Thread Number: 81783  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Oil Lamp soot issue
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Post# 1057926   1/17/2020 at 15:39 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I'm de-christmasing and had a question.  I have 3 oil lamps, all use the same smokeless oil yet no matter how I adjust the wick one smokes.  Tried the wick both higher and lower can't seem to find an answer.  Anyone have some insight?

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Post# 1057954 , Reply# 1   1/17/2020 at 18:38 by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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I’ve had this same problem with the kerosene lamps we have.  Sometimes trimming the wick down to where its no longer burnt has helped in the past, but not anymore.  Also, lowering the wick can sometimes stop the smoking.


 I think its something to do with the quality of lamp oil thats now available.  What we currently have on hand is supposed to be smokeless lamp oil, but its not.  In fact when we had the 5 day power outage in October due to the wildfires north of us we didn’t even bother to bring out these two  lamps.  To keep them from smoking the wick has to be lowered so much that we get very little light, but lots of noxious fumes, no bueno.  So we just used battery operated lanturns and emergency candles in the tall glass containers.



Post# 1057973 , Reply# 2   1/17/2020 at 20:51 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Candles and Oil Lamps

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Are all going to smoke to some extent, the smoke is not good for you or your house, whenever you burn solid fuels this will happen.


I work with several property owners who put in the tenants leases that they are not to use any candles, oil lamps, incense  etc in the homes they are renting because of the damage it does to the home.


Butane or Natural gas candles are better and best of all are the cool LED candles.


John L.

Post# 1057993 , Reply# 3   1/18/2020 at 00:59 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I can deal with a bit of smoke, but this is over the top, the other two lamps are fine just not sure why the large one is a mess.


These get used around the holidays and occasionally  when I have people over for dinner or the power goes out.

Post# 1058313 , Reply# 4   1/21/2020 at 19:12 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Have you tried liquid paraffin?

Post# 1058346 , Reply# 5   1/22/2020 at 02:20 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Can't say I have.  It got hard to find clear lamp oil, for some reason there is a lot of green and red stuff out there.  Next time I'm out of oil I hope I remember to look for liquid paraffin.

Post# 1058365 , Reply# 6   1/22/2020 at 09:24 by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
paraffin oil:

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is essentially kerosene:

"James G. Speight PhD, DSc, in Handbook of Industrial Hydrocarbon Processes, 2011

Kerosene and related fuels:
Kerosene (kerosine), also called paraffin or paraffin oil, is a flammable pale-yellow or colorless oily liquid with a characteristic odor. It is obtained from petroleum and used for burning in lamps and domestic heaters or furnaces, as a fuel or fuel component for jet engines, and as a solvent for greases and insecticides.

Kerosene is intermediate in volatility between gasoline and gas/diesel oil. It is a medium oil distilling between 150 and 300C (300570F). Kerosene has a flash point about 25C (77F) and is suitable for use as an illuminant when burned in a wide lamp."

We use straight kerosene from the pump, trim the wicks often, and when doing so we cut (bevel) the corners on each side so it in effect narrows towards the top leaving a flat area approx 2/3 of the width of the wick. For years we used lamps every night at dinner and this worked well to minimize smoking. But kero didn't smell as good as some lamp oils and does degrade the indoor air, so now we've gone to LED candles at meals.

Post# 1058368 , Reply# 7   1/22/2020 at 09:36 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Well I think in my case it comes down to practices.  Only one of three lamps smoke.

Post# 1058398 , Reply# 8   1/22/2020 at 15:00 by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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They all smoke, one smokes more ;)

There is a difference somewhere that cause the deposit on the one. Either the wick or the airflow differs somehow assuming they are burning the same oil.

I like collecting cold blast kerosene lanterns, but I will ONLY ever burn them outdoors. I won't light a candle in the house anymore either. A while back I helped a friend repaint a ceiling in a room that had candles burned in it often. Had only been 8 years since the ceiling was previously painted, the difference was astonishing. My no candle rule came after that.

Post# 1058495 , Reply# 9   1/23/2020 at 08:41 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

askolover's profile picture

We used to burn scented candles all the time.  A couple years ago I was asleep and Tony had a large candle burning on the kitchen table.  It had 3 wicks.  Apparently it broke the glass container it came in and ran all over the table and onto placemats and such which then became a wick.  I was awakened by a strange beeping noise outside my door.  When I opened the door I was greeted by a house full of black smoke and two cats running around trying to find a way out.  Tony was asleep on the couch (and that boy can sleep through a hurricane).  I saw orange flickers in the kitchen and happened to have a full cup of water in my hand (I take one to bed with me every day) and just doused the flames with it, screamed for Tony to wake up and get outside while I got the smoldering items off the table.  My ceilings are still gray from the soot but I will be painting them soon before I put down new Pergo.  We now only use tea lights that burn themselves out in 4 hours.

Post# 1058502 , Reply# 10   1/23/2020 at 09:33 by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

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This is what our church uses in our liquid wax candles.  No problems with smoke or soot at all.  We've been using it for over 25 years.


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