Join Date: Jun 2011
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?
I've not used my kerosene stove/oven in months, but when I did, I always preheated the burners with denatured alcohol to heat it up. I never heated it with the kerosene. On the occasion I had flare ups it was due to not quite enough alcohol on the burner. My flames were usually blue, and I kept the pressure tank at a medium, not ever high. I cleaned regularly.
I suspect most of the odor came from the electric heater I ran, which simply takes air and passes it over hot coils. Something about the heater in combination with the fumes of kerosene made the smell worse. No one could ever smell the chemical odor on my person in the summer months, when I didn't have the electric heater. Also, I always vent my boat when an open flame is present, and I do the same now. I know about the dangers of CO monoxide, about open flames, etc.
Though I'm cautious about conventional wisdom and groupthink, I have to wonder about kerosene as a heating fuel. It's efficient and it's the hottest fuel one can burn, so why are modern boats equipped with the volatile propane instead? I don't think it's just about the quick ignition time. The more I used my kerosene, the less I smelled it burning. In fact I couldn't smell it at all. I have to admit, boys and girls, I'm wondering if many of the kerosene users out there have just stopped smelling it...Get a new nose on board your boat and demand honesty from them.
It's taken a while to get the odor out of the boat and out of my stuff, again probably exacerbated by the electric heater blowing the odor all around. But perhaps a short, quick experiment is required: after a thorough cleaning of the burners, and after opening every hatch and window this boat has, and running a small fan to move fresh air around, I'll ignite a burner and boil water, taking some of the suggestions posted here. Then I'll shut it off, and have someone else over to the boat to see if they can detect the smell after the burner has been shut off. The more one is around a smell, the less one detects it, so I need an outsider's sniffer.
I'll post the results here.
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