25 June 2010

Propane

We use propane for cooking. Pretoriens have a built in propane locker in an aft lazarette on the port side. Propane needs a safe place to vent outside the boat so any leaks don't settle and, when sparked, go BOOM. Our locker is fiberglass in, separated from the rest of the boat and vented at the stern.

We go through our 20lb tank of propane in approximately 2.5 months. The length of time we go changes depending on how much we eat out, and how cold it is, and so will vary depending on where we cruise. Our propane use is on the heavier side in the winter when we make a gazillion cups of coffee, cocoa and tea and bake more. Some people are smart and put their extra hot water from the kettle in a thermos. We haven't internalized that trick yet.

I wondered stuff like that when we were thinking about boats and when we first moved aboard. Propane storage is tricky so when buying a new boat, how much is enough? Should we carry extra propane?

We also use the main tank for our BBQ with an adapter. As a marginally reasonable back up we carry a few small disposable BBQ tanks. So far a 20lb tank is fine for us. We can cook full time for two for approximately 2.5 months. We might add a smaller tank on our stern rail someday when we travel somewhere where we can't fill the tank easily in that timeframe.

7 comments:

  1. Wow - you do go thru a lot. On Eolian, a 20 lb tank lasts us about 6 months, I think. We also use it only for the stove/oven and the BBQ.

    bob

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  2. I have three smaller tanks. One lasts about a month or more depending on use. The advantage is that they are light enough to lug around. You immediately know how much you have. When I switch to the last tank, it's time to fill the other two. OR, once one is empty, I can begin to consider looking for a fuel dock that has propane when I fuel the next time. Having one tank only makes me begin to wonder after a while, when will it run out? Of course, your locker space will have everything to do with it. My locker couldn't handle the larger tanks so actually, it's worked out quite well.

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  3. Maybe we're wrong about our tank size Eolan b/c the difference in our usage seems extreme - or maybe we just cook a lot? Do you use AC stuff too?

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  4. You may be right about your tank size, Livia. We go through a 10-pounder about every 5-6 weeks. So a 20-pounder would last us 10-12 weeks or about 2-1/2 to 3 months. We only use it for cooking but we do a fair amount of that. And that's for full time living aboard. We have 2 tanks and we opted for the plastic/fiberglass ones that you can see through and are extremely light. One tank fits in either one of our backpacks and, when empty is an easy load. After we have them filled, they're heavy enough that we have to stop for a beer on our 1 mile hike back to the boat.

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  5. Livia -

    When you ask about AC stuff, I presume you are asking about toaster oven, waffle iron, etc. No, we have none of those. We do have a small microwave, but it gets used only infrequently. We don't bake a lot - perhaps that is a difference.

    Neither Jane nor I can remember when we filled the tank we are drawing from right now (I just asked). I do remember that it was cold and rainy when I hooked it up, but that doesn't mean much in this climate. I honestly believe that we go thru about 2 tanks a year.

    bob

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  6. Oh wait - we have an espresso machine on board. This means that pretty much all of the water heating for coffee is done via AC. Could heating coffee water be such an important propane consumer?

    bob

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  7. The range is very educational.

    We cook a lot. We also make hot drinks 3x a day I would say and we use our oven regularly for dinners - roasting and baking stuff.

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