Safety of Using Propane Burner Indoors

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RotorHead6

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Since it is so cold outside up here I would really like to avoid going outside to brew of the simple fact of opening and closing the door a 100times and letting cold air inside. Lets face it, heating your home in the winter time isn't cheap!!

My question it how much CO does a standard propane turkey cooker give off? Would it be unsafe to operate indoors near the stove with the overhead hood running that extracts outdoors? I don't want to fill the house with CO which just isn't good.

Any input would be great.
 

srm775

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It's a tough call. Some people do it, others don't. Some compromise and brew in the garage. Really you should search and make a determination on your own.

Indoor brewing
 

Evan!

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It's simply not worth it. If you want to do it inside, you'd need to vent that CO anyway, meaning you'd be pumping out just as much if not more conditioned air than you would if you were opening the door a bunch of times. I'd suggest getting everything ready to go and putting it all outside, so you're not opening the door too much.
 

Soulive

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How cold is too cold to brew? I did my first AG in 15F with a 3F wind chill. Just wear the proper clothes and layer them. I'd do that way before killing braincells with CO. That's what the beers for!
 

the_bird

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I do all my mashing inside, just the boil in the driveway. That's mostly to facilitate the mainenance of mash temps, though. Really, you can cheat and run inside for much of the boil, once you get past the hot break. That is, if it's too cold for you... ;)
 

GloHoppa

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yeah you would need to do it in a well-ventilated area. carbon monoxide poisoning is no way to end a brew day
 
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RotorHead6

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Thanks for the input. I wasn't too worried about the air temps. being to cold for myself. I just didn't want to keep opening that door and letting cold air in. I just don't like giving the natural gas anymore money than I have too!! The raping they are giving us now hurts bad enough!!
 

beergears

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Rotor,

Propane burning inside is not good.

Why couldn't you devise some flexible plastic sheeting over your door opening, in the same style as on loading docks..?

You could also equipt the door with a pneumatic cylinder, like the traditional storm door. Recalling the door should control the heat loss a great deal, no?
 

5 Is Not Enough

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I use (sometimes 2) propane burners indoors. One is 210,000 btu Banjo Burner and the other a 170,000btu generic burner. I use them both in my basement.

Here is my don't kill yourself with propane post:

DON'T BLOW YOUR A$$ UP BY USING A PROPANE DEVICE INDOORS! PROPANE WILL CREEP ACROSS THE FLOOR IF NOT BEING BURNED AND CAN IGNITE BY OTHER SOURCES OF FLAME(IE. W.H. PILOT LIGHT). KNOW THE SMELL OF PROPANE!

PROPANE MUST BE BURNED CLEANLY TO BE SAFE! BLUE FLAMES W/ YELLOW TIPS, OTHERWISE IT WILL GIVE OFF POISONOUS CARBON MONOXIDE! IF YOU SEE SOOT ON YOUR POT, YOU ARE POISONING THE AIR. (Propane when burned cleanly will produce carbon dioxide and water vapor)

DON'T BURN ALL OF THE OXYGEN OUT OF YOUR HOUSE AND ASPHYXIATE YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS! VENTILATION IS NECESSARY! CLEANLY BURNED PROPANE RELEASES CARBON DIOXIDE - NON-POISONOUS GAS THAT CAN DISPLACE OXYGEN CAUSING A HAZARD THAT CAN CAUSE DEATH.

OPEN FLAMES INDOORS HAVE THEIR OBVIOUS DANGERS! KEEP A FIRE EXTINGUISHER NEAR THE BURNER AT ALL TIMES AND DO NOT LEAVE A FLAME UNATTENDED. KEEP KIDS AND PETS AWAY.

Oh yeah and, NEW BURNERS WILL NEED TO BE "BURNED OFF" BEFORE BEING USED INDOORS AS NAUSEOUS GASES CAN RESULT!

I work professionally around LP gas constantly, usually in very confined areas. It is a very safe gas when used properly. If you are capable of brewing beer, you SHOULD be capable of working around Propane.
 

TheJadedDog

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I have mentioned this before as given my past experience with carbon monoxide poisoning (referred to now as "the time the apartment tried to kill us") I would HIGHLY advise AGAINST using any kind of propane burner inside. I know a bunch of guys do it and rig up ventilation and whatever, but you couldn't pay me to try it.
 

abracadabra

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5 is not enough: is the only person that answered your question.

