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Old 05-09-2010, 12:24 PM
Sandy Beechbum Sandy Beechbum is offline
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Default Can you safely burn denatured alcohol inside?

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Can't really find the info I'm looking for. I'm considering a small stove that burns denatured alcohol to use in emergencies. Just wondering if it's safe to use in a closed up house or if there will be toxic gases associated with burning denatured alcohol. Figure if I can use it in a closed up home that would help reduce cooking smells if I don't want to advertise them.
Old 05-09-2010, 12:27 PM
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Well not sure but my Granny used to burn rubbing alcohol in a small ceramic bowl in the kitchen to singe the tiny pin feathers off chickens after we killed them. Nobody died there after 50+ years of her doing this.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:26 PM
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Alcohol stoves are designed to be used in the tight quarters of sailboats and ships. Radius Defense designs the kitchens of their underground shelters around an alcohol stove. I'd assume that they're probably the safest choice for indoor use.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:28 PM
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I believe the type of alcohol used, I have used various types of rubbing alcohol indoors and yes some smelled but im not to messed up from it. Denatured is pretty darn clean , I would have no worry at all myself.
Old 05-09-2010, 04:05 PM
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I've used denatured alcohol many many times inside a closed up house. No problems. It does have it's own distinctive odor, but it's not overpowering, IMO.
Old 05-09-2010, 04:11 PM
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Generally speaking, if there is adequate ventilation burning alcohols produce only water vapor and carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide (unsafe) is only produced if there is not enough oxygen-supply for complete combustion.
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:19 PM
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I use SLX denatured alcohol and will use it inside if I need to.
I have a couple of small Ultralight stoves that I regularly use. I don't use HEET in my stoves so I don't know about that.
Old 05-09-2010, 06:43 PM
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well cant realy speak for denatured alcohol since i dont know the components (chemicaly)
but i know that "fondue" pots are burning alcool usualy ( if i remember its the same stuff as yellow bottle heet methyl alcool )
regardless i would use caution when used inside ( ventilate properly ) most portable stoves are not designed to be used inside .
Old 05-09-2010, 07:03 PM
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The denatured alcohol has a warning label regarding ventalation, always play on the safe side get a carbon monoxide monitor with battery back up, could save your life and your familiys life.
Old 05-09-2010, 09:52 PM
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Ok............ get some alcohol, get a CO detector and a smoke detector, light it up and see if you get any off gassing............. try it for yourself
Old 05-09-2010, 10:30 PM
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Couple years back, I read an article in field and stream about a homemade survival stove to keep in your car if you get trapped in a blizzard. The stove was a metal coffee can with a roll of TP (without the cardboard tube) jammed in. You poured rubbing alcohol over the TP and lit it. They recommended cracking open the car windows.
Old 05-10-2010, 02:39 AM
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I've always found it pretty safe for indoor use, but if you spill it while its burning... you've got a real problem on your hands.

I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a decent fire extinguisher nearby.
~ "In the end, you only regret chances you didn't take, relationships you were afraid to have and the decisions you waited too long to make."

Old 05-10-2010, 09:10 AM
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Something that may be worth mentioning is that it evaporates VERY quickly.

As with any other stove, when using an alcohol stove it's a good idea to use it on a fireproof surface. If some were to spill and ignite, then there are no worries. It will burn off very quickly.

If you're worried about it, set the stove inside a pie plate or frying pan, or even on top of some aluminum foil with the edges flipped up a tad.

In general, alcohol stoves hold very little fuel to begin with, and are easily smothered out.
Old 05-10-2010, 06:35 PM
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Well when in doubt, keep a window open. I'm sure you can find a way to ventilate the CO2 or CO properly without letting out the sweet sweet smell of bacon. mmmmm...bacon
Old 05-10-2010, 08:53 PM
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Alcohol is very safe for indoor use in my experience. It cleans up easily and evaporates quickly if spilled, and does not produce harmful fumes or vapors other than carbon monoxide which any burning fuel produces, easily countered by leaving a window or door open a bit.
there are many alcohol fuel stoves, I really like my Trangia Swede mil surp stoves. Look on eBay for some that are available. You can also maky your own. Check out these sites for starters on plans:
Hope that helps.
Old 05-10-2010, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Duelist View Post
Couple years back, I read an article in field and stream about a homemade survival stove to keep in your car if you get trapped in a blizzard. The stove was a metal coffee can with a roll of TP (without the cardboard tube) jammed in. You poured rubbing alcohol over the TP and lit it. They recommended cracking open the car windows.

This is actually a pretty great device. Taking it further (like so many of us do here ) I've discovered you can get unused paint type cans, put the TP inside, pour the rubbing alcohol in, and then seal with the paint can lid.

This will keep for years, and it will last for hours as it burns.
Old 05-10-2010, 10:03 PM
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Burning anything generates pollution, some of which is poisonous or otherwise noxious. This includes alcohol of ANY kind. Yes, it evaporates when you spill it, but BURNING it creates fumes that will kill you.

Never burn ANY kind of fuel indoors, liquid, solid or gas.

My alcohol stoves run on 90% denatured alcohol, and they go in the fireplace when in use.


denatured alcohol

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