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What is the difference between Kerosene and Paraffin?

Curious about the differences between kerosene and paraffin?

The names kerosene and paraffin are often used interchangeably, but there are in fact some distinctive differences between the two fuels.

To help clear up what the difference is, we’ve put together a short explanation to help anyone who has ever pondered over the concept.

In short, whilst many people believe that kerosene and paraffin are essentially the same product, there are some subtle but important differences between the two which we will outline below.

Both of these oils are designed to work perfectly for different applications, which is why you should keep in mind their differences to better understand which would be more suitable for your intended usage.

Kerosene Paraffin

Why do people think kerosene and paraffin are the same?

Over the years, the names kerosene and paraffin, with the two fuels names becoming interchangeable by many people. This most likely happened due them both being very similar kinds of oil.

Kerosene is often referred to as paraffin in the UK, but also in parts of East and South Africa too. However, if you ever find yourself in America and need to buy kerosene, then we advise you to ask for kerosene since nearly everybody stateside will know it as kerosene, rather than paraffin.

Is there any difference in the odours they give off?

Thanks to modern homes now relying on electricity to provide lighting, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find homes lit by paraffin lamps in the UK, which were originally designed to be used indoors to generate heat.

So, whilst kerosene does carry a noticeable odour, paraffin tends to include additives that help reduce the odours it gives off. This makes it a little more suitable for use in your home. A similar procedure is carried out to make kerosene more suitable for use in home barbeques and the pharmaceutical industry.

If you have ever used kerosene for your home heating system, then you may have noticed that it can carry a particularly strong odour. While this isn’t really a problem when you are using it for your boiler, it would be an issue if you were using it indoors.

Refined and distilled processes

Paraffin tends to be a more refined and distilled version of kerosene. This makes it more suitable for use within the home.

Paraffin is more refined, which ensures that it will produce a lot less soot when it’s burnt. This is important for those who would have (and of course still continue to use in more remote areas) for stoves and in lamps to light their homes.

The build-up of soot in the home can not only be unpleasant but also harmful if breathed in. The soot would also accumulate in the glass used to protect the lighting flame, limiting the amount of light it was able to emit, and therefore its effectiveness.

If regular kerosene was used in a stove or a lamp, the build-up of soot would likely soon become an issue if measures weren’t taken to limit the affects it was having within the home and the glass protector on the lamp.

When should I use kerosene and paraffin?

If you plan to use kerosene or paraffin for stoves and lighting, (although this would be somewhat unlikely, even in more remote areas thanks to bottled gas and batteries to store power for lighting), your best option would be to use paraffin due to the reduced odour and soot build-up.

If you’re located in a remote area and do not have gas mains access to your property, your best option would be to use kerosene as this oil is more suited for use in home heating systems.

We’ve put together further information about kerosene if you would like to learn more about this type of fuel.

If you’d like to discuss your requirements, whether it be kerosene for heating your home, or would like to learn more about home heating oil or industrial heating oil for businesses and larger premises, get in touch with our knowledgeable kerosene experts today by calling us on 0330 678 0880.

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