CO is produced when most of the available oxygen is used up so ventilation is imperative. Not just exhaust ventilation but fresh air must be brought in.

Here's what I'd recommend to anyone considering using a turkey fryer indoors:

Get yourself a carbon monoxide detector, they are relatively cheap and they are effective. Without a CO detector you are just guessing.
 

5 Is Not Enough

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abracadabra said:
Get yourself a carbon monoxide detector, they are relatively cheap and they are effective. Without a CO detector you are just guessing.
Now that is smart thinking! (I'm adding that to my copy & paste response)
 

sirsloop

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Heck, I even leave my deck door open when using my range. The damn thing has two burners going and going for like 90 minutes... I figure if I have the place all closed up that would be a bad thing!
 

Sluggo

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Yes, I'm late to the party. Yes, I'm going to step on a soapbox.

I've thought about doing the same thing. Propane inside, how bad can it really be? It's damn cold out and it's nice and comfy inside. Well, about two weeks ago I found out the hard way how bad it can be. This was my wife's uncle.

http://www.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/0108mr-fatalfire09.html

I'd love to think that we're all smarter than this, but accidents happen and they can be catastrophic. I'm not one to tell people what to do in their own home, but just weigh the good vs. the bad. Sure he had a few propane tanks inside that made it even worse, but one was all it took. Ventilation and a CO detector wouldn't have done anything. In hindsight, it was not the wisest choice to heat the trailer or cook with.

Now I'm off the soapbox.
 

gyrfalcon

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Sluggo said:
...This was my wife's uncle.
http://www.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/0108mr-fatalfire09.html

I'd love to think that we're all smarter than this, but accidents happen and they can be catastrophic....
Not to be a complete jerk, but there is a difference between an accident and stupidity.

Lets say you're going to paint your house. An accident is getting paint where you didn't intend it. Stupidity is not being prepared in case such a thing happens, or doing it anyway knowing the consequences or being ignorant of them.

Inside the home, firefighters found an "inordinate" amount of propane, including several "barbeque-style" containers and additional larger propane containers, Montgomery said. The propane is believed to have caused the two explosions, officials said. Montgomery said the victim was thought to have been heating his home with the gas.


There are other ways of brewing indoors like using heating sticks (which were mentioned in the last issue of Zymurgy). Of course they have their own risks like electrocution, etc.


Can you use propane to brew indoors? Yes!

Can you do it safely? That depends! Heck there are UL listed propane burners for indoor use.
 

5 Is Not Enough

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My posts were not about leaving propane tanks in your house or leaving propane burners unattended.

Just to be clear, here.
 

rabidgerbil

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+1 on the CO detector...
for that matter, you should have a few of them in your home, anywhere near a source of heat that could be producing CO... I have one near my gas fireplace and near my gas furnace.

As to cooking with it indoors, I have a friend who's entire house is fueled by LP, the oven, the furnace, the water heater, EVERYTHING... and the oven has not killed anyone yet... well... unless you take into consideration her cooking :(

You just have to take into account the things stated above, a clean burn, monitor any possible CO, and enough return air to resupply O2 to the room, and drive off the CO2.

If I remember correctly, there are even a number of LP space heaters that are now available that are indoor rated. My local hardware store sold out of those quickly last winter when the power was out for seven days.
 

wildwest450

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The world is full of danger. you could get hit by a fiery meteor, you could get run over by a garbage truck, you could trip and poke out your eye with a stick, you could get a drop of honey on your pants from an english muffin and get mauled by a bear. I just ordered a turkey fryer and will use it in the garage, I will not curl up in the fetal position under a coffee table, just because I "may get hurt.' Live free and die hard.:rockin:
 

cowgo

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I don't sell propane or propane accessories, and I'm sure Hank Hill would disagree, but why risk it?

I would brew in my garage except I don't have a good water source and drain for the IC. Otherwise, it's stove top extracts in, propane AG out.
 
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The last time I brewed, it was 20 degrees out, so I used my turkey fryer in my attached garage with the main door open 2 feet off the ground, and the back door to a patio fully open.

