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FAQs – Kerosene


What is Kerosene?

Kerosene is an extremely well known and popular fuel. It is a flammable hydrocarbon, an element consisting of Carbon (C) and Hydrogen (H), that has been used for centuries around the world. Kerosene and other hydrocarbons are obtained from crude oil by a process known as fractional distillation.

Fractional distillation is used to produce the fuel on an industrial scale by distilling crude oil in a process similar to that used to produce diesel or petrol.


What is it used for?

Kerosene is extremely popular in aviation, both as jet fuel and rocket fuel, as the fuel meets specifications for the temperature it remains a liquid at before freezing, the speed and efficiency with which it burns and it’s relatively high flash point, the temperature at which it ignites.


When was Kerosene discovered?

Inventor Abraham Gesner trademarked the term Kerosene in 1854 but the history of heating oil goes back much further. There is plenty of evidence that as far back as 1500 BC the Chinese were using heating oil for lamps.


What are the other common names for Kerosene?

As you might expect from a fuel that’s been around since at least the 9th century, home heating oil has plenty of other names. It is commonly referred to as:

  • Boiler Juice
  • Burning Oil
  • 28 Second Heating Oil
  • Industrial Paraffin
  • C2 Kero
  • Standard Kero


How widely is burning oil used in the UK?

There are approximately 1.1 million properties in the UK that use heating oil as the primary fuel for heating, it is also used in a purer form for cooking.


What is the lifespan of heating oil?

The lifespan of heating oil is dependent upon the conditions in which it is kept. If it is stored in a purpose made, weather proof container, it should last around two years and up to a maximum of around five years.


Are there different grades of kerosene?

In the UK there are two standard grades of heating oil. BS 2869 Class C1 is used for lanterns, camping stoves, wick heaters. BS 2869 Class C2 is used as domestic heating oil.


What temperature does Kerosene burn at?

Kerosene’s flash point is in excess of 35 degrees Celsius.


Is kerosene dangerous?

The health risks associated with handling and using heating oil are minimal, provided that the fuel is used in accordance with safety practices.


What more?

Check out Kerosene: health effects, incident management and toxicology for information about heating oil (also known as paraffin and jet fuel), for use in responding to chemical incidents.


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