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rbtpfe9 10-20-2004 10:02 AM

portable propane stove
What are the negative safety concerns regarding permanently installing something like a Coleman propane stove in sailboat? Are the propane canisters something that should not be on a boat? From a cost perspective for just a stove it seems like the route to go. Fuel cost is not really a consideration due to limited use - safety is primary consideration. Any suggestions/inputs would be appreciated.

WHOOSH 10-20-2004 11:09 AM

portable propane stove

You can install the stove but any propane or butane container shouldn''t be stored belowdecks for fear it will vent, the gas collect and ignite (aka: explode). You can store the cylinders in a suitable locker outside the hull of the boat (perhaps where you store your gas can?), in which case you''ll have to accept in inconvenience of fetching the cylinder each time you want to light the stove BUT also the risk represented by using the stove, where the burners probably do not have heat sensors and won''t shut off the gas flow if the flame blows out.

In risk analysis, you look at what are the potential failure points and what are the consequences of each failure. The likelihood of gas flowing and then collecting should a flame blow out may be small, but the consequence could be fatal.


RichardElliott 10-20-2004 03:22 PM

portable propane stove
Why the problem with one pound propane cylinders and the need to stow them in a vented area. I thought the potential venting problem only occurs with larger cylinders. In fact, hardware and department stores have dozens (hundreds?) of these cylinders in unvented areas.

jkumin 10-20-2004 03:41 PM

portable propane stove
Hi: Propane is heavier than air and leaks will collect in low spots. Natural gas is lighter than air and leaks will float up and out through vents or as doors and windows are opened, rather than collect. That is why use of propane appliances is typically a building code violation in basements. Propane is allowed on the first floor and above as it is assumed any leaks will find a way to disperse. They can''t in a basement - or a boat hull.

PaulBl 10-21-2004 03:16 AM

portable propane stove
One pound of propane is easily enough to blast you to bits. It is small but still deadly. In the hardware store the cyinders are never opened. They are never used in the store. They don''t have near the danger as one you have opened and used on your boat.

If the hardware store blows up you read about it in the paper but if you go up you don''t have the chance.

Bring the portable on board but keep the cylinder in a place where if it leaks it can''t settle below decks. Same goes for a gas can for your dingy motor. This is not a chance you need to take - so don''t. Boats that explode don''t have a good survival percemtage for the passengers. Friends with them that I know have a small bag they hang from the lifelines and put the small cylinder inside it. It''s kept outside any locker or below decks. Gasoline and Propane are dangerous on a boat.

pirateofcapeann 10-26-2004 04:23 PM

portable propane stove
I had a $1,700.00 Luke stove aboard that was really crap. Not the stoveís fault, it was just old and used to extreme. It had to go. I replaced it with a ďseaman-likeĒ two burner, pressurized alcohol stove that really was a pain in the butt! I settled on a $40.00 stainless steel, two-burner Coleman-like stove that I installed on a semi-permanent basis (I can remove the unit, on its shelf to use on the beach). I even bought the Coleman folding oven and ordered a second rack.

I installed a ball valve on the bottle end of the hose for safetyís sake. Itís mounted very accessible and visible under the stove where there are no strains on the hose. I also had to modify the hose to stove connection, which I thought was a bit substandard from the factory. I have always kept 3 or 4 propane bottles aboard in the bosínís locker with the covers intact. Never had any problem but I use a bit of Vaseline on the male ends periodically when I connect a devise to them.

The stove works like a charm! The oven cooks an 8X8-inch pan with those Select-bake things, no problem. Flip on the bottle valve, open the burner valve and flick the bic! Once the cooking is done, a quick clean up, close the valve and put down the top (great counter space for doing the dishes).

I always thought that inexpensive camping items were underrated aboard boats, especially in the galley. Go ahead and mount the stove. As with any propane installation, use common sense and, if your less of the handyman, ask someone to double-check on your work.

bubb2 10-26-2004 05:16 PM

portable propane stove
Regards pirateofcapeann, AS a retired Fireman I must response to your post. Propane is an heavier-than-air gas. It will sink to the bottom of the bilge. Should there be a leak in your system there would be no place for the propane to vent. This is why propane bottles should be stored in a propane locker that vents overboard. I hope your not a smoker. If you don''t think propane fires/explosions don''t happan aboard boats you should talk to wife, who is a critical care nurse at a major burn unit in NY. They treated 2 boat burn victims this year.

when we ordered out new boat in 1999 we had the propane stove deleted. We went with a non-pressuized alcohol stove. It may take a little longer to cook a meal but, You can put out an alcohol fire with water.

Billpjr 10-28-2004 03:39 AM

portable propane stove
Do you know of any simple device that can tell you if propane gas has settled in the area? In experimental airplanes they have an inexpensive "stick it on the dash" indicator to tell if exhaust fumes are in the cockpit. It turn different colors and is disposable after indication...sort of like heat sticks do for testing heat.

