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Old 25-02-2012, 08:53   #1
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Using an Electric Tea Kettle to Save Propane ?

So I am a full time (dock side) live aboard, getting ready for full time cruising in 316 days.

Here is a thought I have, let me know if I am missing something:
I have around 600 amp hours of batteries, and a wind generator.
Also a propane stove/oven and carry a 10 lbs. tank.
Water needs to be boiled from time to time for soups, tea, coffee, etc.

As long as I have wind and/or the batteries are good, I will use a small electric tea kettle like I used in college to boil water.

The main reason is to save propane when I am in the islands and I am always looking for a way to save a buck.

Am I being too crazy?
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Old 25-02-2012, 09:13   #2
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

Have you done a projected energy generated/energy usage audit...
In either case can you start with solar heated water to minimize
power consumption.
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Old 25-02-2012, 09:30   #3
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

We always boil water in the morning, for breakfast mush, and put remaining boiling water into a thermos, and its hot for later for tea or coffee ect works for us and keeps heat down below decks !never used a electric kettle sounds like a good idea to me if you have enough system to handle it !! even cooler in the tropics !! might try it myself !! Bob and Connie
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Old 25-02-2012, 09:48   #4
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

I have a small electric kettle I often use at the dock. I don't often use it at anchor unless the generator is running. It seems to boil water in about half the time as the kettle on the cooker.
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Old 25-02-2012, 09:59   #5
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

I would first pick up a second propane tank. Propane seems to have a bad habit of running out at the most inconvenient times plus you would double your capacity right off the bat.

The main thing I don't see mentioned is how you will power the electric tea kettle. You will have to have a source of AC power (like a Honda generator) or a fairly large inverter to change your battery DC to AC.

If just heating a small cup of water for tea the electric might work but it will draw a lot of power from your batteries. If just heating a cup for tea then the large draw will only be a short time but it will add up if heating larger quantities of water. Otherwise if you use the generator you will be using gasoline which may be easier to find but now you have added more cost and more gear to carry around.

I found propane to be quite efficient and even cooking somewhat elaborate meals for 4 people daily a 20 lb tank lasted a couple of months. With two 10 lb tanks and a smaller crew you should be at least that long.
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:05   #6
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

600 amp-hours is a very solid battery bank for a 28-foot boat, so you are off to a good start. You will need an inverter to run that electric kettle, but I suspect that you are already aware of that. I don't know what kind of draw that kettle will have, but I suspect it would be fairly light. A 1000W inverter should have no problem pushing it.
I also second the suggestion that you add another propane tank. Once you get into the islands, propane is more difficult to come by than it is in the states.
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:06   #7
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

A smaller inverter should power a small tea kettle. I will have back up propane, but the goal is to conserve.
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:20   #8
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Roads View Post
A smaller inverter should power a small tea kettle. I will have back up propane, but the goal is to conserve.
A typical electric kettle is 1500w, and a small one is 1000W (1 litre capacity). I'd call that quite a large inverter. The inverter will be drawing 83 amps from the batteries at 1000W, so it had better be wired in with some pretty decent cable.
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:28   #9
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Roads View Post
A smaller inverter should power a small tea kettle.
Guess that depends on how you define small. I double checked to confirm and most of the electric kettles I found were 1000-1500 watts. Figure $100-0$150 for a cheap modified sine wave inverter.

To produce 1000-1500 Watts figure about 10 amps AC which is requires almost 100 amps DC supply from your batteries. Running for a couple of minutes isn't that much but run it for long will suck a lot of amps out of your battery.
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:29   #10
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
A typical electric kettle is 1500w, and a small one is 1000W (1 litre capacity). I'd call that quite a large inverter. The inverter will be drawing 83 amps from the batteries at 1000W, so it had better be wired in with some pretty decent cable.

Beat me to it. At least our numbers agree.
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:45   #11
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

Have you thought about a one cup at a time dip immersion heater??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Roads View Post
So I am a full time (dock side) live aboard, getting ready for full time cruising in 316 days.

Here is a thought I have, let me know if I am missing something:
I have around 600 amp hours of batteries, and a wind generator.
Also a propane stove/oven and carry a 10 lbs. tank.
Water needs to be boiled from time to time for soups, tea, coffee, etc.

As long as I have wind and/or the batteries are good, I will use a small electric tea kettle like I used in college to boil water.

The main reason is to save propane when I am in the islands and I am always looking for a way to save a buck.

Am I being too crazy?
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:47   #12
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

So how long does that 1 kW or 1.5 kW kettle take to bring water to a boil.

Let's say 3 minutes. With a 1 kW kettle, this translates to 0.05 kWh.

This is only 4 Ah ! Inverter loss, let's make it 5 Ah.

This is much better deal than using propane, which should be saved wherever possible because it is what you run out of first otherwise.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:49   #13
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

Amazon.com: RoadPro RPBH-012 12V Beverage Heater: Automotive
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:55   #14
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

G'day, mates. LPG for the morning cuppa, the electric "jug" (as it is called down here) for the afternoon one when the genset is running. It all boils down to balancing what's available to your usage. If the wind isn't blowing, you will be using the propane. Cheers.
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Old 25-02-2012, 13:54   #15
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Re: Using an electric tea kettle to save propane?

I use a 700 Watt kettle with a 900 Watt inverter to heat water for dishes and cooking. I added a kitchen thermometer to give me more precise control of the water temperature. It take 5 minutes to raise the temperature of a quart of water from 60F to 120F uses about 5 Ah at 12 Vdc. To bring the same 60F quart of water to boiling takes 12 minutes and uses about 12 Ah. For comparison, my 800 Watt microwave will only raise the same amount of water to 180F in 12 minutes.

To give some perspective to the above -- consider that on a nice sunny day the solar panels output a maximum of 25 A. Thus, it take about half an hour of sun to boil a quart of water.

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