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Old 25-02-2010, 23:34   #1
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Stove and Oven Fuel Options

Have the opportunity to refit a new stove/oven system on our boat. Am interested in which fuel we should consider. Safety and efficiency are our primary concern.
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Old 26-02-2010, 05:03   #2
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Safety is good :)

From what I've heard, most prefer propane and most agree LNG is safer. The biggest problem seems to be finding it on extensive trips. I actually love my Origo alchohol stove. It won't explode ...and I have never had a problem 'seeing' the flame. It boils a kettle of water in about 5 minutes. I buy denatured at hardware stores or from Home Depot...easy to find.
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Old 26-02-2010, 05:21   #3
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For me, non-pressurized alcohol for the galley, propane for the stern rail. Enough stuff to fantasize about going wrong w/o adding colorless, odorless, heavier-than-air gas and it's plumbing running under and around who knows what. I freely acknowledge propane to have superior performance and is quite safe overall. Just won't have it "in" the boat.
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Old 26-02-2010, 05:39   #4
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I've had both the Origo alcohol and Force 10 propane stoves. Both worked well but the propane has less condensation and no oder. I found it easier to find propane in out of the way places but could find alcohol if I did a little searching. Propane seems to be a bit cheaper depending on how much you use your stove. A 20 lb tank of propane lasts me about 3 to 4 months. When I used the Origo it took about a quart of alcohol about every 8 to 10 days. More if I used the oven. Propane to me is a bit more convenient.

If you go with propane, make sure you use a solenoid valve and leak detector. You also need a vented propane locker outside of the cabin. ABYC has a very good propane installation and safety guide.

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Old 26-02-2010, 05:56   #5
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To consider propane you have to fit out with the proper gear. It means you need a dedicated propane locker that drains by gravity overboard and it must be isolated from the interior of the boat. You then need a solenoid to control the valve to at the tank. This is in addition to the shutoff that comes with the tank. You route and secure the propane line after the solenoid to the propane stove. Making the locker properly is perhaps the harder part if only because you don't have one now. Sintex makes solenoid combined with two sensors. The sensors can detect leaking propane. One goes in the bilge and another goes near the stove. If your propane is off by the solenoid then the sealed tank drains overboard. If the sensors detect a leak they shut down at the tank just after the tank valve. Manually closing the valve on the tank when not in use adds yet another level of safety.

An LNG tank can be placed most anywhere if it can be secured and easily removed for filling / exchange. It's not easy to obtain fuel so it depends on where you sail. A friend has it on his 20 year old Tartan that he bought new and still uses it. He drives 45 minutes one way to refill the tank. It cooks well.

If you need an oven you don't want alcohol. The two burner alcohol stoves only require a place to install it as the tank is part of the stove and you are done. They work for cooking but at a greatly reduced temperature. They would easily be the cheaper solution.

There are also diesel stoves as well but I have no experience with them though I have a diesel heater aboard. You can search for more on these using the search tool as they have been discussed before.

An exterior propane grill is worth the money in any case. It works well enough that in fair weather you could use it for most cooking. Sort of a pain in foul weather or under way.

Popping something in the oven about an hour before you arrive is nice. Think about a hot homemade meal ready to go after the anchor is set. Living as hard as possible is not really what sailing is about.
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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 26-02-2010, 06:05   #6
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I vote kerosene.

BLT Product 2

Idiotically expensive stove.
  • 2 Burner Hob & grill facility with separate oven and burner
  • Large cast iron hot plates
  • Brass fiddle rails
  • Gimbals and pan clamps
  • Long life construction
  • Supplied complete and ready to install with full fixing kit
  • Includes a 1.5 Gallon stainless steel tank.
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Old 26-02-2010, 08:06   #7
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I use Origo and it works for me.

LNG will become easier to find and may be the way of the future, IMHO, because it will become more prevalent as motor fuel.
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Old 26-02-2010, 19:49   #8
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Another vote for Origo. Agree with everything said here pros and cons. I've got two kids on my boat and the alcohol is so worry free. Murphy lives on my boat.

