Are Oil Lamps Safe Indoors? – Complete Safety Guide

Have you ever wondered “Are oil lamps safe indoors?

It can be a tough question, but we’ll try to answer it with some insight. We’ll go over the benefits and drawbacks of using an oil lamp indoors, plus the potential hazards.

Oil lamps are often dismissed as dangerous, yet in reality, they’re relatively safe. 

For more than 100 years, they’ve been a popular and inexpensive way to light a room. But if you’re planning on keeping an oil lamp inside your home, there are some safety precautions you should follow.

In a hurry?
Here’s a quick recap of the article:

There is no evidence of a risk of fire or explosion due to using an oil lamp indoors, provided the lamp is designed correctly, the base is not damaged or cracked, the wick is not too long or loose, and the flame is never allowed to burn out. 

Are oil lamps safe indoors?

Yes – oil lamps are safe indoors.

People have been using them for centuries both indoors and outdoors. However, there are some safety rules that must be followed.

You must make sure to always use good and reliable fuel. That being said, there is a vast number of safe oils made for oil lamps, such as quality paraffin oils. Those are the only ones you should use. 

Do not experiment with flammable substances such as alcohol, gasoline, etc.

Since oil lamps produce flame just like candles, do not store your oil lamp near anything that might cause a fire.

You should also make sure that your oil lamp does not have any open flames.

Do oil lamps give off carbon monoxide?

Oil lamps do give off carbon monoxide – but in small measures. 

The CO level depends on many factors: the lamp itself, size of the room, the humidity of air, ventilation, and various other factors.

However, anyone that uses an oil lamp indoors should have a carbon monoxide detector in their home as a safety precaution, to make sure the level of CO in your home is low enough not to harm you. 

You should also have good, proper ventilation to make sure the concentration is low.

Are oil lamp fumes toxic?

When most people think about toxins, they think of chemicals and heavy metals that we ingest, but some everyday products can also be dangerous.

Take oil lamps and kerosene heaters, for example. The fumes from these products are not just unhealthy to breathe, they can also contain harmful pollutants that can build up in the body over time. 

If you have breathing problems we recommend you not to use oil lamps.

Will oil lamps heat a room?

Oil lamps do provide heat.

Heat level depends on many factors such as type of the lamp, the wick, fuel, and the size of the room.

Anything that’s burning provides heat, including oil lamps, but the amount of heat is much less than you get from a space heater or other sources. The oil is a liquid and it evaporates in a very short time. So it can’t provide continuous heat.

If you don’t have a fireplace or woodstove, oil lamps can be used to provide heat for a small room.

Can an oil lamp explode?

A problem that can occur is a buildup of carbon on the wick or the glass chimney, which can cause a fire. But a true safety risk is that the wick will burn down and create a buildup of soot around the glass, which will cause the chimney to crack.

This is most likely to happen if the lamp is left unattended for a prolonged period of time, and should be checked every three months or so.

The easiest way to check is to remove the chimney and place it in an upright position. If there is a buildup of soot inside the chimney, it will fall out. The chimney should be replaced if it becomes soiled with soot.

However, if there is no buildup of soot, but there is a crack in the glass chimney, it is best to replace the chimney as well.

Is it safe to use a kerosene lantern inside?

Yes! While I know that the kerosene lanterns of yesteryear were not quite so safe, these are much more modern and advanced kerosene lanterns. They use a special type of wick to burn the kerosene.

These wicks are very resistant to being broken by any impact, and if there is ever an issue with the wick, it can be easily replaced. However, you must follow safety precautions as we already pointed out in Are oil lamps safe indoors chapter.

How long should an oil lamp wick be?

For optimal burn and vapor production, your wick should be no less than eight inches long. This will give you three inches to adjust the height and two inches for the lead space at the bottom.


Are oil lamps safe indoors? The short answer is yes!

I think that a lot of people have misconceptions about using oil lamps indoors. Overall, I think that they are an interesting and unique option for creating ambiance in any room and they are often pretty affordable.

I would add that most people who own and use them daily do so safely, which is more than can be said for many other forms of lighting that are more dangerous than oil lamps.

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