Inexpensive kerosene heaters are commonly purchased for emergency preparedness and tucked away in a garage still new in the box. Owners are unfamiliar with proper usage and fuel characteristics. It is easy in such a busy world to purchase a product and check it off your list assuming it will do what you think it will. Keeping your family from freezing is too important to simply check this one off your list (unless you live in sunny Arizona). Carefully investigate products before you purchase them and practice using them. You may find what you thought to be a wonderful solution is far less than adequate.
That being said, kerosene heaters can be a good solution to heat your home. Kerosene is a good storage fuel. It has a 5 year shelf life which can be extended indefinitely with a good fuel stabilizer. It produces toxic substances including; carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide when burned. Purchase a high grade of K-1 kerosene or consider using Klean Heat which burns cleaner. Adequate cross ventilation must be provided.
Exercise great caution handling and storing the fuel. Be sure to follow manufacturer recommendations and keep a working carbon monoxide detector with a digital read out close by to warn you if levels rise. Many portable kerosene heaters require batteries. Be sure to stock up on the correct size for your heater.