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Old 10-26-2007, 06:59 PM
ArmenE ArmenE is offline
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Carbon Monoxide (CO) danger from burning butane inside

I got to thinking - why don't people regularly get poisoned from cooking with a gas kitchen stove/burners indoors? Does it not produce enough CO to be dangerous? I searched a bit and it seems that heating the home with a gas kitchen stove is a big no-no for this reason.
The reason I ask is that since I have an electric stove, I want to buy a little butane-canister single-burner portable stove so that I could properly make Turkish/Greek/Armenian/whatever coffee, which is a huge pain on an electric stove. Do I face any risks by running the thing for 5-10 minutes at a time indoors with closed windows, though in a medium-sized room (ie, i'm in my kitchen, not the closet)
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:15 PM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
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Toxicity is often expressed in terms of concentration and exposure. Use your stove to make dinner in a fairly tight home? Not a risk. Try to heat the same dwelling with it? Not a good plan.

So long as the unit you're purchasing bears the label and listing of an independent safety testing authority such as Underwriters Laboratories, and you use the device/appliance in a manner consistent with the manufacturer and other safety instructions included therewith, you will be fine.
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:19 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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Carbon monoxide gets produced when the combustion doesn't get adequate Oxygen (i.e. a CO molecule forms instead of relatively friendly CO2). Hence the danger of a furnace killing a family if its "return", the vent that supplies the unit with fresh air, gets clogged. A small butane burner in a reasonably large kitchen with adequate air (well... I wouldn't do it) isn't insta-death. Get a small fan that'll circulate the air in the kitchen (or turn on the ceiling fan if you have one, and/or open a window) and you should be fine.
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:29 PM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers
Carbon monoxide gets produced when the combustion doesn't get adequate Oxygen (i.e. a CO molecule forms instead of relatively friendly CO2). Hence the danger of a furnace killing a family if its "return", the vent that supplies the unit with fresh air, gets clogged. A small butane burner in a reasonably large kitchen with adequate air (well... I wouldn't do it) isn't insta-death. Get a small fan that'll circulate the air in the kitchen (or turn on the ceiling fan if you have one, and/or open a window) and you should be fine.
Not completely true. Even when provided with abundant fresh air containing 21% oxygen, fossil fuel appliances will produce measurable amounts CO, which is why most of them vent to the exterior of the dwelling. With the exception of sealed combustion water heaters and house heating units, any fossil-fueled appliance in a home is using ambient air from within the dwelling.
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:46 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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You're right, I should have stated that production of CO reaches dangerous levels if ventilation is compromised.
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:59 PM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers
You're right, I should have stated that production of CO reaches dangerous levels if ventilation is compromised.
All-rightey. With that, we agree.
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Old 10-26-2007, 08:33 PM
Public Animal No. 9 Public Animal No. 9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danceswithcats
Not completely true. Even when provided with abundant fresh air containing 21% oxygen, fossil fuel appliances will produce measurable amounts CO, which is why most of them vent to the exterior of the dwelling. With the exception of sealed combustion water heaters and house heating units, any fossil-fueled appliance in a home is using ambient air from within the dwelling.
Just as a bit of nit-picking, it's not just fossil-fuel appliances that produce CO. Any combustion process that uses hydrocarbon fuel, including wood or other biomass, generates CO. Woodstoves can be just as much a problem if the combustion vents into the room and are burning poorly.

Ranges don't tend to be a significant problem simply because they don't burn as much fuel, and therefore don't generate as much exhaust. Running a butane cooker for 10 minutes shouldn't cause significant problems, but it's always a good idea to make sure everything is well-ventilated.
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