Friday, June 7, 2013

Paraffin Oil and Kerosene

     From Paraffin oil, known as kerosene in Australia and the United States and stove oil in Canada, is an flammable liquid hydrocarbon burned as fuel. It is most commonly used to power jet engines for aircraft, but can also be used for heating, lighting, and cooking. Paraffin oil is refined from petroleum and is relatively cheap to produce.
Lamp Oil FAQ | Vermont Lantern
     It's great to know where your storage items come from and how they are made.  Instructions online as to how to refine your own paraffin oil begin with,  "heat crude oil and separate out gasoline and its distilled components."  I am thinking, No, YOU HEAT crude oil!  I will buy lamp oil and kerosene and store it safely until needed.  

     I have used lamp oil during power outages and I know what I need as opposed to what I used to think I wanted.  Oil burning lamps are not like flipping on a switch and getting light from an electric lamp!  The oil lamp burns.  It has a scented exhaust, it requires ventilation  and it gives off heat. When you are without electricity and the sun goes down, it is great to have light, but light that adds heat to the already hot Florida summer nights is a cause for thought.

The lamps shown above will burn kerosene straight from the kerosene tank but they also burn the scented lamp oils, and I also keep one devoted to lamp oil with citronella.  When  the sun sets, the mosquitoes rise.  It is good to have a citronella candle or lamp burning near the most traveled entrance or exit of the home.
    If I should have to rely on oil lamps for a long period of time, I will change my life habits to rise and fall with the sun.  Rising with the chickens and getting any physical work done before the hottest part of the day is the way of the farmer and a good idea.  The afternoon rest inside the shade of home during the heat of the day is also an old habit I would revive.  I am not accustomed to sleeping during the day, I have never been able to pull off the executive power nap without feeling more fatigued.  I could see working in a garden or home until it is too hot to safely go on, then retreating to the home to prepare for the evening.  Still, the sun will go down and a few kerosene lamps grouped together in front of a mirror would be a lovely winter retreat.  But in the full heat of summer, lamp oil burning and lanterns come with its draw backs.
     So far, I have talked about oil lamp burning from the most negative side due to my climate.  I realize people who live is cooler climates with less sun will need more oil than I.  They will need and enjoy the free heat that comes with light.  

     Tips for all users of lamp oil or Kerosene:  SAFE storage is imperative.  Keep oils in lightly closed containers.  NEVER use a kerosene container for any other purpose.  Mark containers for specific fuel use only.  Keep away from heat sources, and keep ventilated while stored.  Once a factory seal is broken, fumes can escape.  Caution must be taken to avoid spills and as always, never store flammable liquids near rubbish, rags or other fire hazards.  

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