Can You Use a Camping Stove Indoors? What Are The Risks

portable stove

Who would want to eat cold Dehydrated Food, not me for sure. That is why most people invest in portable stoves to eat a somewhat fresh food while they are camping, but our question here is can you use the stove in an indoor space?

It is possible to use camping stoves indoors if carefully regulated, but it’s best to monitor the levels of carbon monoxide nearby just to make sure. The best practice is to install a carbon monoxide detector near where you have natural gas burning.

Besides carbon monoxide poisoning our biggest concern is canister explosion and leakage, yes butane stoves might explode! now let me explain how to prevent explosion and I will also compare all types of potables stoves.

Which type of camping stove is the safest for indoor use?

Butane/Isobutane

watch this video explaining how to prevent butane canister explosion

Butane is a colorless gas with a faint petroleum-like odor. It is one of the most common gases used in stoves, especially in portable stoves. While Isobutane shares many similarities with butane, isobutane is a bit superior and more pricey too.

So, are butane stoves safe for indoor use? there are many cases where butane canisters exploded because of the canister overheating. So companies came up with a technology called CRV(countersink release vent). What this does is when the canister is overheated it has holes around the top of the canister which will start to release the heated butane and will prevent an explosion. so, before you buy your butane tanks make sure they are CRV listed.

Another concern is when butane burns it produces a significant amount of carbon monoxide, so adequate ventilation is important. It is nice if you have a CO monitoring kit that way you can monitor if there is an unsafe amount of carbon monoxide is there.

The big advantage of butane stoves is that their canisters are lighter, making it easier to carry long distances so most campers prefer them for camping trips so if you are planning on buying a camping stove I would recommend you get a butane stove.

Denatured Alcohol

alcohol stove

Denatured Alcohol is probably the second most common type of fuel used in portable stoves. People love alcohol stoves because they are super cheap and in a sense they are eco-friendly, but they also have high carbon monoxide emission which makes them unusable in tight spaces like a cabin or tent but in bigger spaces they are ok.

The thing with alcohol stoves is they aren’t made for heavy-duty cooking they just do simple things like boiling small water and heating a small amount of food, so why you want to use them if you aren’t in a tough condition.

Propane

Propane is a highly flammable and compressible natural gas that we get in oil refining. Although propane is used widely in many household stoves it is not very common in portable stoves because it needs a strong heavy canister to pressurize it. No hiker or camper wants to carry a heavy metal around and that is why butane stoves are much preferable than propane stoves.

When propane burns with enough oxygen it produces co2 and h2o, but carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion when there is not enough o2, which is like in most cases but I would say propane stoves might be the safest option considering most people are already acquainted with them. just make sure there is enough ventilation.

kerosene

kerosene stove

kerosene is probably the oldest fashioned fule to use. It is very unhealthy it produces many unhealthy gases that are harmful and most kerosine stoves are aesthetically unpleasing. I don’t even get the reason to buy them in the first place.

The only advantage you get with kerosine stoves is they are powerful and they burn at a high temperature, if not for this advantage they are of no use.

One thing I would tell you if you are looking to buy a kerosene stove, please don’t

Solid fuel

I don’t think anyone reading this article is thinking of using solid fuels when reading this article but in case you are there are a variety of solid fuels that can be used some of them harmful some of them aren’t it is going to be hard to list them all but as always ventilation is key.

CO poisoning & CO-monitoring kit

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is toxic to humans and animals. if the concentration of carbon monoxide is more than 35 ppm it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, check this article to read more about co poisoning

A `CO-monitoring kit is a device/alarm that makes a sound when there is an unsafe amount of carbon monoxide is present in the air.

Having a co monitoring kit around your portable stove is a nice way to make sure if the concentration of CO is safe. If you want a CO monitoring device you can check this on amazon, it is the highest rated one on amazon.

Leakage and safety

how to check if there is a propane leak

If you suspect there is a leakage, what I meant by that is if you smell propane I mean propane is an odorless gas it is the chemical called mercaptan that gives it its distinctive “rotten egg” smell, anyways if you smell that odor it crucial that you don’t try to repair the tank any further by yourself and let a professional determine a time to come to your home to do a system check or pick up the tank.

In this case, because the tank is portable and small you should take it outside your house where there is ventilation and airflow

Ventilation is the key

I can’t emphasize this more, for instance, if you are using a butane stove if it is CRV listed and there is adequate ventilation there is literally no reason you can’t use it in any place you want. If you are using a propane stove and even if there is leakage ventilation can save you from danger.