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safe cooking

24066 Views 300 Replies 39 Participants Last post by  hellosailor
i have read a lot of threads about stoves on boats. of course, the usual debate is alcohol or propane.

recently, last month actually, a powerboat at the marina my boat is berthed at caught fire and burned up completely. it was a live aboard. the guy was hurt but he lived. he was lucky. he bought another power boat off of their lean dock and moved into it. the cause? his propane stove.

that was a real piece of reality for me. no propane on my boat!

but, there are safety risks with alcohol, too. the threads i have read make that plain. so, the big question i have is what other options are there?

also, how real is the risk with alcohol?

as i get my boat ready to sail, this will be a choice i am going to have to face. it doesn't have a stove but i will want one for cruising. eating out at every port you stp at is going to be way too costly and you can't always be sure you will be stopping at a port for the night. thanks.
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I had these same fears of cooking with propane, alcohol, butane, etc...

My solution... I removed the original Origo stove which was in great condition but felt it better to use something more safe... what did I do... installed an induction stove into the galley opening and never looked back. I have a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter that runs the unit and since it's very efficient there is no need to worry about battery usage... haven't had a problem all the time I was using the stove on the boat and my wife that would have been non-skilled on the alcohol stove doesn't have a worry now... it is the first thing my next boat will have... all induction cooking/baking. :)

I do have a camp stove w/butane in the boat stored away for when we drop anchor on some shore and cook our foods with that.

I kept the Origo stove to replace back on the boat if when selling the buyer wants the alcohol stove... I put it in storage.

I will say it again... I have no worries ever again with the sort of worries others have with these types of flammable fuels. ;)
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I sleep very well knowing there are no explosive fumes/gases anywhere in my cabin...

I do have a carbon monoxide alarm and figure it's useful should another boat next to me is out of limits on the gases... my only fear is that while I can sleep at night the boat in the next slip may be a time bomb just awaiting the flip of a switch or automatic start-on of some electrical item to have a bad day for everyone else.

I don't get it... I run a 1500 watt induction stove on 1-2 batteries charging from shore power/small solar panel/outboard motor and I have the Honda 2000 generator... I've never used the Honda generator to use the induction stove as the batteries handle the electrical needs more than what I need... the stove is used but maybe 10-20 minutes at the most to heat up items... even my 700 watt microwave uses inverter power easily without running down the batteries... I think many people are misinformed about the usage of electrical appliances. The induction oven is so efficient I almost have to laugh about it... people should have been using this decades ago... sort of the 'compact fluorescent lights' over 'incandescent bulbs'... no comparison!

Now the induction oven requires a 'pure sine wave' output for it to work... I originally had a 2000 watt unit but have upgraded to the 3000 watt unit as I now have extra power for other items... the inverter is shut off when not needed to avoid draining the batteries which is a small draw anyway.

Who knows the induction oven/inverter it might both be dead when I get up to Seattle to check the boat out this summer.
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Guitarguy, the only problem with an induction stove is that if there's an EMP event, your stove will be broken. (VBG)

More seriously...ask any working chef if they'd replace ALL the burners in their place of business with induction, or any kind of electric. Which is why we sometimes hear people say "Now you're cooking with gas!"

I see I'm not the only one who thinks Forespar have been drinking the wrong Kool-Aide. A 5000BTU burner may be fine for boiling a pint of water, but there's no such thing as an "extra hot" 5000 BTU burner. Portable stoves, camping stoves, gasoline, propane or whatever, are easily found at 11,000 btu and that's where a "normal" stove burner comes in around. FWIW.

If anyone heard the news earlier this month, two small apartment buildings in NYC blew up and were leveled due to a gas leak. One of the survivors was interviews on the Nooze and said folks had been smelling a strong gas smell for TWO DAYS. But none of them bothered calling the gas company until minutes before the buildings blew up.

That's not a gas explosion, that a Darwin Award Winner.