GordMay 10-28-2004 04:00 AM

portable propane stove
Propane and CO detectors are readilly available.
Your NOSE is the best cheap propane detector.
If you smell the familiar "rotten egg" odor of propane:
Extinguish all open flames and immediately leave any area where propane fumes are suspected. Do not light matches or use any electrical equipment. Turn Ďoffí propane supply at the tank/regulator.

DIY ďManonometerĒ - Propane Leak Tester:
A true manometer is a necessary item for setting the LP delivery pressure, but if you simply want to test for leaks, here''s how. Keep in mind, this test will only reveal IF you have a leak, not where it (they) might be. Fasten a 5-foot length of 3/8" clear vinyl tubing to one side of a piece of plywood cut to approximately 6" x 16". It can be any thickness. Use tubing clamps to affix the hose to the plywood. Start with 15-inches of tubing running straight down the left side of the plywood piece and forming a gentle sweeping "U" at the bottom and back up again for another 15-inches or so. The remaining 30-inch length is to attach to one of the stove burner orifice hoods; leave it hanging loose. Take care not to crimp the hose at any point. Use plenty of clamps to keep the tubing positioned into a perfect "U" shape. Add water to the straight side of the tubing until it fills the bottom of the "U" and up about 7" or so on each side. If necessary, add a drop of food coloring to make it easier to see the water level in the left and right sections of the "U." Be sure the LP container valve is open and all the appliances are turned off. Next, remove one of the burners at the stove top and push the loose, open end of the tubing over the orifice hood, while keeping the plywood piece vertical. Nailing a short perpendicular piece of plywood to the upright will act as a base and help keep it upright. Light an adjacent stove burner taking care to keep the plywood and the tubing away from the flame. Slowly open the burner valve with the tubing attached and watch as the gas pressure will push the water down one side of the "U" and up the other. By the way, if water shoots out the open end of the tubing, the LP regulator is faulty and must be replaced before continuing. After the water level stabilizes, turn off the lit burner. You should notice a slight movement of the water. Now turn off the LP container. Open an adjacent stove burner for just a second to bleed off a tiny amount of LP, and then mark the tubing or the plywood at the new level of the water in the left side tube. Wait ten minutes. If the level of the water in the left side of the "U" drops below your mark, there is an LP leak somewhere in the boat. If the water level happens to climb above your mark, the POL valve on the LP container is not fully shutting off and it should be replaced. There should be absolutely no drop in pressure during the ten minute test! If indeed you do have a leak, further troubleshooting is in order, and I recommend you seek professional service. This is not an area you would want to compromise! Keep in mind this is just to test for leaks. To set the pressure, the manometer must include a scale that actual measures inches and fractions.

pirateofcapeann 10-29-2004 07:15 PM

portable propane stove
Bubb 2:

My father was a fireman as well. I grew up around the firehouse with all the trucks, sirens, boots, helmets and the whole show. Even today Iím greeted with respect by the local firemen, some even younger then myself, who are familiar with my fatherís legacy. My father died of cancer at 55.

I have a deep respect for propane, gasoline, oils, toluene, acetone and the myriad of paints and chemicals to be found around boats and boatyards. Iíve seen the results of a leaky 5-gallon propane tank, and Iíve seen what can happen when a forgotten pile of linseed oil soaked rags is left sitting in a focísel!

I had an Origo non-pressurizes alcohol stove on my old boat. It cooked well enough but the burning of raw alcohol was more then my eyes and nostrils could deal with. Even now, some 15 years later I can still smell it! You can have all of that!

I lived aboard for 15 years, year round in New England. Iíve cooked and heated with just about every source of heat available and found none hotter and more efficient then propane. Using precautions and safety measures, I found the small bottles of propane to be just fine stored in my bosínís locker. Handled with respect, something else will bite you in the butt long before propane does!

As a qualified mechanic and repairman I am no stranger to proper ways of doing things. Many times I have purchased items from reputable manufacturers only to find that they were not up to my standards, necessitating modifications before they could become part of my boat. This is true in the fore mentioned cook stove.

I think I was a bit misleading about my shutoff valve though. I used a ball-valve, rated for use with propane with the proper fittings attached, one end to accept the bottle and on the other is a bottle head fitting. This in turn screws into the hoseís fitting. Thereís a fully solid mechanical connection between the bottle and the positive shut-off with no hose between the two.

Another thing you can do is to replace the plastic covers that come on the bottles with brass covers that screw down and make a positive seal. These are available at just about any hardware store. Along with that, and the hundreds of other systems aboard my boat, I still sleep well at night, confident that Iíll find her just as I left her when I turned in.

Smoking? I had a dream 8 years ago. I had climbed to the mountaintop and stood naked unto God. His light shone down upon me and there in one hand I was holding a pack of cigarettes and in the other was a lighter. That was the end of my two-pack-a-day habit, cold turkey!

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