Outdoors blog


Does Kerosene Go Bad?

Kerosene will go bad after 5 years due to bacteria and mold. If you see bubbles at the bottom then it is not good. It has a typical shelf life of 2-5 years depending on the container.


Kerosene, which is also known as paraffin is a flammable hydrocarbon liquid that’s commonly used as fuel. Kerosene is typically colorless or pale yellow, and it’s used by homes and businesses for generating light, heat, and power.

This fuel aka:

· Paraffin

· 28-second oil

· Kerosene

· Lamp oil

· Boiler fuel and

· Burning oil, among many more names

Because kerosene is a hydrocarbon fuel, it’s obtained by the fractional distillation method of crude oil. Kerosene has a low viscosity, hence the name ’28-second oil’, which distinguishes kerosene’s viscosity using a dedicated test of how long it takes 50ml of kerosene to drip inside a beaker.


The History of Kerosene

Kerosene was discovered by Abraham Gesner who was a Canadian physician. The fuel was discovered in the late 1840s and was initially manufactured from shale oils and coal tar. But since the drilling of the first oil well, which was done in Pennsylvania in the year 1859 by E.L. Drake, petroleum ended up becoming the major source of the kerosene fuel that’s widely used to date.

Kerosene grew to be one major refinery product for several decades due to its use in lamps. However, this dramatically changed when the inception of the electric lamp overtook kerosene’s popularity.

Furthermore, kerosene grew less popular when gasoline was discovered by the automobile industry. This is because gasoline became the more important petroleum product compared to kerosene. However, kerosene remains to be one of the most used fuels among millions of people for cooking, lighting, and heating as well.


How Kerosene is Produced

As you may know, the color of kerosene is characterized by a clear and light appearance. Furthermore, this type of fuel is also free from solid matter. And like mentioned earlier, kerosene is typically pale yellow or colorless.

But kerosene also features added dye sometimes so that it’s easy to distinguish it from other fuels like red diesel. With a density level of between 0.78-0.81 g/cm³ (gram per cubic centimeter), kerosene features a very thin viscosity as part of its characteristics.

The actual density of kerosene is 0.82 g/cm³, while that of its similar counterpart (paraffin) is 0.8g/cm³. As you can see, the two types of oil are largely the same. And while the composition of kerosene highly depends on its source, kerosene mostly consists of hydrocarbons.

In total, there are about ten different hydrocarbons that are found in kerosene, and each of them contains 10-16 carbon atoms per molecule. Additionally, the following make up kerosene’s main constituents:

· Branched-chain paraffin

· Saturated straight-chain

· Ring-shaped cycloparaffins

As for the production process, kerosene is a derivative of petroleum, which is a naturally occurring oil found beneath the surface of the earth. Petroleum is drilled out of the ground using temperatures ranging from 150 to 275°C. This oil is then broken down into several variants through the fractional distillation method, which is how kerosene, petrol, butane, and propane, among other fuels, are obtained from petroleum.


Does Kerosene Produce Harmful Fumes?

Unlike most fuels, kerosene burns relatively clean and produces low carbon monoxide risks. And because kerosene lacks fuel vapor, it can’t cause fire or explode. This is why kerosene is recommended for cooking, lighting, and heating homes and businesses as well.

However, you still need to be cautious when using kerosene because inhaling a significant amount of kerosene fumes causes dizziness. Furthermore, it’s also proven that inhaling kerosene fumes for a prolonged period may also cause kidney or neurological damage.

Therefore, while kerosene might be harmful to touch, inhaling its fumes or ingesting kerosene in your system can bring a fatal outcome.


Kerosene Use Indoors

Simply put, kerosene is a much safer, non-corrosive, and less volatile fuel when compared to other forms of fuel. Due to kerosene’s flash point of 38°C, it’s much safer and easy to handle fuel in homes.

Additionally, the heating oil systems that use kerosene won’t give you soot, dirt, and any odors but only if you install and store it appropriately. But that’s not the only advantage of using kerosene fuel.

The following are more reasons why people prefer using this type of fuel

· Safe – Kerosene burns cleanly and has a low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning compared to other fuels

· Affordable – Kerosene is economical to produce and this makes it cheaper than other forms of fuel

· Environmentally friendly – This type of fuel produces minimal amounts of fumes, which makes it safe and environmentally friendly.

· Longer shelf life – When stored accordingly, kerosene can last for long periods due to its non-corrosive nature, up to 5 years.


Different Forms of Kerosene Use

Since it was discovered, there have been major improvements in refining kerosene for more use. As a result, kerosene has grown from being considered as just a heating oil, and now features a wide array of usability.

Here are the different ways that kerosene is currently being used:

· Cooking, heating, and lighting

· Used as jet engine fuel

· Cleaning agent

Kerosene is efficient, affordable, and safe to use, which are some of the main characteristics that make this form of fuel highly preferable. You only have to ensure that you store it properly and use it accordingly to avoid any harmful results on your end. It should be good for up to 5 years.