Can An Oil Lamp Heat A Room? Oil Lamp Calculator, Facts And Guidance

  • By: Michael
  • Date: August 3, 2022
  • Time to read: 11 min.
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In this post, I’m going to provide you with facts about whether you can use oil lamps to heat your room.

I’m going to tell you the pros and cons of using oil lamps to heat a room, how an oil lamp can be used for heat effectively and how and how oil lamps can be used safely indoors.

Oil Lamps can heat homes. It is more practical to only heat a small area in your home with oil lamps in an emergency. Other issues to consider when using oil lamps for heat indoors are safety, cost, health, and sustainability.

I have done a deep dive into this topic so you don’t have to!

Let’s get into it…

Can An Oil Lamp Heat A Room? Oil Lamp Calculator, Facts And Guidance

Table of Contents

How Effective Are Oil Lamps At Heating A Room?

So, Can an oil lamp heat a room?

Oil lamps, such as a kerosene lamp, can be a great way to heat a small space, like a bedroom or bathroom. They are inexpensive to buy and operate, and they can provide steady, gentle heat. But how effective are they really? Can an oil lamp actually heat a room?

To answer this question, we need to understand how much heat an oil lamp can produce. Most oil lamps can generate around 1-2 watts of heat, which is enough to raise the temperature of a small room by a few degrees. In other words, an oil lamp can make a room feel more comfortable, but it’s not going to transform a freezing cold room into a sauna. For that, you’ll need a bigger heater.

If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful way to keep your home warm this winter, then an oil lamp might be worth considering. Just don’t expect it to work miracles!

Next, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using oil lamps for heat….

The Benefits Of Using An Oil Lamp To Heat Your Room

3 main benefits of using an oil lamp to heat your home are:

  • Oil lamps are inexpensive to purchase and operate.
  • They produce a consistent, steady heat that can be easily controlled.
  • Oil lamps are very safe to use, and there is no risk of fire (if used correctly)

The Disadvantages Of Using An Oil Lamp To Heat Your Room

3 main drawbacks of using an oil lamp to heat your home are:

  • Oil lamps can produce a lot of smoke and fumes, which can be unhealthy to breathe in.
  • They can be messy to operate, as the oil can spill and make a mess.
  • Oil lamps require regular maintenance, such as cleaning and refilling.

How Many Oil lamps Do I Need To Heat My Room?

(could create a calculator)

The number of oil lamps required to heat your room will, of course, depend on a number of factors.

3 main factors influencing how many oil lamps are required to heat a room are:

  • size of the room
  • type of oil used
  • lamp efficiency

1 gallon (3.79 kg) of kerosene outputs 135,000 BTU of heat, according to www.nooutage.com

0.26 gallon (1 kg) of lamp oil outputs 43000 BTU of heat, according to Clare on https://www.diy-forums.com. So 1 gallon (3.79 kg) of lamp oil produces 165,000 BTU of heat, making it a slightly more efficient lamp oil.

(The term BTU is short for British Thermal Unit. It is a unit of measurement that is used to determine the amount of heat required to raise or lower the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. One BTU is equivalent to about 0.293 watts.)

At a minimum, in general, one quart (0.95 kg) of oil per day will be required to heat every 1000 square feet (93 square metres) of space.

However, If you have a 500-square-foot living room, you would need two quarts of oil per day to heat it adequately. Of course, this is just a general guideline – your specific needs may vary depending on the factors mentioned above. But regardless of your particular situation, using oil lamps to heat your home can be a great way to save money on your heating bill.

In a real-world test:

Ura-Ki reporting on survivalmonkey.com took two oil lamps into a room measuring 12’X 16′ (3.66m X 4.88m)

Hours of heatDegrees FahrenheitDegrees Celcius
012-11.11
122-5.55
2393.88
3457.22
Table showing how long two oil lamps took to heat a room measuring 12’X 16′ (3.66m X 4.88m)

Repeating the experiment with 4 lamps the following night Ura-Ki reached a temperature of 68 deg fahrenheit (20 deg celcius) in four hours, with the heat still rising!

Number of Oil Lamps calculator

I have put together this handy calculator to help you determine how many oil lamps you need to heat a room. Thanks to www.greatrads.co.uk for the math!

The calculations are based on heating a room where the daytime outdoor temperature is around 55.4 deg fahrenheit (13 deg celcius) to achieve an indoor temperature of 68 deg fahrenheit (20 deg celcius).

How Much Does It Cost Per Hour To Use An Oil Lamp For Heat?

