items nearby. Tanks should be stored horizontally, layered on top of each other. Slightly elevating the platform that the containers are placed on is alright. Just make sure to have the sides bordered safely to prevent any of the containers from slipping off or falling, just in case.

Conclusion

Although storing kerosene is not an ideal preparation for everyone, it can save much energy and give light in times of need. Dark days with no electrical or gas power will be easier to live through with good storage and preparation.

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About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like KnifeUp.com every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

12 comments on “Storing Kerosene for Emergency Purposes”

  1. This is a very informative article. I like that you point out that kerosene does not freeze or evaporate, thus making it easier to store. I think that one of the hardest things about having an emergency preparedness kit is that you have to replace the articles every so often. I can see why kerosene would be a good choice when wanting something that doesn’t have to be changed out so often. My mom is really big into emergency preparedness. I will have to show her the advantages of having kerosene stored with the other things.

  2. Amen to storing kerosene outdoors in a metal shed. It will coagulate in winter if it’s very cold, say below zero, so be prepared by decanting to a smaller (say one gallon) container which will warm up faster when brought indoors prior to filling indoor heaters or stoves.
    It can give a smoky or sooty fire if your burners are not set right, much as a kerosene lamp will if the wick is too long or not trimmed cleanly. It burns hot enough in a kerosene stove to cook even large meals. The food prep area must be vented for safety (crack open a window a bit) because of carbon monoxide from burning kerosene.
    It is great and cheap and safe for a whole house or large room heater if safely vented. It will not explode under normal use and is easy to handle, unlike bottle gas which is very heavy and awkward if you are small or not very strong. Kerosene in drums may be kept outdoors and ordered in advance of use for a few months at a time, if you use a reliable dealer who supplies only clean and dedicated kerosene drums. The kerosene odor while noticeable is not offensive and washes of hands or clothes quickly. Keeping the fuel cans outdoors is the best idea. It is cheap, that’s for sure.

  3. I want to know that there is any Government Order for filling drum of kerosine is upto neck full or below the neck please advice me and why

  4. We lost power for three days and I found an old kerosene lamp that I know is 10 years old with kerosene in the lamp I lit the lamp and burn normal for well over six hours

  5. I am curious as to how I can store a 275 gallon drum outside and for how many years. And expect to use it in a Kerosene heater.

  6. Right on time! Article addressed, and answered clearly several questions I had regarding the stability and storage of k-1. It’s expensive at clear averaging $10+ a gallon here in Maryland so definitely don’t want it evaporating on me.

  7. Ron, I feel better now. In the Redwood Forest of California it went to $4.09. I can only pour 4 gallons so my 8 gallons I get each trip costs me a gallon more. I could drive 20 miles to Oregon to get it cheaper but then it costs more in gasoline. Usually I have at least 50 gallons delivered (minimum) but prices went up for summer driving including kerosene campers and never went down. Now I’ve learned the cost this winter of having it not delivered is washer and dryer usage because the fumes no matter how many times I wash hands and wear gloves the linger in car and clothes is worth having it delivered.

  8. You made an interesting point when you mentioned it is important to never store any kind of gas in a glass container. I’m always looking for ways to save money on energy and heating in winter, so I have been looking into kerosene as an option for heating. I’ll have to contact a company and see if I can get a kerosene tank or something similar.

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