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Old 27-03-2014, 12:15   #1
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Propane stoves

I just want to hear/read what people have to say about burning propane inside your cabin. I mean, I get it, it burns hot and is cheap....but it does release CO (carbon monoxide). Leaving everything opened up for fresh air ventilation is obvious, but just wondering. Anyone get side effect or health effects from it?
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Old 27-03-2014, 12:22   #2
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Re: Propane stoves

Never had a problem. But you might find an Origo or Contour alcohol stove is more convenient, by the time you add all the stuff you have to add to install an appropriate propane system.
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Old 27-03-2014, 12:28   #3
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Re: Propane stoves

A propane burner that functions properly (clean and in good order) produces very little CO. Mostly CO2 and water vapor. You still need sufficient ventalation to deal with the latter 2.
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Old 27-03-2014, 12:37   #4
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Re: Propane stoves

Carbon monoxide is the product of incomplete combustion. All open flames produce CO, but the more efficient the burn, the more complete the combustion, Perfect combustion leading to CO2 and H2O.

So if you burn propane or alcohol efficiently it should produce little or no CO. Signs of incomplete combustion are yellow flicking flame. Smoke is a bad sign.

Any open flame should be treated cautiously. I would never go to sleep with one burning in the cabin, but as long as the burn is complete (hot, blue flame), you should be fine.
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Old 27-03-2014, 12:38   #5
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Re: Propane stoves

Been using propane stoves for 35 years, including a few years liveaboard when we were cooking full meals at least twice a day. Never had any issues at all. No headaches, queasy stomachs, whatever but we were also careful to always have good ventilation when using the stove.

If I recall, CO is mainly generated when there is insufficient oxygen for complete combustion. Normally you will see mostly CO2 so good ventilation not only gets rid of CO but actually limits the production.
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Old 27-03-2014, 12:40   #6
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Re: Propane stoves

They make vented propane heaters. We had a CAT catalytic heater in the salon that ran 24/7 nine months per year with no problem. Cost about 500 bucks and took about 4 hours to install. A propane stove/oven should not be a concern unless you use it for heating also.
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Old 27-03-2014, 13:10   #7
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Re: Propane stoves

Cooking aboard daily for 30 years and I'm still alive. Or maybe that's why I have cruiseheimers.
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Old 27-03-2014, 17:03   #8
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Re: Propane stoves

Thanks everyone. Seriously, very helpful.
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Old 27-03-2014, 17:12   #9
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Re: Propane stoves

No effect from the propane. Cant say that about kerosene or alcohol. The cookstove in my house is propane. No venting and an airtight house.
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Old 28-03-2014, 02:18   #10
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Re: Propane stoves

Incomplete combustion of ANY hydrocarbon fuel (propane, kerosene, natural gas, coal, firewood, etc, etc.) will produce CO.
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Old 28-03-2014, 02:49   #11
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Re: Propane stoves

Quote:
Originally Posted by sestina View Post
Incomplete combustion of ANY hydrocarbon fuel (propane, kerosene, natural gas, coal, firewood, etc, etc.) will produce CO.

true but unusual to get a bad or incomplete burn on an open burner

the ones we do see issues is any burner that's unseen with a flue
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Old 28-03-2014, 15:42   #12
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Re: Propane stoves

We lived aboard for 7 years and the only problem we found with cooking on the propane stove was the heat in the cabin.

We have carbon monoxide detectors on board and they have never sounded while using propane.

If you are considering using propane heater inside you boat, I would read this article first.

Bringing a Propane Heater Indoors? Here are Some Safety Tips | Propane.Pro#
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Old 28-03-2014, 15:54   #13
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Re: Propane stoves

I use CO detectors that read down to 10ppm on a digital display. Without ventilation, a single burner on high can get you 13ppm of CO in the time it takes to boil a pot of water for pasta.

A range baking will get you 36ppm of CO within the first 5 minutes of burner ignition.

Not enough to have health effects, but you are still breathing a poison gas, which supposedly isn't great for you at any level.

Ventilation is required.
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Old 28-03-2014, 19:28   #14
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Re: Propane stoves

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Originally Posted by oceannavigator View Post
I use CO detectors that read down to 10ppm on a digital display. Without ventilation, a single burner on high can get you 13ppm of CO in the time it takes to boil a pot of water for pasta.

A range baking will get you 36ppm of CO within the first 5 minutes of burner ignition.

Not enough to have health effects, but you are still breathing a poison gas, which supposedly isn't great for you at any level.

Ventilation is required.
Interesting. As we all know, complete combustion produces only CO2 and water. But there is no such thing as 100% complete. There is always going to be some incomplete combustion going on, which means even the best burner will produce some CO.

An US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reference states:
Average levels in homes without gas stoves vary from 0.5 to 5 parts per million (ppm). Levels near properly adjusted gas stoves are often 5 to 15 ppm and those near poorly adjusted stoves may be 30 ppm or higher.

A quick search on the question of threshold concentrations of CO turned up this from the US Consumer Protection Safety Commission:

The health effects of CO depend on the CO concentration and length of exposure, as well as each individual's health condition. CO concentration is measured in parts per million (ppm). Most people will not experience any symptoms from prolonged exposure to CO levels of approximately 1 to 70 ppm but some heart patients might experience an increase in chest pain. As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.

Other references put occupational safety limits as low as 35 ppm.

As others have said, use of a propane cooker is likely safe as long as it is functioning properly (burning efficiently). However, it should not be left on for extended periods without ventilation. IOW, don't use your propane stove as a boat heater.
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Old 28-03-2014, 20:04   #15
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Re: Propane stoves

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Interesting. As we all know, complete combustion produces only CO2 and water. But there is no such thing as 100% complete. There is always going to be some incomplete combustion going on, which means even the best burner will produce some CO.

An US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reference states:
Average levels in homes without gas stoves vary from 0.5 to 5 parts per million (ppm). Levels near properly adjusted gas stoves are often 5 to 15 ppm and those near poorly adjusted stoves may be 30 ppm or higher.

A quick search on the question of threshold concentrations of CO turned up this from the US Consumer Protection Safety Commission:

The health effects of CO depend on the CO concentration and length of exposure, as well as each individual's health condition. CO concentration is measured in parts per million (ppm). Most people will not experience any symptoms from prolonged exposure to CO levels of approximately 1 to 70 ppm but some heart patients might experience an increase in chest pain. As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.

Other references put occupational safety limits as low as 35 ppm.

As others have said, use of a propane cooker is likely safe as long as it is functioning properly (burning efficiently). However, it should not be left on for extended periods without ventilation. IOW, don't use your propane stove as a boat heater.
It is an interesting topic. I like to see zero on the meter. I Check it while cooking in the oven often and change the air when it starts to creep up. I read the same reports and figure if it stresses people with heart conditions, it's probably best kept at or near zero ppm. Personal preference.

It's important to remember charging your batteries produces hydrogen, which will register on CO detectors as well. I remember going batty before I discovered this.

What I am curious about is this 5ppm in houses with no combustion. Tell me our air isn't that bad!
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