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  #41  
Old 07-02-2012
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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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  #42  
Old 07-02-2012
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?

Ah! cortney when ever fumes from oils are heated by a heater like the electric. Like if you ever painted with oil based paints in a house and then used the gas or electric stove. you notice a rotten kind of smell? that's the reaction of the fumes with the heat source. Not often dangerous but it's a rotten smell. You will want to get your boat smells under control. hope you don't have a leaky tank somewhere.

Propane systems have lots and lots of safety controls, most are simple. Thing is most accidents can usually be traced to "human error" It's convenient on diesel engine boats. On gasoline engine boats... it's way more dangerous if there's a leak.
Point is, no fuel should be leaking anywhere on a boat. It takes less then a minute to make sure all propane equipment is off and valves closed before getting under way on my boat. It's just common sense.
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?

Denise, yeah, that's why I stopped using the kerosene in winter, because I wanted my little electric heater to keep warm. Once I stopped running my stove, the smell dissipated. But I have a hankering to bake something yummy and want my oven back, but I'm afraid of smelling like rat poison and not knowing it! And oh how much easier my life would be if my existing system worked and I didn't have to rip it out and install a propane tank locker, run lines through my boat, and on and on.

I hear you about the propane issue being a human error thing. That's true of most accidents. I have a great respect for dangerous things, propane and electricity among them. I have a diesel engine (thank the gods!) so it wouldn't be as dangerous. I don't want to die, I'm careful.

Thanks everyone for the tips and advice. I'll be conducting Operation No Smell in a few days.
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?

Only a few drops of diesel or kero will smell for a very long time and it's enough to react with any kind of heat source. I've varnished things in the basement of my house and when cooking dinner later in the kitchen the rotten smell would be awful! I put the tank outside the stern rail and remove when underway, no locker. You might think about a hatch/vent/fan right over the stove area..
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?

Hmmm... My companionway hatch is right there, but a little drop fan and vent would be good, too. There's a light over the stove now, so I could wire in a fan no problem. Good idea!
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?

cool! just remember fans don't really remove odors.. so that garlic, bacon and or coffee cooking up will waft through the whole boat.. maybe even the "neighborhood" like when I make french onion soup LOL
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?

There are kerosene bulkhead fastened heaters (same burner as galley stove) properly stack vented, they use existing fuel system, warm boat and get bad fumes up the chimney.Best, it allows you time away from the dock.
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Old 07-03-2012
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?

From using Coleman stoves for years most of the smell came after shutting down the burners if I remember right.
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?

I pumped up the tank to 12 psi (15 is highest) and lit the burners yesterday. They were yellow, so burners need replacing, and not large. As planned, I opened all windows and hatches to vent the boat, but still got a headache from the kerosene fumes. The smell wasn't that bad, and in fact never bothered me much anyway (smells like lighter fluid), but this is the first time I got a headache, perhaps because it's been so long since running the system. Because of the fumes, I'm now back to Plan A of selling the entire system and eventually putting in propane. The kerosene tank holds, best guess, ten gallons and there's an electric pump for it if one would rather not pump by hand. I live in WA so I have no idea what the shipping charge would be. Anyone interested in buying and fixing up the stove/oven? PM me if so.
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Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Difference between alcohol & kerosene stove?

gotta be residue inside the tubes, needle valve is most likely coked up too.
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