With no openings to the house other than a few cracks, both my basement and main floor CO detectors started going off within 5 minutes. I opened the door fully and the CO detectors kept going until I completed the boil and didn't stop until 25 minutes after opening all the windows in the house.
 
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cowgo said:
I don't sell propane or propane accessories, and I'm sure Hank Hill would disagree, but why risk it?
I have a different take on this:

The world is indeed full of danger. Being aware of that danger is the first step to mitigating risk. If we never took risks, we would never do anything at all. There would be no driving, no flying, no running, no alcohol, no sharp objects, etc, etc, etc. The world would be no fun, and life would lack purpose because we would be consumed with avoiding risk.

So, now that you're aware of the risks involved with using propane indoors, you need to make a personal decision about how much risk you're willing to accept. It seems that a reasonable person would only use a propane burner indoors if the flames were clean, and a ventilation source and CO detector were present. But, in the end, you're still starting a pretty big fire in your house in the name of saving a few bucks.

You be the judge.
 

shafferpilot

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I brew in my basement with a turkey fryer every time..... and two ready to go fire extinguishers, CO detector, charcoal filtered painter's mask, open windows, fan in one window, etc. all in the name of reasonable safety. BTW don't trick yourself into thinking that using one of these things outdoors is perfectly safe. Ventilation is the only advantage to being outside. Fire hazard is just as bad as inside. More than 20 homes are burned to the ground every year due to inadequate safety minded preparation preceding lighting that burner. The where isn't nearly as important as the preparation.
 

gyrfalcon

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shafferpilot said:
I brew in my basement with a turkey fryer every time..... charcoal filtered painter's mask.
Umm what the painters mask for....so you don't have to smell your farts? :cross:


I think the majority of catastrophes with propane are caused by leaks. The gas gathers or pools in low lying areas, and then ignites when it reaches a an ignition source. If you have 3 to 4 inches of propane all over your basement that ignites, it wouldn't be very cool.
 

shafferpilot

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the mask is for if the CO monitor goes off, or something catches on fire. If I'm going to stick around to fight a fire, I want to be able to breathe while i do it;)

edited because as Yuri has pointed out below, filters won't scrub CO (I learn something every day around HBT)

edited:

The mask is for in case something catches on fire. If I'm going to stick around to fight a fire, I want to be able to breathe while I do it.
 

gyrfalcon

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shafferpilot said:
the mask is for if the CO monitor goes off, or something catches on fire. If I'm going to stick around to fight a fire, I want to be able to breathe while i do it;)
Well I suppose it's better than nothing. My father used to keep a M17 gas mask by the fire extinguisher. Lack of oxygen trumps everything other than a full breathing apparatus mind you.
 
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shafferpilot said:
the mask is for if the CO monitor goes off, or something catches on fire. If I'm going to stick around to fight a fire, I want to be able to breathe while i do it;)
The mask will likely protect you from noxious fumes, but I don't know of a charcoal filter capable of filtering CO or producing oxygen. I'm not saying the mask is a terrible idea, as it will help you breathe when fumes are present, but it won't make up for a lack of oxygen, and it won't protect you from CO poisoning. If you think you have to put the mask on, it's probably time to escape danger rather than stay and fight a fire.
 

shafferpilot

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Life isn't ever super-simple.

Examples of not understanding, ignoring, or just not managing risks:

"if I brew outside, I don't have to worry about the dangers of noxious gasses or fire, so I won't bother to have any safety equipment standing by."

"I use natural gas for my brew setup, so there are no CO risks"

"If I brew inside and the residue from last weeks boilover flames up, I'll just grab my dog and run out the door screaming, FIRE FIRE FIRE"

"I'm brewing in the garage with the door open. The CO monitor in the house is going nuts, but I'll just assume that all propane burners create tons of CO and I'm fine so long as I'm out here in the garage. After the session is over, I'll ventilate until it quiets down"

Example of managing risk with preparation:

"Anytime I use any type of fuel burner inside OR outside I'm going to be ready for a problem by having fire extinguishers nearby but not right next to the burner. While I'm at it, I'll keep welding gloves, a filtration mask, etc nearby just because I can and if I decide that I need them, I'm sure I'll need them very quickly, so i don't want any delay. Also, I don't want to be in the "found dead from CO poisoning" crowd, so I'll utilize a CO monitor."

