Tech Tip: Portable Kerosene Heaters

Posted on: November 24th, 2016 by Mi-T-M | 9 Comments
Industrial Equipment Tips

For the Mi-T-M Pressure Washer Certified Technician.

Heater Season Again

The most common heaters you will see in the field are the Portable Kerosene Heaters (or Kerosene Forced Air, KFA). To best help you tackle issues with these heaters, new or used; here are some initial questions our Tech Team will ask you.

1)What is your air pressure?

There is a small carbon vain pump on the back of the fan motor that creates air (typically under 10 PSI) that pumps through the burner head creating a venture to lift the fuel and spray (atomize). So if there’s poor or no air pressure, then there’s poor or no fuel atomization.

portable heater motor

Fan motor and air pump assembly

2) What is the condition of the fuel?

Good and proper fuel is vital. Old or poor fuel can clog up filters, nozzles and not light correctly.

3) Is there a good spark?

At start up, our KFA Heaters will have spark for 20 seconds. The spark is only for initial lighting; the flame stays lit based on proper air and fuel balance.

4) Is the heater lighting?

If the heater is lighting and how the heater is shutting down are very important indicators. For example, the most common heater problems is when the heater will start, light, run for a few seconds or minutes and then shut down and smoke. Any smoking is a sign of incorrect fuel/air mixture and in most cases is caused by poor fuel atomization at the nozzle. After double checking the air pressure, we would recommend new fuel, a new fuel filter, and cleaning or replacing the fuel nozzle.

portable heater ignitor


For more information on equipment service or repair, visit our service locator here.

9 Responses

  1. WTFIXAIR says:

    This blog will help us to tackle the issue with our heater in an effective manner. Nice blog.

  2. John says:

    for the 75,000 btu kerosene heaters can you intermix diesel fuel in different ratios? Does the unit need to be calibrated for the fuel type?


    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi John,

      Yes, you can intermix the diesel fuel and it should not affect the unit. Hope that answers your question, feel free to give us a call at 800-553-9053 if you need anything else. Thanks!

  3. Brett says:

    Just firing up brand new 190k BTU KFA heater using 1-K kerosene. Lights and runs for a few minutes (10) at 8 psi. Then stops running and shows code E1. What can I do to stop this?

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Brett,

      Sorry for the delay, could you please give one of our technicians a call at 800-367-6486. We think this would be easier to troubleshoot over a call. Thanks!

  4. Al says:

    My heater is only working when I have the sheet metal loosened? Why?

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Al,

      It could be low air pressure where the rotor may need adjusting or poor fuel or a dirty fuel filter. Please check these and let us know if you’re still having this issue. You can give us a call at 1-800-553-9053.

  5. Ron wing says:

    I have a problem with a forced air kerosene portable heater, Reddy Heater model R40. I called 800-553-9053, but the receptionist would not pass me thru to talk to a tech. If someone could call me I would greatly appreciate it- 269-251-1132. Thank you.

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Ron, We’ve passed along you info to our Customer Support department & they should be reaching out to you soon!

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