The world ended, or you’re just in quarantine, and suddenly the power goes off. It’s not a big deal if the weather is mild, but things in your refrigerator are going to spoil if someone doesn’t fix the problem soon. Hopefully, if you’re off-grid, then you have a root cellar or backup generator. However, cooking some of that bacon is also a good idea right about now. Do you need to go outside, or can you use your camping stove on the kitchen counter? I’ll walk you through butane safety indoors, so you don’t accidentally kill someone. After all, when the SHTF, you need as many trustworthy friends and family members alive as possible.
Is butane gas safe to use indoors? Butane is safe to use indoors, provided you stick to a couple of basic safety rules. Primarily, you need to have proper ventilation, so you don’t inhale butane or carbon monoxide gas. Otherwise, make sure you’re using it correctly, in a device that’s rated for indoor use.
Dangers of Indoor Butane
Butane is safe enough indoors when you store and use it correctly. However, since many people skip right past the warning labels and ‘wing it,’ more often than not, it’s essential to understand that you are handling a toxic explosive. Unless you want to be known as ‘the prepper with the missing fingers,’ then you need to treat it like fireworks or bullets.
Improperly stored butane can leak. At best, it’s a waste, and at worst, it encounters a spark and blows up whatever happens to be in the way. Equally important is avoiding inhalation of butane.
It takes shockingly little butane in your lungs to sicken or even kill you. An inquest into the death of a teen in 2012 found that a single breath might be enough to end a life. Though some so-called ‘huffers’ inhale butane, presumably more than once, it’s never safe.
In a survival situation, you don’t want to be on fire, but neither do you want to accidentally ‘huff’ butane. Even if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you sick for up to twelve hours. Moreover, it could distract you from other important things. For example, watching your back, or turning off the stove.
Butane in Your Food
Since butane is potentially dangerous, you should ask if it’s even safe to eat food cooked with butane. People eat foods grilled in aluminum foil all the time, and it has been linked with leeching into our bodies and Alzheimer’s. As it turns out, a little isn’t worth being concerned over, and that goes for both foil and butane.
Unlike the foil we cook in, butane becomes a gas at room temperature. That means it’s evaporating. Hence there’s little to none in your food. Equally noteworthy is this; butane is an alkane, so when it burns off, it doesn’t produce anything you need to worry about, at least where food is concerned.
When to Take Butane Outside
For those who are worried about burning butane indoors, the answer is simple. Take it outside instead. Unless you’re in a bunker or windowless room, you should be fine. Still, you always have the alternative of removing the concern if you can go outdoors.
If you’re seriously concerned about your ventilation, open the windows. You can also set a butane stove inside a clean chimney if you open the flue. There are plenty of safe solutions for venting a small cook stove.
Vent fans over stoves also work well to remove any doubt, but you need power for them to work. Similarly, a small fan circulating air will help clear the gas out as long as it has somewhere to go, and the fan needs a power source as well.
Safe Indoor Butane Stoves & Heaters
Although butane gas is safe indoors, any flame can produce unpleasant results. Proper ventilation is no joke because, without it, your fire might not have enough oxygen. Improper oxygen flow on flame becomes dangerous and produces carbon monoxide.
The problem with breathing in carbon monoxide gas is that it displaces oxygen in your blood. Taking up the ‘spot’ where your body would store and deliver oxygen, suffocates your cells. Unfortunately, it can kill you.
So how do you tell when there’s carbon monoxide in the air. You can’t see it. Plus, it has no smell or taste. You’ll need special equipment.
To remain safe while using an open butane flame, you need three specific pieces of safety equipment on hand. First, a fire extinguisher is essential for any cooking. Everyone should have them around the house. You need one in the kitchen. Moreover, you should keep a fire extinguisher near any fireplaces, in the main hallways between bedrooms, and near your main exits for emergencies.
Secondly, you’ll want to make sure you have fire alarms. Always test the batteries at least twice a year. Four times, once a season is better. Without batteries that work, a fire alarm is just a lump of useless plastic.
Finally, you need to install carbon monoxide monitors. Especially when your emergency plans involve cooking with fire, you need to know if something goes wrong. Sadly, there’s no other way to tell. The first signs would be headaches, nausea, and unexpected tiredness. By the time that happens, you’re already breathing dangerous fumes.
You can cut down on the number of alarms you need by doubling up. I installed the First Alert ZCOMBO Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarms from Amazon in my home. They work exceptionally well. You can feel safe knowing that they’ll detect what you can’t and let you know. Have yours delivered by clicking here.
Before you start shopping for a butane emergency stove to cook with, you need to do your homework. Not only do you want a cooker rated for indoor use, but you need to make sure it’s a good stove. Finding a certified indoor butane cooker from a reputable company is essential.
When you’re ready to find the best emergency butane stove, make sure it’s CSA certified like the Iwatani of America ZA-3HP Portable Butane Stove. Moreover, the ZA-3HP has additional safety features. It uses every drop of butane in the can to avoid leaving flammable canisters to throw away. To learn more on Amazon, click here.
Is Butane Safer Than Propane Indoors?
Both propane and butane gas is safe to use indoors with the right equipment. Since they are both alkanes, they burn cleanly. Realistically, as long as you use the right cooker, have proper ventilation, and perform regular safety checks to make sure all your parts are in working order, they both work exceptionally well.
Propane is denser due to the chemical composition. Moreover, propane is also more widely available. Typically, companies include an additive to propane that makes it easier to smell. Alternately, butane is harder to store in extreme temperatures, but also less expensive.
Speaking of storage, you’ll need a supply of butane canisters for your indoor emergency stove. I recommend the LavoHome Butane Fuel Canisters from Amazon. You get twelve cans, which is enough fuel to cook for nearly two weeks, even at maximum burn. If you choose meals that cook quickly, they’ll last much longer. Check LavoHome’s reviews right here.
Butane Vs. Wood
There are so many choices for indoor emergency cooking. How do you know you have the right option? Well, it’s always a matter of personal preference. It wasn’t so long ago that every home had a wood-burning stove or fireplace for cooking.
Luckily, you have more options than our recent ancestors. While a wood stove is outstanding, butane is more compact and takes less storage space. I’d recommend sticking to butane since it’s a space saver, and you don’t need to chop down trees or worry about wet wood.
Pick a high-quality portable stove like the Camplux Dual Fuel Camping Stove. The carrying case makes it perfect for any emergency. If you have to relocate, a portable butane cooker like this packs away easily to travel with you. Plus, it weighs just five-point-three pounds. Check Amazon’s availability for a Camplux by clicking here.
Storing Butane for Emergencies
Storing butane for indoor use is easy. Make sure you place the canisters somewhere well away from sunlight and heat sources. You’ll want to make certain there’s enough ventilation. Although butane canisters are safe, you want airflow in case of accidents, so the fumes don’t collect.
Additionally, you need to store your butane canisters away from food and drinks. Burnt butane is excellent for cooking. However, in case of leaks, you don’t want to eat or drink gas. Keeping your emergency supplies safe is simple.
Butane burning stoves are outstanding for emergencies. They’re safe, clean, and highly effective. Vitally, you can store and move them very easily. In a real crisis, that’s precisely what you want from your emergency preparedness supplies.
Since butane is cost-effective and less dense than propane, it’s my top pick for no-power cooking. Learning when and why to use a butane stove only takes a few moments. It’s well worth the time since butane cooking is fast.
Make sure you have a way to feed yourself and your loved ones in an emergency. Store your butane and stove properly and use them only when it’s necessary.