Small butane stove for power outages

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Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
Ideally I'd have a generator for power outages - but it's just not in the budget right now. When there is an outage in the area and Dunkin Donuts has power, the line of cars goes out into the street. I want to be able to at least make coffee in the morning. I have a grill for meals, but certainly don't want to use that for boiling water. I saw some portable butane one burner stoves for under $50 which I may consider. It would probably take a while (hopefully no more than 20 min. or so) to boil water, but once that happens I'd go with instant coffee. It would also be good for heating small meals.

Seems like the jury is still out whether it could be used indoors. I've read yes, no and maybe. If yes absolutely would have the kitchen windows open. I wonder if anyone has had experiences with one of these? They're typically found in the camping section of stores.

Here's an example of one.


butane stove.JPG
 

DAKSY

Full Time RVer
Staff member
Dec 2, 2008
9,351
Wherever we're parked
I've had one of those for almost 20 years.
I used it in a power outage a couple of times,
just as you would,if the occasion arose.
I did not open any windows, because I couldn't.
Big ole NY Icestorm, but I probably could have
brought it outdoors, away from the weather...
I will quantify that by saying that I DID & DO) have
CO detectors with battery back up.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
Yea those ice storms cause all kinds of trouble! Good reminder re: CO detectors... with battery backup.
I was very fortunate not to lose power in a storm earlier this month. There were 600+ power outages in Conn.

I think I'll get one of those stoves. I just don't know if butane is readily available as it's new to me. I know some
lighters use butane and I've seen refills for those, but the container is small.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
92,798
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, I got one for my sister for hurricane outages. They work well. Not high btus, but certainly adequate. I wouldn't worry too much about house ventilation. We have a propane cooktop in our house and have never had a concern or a peep out of the CO monitor.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
4,045
Eastern Ontario
I have one for backcountry camping
Will boil water faster than you think
works really well
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
Good to hear these experiences. Sounds like a very worthwhile small investment. Good to know water will boil in a reasonable amount of time. From I've read, brief intermittent indoor usage should be fine.
 

DAKSY

Full Time RVer
Staff member
Dec 2, 2008
9,351
Wherever we're parked
Yea those ice storms cause all kinds of trouble! Good reminder re: CO detectors... with battery backup.
I was very fortunate not to lose power in a storm earlier this month. There were 600+ power outages in Conn.

I think I'll get one of those stoves. I just don't know if butane is readily available as it's new to me. I know some
lighters use butane and I've seen refills for those, but the container is small.

Pretty sure I bought the Butane canisters from the company that sold my burner.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,118
Northern NH
I have a couple of butane backpacking stoves. They burn pretty clean. If it uses the standard round disposable cylinders, have a few spares as they dont last long.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
Did some more research and see the one I have pictured (Coleman) uses an 8.8 or 8 ounce butane canister. I see they're stocked
by Amazon but hopefully they're available locally.

For meals in cooler weather I'd use the wood stove. I've made stew in the top and heated up other things, even grilled toast on
tin foil. Still, for coffee first thing in the morning or during warm weather the small butane stove seems like the way to go.
 
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fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
3,283
Massachusetts
yup they are nice to have just stock up on a few containers of fuel because the fuel doesn't go bad ever.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
Ok - wondered about the fuel expiring. I've been told it's not good to use leftover gasoline - particularly 2 cycle mixed with oil, from the previous season. Gas has never given me trouble leftover in the law tractor.

Good to know butane doesn't go bad.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,118
Northern NH
I have some partially used ones from backpacking that are getting close to 20 years old.
 
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Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
I wish I had whiskey that old.

If butane can still burn efficiently at that age it's definitely a good back up source of fuel. I'm thinking of a lamp with a wick in it that
someone gave me, that may also run on butane.
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
3,283
Massachusetts
wick lanterns are run on lamp oil or kerosene smelly indoors and puts out a black smoke. at least mine do.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
Yea kerosene sounds more like it. Sounds like not the best alternative for lighting then.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,118
Northern NH
BTW, there are also butane lanterns for sale. They use a mantle like a Coleman lantern but a lot easier to use. They throw off little or no fumes compared to a burning naptha (coleman fuel). Note there are also small propane stoves and lanterns that run off the standard disposable cylinders you can buy at any hardware store. Either fuel is convenient and preferable to liquid fuel but the trade off is the fuel is far more expensive than liquid fuel. Kerosene used to be cheap and easy to get but in my area its only available in 5 gallons cans at hefty price. Wick type kerosene lanterns dontput out much light compared to mantle type lanterns.

No matter what, if you buy a mantle type, buy plenty of spare mantles as they are fragile. I have an old backpacking lantern I bought close to 45 years ago. i can still buy the fuel but its been 20 years since I could buy a mantle.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
I did see a couple of Coleman products that use the same cylinders, IMO a clever and practical feature. Kind of like various batteries that'll run various yard appliances and/or a flashlight. I really wouldn't mind the higher expense as the stove or lights would (hopefully) be used sparingly. If the disposable cylinders are available at local hardware stores that's a huge plus.

