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Propane vs. Butane


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Our boat is currently installed with 2x butane cylinders (each with different fittings though; one flogas and one calor), which feed a common regulator via two pigtails. In order to be able to boil the kettle through the winter months, I am considering converting the system to Propane. Obviously this will need a new regulator and pigtails etc, but I wondered if there were any disadvantages with running Propane all year around. I think it is slightly more expensive, but we only get through about one cylinder a year, so that's not really an issue.

Given that Propane works even in sub-zero conditions, why do people actually bother with Butane?

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Propane is little “hotter†than butane but I’ve never really had and problem with the former even in really cold winters. I think the problem is one of perception rather than reality, in high volume draw industrial and home heating / cooking applications butane has problems converting from liquid to gas at low temperature, making the appliance it feeds inefficient. This has carried over to leisure users but the lower volume draw we need really does not give the same issues and butane works fine. All that said if it gets really cold, and by that I mean colder than we have experienced in the south and east of England for many years it may well cause butane not to gas off.

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I think we all probably use so little that the price is not an issue, interesting Poppy, did you have a high draw at the time it froze or just a couple of rings, I can imagine some of those instant water heaters in caravans would draw quite a bit.

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We have had butane 'freeze' in the

Yes, we did too Poppy, Easter before last, and hence the query in the first place.. We were in the middle of renovating our boat, and took it out for the weekend, whereupon it got really cold and snowed. We had no heating intstalled in the boat, so that may have been a contributary factor, but the cooker would not light. I poured a couple of jugs of cold water over the gas bottle, which was just enough to get it going.

I'm not sure if the location of the bottles is also a factor, as ours are in a locker at the stern, but the locker also has a few inches of water in it generally because the drain is not right at the bottom.

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As I understand it, Butane will not 'gas off' below 5C, and Like Poppy and Mark, we have been in this situation with the caravan, hence now propane only (including the boat).

I was once told that Butane burns cleaner than does Propane, but have never bothered to see if that is true.

Dave

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I was also told that Butane burns cleaner than propane.

I was alos told Butane struggles at low temp to convert to gas. As its a liquid in a bottle, when the ambient temperature drops, it has problems to convert. While as Propane is better at lower temperatures.

So i can sum it up :)

Hot summers a gas BBQ - use Butane, its a bit cleaner

For heating always use propane.

On the boat caravan always use propane

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Yes, we have experianced a few chilly nights when the heater wouldnt work because of a gas freeze, and at one point in an old Caravan we had a few years ago, Bill made a lagging jacket for the bottles out of an old airing cuboard watertank Jacket, which worked well, but we havent bothered making one for our new van because we now run on the red calor gas 7kg bottles or a spare 3.5kg for the BBq :)

Julz :wave

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Sealine like to fit Camping Gaz to their boats, which I am told is a mix of Propane and Butane, Calor bottles wont fit in the locker. On our 255 we had Propex heating that didn't work below 2 degrees, when I phoned Propex they told me it was the gas so I tried Propane thinking that I would be able to tell them it was wrong but it worked perfectly.

Have never had a problem with the cooker but apparently propex heaters are more pressure sensitive.

Ian

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Have never had a problem with the cooker but apparently propex heaters are more pressure sensitive.

Ian

I am certainly glad I started this thread now, Ian! The heating on my boat is via 2x 2kw Propex's, so I would have been really miffed if it got cold and then the heating wouldn't work :o

That settles it, Propane here I go! :grin:

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Used to have to make a cuppa with the door open to warm up the cockpit before the heating would work when it got cold.

The other problem is as Butane gasses it lowers the temperature of the bottle so with butane it can be as high as 5 degrees you have a problem.

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We had problems with the gas on one of the Fair Regents in December a couple of years ago. The gas bottles are only small and housed in a locker in the bow. We rang the boatyard who advised pouring warm water over the gas valve and bottle. Seemed to work. I assume that would have been butane.

cheersbar

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We caravaned for years rallying in all sorts of weather including snow and below freezing temperatures and always used Propane all year round with no problems .I have a small propane for the boat ,but have not felt the need to use it as we have never been on t he boat when it has been that cold cheersbar:teddy::party2:

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I think its all about how fast you can get the Liquid to gas at low temps.

Say for example Birdies 2 KW heater, that needs a good run of gas which i know for a fact in low Ambient temps Butane whould not be able to keep up with.

ITs all about Gas flow.. at low temps ;)

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Must be the french boat david, doesn't get as cold as the British ones :grin:

Either that or the gas locker is made from the same stuff they make Geordie's "T" shirts an mini skirts out of, that has to have the highest thermal insulative property known to Christendom.

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We have Butane on Kiki and use her through the winter and have never had an issue.

My Gas locker is 'precious' :naughty:

The Bottle was almost three years old when at the most inopportune time this summer it ran out :cry

That entailed a Taxi to Maldon and back so I am not having that again and fitted a regulator with a dial giving the status on how full the bottle is :grin:

post-79-136713594778_thumb.jpg

post-79-136713595028_thumb.jpg

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