The average current price of running an oil lamp is just $0.02 or $0.03 per hour, according to the website www.outdoorlife.com

That means that you could heat your home for less than $1 per day using an oil lamp!

Tips For Choosing The Right Oil Lamp To Heat Your Room

  1. Buy a Tubular Lamp
  2. Buy a lamp with a large reservoir

@Marty Harless highlights that –

“Tubular lanterns such as this have a built-in safety feature in that if they are knocked over the flame will extinguish within seconds if it is designed properly. The air tubes on either side of the lantern Supply fresh air to the burner. If the lantern is tipped over the supply of air through the tubes is disrupted and the flame goes out.”

@Harry Johnson recommends:

“the Dietz model 2500 oil lantern is about forty dollars. It holds nearly three quarts of fuel and will run 75 hours on a tank. This model was used in old days to heat greenhouses”

How To Use An Oil Lamp Safely And Effectively To Heat Your Room

Oil lamps have been used for centuries as a means of providing light and heat. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of oil lamps as an alternative to electric lighting and heating. While oil lamps can be an effective and safe way to heat and light your home, there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind.

When using an oil lamp for heating, it is important to keep the flame low and steady. A flickering or smoking flame can be a sign that the wick is too high or that the oil is dirty. You should also be sure to keep the area around the lamp well-ventilated to prevent the build-up of fumes.

As with any open flame, it is important to exercise caution when using an oil lamp. Keep children and pets away from the lamp and never leave the flame unattended. Be sure to extinguish the flame completely before leaving the area or going to sleep.

If you are using an oil lamp for emergency lighting, it is important to have a backup plan in place in case the lamp is knocked over or the oil runs out. Keep a flashlight and extra batteries on hand, and consider investing in a battery-operated or solar-powered lamp.

With proper use, an oil lamp can be a safe and effective way to heat and light your home. By following these simple safety tips, you can enjoy the benefits of this time-honored tradition without putting yourself or your family at risk.

I would ensure that you always have a functioning and tested monitor for carbon monoxide poisoning when using an oil lamp indoors.

10 top tips for using an oil lamp safely indoors:

  • 1. Never leave a burning oil lamp or kerosene lamps unattended. Extinguish the flame when you leave the room and before going to sleep.
  • 2. Place the lamp on a stable, heat-resistant surface away from flammable materials such as curtains or furniture.
  • 3. Keep the oil lamp wicks trimmed to 1/4 inch to prevent the flame from getting too large.
  • 4. Fill the oil reservoir only halfway to avoid spillage or overflow when the lamp is tipped over.
  • 5. Use a funnel to pour oil into the lamp to avoid spills.
  • 6. Never use water to extinguish a lamp fire. Smother the flames with a heavy cloth or lid.
  • 7. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies.
  • 8. Never move a burning lamp. Extinguish the flame first, then carefully carry the lamp to its new location.
  • 9. Use caution when lighting the lamp. Do not touch the wick or flame with your bare hands.
  • 10. Inspect the oil lamp regularly to ensure it is in good working condition. Replace any worn parts immediately.

How To Maximize Heat Output From An Oil Lamp

Oil lamps are a great way to heat your home, but there are a few things you can do to maximize their heat output. Make sure the wick is trimmed to the proper length, as this will ensure that the flame is at its optimal size. You can also adjust the reflector to direct more heat into the room and be sure to keep the glass clean so that heat isn’t lost through the sides. With a little care, your oil lamp can keep your home warm and cozy all winter long!

10 ways to increase heat output from an oil lamp:

  • 1. Use a high-quality oil lamp.
  • 2. Use a wick that is the correct size for your lamp.
  • 3. Trim the wick to the correct length.
  • 4. Make sure the wick is centered in the flame.
  • 5. Don’t let the flame get too low.
  • 6. Don’t let the flame get too high.
  • 7. Use a reflector to increase the heat output.
  • 8. Place the lamp in a strategic location.
  • 9. Insulate the room as much as possible.
  • 10. Use additional heating sources if necessary.

Optimum Wick Height For Heat

@Marty Harless commenting on Jaynes Network video “Kerosene Lantern for Heat and Light’ states that the oil wick should first be barely high enough to light. The oil wick should then be turned low for between 1 and 2 minutes. This will warm up both the oil lamp burner assembly and glass. Then turn the oil wick up high as possible without smoking. As a result, the oil lamp should remain clear of soot and will burn more completely, creating less CO and more heat.