Can a propane burner be used safely indoors? Yes, if the risks are managed carefully.

Can a propane burner be deadly dangerous when used outside? YES, if the risks are not managed and the warning signs are ignored.
 

Søren T

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Well, I'm one of the guys doing it indoors - in the cellar. But I do it with both at door and a window open during the whole process.
 

brewmonk

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I built a room around the old laundry hookups, will vent through the, ...uh... vent.
 

rico567

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I have a number of years experience using propane. We use it from a 1K gal. bulk tank to heat our house, the kitchen cooktop, and the water heater. I have installed several demand type propane water heaters over 35 years. We use standard 20 lb. propane cylinders on our grill and on the burner I use to brew in the (detached) garage.

Although we have a CO detector in the house, I consider the risks of burning propane indoors (except for the appliances mentioned above) to be an unwarranted risk, regardless of how much ventilation is provided.

I pass.
 

Brewkowski

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How much does something like a temperature of 10F affect the brewing process? I was thinking of boiling in my garage because I thought the temperature would greatly impair the boiling process, is that much of a concern? Other than that I'd be willing to shovel the deck off and dress warm, I just feel better with a big boil outdoors, plus it makes the brew day stout taste better in the elements!
 

Sawdustguy

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I am not going to try to talk anyone out of using a propane burner indoors. If someone is hell bent on doing it, there is nothing I can do to stop them. I am a former Volunteer Fire Fighter and have wittnessed first hand what can happen when something goes wrong with a propane appliance. However I will share some statistics on the amount for injuries and property damage experienced in America each year as a result of propane incidents:

This is taken from Injuryboard.com. InjuryBoard is a growing community of attorneys, media professionals, safety industry experts, and local activists committed to making a difference by helping families stay safe and avoid injury.

"Barbecue grill fires and domestic propane tank explosions are a major source of personal injury in the United States each year. According to recent statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of FEMA, some 6,500 barbecue grill fires injure Americans accounting for property loss of over $27 million annually. Nearly a third of these gas grill fires occur in the backyard on a patio or terrace, and another third of these grill fires takes place in America’s backyards. The overwhelming majority of these grill fires result from accidents related to malfunctioning propane gas grills. Mechanical failure or malfunction is by far the leading cause of propane ignition. BLEVEs (boiling liquid expanding vapor explosions) are pressure-release explosions that occur when propane tanks are heated to combustion temperature, and are extremely dangerous."

This does not take into account the hazard due to carbon monoxide. I post this so the OP can make his own decision and so others are aware of the dangers of using an appliance like this indoors.
 

brewmonk

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Hey, Guy, is that usually when the tank is underneath the grill? My tank usually gets ice on it if I hit it full bore on my weedburner.
 

Sawdustguy

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Hey, Guy, is that usually when the tank is underneath the grill? My tank usually gets ice on it if I hit it full bore on my weedburner.
Being honest I am not sure. I remember going to fire school when I was a probie many moons ago. During propane night the idea is not to put the fire out but to remove the source of gas. If you put the fire out you risk an explosion. In any case you form an inverted "V" to protect the valve man from the flames and heat and the valve man shuts down the valve. When it was my turn to be valve man my glove froze to the valve handle and I was not going to hang around to collect my glove after I got the valve shut. I wanted out of there quick.

I saw a post by someone earlier in the thread, saying they would keep a fire extingisher handy if they had a fire. It would be a bad move to put the gas fire out. It could cause an explosion. The best thing would be to simply close the tank valve and the fire would go out. If that was not possible I would just get the hell out of there and write the house off and kick myself in the ass for using the propane burner indoors. Propane tank fires are fought by pouring tons of water on the tank to keep it cool so the gas inside does not increase pressure to the point where the tank will rutpure and an explosion will happen. This is done until the gas simply burns out.
 

springer

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I know people do it but anything over a 1 lb tank is against code for inside use . If you were to have a tank outside and plumbed then you could get away with it if you had a large enough exhaust hood.
 

brewmonk

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I wish i could afford to have a plumber pull a permit on a $6k N.G. wok stove (with surround).

And even outside I always try to stretch out the propane line as far away from the burner as poss.
 
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