Where gas is not available for cooking, kerosene may serve as a fuel. In case a house is equipped with a coal range, a kerosene stove may also be desirable for use in summer time.
There are two types of kerosene stoves, viz., wick and wickless stoves. The burners of the former type are supplied with cotton wicks which become saturated with kerosene. When a match is applied to the wick, the kerosene on it vaporizes and the vapor burns. The burning kerosene vapor vaporizes more kerosene and thus the burning continues.
In one type of wickless stove it is necessary to heat the burner so that the kerosene will vaporize when it comes in contact with it. Such a burner may be heated by pouring a small quantity of gasoline into it. A lighter is then applied to the burner. When the latter is sufficiently heated, the kerosene is turned on. The kerosene then vaporizes as it flows into the hot burner and burns.
In other types of so-called wickless stoves, the burners are equipped with asbestos or other incombustible material. This material becomes saturated with kerosene and carries the fuel to the tip of the burner somewhat as does a cloth wick.
It is especially necessary to keep kerosene burners clean. Bits of carbon collect in them and prevent perfect combustion. This results in "smoke" or soot issuing from the burner. It is well to keep the burners and wicks free from charred material, and to renew the latter when they become short.
Most kerosene stoves are equipped with removable containers for the fuel. These should be kept filled with sufficient kerosene for burning. A wick burner should never be allowed to burn after all the kerosene in the container is exhausted.