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Cooking Off Grid (Tiny House) Propane or Butane?  RSS feed

 
Brittany Petrenko
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We bought our tiny house set up with electric appliances, the previous owner ran it off a generator all the time. We currently have a generator but because we want to live there full time we have set up solar! We have a dickinson boat heater (propane) that works wonders and uses no electricity (the fan runs off our batteries but thats it) we are looking to use a propane or butane cook top. We have a propane fridge coming that we will be venting! If anyone has any DIY examples of propane mini fridge venting that would be helpful as well!

I read butane burns cleaner than propane, which as my main thought for purchasing this. However we would be going through small bottles like crazy! We would like to keep a 100lb tank outside to run our appliances so this is why we keep moving back towards propane.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?
 
allen lumley
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Brittanny Petrenko : Location, location, location,Without location it is always difficult to give meaningful advice ! More on how this effects your question right now but generally

this is nearly always the biggest obstacle to getting good answers !

Please google the "Boiling Point'' of 1) Propane, and 2) Butane. Because Propane has a much lower "boiling point' a tank or bottle of Propane Always has a 'cloud' of propane

vapor available for immediate use as a flammable gas ! This 'cloud' of gas persists even to the very dregs of liquid propane at the bottom of the tank! you never 'run out of -

propane' (GAS) until the tank is completely empty !

Because of the Higher Temperature that Butane "boils at'' a 1/2 full Butane tank will stop producing a Vapor cloud of Butane when the rapidly cooling tank reaches -1º Ç or

31ºƒ .


To say it a different way if the outside temperature is say 40ºƒ and the partially empty butane tank rapidly cools down below its 'Boiling point' it will quickly reach its Vaporization

pressure or its Latent heat of evaporation ! Result -zero production of butane gas from the super chilled liquid Butane .

To prove it yourself,try using a small partial butane tank on a cold morning and notice when you need to 'swap-out the butane tanks' and then later when the outside temperature

and the previously used butane tank have both warmed up to say 70ºƒ -suddenly you have more than enough gas for cooking a simple but complete meal !


There are many places in the U.S. Southwest where butane is the primary fuel stored in large outdoor tanks - even there the tanks must be kept full during colder weather to insure

adequate vaporization pressure for early morning domestic use !

Short version, if your local dealer does not offer to install and service butane tanks, don't ask for it !

Late note : Butane does NOT burn cleaner than Propane, Because Butane is a "Lighter than air gas'' it does not settle into the lowest areas of a confined space the way propane might!

This is why Butane is a very popular fuel for use on-board boats where a small propane leak could case propane to settle and form a dangerously explosive and unseen cloud of gas-

this is the reason that they add an obnoxious odorant to make propane gas leaks detectable !

Again, always go with propane if it is offered ! Hope this is timely and useful, for the good of the crafts! Big AL

Late note, I forgot to include these links to make your searches at Permies.com more powerful and friendly . /// Links Below


http://www.permies.com/t/43625/introductions/Universal
http://www.permies.com/t/34193/tnk/permies-works-links-threads

A.L.
 
Michael Newby
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Another thing to keep in mind is that if you chose to run butane for your stove you're probably going to have to make some changes to your refrigerator to enable it to run off butane or you're going to be dealing with two systems.

I agree with Al, I would stick with propane if it's readily available.
 
Brittany Petrenko
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Thanks for the info Allen!

We are in Northern Ontario Canada, So our winters are typically -40 Celsius! So this is what we prepare for! I'm thinking propane would be our best bet. We have a CO detector right now because we have a propane heater so i'm thinking we should just stick with propane! I haven't heard of anywhere up here providing large butane outdoor tanks, im thinking because if how cold it is!

We will be venting the fridge so we would need another form of ventilation for our stove top. Any suggestions? From someone who has a propane stove like this? It states it is suitable for indoors for cabins, RV's and hunt camps. I assume with proper ventilation?

https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.1000806618.html

 
Brittany Petrenko
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Michael Newby wrote:Another thing to keep in mind is that if you chose to run butane for your stove you're probably going to have to make some changes to your refrigerator to enable it to run off butane or you're going to be dealing with two systems.

I agree with Al, I would stick with propane if it's readily available.


Thanks Michael, yes it doesn't seem worth it when we can have everything hooked up to propane instead of going between the two!
 
allen lumley
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Brittany Petrenko :You can ask here for more opinions but from late fall through to late spring I personally would not vent your refrigerator outdoors !

During most of that time the air in your cabin is going to be very Dry, The Refrigerator will just keep pumping Water vapor back into your inside air -

I know all the reasons for venting, but all that vented hot air will be replaced by cold outside air and my Scottish heritage just won't let me do it. For

the hot months yes, but not during icicle weather!

For the kind of money they want for a 2-burner stove you should be able to get a 4 burner Apartment sized stove with an oven 2nd hand! And don't take

the 1st one you see older units that run on propane will have heavier cast iron burners not burners stamped or pressed into shape, and look at the grates

that support Your cooking pots! They should be heavy cast iron and not stamped . if you cover them with a pot like you would cook a couple of lobsters in

or a dozen ears of corn the pressed burners and grates will over heat and warp. Try Craigs list, or Habitat for Humanities RE-Stores, or place an ad in your

local paper ! For the Crafts ! Big AL
 
kevin stewart
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And if you do decide on a used propane stove with oven look around at nearby auto junkyards. See if they have any RV's. All sorts of stoves and fridges. Look for the water pump while you're at it.

I used the butane on my boat and those little cylinders are just too expensive.

 
John Master
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propane indoors would probably be the easiest, also rocket stoves are good for outdoor use in the summer and easy to make and fuel with cuttings.
 
Brittany Petrenko
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Hi Kevin,

Unfortunately we don't have room for a full stove so the bbq and counter top burner are our only options!

Now al,
I've heard of fridges freezing because of the venting in the winter but wouldn't it be dangerous to not vent the fridge outside?
 
S Bengi
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Use a fan to mix the hot(roof) and cold(floor) air in the house. If you are worried about the air containing too much CO, then get a super sensitive CO monitor and adjust you cold air intake into the house. With outside being -40C and inside being 20C a difference of 60C I don't see a problem with cold fresh air Forcefully finding it's way into your house.
 
Brittany Petrenko
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Thanks everyone! All great information!

The fan suggestion for circulating hot and cold air; is this suggestion for the fridge or for the cook top? I don't want to lose our heat so I think we will get a very sensitive CO detector and see how that goes.

We were told the amount of propane the fridge would be burning wouldn't be much especially since we know our home isnt completely sealed. In summer months we always have window open anyways!
 
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