If you are reading this blog page, then the chances are that you have recently purchased a Corona, Ruby or Zibro style Inverter Paraffin Heater, or some other kind of indoor paraffin heater whose instruction manual clearly instructs you to use Class C1 Paraffin or Premium Paraffin. I will also guarantee that if this is the case, then the chances are, that you are searching for Class C1 Paraffin because you are finding it difficult to source locally, or rather you have found it extremely expensive to buy, as Class C1 is often sold at ludicrously high prices through DIY and Hardware Stores in pre packaged format usually in 4 litre containers.
Class C1 Paraffin is also often referred to as Premium Paraffin. Odourless Paraffin or Premium Kerosene, and no matter what you may have heard, paraffin is from exactly the same family as Kerosene, 28 second domestic heating oil, and even Jet A1 fuel which is used to fuel turbine engines in small planes and helicopters, the only thing which changes is the level of refinement and filtering and what impurities have been removed or the package of additives added at the refinery. In fact the fuel which the American’s routinely refer to as Kerosene is exactly the same fuel as standard paraffin sold in the UK.
Class C1 Paraffin, is called Premium Paraffin because it has a reduced level of sulphur, this in turn reduces the traditional paraffin smell which is given off when burned – i.e when the heater is running, and this is why Class C1 Paraffin is marketed as ‘Odourless’ and is often the first choice for indoor heating and traditional paraffin lamps. Unfortunately Premium Paraffin also comes at a premium price in the UK and is difficult to source in bulk.
Other than demand and clever marketing greed, there is no reason for paraffin to be so expensive in the UK, in fact two decades ago, it was one of the cheapest forms of heating and many households still used it in bulk for heating or lighting, especially in outbuildings and remote buildings without Electricity. It is still often used by gardeners and market gardens for greenhouse heating, and of course due to the steady increase in Electricity costs, also make the new range of Japanese inverter heaters to be of growing interest for domestic home heating, and so demand for Kerosene based fuel is once again, on the rise, but still the price increases.
Paraffin is also a rebated duty fuel in the UK, which means it is essentially taxed at the lowest possible rate (5% VAT) and contains non of the duties usually levied on road fuels such as petrol and diesel, yet a 4 litre container of C1 Paraffin can cost anything upto £7 in some outlets, which is the equivalent of £1.75 a litre, more expensive than a litre of road diesel, which has 20% VAT and Duty added!. Yes, once again the fuel companies are taking us for a ride, so its time to look at all of the alternatives.
First of all, I have personally found that standard paraffin seems to burn no differently, and the smell is not much stronger than expensive C1 Paraffin!, yet it is sold much cheaper. Certainly the small increase in the strength of the fuel smell (generally only noticeable when the heater starts and stops) is a small price to pay in comparison to the large saving in the difference in cost, between Premium and Standard Paraffin, and when the heater is actually running there is no difference in my Corona heater between standard and premium fuels.
Standard Paraffin, can often be found in local allotment groups and societies, who may have a small shop on site in order to sell paraffin to allotment owners in order to fuel their portable paraffin heaters during the winter months. Often these societies buy in bulk from fuel brokers and the savings are passed on to members, many societies will sell fuel directly to the general public, although you may be required to pay a small annual membership fee in order to access their onsite facilities. (usually £2 – £5 per year) Check the Yellow Pages and Google for an allotment society close to you, some local Councils will also have a list of council owned allotments nearby.
An even cheaper fuel is available as a viable alternative to Class C1 Paraffin when used in Inverter Heaters, and this is 28 second kerosene which is sold as domestic heating oil to homes throughout the UK. Often this can be purchased directly from heating oil brokers locally. At the time of writing this blog post, 28 second heating oil varies in price between 56p and 63p a litre depending on the quantity purchased, and it is worth shopping around on price. Some brokers may have a self-service fuel pump on site, where you can go along with your own approved 10 or 25 litre container, and fill up from the pump. (Please note the disclaimer at the bottom of the page)
If you have friends or family who use domestic heating oil, then they may allow you to fill up from their garden tank, alternatively some fuel brokers may also be willing to fill a couple of containers for you, when they make the main delivery to fill up the garden tank and you can take advantage of the same bulk price. I find that a pack of beer often helps to cement these arrangements!.
Unfortunately, most fuel brokers in the Mainland UK will not make a dedicated tanker delivery of under 500 litres, to an address, and so this means that if the depot doesn’t have an onsite pump facility then buying some Kerosene from friends who have oil fired heating or arranging for your empty containers to be at your friends house to coincide with the bulk delivery to refill their tank will often be the only answer.
However domestic heating oil kerosene still remains the cheapest alternative to Class C1 paraffin, often costing upto £1 per litre less than expensive store bought 4 litre containers of Premium C1 Kerosene, and this makes these inverter heaters extremely cheap to run, often costing as little as 6p per KW/H which is around 50% cheaper than standard tariff electricity and 75% cheaper than peak rate electricity on an average Economy 7 tariff.
If you are lucky enough to live close to a Caldo Oils depot then you will be able to take your own containers and fill up from their site pump with either Paraffin or Kerosene. However please be aware that the price at their pumps, is significantly more expensive than a bulk delivery from the same company and depot, even if you buy a few hundred litres at the pump, no discount is offered.
If you work for, or know of a place which will sell Paraffin and heating oil direct to the public in small to medium quantities from a pump at a fair price, then please use the comment box and share this information. Rumor has it that there are still some petrol forecourts, Farming Suppliers and olde worlde style hardware stores who still selling paraffin and heating fuels in the old fashioned way – from a yard pump and we’d like to know where they are, in order to help existing and future owners of Inverter Heaters to get both a fair deal, and a regular local supply!.
Important Disclaimer:- Please note that running fuel other than Class C1 Paraffin in a heater recommending to run the appliance on this type of fuel may invalidate the warranty or cause problems, and you accept that in doing so, you would be doing it at entirely your own risk. This page covers my own personal experience of running a Corona Model 3016 inverter paraffin heater on kerosene heating oil and in doing so, I have experienced no running problems, faults or ill effects in the entire 3 years that i’ve been doing so. However, under no circumstances should 35 second heating oil, red diesel, Petrol, White Spirit or road diesel be burned in these inverter heaters as these are an entirely different standard of fuel and this will cause permanent damage and could be extremely dangerous!!.
I also recommend that if using heating oil (28 second Kerosene) in your inverter heater, that you invest in a ‘Mr funnel’ from ebay. Using this will ensure that any trapped water and dirt particles from within bulk purchased heating oil Kerosene is removed effectively removing the risk of damage to the delicate pump and burner from any water content.