Illuminating Tips for Non-Electric Lighting

Oil lamps at Lehman's

Oil lamps are not only a sustainable source of light, but they also provide a tranquil glow to your home.

Living simply begins with making sustainable choices, from the food you eat to the light you use. A staple in our Amish community, oil lamps and lanterns are a dependable, sustainable source of light that never need an outlet. It’s no wonder that after all these years, folks around the world still use them – from remote, off-the-grid areas to suburban power outages.

But in a modern world where flipping a switch for light is the norm, we understand how using non-electric lighting can be a new experience for some people. Here are our simple tips, straight from Lehman’s lighting experts, on how to best use an oil lamp.

1. Don’t fill your oil lamp completely.
Oil expands during burning, so don’t fill your lamp to the top. We recommend filling to about 1/2″ below the filler cap. This will help prevent the fuel from dripping out when in use.

2. Keep fuel in your lamp.

evening lamp

Helpful Hint: The font of oil lamp is also referred to as the base or tank of the lamp.

To get maximum light and to prevent your wick from drying out, keep the lamp font more than half full of lamp oil.

3. How you store your lamp oil affects its shelf life.
Always keep the lamp oil in a clean container, away from sunlight and at room temperature for maximum shelf life. Aladdin lamp oil is smokeless and odorless and will last for years when stored in a cool, dry place.

4. Keep your wicks trimmed evenly.
We recommend trimming your wicks each time you refill the font with oil. (Helpful Hint: If your lamp is smoking, the wick is either set too high or needs to be trimmed.)

5. Never leave a lit lamp unattended.
It doesn’t matter how many times you use an oil lamp. It is still a flame light and treating it with care and caution is always best.

First time using an oil lamp or lantern? Watch our how-to videos below.

And one final thought – non-electric lighting, like oil lamps and lanterns, do provide some heat, a great advantage for chilly days. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2019.

Oil lantern

“I love using your lanterns for a source of natural light indoors and out!  Indoors I love the heat that they produce in the cold.  It’s like a space heater.  I also love the quality of the build, and how very well all of the mechanics and levers work so well!”
–Christopher, Lehman’s customer (Photo courtesy of Christopher)