Kerosene Storage Treatment: What you need to know

By: | October 19th, 2021

kerosene pump

Image by (El Caminante) from Pixabay

Petroleum-derived kerosene, also known as lamp oil, is widely used as a fuel for military equipment, aviation, as well as household items. Although many people use electricity or gas, kerosene is a cheaper and longer-lasting substitute for these fuels. Storing it is more than handy in times of need, but you need to know how to store it properly. In the U.S. many jurisdictions require kerosene storage in blue safety cans to be able to differentiate it from other types of fuel.

Below we’ll explain more about the uses of kerosene and how to properly store it.

Why Store Kerosene?

Kerosene is the most convenient and easiest fuel to store. It’s also more energy-efficient and can last much longer for consumption. In case of a power shortage, it’s the most efficient fuel to rely on, so it would be quite beneficial to have it stored. In comparison to gasoline, kerosene doesn’t freeze under extremely cold temperatures, and it also doesn’t evaporate. This makes it convenient to store it for a longer period.

If it’s stored in a clean and tight container under ideal temperatures it will remain stable. You can choose to store it in its original kerosene storage container or you can use the blue safety cans made of galvanized steel that are specifically designed to store this combustible hydrocarbon liquid. Remember that when handling and storing kerosene, it’s important to apply storage methods designed to comply with regulatory requirements to keep everyone safe.

Proper and Safe Kerosene Storage

Kerosene is a flammable liquid, so it must be safely stored in a flammable liquids storage cabinet. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), combustible and flammable liquids must be handled and stored in a way that will minimize the risk of fire because in commercial and industrial working areas there are potential ignition sources. The safety cans are made of 24-gauge galvanized steel and are made for maximum durability and chemical resistance.

The storage cabinets also have to follow certain requirements including construction, marking, ventilation, location, exclusion from ignition sources, and operation requirements. If the cabinet doesn’t meet them it cannot be used for storage. Note that these cabinets must have the correct dangerous goods signage to warn people of any hazards associated with the dangerous substance stored inside.   

Uses of Kerosene

People usually associate kerosene with camp stoves and lamps, but it can also be used to power larger machines like big stoves, refrigerators, and even tractors. In case of electricity or gas shortage, it would be the easiest and cheapest source of power anyone can use and store. It is most commonly used to power aircraft jet engines, and in some parts of Asia, it can also be used as fuel for motorcycles or small outboard motors.

Another thing about kerosene is that it is much safer and least likely to cause dangerous complications than other fuels used within the household. It is also used in the entertainment industry for fire performances like fire dancing, fire juggling or poi, and fire breathing. For example, in Australia, it has been used for water tank mosquito control. A thin floating layer above the water protects the tank temporarily until the defective tank is repaired.

How Flammable is Kerosene?

Knowing proper storage is important but you also must know how flammable kerosene is. Note that it’s the flammable vapors that disperse from the substance that burns, and not the liquid part of the kerosene. So, the more flammable vapors produced, the more flammable it will be. The main factor that gives the ability of a substance to produce flammable vapors are the forces of attraction between the molecules that make up that substance.

Since kerosene has quite small molecules, it means that less heat is required, therefore they can easily escape as gas. At temperatures above 36°C, it will produce enough flammable vapors forming a mixture with air that will ignite in the presence of an ignition source. Compared to other flammable substances like petrol, kerosene is less vaporous. This means that although kerosene is a flammable substance it’s still less vaporous and safer to use than petrol.  

In closing

Proper kerosene storage is important to prevent hazardous situations, especially if you want to store it indoors. There are strict regulations for storing it that one must follow accordingly. Although the storage preparation may not be ideal for everyone, it’s still a good thing to have to be able to save energy and give light in times of need. If you live in a place with frequent power shortages, it would be quite an asset to have stored kerosene.


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