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how do I safely cook inside the van with butane stove
#1
My apologies if this seems like an amature question. But I am new to the vanlife still. I have succesfully survived using a Wave 3 heater in the van but I have not cooked in it yet. With all of the warnings I want to ask the community of fellow van dwellers how to safely cook inside the van. If I were not in a city I would probably just swing open a door or something. But stealthy that would not be. 
At present I don't have a roof vent but I do have windows. My main concern is carbon monoxide poisoning. So I am looking for some validation that it is safe if I have a few windows open. 
Thank you for your help!
brian
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#2
As always when using an open flame;
- make sure there is plenty of oxygen in the room = crack open the windows
- make sure that there is a suitable clearance around the heat source, so nothing close by over heats and catches fire 

And if you can: 
- have a fire extinguisher close by
- install a CO ( carbon monoxide) detector


Google summarizes butane use like this:
"When oxygen is plentiful, butane burns to form carbon dioxide and water vapor; when oxygen is limited, carbon (soot) or carbon monoxide may also be formed."

So if your stove starts producing sod, then the windows are not open enough.



One way to limit heat radiation (and thus shorten the needed clearance) is to use a metal heat shield. You know one of those shields that is also a windbreaker, if the cooker is used outside.   
Metal as a shroud to the back and sides, is an effective way to minimize the distance of clearance needed.

As heat rises, you should also consider how hot it gets above the stove. And mainly keep anything flammable out of the way above the stove.
One way to know how hot it gets above the stove, is to wave your hand, close to the ceiling, but over the stove.
Likewise you can register the heat radiation around the stove, by waving a hand along the walls, as far away from the stove as possible, and you will quickly notice if anything is getting a heat wave pushed towards them.


Some people say, to use only a small pan, as a big pan might reflect heat towards the butane container. But this depends on the design of your stove. 



The above mentioned details is what constitutes the magic powers, that one must understand and be able to master, if one want to avoid dying from using an open lame inside a van. 

Disclaimer: So if you do not feel like you have acquired these magic powers yet, then do NOT operate a stove inside a van, as you will otherwise surely die.  Which is want all the official warning labels say.
One reason is, that companies are not authorized to try to bestow magic powers onto the users of their products. 
Likewise I am also not authorized to help anyone acquire their magic powers. All I can do is mention the clues, that leads to the magic powers. After that it is up to any reader to seek them out themselves. Okay? 




So what is it that is necessary to know and understand, for one to get the magic powers, that will allow one to survive using an open flame indoors, in a van?
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#3
Cracking the windows should be fine.

Catalytic heaters catalyze rather than burn fuel, so CO is greatly reduced. Only with oxygen levels get low do they start to generate significant levels of CO. Of course by the time oxygen is low enough to cause a problem for you the heater it's also causing a problem for you.

Basically we crack the windows to ensure sufficient oxygen for a clean burn. If you don't already have window vent covers I'd recommend them. And eventually a roof vent if you are in a vehicle with space for one.
frater/jason @ Quartzsite
blog | Promaster van | offtopic answers
"I would unite with anybody to do right; and with nobody to do wrong" F. Douglass
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#4
Stove manufacturers have to put that warning on their products so they don't get sued when someone does it and doesn't use common sense. Just crack a window. You are not going to be using a stove long enough to create a problem inside your van...just don't use it for heat!

A camp stove isn't really any different from an RV stove top.
2007 Keystone Springdale
2000 F-250 7.3L
Cody & Kye, border collie extraordinaires

Find us: www.nomadicpawprints.wordpress.com
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#5
Depends on what you're cooking too.

Huge BTU stir-frying a wok full of ghost chillies, better have a good roof fan.

Boiling up a cuppa tea, a cracked side window is enough.
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#6
I keep a big box of baking soda near the stove for use as a fire extinguisher.  I keep a 1 liter bottle of seltzer water for a fire that doesn't involve grease or oil.  The plan is put thumb over the open end and shake to spray water.  I keep a box and bottle at both sides of the stove.  I also keep one fire extinguisher as a last resort.  The powder is impossible to clean up.  

These products are in clear view as a reminder not to start a fire.  In two years I have not had a fire.  

If you have two windows open an inch there is plenty of ventilation if there is any breeze.  Open more if the air is still.  The plastic vent shades make it so windows can stay open when it's raining.  

At the Walmart where I shop most often there is a retention pond at the north end of the parking lot.  I back in to the parking spot and open the back door.  I have a kitchen with a lake view.     

The nicer CO detectors tell how high the CO level has been over time and warn if you have been exposed to elevated yet not lethal levels.  The stuff builds up.  With one of these you can ensure that you aren't getting a little bit at a time often enough to become a problem.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. 1 of Ten Cannots, Rev. William John Henry Boetcker, 1916.
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The following 1 user says Thank You to Trebor English for this post:
NomadicMario (12-25-2017)
#7
(12-25-2017, 06:16 AM)MrAlvinDude Wrote: So if your stove starts producing sod...

Then you need to apply for a new patent, and keep a shovel handy.

Tongue
Never trust a camp cook with lots of shiny new pans...
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The following 2 users say Thank You to tx2sturgis for this post:
DwelledLongAgo (12-25-2017), John61CT (12-25-2017)
#8
Thank you, very helpful! I'll report back after I cook something!
Brian
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