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I would like to install a small heater, for heating one room, that runs on heating oil, i.e. "red diesel".

After a brief look on what is available for sale, I noticed some of them require also an electrical connection, and use from 10W to 50W of electricity, and some others don't require any electricity.

For example the Webasto AirTop2000 diesel heater uses 14 to 29 W: http://www.webasto-outdoors.com/service/faq-knowledge-database.html#c163

Also the wikipedia article on "Heating oil" says:

For efficient burning, the oil is drawn from the tank into a pump and pressurized (residential) to 1,034 kPa (150 psi) and forced through a filtered (specific to appliance) nozzle, into an atomized spray pattern. It is then ignited through the use of a step-up transformer, taking 120 or 240 V AC and stepping it up to 10,000 V AC.

which implies that generally oil-heaters use electricity, but then I see many oil heaters of this kind: oil heater

This does not have any electricity connection at all, so I am a bit confused. Can someone explain me what is the difference, and are there any significant benefits on using the types which use electricity?

In my application the only electricity that comes is also from a diesel generator, so I would like to avoid having the heater use any electricity, unless there is any significant benefit, like better efficiency which offsets the diesel used for generating the electricity it uses.

Also, what type of oil heaters can you recommend? I would like to be able to burn different types of oil in it too, like diesel fuel from the petrol station, rapeseed cooking oil, kerosene, used engine oil, just anything similar - are there heaters which will burn all of that?

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Can you provide an examples of the heaters showing the discrepancy? I think you might be referring to "oil-filled electrical panel heaters" that use electricity to heat the oil. –  Mike B Oct 24 '10 at 17:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The link you provided is a heater designed for motor homes. Looking at their product sheet, it seems that the power used is for the control circuitry (they have "automatic altitude adjustment" as well as a bunch of different control panel options for temperature), and for a fan - in the diagram they show hot air outlets connected through a duct system.

You didn't mention if this is for a permanent installation or not? Possibly a portable camp heater would work?

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The installation is to heat the interior of a van. The portable camp heaters you link don't have a tank, I want something with a tank. Besides it must be something that can be bought cheap on eBay, my budget is very low. –  miernik Oct 25 '10 at 8:47

The Wabesto kind of heater uses high pressure to atomize the fuel = high pressure electric pump, and a glow-spark plug for pre-heating the fuel = also electric

The burner in your link is a gravity fed burner (no electric pump) and has 2 variants: 1- yellow flame = less efficient but less complicated system 2- blue flame = more efficient but more complex = the blue flame system works like the multifuel expedition stoves = after a preheating period , the pipe bringing the fuel to the fuel jet becomes very hot so it vaporizes instantly the fuel = fuel passses into gas and the pressure gets high => a gas high pressure exit by the jet , hence a blue, efficient flame.

This last system does not need any electricity but needs a small period of time to preheat for it to work. During this period the flame is yellow and risc of smoke is present.

That's it.

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