Stockpiling Kerosene in Drums

   11.15.17

Stockpiling Kerosene in Drums

In a previous article we talked about phasing out kerosene for solar powered lanterns. Some people may have taken that article to say that kerosene should be phased out altogether, but that is definitely not what I meant.

Let’s be honest, kerosene has been around so long and there are so many things that use it, maybe kerosene should should be part of your preps? The one issue I do not like about kerosene is the fire hazard.

When the power goes out, many people reach for a kerosene lantern, and that is fine. The problem is, most of them rarely use a kerosene lantern, so they may not fully respect the fire hazard the lantern poses.

Once you have made the decision to use kerosene, ask yourself:

  • How much do you want to stockpile?
  • How should it be stored?

I cannot tell you the right or wrong way, all I can say is how I do it.

A local farm supply store sells plastic drums. These range in size from 15 gallons to around 55 gallons. Most of them were used to handle some kind of syrup for a Dr. Pepper bottling plant.

For my kerosene storage, I have two 17-gallon drums. They were washed out with soap and water several times, then left in direct sunlight to dry for several days. Once evaporation got all the water out of the drums, they were brought to a local fueling station and filled with 15 gallons of kerosene.

Even though the drums hold 17 gallons, only 15 gallons was put in them. This was to leave headroom for the liquid to slosh around.

The drums are kept in the storage shed and are moved with a dolly, sometimes by hand. 15 gallons of kerosene weighs an estimated 102 pounds.

Drum measurements:

  • Diameter: 14.5 inches
  • Height: 37 inches

During power outages associated with Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike, my lanterns used approximately one pint of fuel every 2-3 days.

There are eight pints to a gallon. So 15 gallons would equal 120 pints. For a single lantern that should be enough fuel for 240-360 days. For three lanterns, 15 gallons should be enough for 80-120 days.

With both of my drums full, that should be enough fuel to run three lanterns for around 240 days.

How do you get the kerosene out of the drums? The local hardware store sells a plastic hand pump just for getting fuel out of drums. It has a one-way valve and a squeeze bulb.

Combined with solar powered lanterns, that 15 gallons of kerosene should be enough to last more than a year. If you alternate between the kerosene and solar powered lanterns, using one every other night, you can extend the life of both.

How many of you are stockpiling kerosene? How much do you usually store?

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