There are many reasons you may want to use a propane stove indoors. For example, during a natural disaster, you may be without power or clean water for days (or even weeks) at a time. And if the weather is bad then you may not even be able to boil water or heat your food outdoors.
Using a propane stove indoors can be safe with the appropriate precautions. Place the stove in a room that is well ventilated and make sure children and pets stay at a safe distance. Frequently inspect the unit for leaks, wear, and damage. You should also use a carbon monoxide detector, and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
Read on to learn about the risks, and precautions for using propane stoves indoors. You’ll also learn about the different types of propane stoves, and which are best suited for indoor use.
Is It Dangerous to Use a Propane Stove Indoors?
Many people agree that using a propane stove inside comes with a few risks. If you mitigate those risks, you can use one safely indoors.
They Can Be a Fire Hazard
Propane stoves can be a fire hazard when used indoors. Propane is highly combustible, and the stove uses an open flame. Take the following precautions to safely use one indoors.
Keep children and pets at a safe distance. Install the unit on a heat-proof surface and place it away from anything flammable, such as curtains or paper. Make sure not to lay anything on or near the stove when it’s not in use and keep the surface of the stove clean at all times. Never leave a propane stove unattended indoors.
Improperly working equipment can also cause a fire or explosion. Don’t forget to have a working fire extinguisher in the room when cooking — just in case.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Is the #1 Danger
Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and can become deadly in minutes. When a carbon-based fuel like propane burns, carbon monoxide is produced as a byproduct. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, drowsiness, and nausea.
Proper ventilation is key when using a propane stove indoors. Cook in the largest room possible to allow more area for fumes to disperse. Open a window to help circulate the air and prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide in the room.
Never leave your stove unattended, and use a carbon monoxide detector in the room where it’s located. An alarm will alert you if the levels in the air become dangerous.
Explosion Risk From a Propane Leak
If a propane stove while used indoors malfunctions or develops a leak, it can become deadly. Carbon monoxide and combustible fumes can build up to dangerous levels before you’re even aware of it.
Inspect the stove burners, propane tank valve, hoses, and fittings for any damage. Test for leaks in these areas often. Replace faulty equipment immediately. Consider buying a battery-powered propane gas detector to alert you if a leak occurs.
To test for leaks, fill a clean spray bottle with water and add a couple of tablespoons of liquid dish detergent. Spray the gas valve, fittings, and hose.
If you see a bubble start to form around any of these areas, turn the gas off immediately. Replace any faulty or damaged components and make sure all fittings are adequately tightened before turning the gas back on.
When possible, use the small camping-sized cylinders of propane with your stove. If you have to use the large propane tank from your grill instead, keep the tank outside when it’s not in use. Propane is not affected by freezing temperatures, but if the weather is hot, keep the tank in a shaded area.
Are There Benefits to Using a Propane Stove Indoors?
Propane stoves are a great option to have during power outages. If you are without power for several days, using a propane stove can have many benefits.
Propane stoves work quickly and can cook multiple meals on a single tank of fuel. When cooking things that do not have to be boiled, you can also adjust the cooking temperature to conserve gas. A propane stove is also a cheap option that doesn’t take much space to keep on hand in case it’s needed.
You can use a propane stove indoors, if necessary, to cook hot meals when the weather is less than desirable. You can also use a propane stove to brew coffee or make hot chocolate in an ice fishing shelter.
Here are some questions related to using a propane stove indoors.
What’s the Best Propane Stove to Use Indoors?
Technically, there is no portable propane stove that is rated specifically for indoor use. Some are safer than others depending on whether they have a covered flame and a stable base.
The most popular propane stove for backpackers and campers is the Coleman Classic 2-burner stove. It’s lightweight, compact, and affordable. Just be sure to keep the burners clean. Clogged burners put out more carbon monoxide and other dangerous fumes.
One thing to consider when using a propane stove indoors is they normally use the 16 oz canisters of propane. With the Coleman stove, you’ll cook through one cylinder in an hour if you use both burners on high. You may want to invest in an adapter to use the stove with a 20lb propane tank. Or, at least have several spare cylinders of fuel stored ahead for emergencies.
If you need to use the stove for an extended period of time, there are resources that can instruct you on how to modify the stove to work with a 20lb propane tank for a gas grill. Just remember, to test your connections well, and always store the large propane tanks outside in a protected area. Never keep it connected to the stove, or store it indoors in the living space.
Another option is to set the propane stove in a clean fireplace so the fumes are mostly vented out through the chimney. Just ensure that the chimney flue is open and is clean.
Portable Propane Stove Alternatives?
If you want a few alternatives to using a propane stove indoors, here are a few suggestions to consider. As with the propane stove, remember to take appropriate safety precautions with an open flame or combustible fuel.
- Sterno stove is compact and doesn’t require a gas cylinder. Each can has a two-hour burn time. Many hikers carry these to heat freeze-dried meals and tents. They can be used to boil water but may take up to 14 minutes to heat a cup or two of water.
- Coleman one-burner stove will boil water in 3 minutes for coffee or tea. It uses naphtha or Coleman fuel, which burns cleaner and hotter than propane. It can also burn unleaded gas in a pinch.
- Bio-lite camp stove burns only wood and generates enough electricity to charge your cellphone. While a bit more expensive, it will grill 4 hamburgers and has a press for your morning coffee.
No matter if you’re camping, hunting, fishing, or have an emergency where you’re without utilities for an extended period, it’s best to use your propane stove outdoors. But, with the proper precautions and a little pre-planning, it can be used indoors as well.
Test the tank valve, fittings, and hose for leaks each time. Make sure to ventilate the room, put the stove on a heat-proof surface, and only use it for the shortest duration necessary. Remember to turn off the gas immediately after use. Keep children and pets away from the area, and store the fuel tank in a garage or outdoors in a covered area.
These precautions are critical to keeping you and others safe when using a propane stove indoors. Or, consider one of the many alternatives that are available.