Noted re: mantles and their availability and being delicate. Fortunately standard alkaline batteries have a pretty good shelf life. Not sure if an off brand from Harbor Freight would. Good to have a supply on hand. Although the local power co . has been cutting down trees as a preventive measure, they caught hell for their power restoration efforts for the storm we had early last month. I was very fortunate as I surprisingly didn't lose electricity at all. I respect those crews, any utility crew. It's a tough job in all kinds of weather, long hours and many are away from home for a long time. I sometimes get annoyed by those who complain, yes it's very inconvenient or worse for some, but the crews out there work hard. I'm not in the business, just observing. I think everyone should be more prepared/have a backup plan. I do somewhat, but will admit can improve upon it.

I see you have almost 5,000 watts of solar power - damn that's great. That's about the rating of a generator i would get. It's kind of ironic now we're seeing some of the longest power and/or internet outages ever, as we depend on both more and more.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,118
Northern NH
Sadly my solar is just modern art when the grid is off. My system like many solar systems only works when the grid is up and running. There are hybrid systems starting to be installed that can run with or without the grid but they are far more costly as they include a large home battery. The Fed subsidizes 26% of the the extra cost for the hybrid battery and inverter but it still can add 10K to a system cost. I actually have a cheap Generac generator that I bought a few months after Y2K for cheap and to date I have never needed to use it for power outages. Any power outages have been minutes rather than days. I live in a newer development with trees that are not that mature. The utility is pretty agressive at trimming and most homes have underground power. This substantially reduces the chance of a neighborhood outage so the only time power goes down is when the local grid is down.

I also have quite a collection of camping and backpacking gear purchased over the years to support my hobbies including hiking the AT in sections. I have the basic necessities in place to survive a long grid outage without power when its cold out. When its warm out I would need the generator to run my fridge and freezer after several hours. I have a shallow well and a bucket and rope for water. Hot water would be an issue as my well pump is needed to refill my hot water tank. My SHW system does not need grid power as it is DC with solar panel to run the circulating pump.
 

ben94122

Burning Hunk
Sep 4, 2017
140
California
If you have a propane BBQ, you could look into a propane camping stove. They can really crank out the heat.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
92,798
South Puget Sound, WA
If you have a propane BBQ, you could look into a propane camping stove. They can really crank out the heat.
We have a 2 burner Coleman camping stove. Works on propane and does a good job. We'll be using it this weekend.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
Sadly my solar is just modern art when the grid is off. My system like many solar systems only works when the grid is up and running...

I have a shallow well and a bucket and rope for water. Hot water would be an issue as my well pump is needed to refill my hot water tank. My SHW system does not need grid power as it is DC with solar panel to run the circulating pump.

In fact I asked a friend why wasn't her solar power used during the outage - like many the system is only active when the grid is up. You must be realizing a significant cost savings though. My street was built in the 50s, with conventional overheard utilities. Usually when we
lose power we're down for the count. Even reducing that to hours would be wonderful to me! Nice having an 'old fashioned' well option.
Hot water - almost unimaginable during a power outage! When I had a pool it's water or water on the cover off season could be poured into the toilet tank so it would flush. I have several containers of water, including a 5 gallon bucket.

Camping cooking and other appliances seem like a good way to get through a prolonged power outage.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
If you have a propane BBQ, you could look into a propane camping stove. They can really crank out the heat.

I have a typical propane Weber grill with the tank underneath the burners. That tank could connect to a camping stove?

We have a 2 burner Coleman camping stove. Works on propane and does a good job. We'll be using it this weekend.

Camping is probably one of the safer activities we can do lately - away from crowds. Hopefully the weather will be good on this
long weekend.
 

ben94122

Burning Hunk
Sep 4, 2017
140
California
They sell two kinds of propane stoves: one that will hook onto the 20 pound tank under your BBQ, and one that runs off disposable cans (16.4 oz) . If you get one made to attach to the refillable tank, it will work great--but those type of stove are more expensive. If you already have one that runs off disposable cans, you can get an adapter to run it off a refillable tank--look for 16.4 oz to 20 lb propane adapter (see photo).
1599006051949.png

I have a camp chef everest stove and a woodland power stove because I do a lot of whitewater rafting/camping trips, but any brand is fine for occasional use. Cheapest and easiest way to go is probably to get a coleman stove and the hose pictured above.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
562
Connecticut
Good to know! I recognize the connector on the left. There's a Cabelas near me. They probably have the things mentioned here.
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
3,283
Massachusetts
just remember the grill is anywhere from (my ducane) 28,000 btu to 50,000 btu and they are forbidden to run in a house. if you run the propane stove in the house for heat they can range from 10,000 to 20,000 btu and still put out c/o not a good idea for heat
 
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