How to Replace a Wick in a Kerosene Heater

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Kerosene is often used in heaters and lamps.
Kerosene is often used in heaters and lamps. (Image: flame image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Kerosene heaters use a wick that is lowered and rises for added or lowered heat contents. The wick soaks up the kerosene oil so that the top of the wick is covered in oil and draws up the kerosene until the entire heater no longer has oil. Replacing the wick is a necessary part of maintaining the heater and avoiding problems with the heater. Wick replacement is necessary about once a year to prevent problems with the kerosene heater.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Marker

Burn out the kerosene oil until it is completely dry and drained. Allow the unit to cool before touching it.

Remove the batteries, adjusting knob and fuel tank. These usually are pulled out without difficulty.

Remove the catalytic converter. Open the grill to get this out and lift it out. Avoid accidentally breaking the glass chimney.

Unscrew the cabinet and remove it. Lift it out and place it beside the screws to avoid losing the screws. Remove the windshield if the heater has a windshield. The windshield sits over the burner.

Unscrew the wing nuts at the base of the heater. Lift the wick adjuster straight up to remove it from the base of the heater.

Mark the old wick at the base of where it sticks out and then remove it from the holder sleeve by folding it inward. Remove the wick from the holding teeth. Be careful of the teeth because they are very sharp and can hurt.

Compare the marked line on the old wick to the black line found on the new wick. Mark the new wick if the lines do not match up so that they will. This determines how far to insert the replacement wick.

Fold the new wick and place it into the holder sleeve until the mark shows the area to stop. Press the wick into the holding teeth to keep it in place.

Slide the new wick and the sleeve into the draft tube. Rotate and press hard so that the teeth catch the wick firmly. Check that the sleeve moves freely in the draft tube and that it is at the center.

Look at the gasket and make sure it is on top of the fuel tank. Check that the wick adjuster shaft is toward the front.

Place the adjuster knob back onto the unit. Check for tension or problems with adjusting. Adjust until lowered completely. Rotate the knob 3/4 of a turn in a clockwise direction, and then insert the pinion. Lower the unit onto the base and check it for ease of movement. Loosely screw on the wing nuts. Move the wick until it is fully upright.

Tighten the wing nuts and check the wick height. Make sure it is even all the way around and that it is around 3/8 of an inch in height. If adjustments are needed, loosen the wing nuts and adjust the wick before tightening again.

Remove the adjusting knob and then put the heater back together in the opposite direction as it was taken apart. Do not burn the heater until the wick has soaked up oil, usually around 20 to 60 minutes depending on the heater.

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