I don't much like the condensation of alcohol and even more, am amazed at the rise in CO caused by the stove. If we run it on Aeolus without the windows wide open our CO detector climbs right away. Our Force 10 diesel cabin heater has no effect on CO. Any combustion in a closed space is going to produce some CO, and I don't know that alcohol is more than propane, but it happens.

Casey and Calder explain ad nauseam the pros and cons and how to do it all safely.
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Old 26-02-2010, 20:22   #9
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May I suggest that you should describe where you sail, how you like to sail, how often you use the oven, what time of year you sail, etc first before suggestions are made. The reason that I say this is that there are many different fuel options available and each has different pros and cons. If you describe your specific situation, then suggestions can be made so that you end up with the best system for your use.

As an example, if you tend not to sail much in the summer but sail in the shoulder seasons when it is colder or like to sail in high latitudes, then a diesel stove would make a lot of sense. However, if you like to sail in the Chesapeake in the summer, diesel doesn't make any sense since it will make your down below area unbearably hot.
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Old 27-02-2010, 09:10   #10
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I think the best choices are:

1) LPG,
2) LPG,
3) diesel.

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Old 27-02-2010, 09:54   #11
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Being a user of diesel stoves, I can testify that they need to be maintained on a regular basis, and the cost of not doing that can result in a boat fire. The units that I am acquainted with, have a carburetor and if a bit of something gets under the needle valve, it will cause the stove to flood with diesel and run over the burn pot and put burning diesel every where you don't want it. The prevention is fairly simple, keep clean fuel in your day tank and clean your carburetor regularly. I start my fishing season that way, and I always shut off the fuel supply before going to bed or leaving the vessel. If you live and play in the north land there is nothing like the heat of a good diesel stove to take the chill off, we always keep a teapot full of water on the top for quick cocoa recharges and it makes for an easy hot lunch to put something in the oven around 1000 and depending on the mass of the food eat by 1200 or 1300, there is nothing like a hot lunch on a cold day. I also use a propane burner for cooking breakfast. All of these units are turned off at the fuel source when finished using, no solenoids to fail, no gas to escape, no chance of an ooops! It seems like a small effort to shut off these valves manually to prevent an unplanned burning of the boat.
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Old 27-02-2010, 09:57   #12
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Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)...

... not LNG (liquid natural gas). LNG is stored at -260F in insulated tanks and is not used for vehicular transportation. CNG (compress gas) is.

The advantage of natural gas (methane) is that it is lighter than air and rises, vs. propane which is heavier an settles. Methane is less likely to accumulate in a hull.

That said, I am a huge fan of propane. However, ALL of the code requirements must be followed. I think it is worth the work.
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Old 27-02-2010, 10:59   #13
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propane is the way to go --is available in 3rd world places and is safe when used appropriately--WITH safety measures. once the safety measures are ignored, BOOM!! life and boat blow--isnt a good scene but is the best way to cook while cruising long or extended cruises.
my formosa was owned by others before i bought her---the alcohol stove made quite a mess --5 fires ----lol--i changed that out immediately and have had no problem whatsoever....
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Old 27-02-2010, 11:43   #14
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We've used an Origo non-pressurized alcohol stove and liked it well enough, mainly for its simplicity. But I wouldn't trade my propane stove/oven for anything else. At stateside prices, it costs us about $1.00/week to do all our cooking (we live aboard) and we do quite a bit of cooking. We bought the lightweight fiberglass tanks (2 gal or 10 lb) which I can put in my backpack and carry to the closest gas source about a mile to a mile and a half away.

But, to each their own. Hope you're happy with whatever you end up with.
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Old 27-02-2010, 12:07   #15
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I'm a kerosene stove lover. Fuel is available most everywhere, we burn odorless mineral spirits available in 5 gallon tins at commercial paint places and big box stores, and kerosene is available at the end of the world. It produces a slightly hotter flame than propane and a lot hotter than alcohol. It is very efficient, we carried enough fuel for a years use while cruising in the the stove tank and Gerry Jugs. Fuel storage is not a problem as it has a very high flash point and will extinquish a match. In a pinch, you could even burn the stove fuel in your diesel. Don't try the reverse, however. Diesel gums up the kero burners in short order, btdt.
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fuel, oven

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