I've used non-pressure alcohol stoves, like them very much and would use one before propane
for sure. The fuel
is a little more costly and, since I have a very good carbon monoxide detector in my galley
, I've noted the non-pressure alcohol burners give CO at a higher rate than the pressure kerosene stove or my non-pressure kerosene lamps that I sometimes use do. Specifically the alcohol stoves (Oringio single
burner or Trangia single
burner) give more than 30ppm steady (up to 200 ppm) whereas the kerosene doesn't even trip the 30ppm level. So when using alcohol, I had to ventilate.
But really, it's not that hard to do a great job using a pressure kero stove--once you get the stove cleaned up nicely and get a system in place for lighting
and using it properly. I appreciate the post about using a timer for folks who don't have some natural patience or might forget things. I prefer not to use too much alcohol in the prestart and have learned that it takes very little to do the job--and it's very quick, too. I have a little fiber pad (suppose it's fiberglass) sold by Taylors to line the pre-heat cup with--it helps you to not spill kero if you're in a seaway but it also makes it possible to use very little alcohol during each pre-start. Anything between a teaspoon and tablespoon quantity of denatured alcohol will do the job (so that's very quick) and if you're at the ready with your lighter, you can flick the bic and have a perfect start every time. Oh--that's the other thing, I used to try to start the stove with the preheat flame itself. That works but requires that you use more alcohol than my method Now, I just wait for it to die out before striking the lighter for a perfect light.
We live aboard and I cook 2 meals
a day, sometimes 3 sometimes make coffee at other times and I can't recall
the last time I didn't have a clean burning start. I think it was, maybe, in 2013. So, once you've got your own technique (timer, whatever) and don't deviate, you're good to go.
Other things that can screw you up -- using an inappropriate tank (e.g. carbon steel propane
tank) and letting it go dry will almost certainly put bits of rust in your fuel
system. I observed this on a friend's boat and they had quite a few problems just because of the tank and letting it go dry. They had a fuel filter
but it didn't really do the job.
I also note that the Taylors likes to cook between 7 and 10 psi but if you're making popcorn or doing something with a very large pot (cooking crabs, etc), you'll need to pump up the pressure to more like 15 or 20 psi. Just don't let the system stay charged up to those higher pressures when you turn it off as it's not intended to be used at higher pressures. There are some people who have problems with simmering who use a valve in their pressure feed to moderate the fuel flow while leaving the burner wide open on the stove top. I haven't done that myself.
Best of luck! Brenda