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Old 13-06-2011, 17:48   #1
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Dangers of Propane

I just bought a small two burner camping stove for my boat. It runs on propane and I bought a little green canister for it. One concern I have is obviously that the propane will leak into the bilge and at a spark the boat will blow up. Another is all of the warnings in the owners manual that say yo never use in an enclosed area because I will die of CO poisoning. I used it today with the hatches and dorade vents open. I'm just wondering if I use this type of stove, how likely will I be to not wake up in the morning. I'm living aboard and I must say that a hot bowl of oatmeal was a nice change from endless pop-tarts.
Thanks!
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Old 13-06-2011, 18:02   #2
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Re: Dangers of Propane

Propane is very safe if properly installed. The tank should be located outside the enclosed space in the boat in a dedicated compartment vented overboard. A solenoid valve for shutting off the flow remotely should be installed. A gauge to test the system for leaks should be installed as well. The little green tanks are only suitable for use with a BBQ grill mounted on a rail, not for a galley stove. What you describe is an accident waiting to happen.
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Old 13-06-2011, 18:28   #3
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Re: Dangers of Propane

I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people using the little green tanks in their galley stoves. I know of at least a few who use those camping stoves on a daily basis inside their boats.

I don't believe the "enclosed space" issue is any more of a danger with a canister tank than it would be with "real" propane system. You should have some venting going on in your boat when you're cooking, that's all. It doesn't take much to replenish the oxygen the stove flame uses up...

It would be wise to store the canisters in a vented locker. Your B24's outboard well would be a good place.
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Old 13-06-2011, 18:47   #4
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Re: Dangers of Propane

your system is what i used for 6 yrs..lol dont sweat the lil stuff--if you have a worry-- buy some kids toy bubble stuff-- use it if you think htere is a leak and see if thre is any bubbling..if not-- have a great time. . i am still alive-- you will be also. not one mistake and all is still well. now i use a force 10 3 burner stove with a larger propane tank. all is well.
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Old 13-06-2011, 18:56   #5
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Re: Dangers of Propane

yeah, I lived off a one-burner Coleman stove for a year. the biggest problem I had was that I hated throwing away the cannisters when they were done!

just stick your head in the bilge and have a good sniff every now and again.
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Old 13-06-2011, 19:16   #6
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Re: Dangers of Propane

ziggy--many folks use camp stoves in boats and do not die. i am a living breathing example. just dont put cannister next to flame ..LOL
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Old 13-06-2011, 19:26   #7
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Re: Dangers of Propane

The small green canisters inside the cabin, are not really safe on a boat. Propane, in a vented locker, that is turned off when not being used... IS perfectly safe. We use the small green canisters in our "gas compartment" when the big bottle runs out, until we can get gas.

The problem is that the usually portables leak, and are NOT turned off at the bottle, when not in use. If you use a new one a few minutes, then turn the stove off and go away for a month. When you come back, the full bottle will be empty, and that gas will be in the bilge. Being heaver than air, it sits there until it's pumped out!

In the 70s, Walter Green, racing in the OSTAR, was using his Sea Swing stove down below, and the gas that had purged when he screwed the canister on 5 minutes earlier, was still around. When he lit the stove, it lit his face! He survived, but it was a bad scene.

If you really want to use these portable bottles, I'd put them in a LOW vented, exterior part of the boat, with a shut off at the bottle. Then use a hose to the stove on the inside. (You can get these from grill stores).

If you shut off the bottle, AT the bottle, when not in use... then it becomes a safe bet.

M.
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Old 13-06-2011, 19:29   #8
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Re: Dangers of Propane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
The small green canisters inside the cabin, are not really safe on a boat. Propane, in a vented locker, that is turned off when not being used... IS perfectly safe. We use the small green canisters in our "gas compartment" when the big bottle runs out, until we can get gas.

The problem is that the usually portables leak, and are NOT turned off at the bottle, when not in use. If you use a new one a few minutes, then turn the stove off and go away for a month. When you come back, the full bottle will be empty, and that gas will be in the bilge. Being heaver than air, it sits there until it's pumped out!

In the 70s, Walter Green, racing in the OSTAR, was using his Sea Swing stove down below, and the gas that had purged when he screwed the canister on 5 minutes earlier, was still around. When he lit the stove, it lit his face! He survived, but it was a bad scene.

If you really want to use these portable bottles, I'd put them in a LOW vented, exterior part of the boat, with a shut off at the bottle. Then use a hose to the stove on the inside. (You can get these from grill stores).

If you shut off the bottle, AT the bottle, when not in use... then it becomes a safe bet.

M.
funny--i never had that problem withmy lil green cannisters-- they were just as full and ready to go if i left for a month as they were when i stuck em on the hose i was using for cooking--and mine had a regulator and turn off at the lil green cannister......was goood for emergencies and i keep it in case of running out of gas from my 5 gallon sized container.....
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Old 13-06-2011, 19:34   #9
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Re: Dangers of Propane

I've used these bottles for years (although not on a boat) and you are correct about the possibilities of them leaking while connected to the stove. But that is usually a fault in the stove design... the bottles themselves are self sealing and can be used, then stored, for years, without leaking.

On a boat I would be concerned about them rusting out before I'd be worried about the valve seal breaking.

So yeah, if you have concerns about leaking, don't leave the bottles connected to the stove....cook your meal, then unscrew the bottle and put it away. Check on them occasionally for rust or leaky seals.
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Old 13-06-2011, 19:43   #10
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Re: Dangers of Propane

You'll be fine with a few little rules. Many boats use the small canisters.

* Store the spares outside the hull where vapors spilling from a leaking can will flow overboard. Cans can leak after rusting and after being removed from the burner.

* Don't fall asleep while cooking.

* Open a hatch near the burner while cooking, even just a few-inch crack helps.

* Most camp stoves do not have automatic shutoffs when the flame goes out. Make a habit of checking the stove several times a day.

* Know what the oderant (Mercaptan) smells like. Shake the cans before installing in case the Mercaptan has settled out.

* I wouldn't refill the cans. The outlet seal is pretty cheap and meant for just a few cycles.

* Really use the engine exhaust blower before starting. The starter is probably the most likely think to cause a surprise explosion.
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Old 13-06-2011, 19:50   #11
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Re: Dangers of Propane

Look, neither the camping stoves nor the cartridges are designed for use in an enclosed vessel. You can get lucky for 10 years using it, but that does not make it safe. If you don't have enough money or space for a proper installation, Magma makes a rail mount BBQ grill that can also be used as a stove
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Old 13-06-2011, 20:19   #12
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Re: Dangers of Propane

So, you're saying this isn't safe?


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Old 13-06-2011, 20:34   #13
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Re: Dangers of Propane

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So, you're saying this isn't safe?

I'll grant you it has that certain rustic appeal and safety is a relative thing anyway. It has been rumored that someone has "safely" crossed the Atlantic in the vessel pictured below. Still, call me chicken, but I would not consider it safe.
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Old 13-06-2011, 20:40   #14
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Re: Dangers of Propane

invest in propane alarms and install them low in your galley and other low areas inside your vessel.
Alarm goes off and then you ventilate, ventilate, ventilate.
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Old 13-06-2011, 20:52   #15
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Re: Dangers of Propane

Another option is an Origo single burner alcohol stove. I personally prefer the convenience of a (properly installed) propane stove, but alcohol is pretty safe and Origo stoves work reasonably well.
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