Disperse Heat From Your Oil Lamp

@AQUATICSLIVE commenting on Timothy Keller Vandweller’s video “Living in a Van… Oil Lamp for Heat?’ recommends using a small battery-powered fan to disperse the heat from your oil lamp around the space you want to be heated.

What Oil Should I Use In My Oil Lamp?

Approved Lamp Fuel For Oil Lamps according to Outdoorlife.com are:

  • 1. Non-dyed (clear) kerosene (sometimes referred to as Aladdin lamp oil)
  • 2. Klean-Heat kerosene substitute
  • 3. Standard clear lamp oil
  • 4. Citronella oil (outdoor use only)

@Timothy Keller Vandweller suggests that lamp oil is cleaner than Kerosene and that where it is heavily used in Africa Kerosene Oil is the equivalent of smoking 2 packets of cigarettes per day. Responding to the video @totallyfrozen refutes this claim stating that once Kerosene oil is up to operating temperature it burns cleanly.

@totallyfrozen goes on to state “The hotter the flame, the more complete the combustion, and the less smoke and toxic gases are produced. Also, the lighter the fuel is, the easier it is to reach complete combustion. So with that in mind, propane is a gas; therefore, it’s lighter than liquid fuels or solid (candle) fuels.”

@pieter zeeuwen adds that “The question is not so much whether or not the oil is toxic. Burning a fuel like that will release soot. And that will get into your lungs. That is bad. Really bad. Even if you regulate the flame so that it doesn’t seem to release soot, it still does. Just look at the ceiling above any oil lamp or candle that has been burning a long time in the same spot.”

redhillgeneralstore.com state that olive oil is the purest lamp oil at greater than 99% purity stating that “If the wick is properly trimmed and there is no draft, it should not smoke. Olive oil is a clean renewable fuel that does not produce smoke or odor.”

While a correctly ventilated room will alleviate the risk of soot and toxin build-ups from burning an oil lamp and given the cost of olive oil for most uses standard clear lamp oil is the stand-out choice for use in your indoor oil lamp.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is An Oil Lamp And How Does It Work?

See my guide to oil lamps

Does The Type Of Wick Impact The Heat Produced By An Oil Lamp?

The type of wick in an oil lamp can affect the heat that is produced. For example, a cotton wick will produce less heat than a linen wick. If you are looking to use your oil lamp for heating purposes, it is best to use a wick made from material that will produce more heat.

The surface area of the wick controls the rate at which oil is drawn up and vaporized. A larger wick has a higher surface area, allowing it to vaporize more oil. This results in a brighter flame and more heat output, at the cost of burn time.

Therefore, a flat wick produces less heat than a round wick. This is because the round wick has a larger surface area, allowing it to vaporize more oil. As a result, the round wick produces a brighter flame and more heat output.

If you are looking for a lamp that produces a lot of heat, then you should choose one with a rounder wick, but it won’t produce as much light. So, if you are looking for a lamp that produces a softer light, then you should choose one with a flat wick. Check out my detailed guide to oil wicks for more information.

Is Using An Oil Lamp For Heat Dangerous?

If you are considering using an oil lamp for heat in indoor use, there are some things you should know first. Oil lamps give off fumes that can be dangerous if used in a small space. If you have asthma or another respiratory condition, using an oil lamp for heat could trigger an attack. Additionally, oil lamps can be a fire hazard if not used properly. Make sure to keep the lamp away from flammable materials, and never leave it unattended. If you have young children, it is best to find another source of heat for your home.

Now that you know the risks associated with using an oil lamp for heat, you can decide if it is the right choice for you.

Where Can I Buy An Oil Lamp For Heat?

There are a variety of places you can buy an oil lamp for heat. Your local home improvement store is a great place to start looking. You can also find them online, like on Amazon, at speciality hardware stores that sell lighting fixtures, or even at some antique stores. Be sure to shop around to get the best price and be sure to read the reviews before purchasing to ensure you’re getting a quality product.

Acknowledgements

http://www.nooutage.com/fuels.htm

https://www.survivalmonkey.com/threads/do-you-know-what-this-is-oil-lamp.57205/

https://www.redhillgeneralstore.com/Oil-Lamp-Parts/Lantern-Oil.htm#:~:text=The%20cleanest%20burning%20fuel%20is,not%20produce%20smoke%20or%20odor.

https://www.antiquelampsupply.com/type-of-oil-used-in-oil-lamps

https://www.antiquelampsupply.com/how-to-choose-safe-oil-for-your-oil-lamp

https://www.greatrads.co.uk/blogs/news/how-to-calculate-the-correct-btus-for-your-room