The gas companies in NYC, like most urban gas companies, usually will have a repair crew out in less than 1/2 hour when someone calls to report a gas smell. Two buildings and multiple lives lost, because everyone in them was too busy? stupid? to make a phone call for two days. (Which the Nooze were, ahem, gracious enough not to point out.)
I promise not to cruise in a military zone running EMP testing... the other known EMP blasts would be a nuclear device going off... promise to be far away from that... and if that happened we have far more problems than my induction oven failing. ;) :eek:

Many benefits of people switching to the induction units first and foremost the energy savings of these ovens over a comparable electric burner unit, the savings not only to the user but also the convenience, safety factor over electric/gas units, I could go on and on!

No one knows if it was a Darwin Award winner and perhaps innocent people were hurt in this accident... is there a Darwin Award of sailors who blow up their boats as well? :laugher :laugher
Christian... no one needs to run the genny while cooking... that could be done once sailing and away from the hook assuming the batteries need topping off... I've never had to since as quickly as the boat was back on shore power they charged up just fine or slowly topped off with my small solar panel... I really don't see the reaction many have if they've never used one. I'm not creating Paul Prudhomme's Creole recipes on the boat... mostly heating meals or simple boiling of rice/stews/soups... the occasional steaming of seafoods, etc.... all taking less than 4 minutes... water comes to boil in less than 1 minute with the induction cooker... watch it on Youtube.

I bought a nice set of pans to use with the unit but any cast iron skillet varieties will work... what will not work is copper/aluminum unless it has a steel bottom... they also sell a steel plate that the copper/aluminum pans sit on that will conduct the heat thereby letting you use conventional cookware, it's just one more item to carry onboard. Why?
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methane oh no!

I read somewhere that cows and us humans contribute more to global warming through methane(farts) than other types of pollution

it made me laugh and sad at the same time...its one thing or the other, dont know how true it all is but its just life

some things explode so be careful!

Ha ha ha... one ride through Compton, CA or through certain parts of Texas will have you gasping for air... this from experience many times driving highways I-5 and I-10. Methane... stay away! :eek:
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Think what type of stove/oven has a lot to do with type/size of boat and intended use. If you are out cruising electric not a good option. Just like they are hard to cook in a dirt home with because surface/pot doesn't respond immediately to change in setting like with gas they are dangerous to crew. You do up some coffee before coming on deck for a night watch. Boat is red light mode. You put the coffee maker in the sink and leave some empty cups on the counter. Second crew is setting up a snack. He/she puts something or a hand on hot electric stove. Ouch!!. Yes the pot holders stay hot on a gas stove but the whole surface of an electric stove stays hot. Hard enough to bake on a boat. Even harder with electric stove. Usually do this on calm, cloudy days No solar. No wind generator. Listening to the diesel generator kills the day. Instead of listening to tunes and smelling bread baking with your stomach growling your listening to a d-mn engine.
Outbound... I'll take it you've never been around or exposed to induction stoves or ovens... let's just say I can place my hand directly on the stove surface while it is running about the only thing that will happen is smearing the black onyx surface with my hand oils... try that with a regular electric stove and I understand how your second shift crew would be burnt. Doesn't and will never happen on the surface of an induction stove... So in reality your rant doesn't apply here. As I mentioned my next boat will be entirely induction stove/oven and I see marine units are already hitting the market... but why wait? As mentioned I have my Honda 2000 but never ever ran it to make a meal using the induction stove. This is after all on a 25 foot boat... why the criticism if it should plainly work on a much larger boat with generators charging the batteries and hefty solar panels charging, and Torquedoes up the rear charging away?
Out of mild curiosity, what is the amp draw on an induction stove-top? I am assuming that this set up would mean an electric oven too? I like my propane (but then again, I cook with gas at home). Never once have I had a flare-up like when I had an alcohol stove and singed the cabin curtains. We used to have a paraffin trawler lantern in the cabin but got tired of the oily film and soot on the overhead if it wasn't adjusted properly. But, I can see where propane or electric might not be practical for Jack's boat and budget. Get what you can afford and take proper precautions and enjoy your boat.
George... it sounds like you're a little curious and you should be. My induction stove is super efficient... why?... one simple reason... it draws only the amount of electricity it needs in an instant to heat water or whatever... uses only the power it needs and nothing else... unlike an electric stove with resistance heating it must warm up... ever plug in a soldering iron waiting for it to heat up or an iron, etc.... that is the resistance element heating up and must be at full power to get to proper heat... that is wasting a lot of wattage right there... not so with the induction stove... it's electronic and turns on and off as needed to maintain the temperature.... your electric stove is on all the time at at set control timing.

