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Hurricane lamp usage and lamp oil questions

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by wahoowad, Feb 6, 2010.

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  1. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I've had a hurricane lamp (like the one pictured below) for years but keep forgetting to buy lamp oil. Are all lamp oils the same? I guess I'm just going to try and find a bottle at K-Mart or Wal-Mart.

    My goal would be to use it for emergency lighting when the power goes out. Happens only a couple times a year so what kind of 'shelf life' does lamp oil have? Do these burn really clean? Anything I should I know to keep one burning properly if I have to run it for several hours (or days)? I guess having a replacement wick on hand is a good idea.

    [​IMG]

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  2. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    I've got 3 of them for the same purpose. And have had the same 3 bottles of oil for a few years now.

    Wally World carried them in the lamp section, along with wicks, etc.
  3. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I like the cinnamon scented lamp oil.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    We've had several for years. Choose your oil by the scent and store the lamps in an airtight container. The smell of the oil will get worse over time. My lamps are out in a shed now because of the smell despite being sealed in plastic bags.

    We use candles instead. Gas lamps are good too but their mantles can be fragile.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I have several and use them for power outages. Be sure and buy the big ones and not some decorative dinky one with non-standard wicks. The bigger the lamp, the more light you get and the more oil you have onboard. The wicks slowly go away but last a long time. I might keep like one extra one around.

    All lamp oils are the same. It lasts forever in a sealed container. They burn really clean so long as you do your part to burn them cleanly, too much wick will make a sooty flame that will make a black mess. You will smell them though since you are after all burning oil without a chimney.

    Don't knock it over since the spilled oil and flame might make a nice fire.
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    If burning inside, probably best not to use the citronella oils....

    Gooserider
  7. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    There are two types of lamp oil. Parrafin wax based and kerosene based. In warmer temperatures both work equally well. When it's maybe 10 degrees out, you don't have power and you're arriving at a cabin the wax based stuff is guaranteed to be a solid block of wax dangit. Don't ask me how I figured this out.



    I've never known either type to degrade over time.

    Matt
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Power goes out pretty frequently here. We have an Aladdin lamp which is brighter, but the mantel and wick are a bit more fussy. Lately we've switched to LED lamps which go forever without worry or maintenance. For the kitchen we have been using a Coleman propane lantern and like the brighter working light it provides. Coleman also has some super bright LED lights (390 lumens) that look interesting.

    http://www.amazon.com/Garrity-K013GST02A-LED-Lantern/dp/B001733LBY/ref=pd_sbs_sg_1
    http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-2000001147-Twin-LED-Lantern/dp/B001TSCINE/ref=pd_sim_sg_4
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    That plastic bottle can shatter when dropped. Don't ask me how I know. What a mess that was. Headlamps are good in an outage. I have a couple of small oil lamps in the house. and and big one in an unopened box in the garage. I haven't notice any smell though from the ones in the house.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Yes, on that note, I get no smell at all from an extinguished lamp. Since discovering the LED headlamps and getting a whole house generator setup we just don't use the lamps anymore but do keep them for the unlikely long outage.
  11. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    With brightness, a reflector makes a huge difference in the amount of light thrown. Well, the source is the same, the light is just directed instead of radiating out in all directions.

    Matt
  12. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

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    I love our two Aladdin lamps. I often use them "just for fun", it keeps me in practice and I can tell if the mantle has gotten too old to remain effective (they can get sort of brittle and crumbly just sitting around). I keep a couple of extra mantles and wicks in the sideboard drawer alongside the candle supply and the wick trimmer. Lamp oil lives under the kitchen sink. Lamp oil will evaporate over long periods of time so if you think there will be a power outage fill the lamp up and give the wick some time to absorb the oil.
  13. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    They make "scented"? I'll have to look for that.
  14. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    The oil from WAlly World seems t olast forever...I filled my lanp 6 years ago and put a new wick in at the same time. Its been taken out of the clsoet a few times but thats about it. Throws a nice light, works best in front of a mirror, as noted above. There is no scent of oil whatsoever and none of it has evaporated over a couple years inactivity...keep the wick down as low as you can when not burning to keep it from drying out and evaporating.

    We lose power for a couple hours a year on average, so for us its a fun adventure rather than a real problem...only serious issue is we lose our well pump so we have a couple flushes and thats it...longest power outage we've had was 18 hours, that was the December 2008 ice storm which had alot of our neightbors less than a mile away without power for 10 days. We rely on flashlights and LED headlamps and opt to grill or go out to dinner when we lose the lights.
  15. John the Painter

    John the Painter Member

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    If you're burning it for an extended period of time remember to crack a window or door for some ventilation.As with any fire it uses oxygen.
  16. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Great feedback guys, thanks. I feel more confident picking up a bottle of oil and using it as a backup strategy.

    Too funny - I posted my question one hour before a 42 hour power outage hit. Wood heat rocks.
  17. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    That little hurricane lamp will never use 1/10th what his wood stove uses. Houses are not THAT airtight.
  18. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    We had a nice little 4 hour power outage on Sunday morning too. The wife was supposed to leave that morning as I was sealing a concrete floor in the house and the smell is very strong. So I didn't have time to fuss with the genset and she wanted a shower now. I busted out the oil lamp and lit it in the bathroom for her while I started a fire in the stove.

    Well that darn oil lamp was going out. Turns out you need more than a 1/2" of wick hanging down into the oil. I need a new wick and walmart doesn't have them. I ended up setting my LED headlamp on the countertop and aiming it at the shower stall. Worked wonderfully for the job.

    I then fired up the genset and resumed life. Well, we need a new/repair genset since it turns out that 138 volts is too much output for powerstrips which do a great job of burning out to protect the electrical devices from an overvoltage. Maybe I should buy a Honda, I don't know. I do know that high quality surge protectors are very important.
  19. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

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    Even turning the wick way down my Aladdins still tend to lose oil over prolonged periods of time. I've never understood why, do any of you guys have any ideas as to why this happens?
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