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Old 12-31-2010, 05:45 PM   #1
dandw12786
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So I finally got my propane burner, and I'm pumped for my first garage brewday when it gets a bit warmer (or at least the wind dies down). I've been researching the safety of using these in the garage, and everyone seems to agree that it's fine with proper ventilation and using some common sense.

I do have one nagging issue, though I think I've figured it out, but just want some people to tell me I'm right :-). The issue is the risk of fire. I'm not worried about lack of O2 or CO poisoning as I plan to open the garage at least halfway or all the way, and I have a back door I can open, as well as a window, and I have a CO detector I will be using. My issue is with fire. I have to be able to have a good explanation for SWMBO as to why this is safe, and using a turkey fryer in the garage would be an exercise in stupidity (because, lets face it, the setup is basically a turkey fryer with water instead of oil, which I'm guessing is the important distinction).

From what I can come up with, the dangers of the turkey fryer lie not in the propane tank or burner (as long as the equipment is free of leaks and functioning properly), but in the fact that a lot of oil is used, and oil, at high temps, is flammable, and can even combust if not monitored correctly (and wort will not). Is this basically the issue? Is garage brewing safety more an issue of CO and not fire hazards? I only ask because I find a lot of info about CO poisoning on this board, but really not much on the risk of fires. Please weigh in, I appreciate your opinions!
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:48 PM   #2
cheezydemon3
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YES.

I would crack the back door and 1/4 open the big door (if it is that cold) or open both fully if possible.

I would also look for any spilled gasoline, gasoline in containers, gasoline popsicles, .....you get the idea.

Gas cans OUTSIDE.

Cars OUTSIDE.

Good luck soldier.

 
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:50 PM   #3
Reelale
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I brew in my garage with the overhead door open, as well as the entrance door on the opposite side. This allows for cross ventilation, and I have had no problems whatsoever. IMO, you are correct about the added risk with hot, combustible oil vs. water. I do keep a fire extinguisher on my brewstand due to the open flame.

 
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:39 PM   #4
theonetrueruss
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I brew and fry turkeys and you are correct. The hot oil is the real issue. The propane tank is not a huge risk.. it jusut isn't going to leap into the flames and explode. The Wort will never get ot enough to flame.. though a boil over in the garage would suck hard so watch it carefully... My wife insisted that I keep a fire extinguisher there and monitor closely. I couldn't argue much with that.

 
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:06 PM   #5
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The big problem with propane used indoors or your garage is if you ever get a flame out or develop a leak without shutting off the propane quickly. Propane is heavier than air and does not dissipate quickly like natural gas. The propane vapors will hug the ground and find all kinds of spots to hide in that you would not expect. If you are in an attached garage the vapors could easiler get into your home. I am not going to tell you what to do, I am just making you aware of the hazards and let you make your own decision.

PS: If you ever have a propane fire, your extinguisher may not be your friend. Putting out a propane fire is asking for an explosion. It is better to turn off the source of the gas. Once the gas is off use your fire extinguisher.
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:30 PM   #6
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FWIW, it is illegal to use or store a bulk propane cylinder (ie anything larger than a 1 lb cylinder) in an inhabited building (including an attached garage). The propane tank IS a huge risk. It is entirely possible for the tank to leak or get punctured. The tank valve could malfunction and leak gas as can the pressure relief mechanism. While in operation, there is the possibility that the pressure regulator could fail and release a large volume of gas suddenly. The gas supply hose could rupture, get severed or even burned through. None of these possibilities are very likely to occur, but it could be catastrophic if they should. Your insurance company would likely deny the claim if you manage to burn your house down and you might even be charged with a crime, especially if anyone was injured or killed. It would be challenging to attempt to put out a fireball fueled by 20 lbs of liquid propane.

I don't mean to come off like a chicken little. I regularly brew in my garage using propane fueled burners and have been doing so for a very long time without problems. IMO, the probability of an accident is quite small and I take extra care with maintaining and using the equipment, but I'm also aware that I'm rolling the dice using and storing this stuff indoors. It's good to keep in mind that Murphy can show up at any time and when he does, it likely won't be pleasant. Probably the best advice in this regard would be to never leave a burner unattended while in operation, even for a very short time. The risks are small, but the stakes are very high indeed.

 
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:38 PM   #7
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Since CO is heavier than breathable air it will sink to the ground. Just put a fan in the back of the garage in low to move an CO out under the half open garage door and not too fast to blow out the propane burner. If you have any doubt about using the fryer in the garage then dont do it and find a suitable place outside.

 
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:52 PM   #8
Catt22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleJeepXJ View Post
Since CO is heavier than breathable air it will sink to the ground. Just put a fan in the back of the garage in low to move an CO out under the half open garage door and not too fast to blow out the propane burner. If you have any doubt about using the fryer in the garage then dont do it and find a suitable place outside.
This is incorrect. The specific gravity of CO is 0.9667 relative to air. It will not sink to the ground and stay there. Instead, it will readily diffuse throughout the area. This is one of the things that makes it so deadly.

ref: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/sp...ses-d_334.html

 
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:08 PM   #9
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The big safety issue with frying in the garage is the boil over and flamable oil. Beer (wort) is not flamable, not easily anyways. Big difference. With brewing in the garage CO2 is the big risk and it sounds like you have that covered. As always a dose of common sence is called for. The gas can on the other side of the garage is probably ok if its not leaking, if it is then the car starting n the garage, smoking or anything involving sparks in there isn't a good idea.
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:47 PM   #10
woodstone
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What everyone else said. And...brew away...leave the garage door open a bit...you'll be fine. I've had the burner going and a kero heater...(my wife woke me up and I shut everything down)...kidding (about the wife thing), no problems!

 
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