That really is the difference... it uses very little wattage!

And to Tempest it ran on a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter but I wanted power for other items so exchanged it with a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter... works beautifully if may say so. My added plus is I'm not buying $12.00 a gallon of alcohol or the danger of an alcohol spill or fire!

Jack would need an alcohol stove or whatever he likes... my induction stove is not the cheapy units you see advertised on TV and is a chef/restaurant heavy duty quality unit and wired to the inverter with heavy 30 amp cabling... and inverter cables to the batteries are marine grade heavy duty cables. Not cheap for the faint of heart on a budget... the inverter alone was almost $800.
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So, am I calculating this correctly? at 1,500 watts, my draw would be 125 amps? So a simple 15 minute meal would "cost" my electical system 31 Amp hours? This would certainly tax my two 4D house bank.
Math is wrong... it should be 1500/60 minutes or 25 watts per minute... not 1500 watts per minute... appliances are rated per hour usage... so for one hour of the induction stove use it will use 1500 watts... problem is it's not running 1 hour... but 5-10 minutes at the most... so 5*25 = 125 watts power used... 10 minutes is 250 watts, etc... pretty simple... there are numerous power/wattage calculators that will tell you based on how much power the appliance is using... your figure would mean a 1500 watt heater in the cabin is also using 121 amps too... how can that be George? Shore power is only 30 amps!

You must be asking how much amps is it using... 1500 watts/ 110 volts = 13.6 amps per hour... so based on that 5 minutes usage is: 1.136 amps... 10 minutes of usage is: 2.272 amps.

That is the total power being drawn from the battery +/-.

Clear now?
Guitarguy, when I do the math your way, I still come up with 31 Amp hours per 15 minute "meal". I am not so much concerned when I am tied up to the dock but for the times I am "off the grid". Like outbound, my biggest headache is those at sea days when my navigation system, radio and lights are a major consumer of my house bank. for example, my sensors "cost" me 48 AH per 24 hours, and the chartplotter another 60. My housebank only has a usable capacity of 150 - 160 AHs and my solar panel isn't the most efficient with the boat rolling and yawing.
George... let's look at it again... 1500 watt appliance running 1 hour will be 1.5 kwatts per hour... a 1500 watt appliance running on 110 volts is using 13.6 amps per hour... ask any electrical engineer, electrician, etc.... the usage of watts drops as the appliance is reduced in time per minute.

Here is a simple calculator:

Calculate the Costs to Use Electricity - WebMath

add the 1500 watts and the number of mintues... see if you don't get the same answers I shown you... you may have to convert kwatt hours to minutes to get the actual watt/minute usage.

Does it make a little more sense now?
Guitarguy, my boat runs on 12 volt DC so I divide watts by 12V to get amps, not 110V as you would for shore power. Do I assume correctly that these stoves only work on 110VAC? Then I would also have to calculate the loss going through the inverter. Is there an induction oven too? What is the efficiency of that unit?
Ok George... I only have one induction stove and no oven.

Here is how I see it at the battery... 1500 watts into the battery is 150 amps per hour... 150 amp/hr... so 150 amps/60 minutes= 2.5 amp/minute so 5 minutes equals 12.5 amps multiplied by 12 volts = 150 watts... 10 minutes gives you 300 watts... this not including inverter efficiency or factor which would alter the above.

The stove of course is 110 vac... loss though the inverter may be .5 amps +/-

Point being is the wattage and battery usage is not what many people think.. I have two batteries in the boat to handle this power and they weren't cheap.

I used this stove throughout my cruising while using the boat... not like I was cooking 4 times a day! I had no problem with of discharging the batteries and the solar panel had no problem topping off the use... I wouldn't take the boat across an ocean using this method of cooking on this size of a boat but for coastal cruising as I did up in Puget Sound I had no issues.

A larger solar panel and cruising outside of Puget Sound with many sunny days and the stove could be used for more than 5-10 minutes...

Alex... I think you need to check out the calculator to see that time component in minutes!
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