Propane for Preppers – Part One

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Having sufficient fuel for cooking and heat following an emergency is always an concern for preppers.  If you are lucky, you live in a wooded area and have access to a wood burning stove as well as plenty of wood to feed the fire.  Most of us, though, turn to propane as our primary source of emergency heat and cooking fuel.

Alas, the only experience many folks have with propane is limited to the backyard barbecue and perhaps a Coleman lantern.  That tells me that if the stuff hit the fan, many of us would be lacking in the knowledge needed to use propane efficiently and safely.

Today I begin a series of articles titled Propane for Preppers.  This topic may sound familiar since I wrote about propane back in early 2013 but even so, the importance of this topic called for a focused update.

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

This time around, I have started from scratch by asking my friend Ron Brown to write a series for us that is well-grounded and includes some real-life, real-time testing.  In this series he will be sharing information on how to use propane with an emphasis on safety and storage concerns.  Over the next couple of months, this series will provide you with tips, tools and tricks that will facilitate the use of propane in an emergency.

Part one begins with the basics.

Propane for Preppers – Part One

Introduction

This has been a difficult article to write. The word ‘prepper’ covers a lot of territory.

Whether it’s a blackout or a race riot – and both have occurred in these United States during my lifetime – what’s the plan? Shelter in place? But is that a single-family dwelling with a cellar? Or a one-bedroom apartment on the 17th floor?

Or is ‘the plan’ to get outta Dodge? On foot? Bicycle? Motorcycle? Car? And where will you go? To a relative with a spare bedroom? Hunting camp? Boat? RV?

Not only is the audience hard to pin down, propane (the subject of this article) is so versatile that it’s hard to know where to begin.

You can convert your automobile to run on propane. And the outboard motor on your boat. And your motorcycle. And your lawnmower. And your electric generator. My sister has a backup system, a generator that runs on propane, that will support most of the electrical needs in her home – including the electric range in the kitchen. Every Friday night her lights flicker as the system goes into its weekly self-test.

There are refrigerators that run on propane. Little ones for RV’s and big ones for full-time off-grid living. Not to mention furnaces and space heaters (both vented and unvented) and catalytic heaters, plus gas lamps, water heaters (with tanks and without), air conditioners (absorption chillers, by any other name, that work on the same principle as gas refrigerators), fireplaces, clothes dryers, kitchen stoves for cooking, salamanders for the construction site to keep the freshly poured concrete from freezing, and toilets.

Yes, toilets. If your land has poor drainage, you can install a gas-fired toilet that will incinerate human waste after each deposit thereof.

So which prepper am I talking to? The single gal living with her grandmother on the 17th floor? Or the survivalist with more ammo than he can carry? And what are the topics I should cover? I just now discovered an adapter, for example, a wand-like tube with a fitting on one end, that converts an old-time Coleman liquid-fuel camp stove to propane. And another adapter that allows you to run a BBQ grill from a little 400-gram Bernz-O-Matic soldering cylinder. And another that will let you hook up natural gas devices to propane.

OMG. It hurts my head to think so much.

Safety

Safety is a good place to start. Safe-mindedness.

Propane has been sold commercially since the 1920’s. A lot of safety features have been engineered into propane devices – the storage tanks, for example, as well as BBQ grills and camping gear. It’s best to not bypass these features. Let me give you an example.

Today, propane tanks are made such that they can’t be filled more than 80%. When ‘full’ the bottom of the tank contains liquid propane and the top 20% of the tank contains propane in the gaseous state. Gas can be compressed. Liquid cannot.

If you bypass this safety feature and fill the tank 100% and leave it out in the sun, heat will make the liquid expand. First the blowout plug (a fuse of sorts) will go. If the blowout hole cannot accommodate the volume of propane trying to escape, the tank will burst, creating a propane cloud. A mere spark can ignite the propane cloud, sending both you and your propane tank to join all the computer files you previously sent to ‘the cloud.’

There’s a lot of Attitude out and about. “Nobody’s gonna tell me what to do.” It’s a control issue. I get it. But you might want to make an exception when it comes to propane. Just this one time you might want to consider following the rules.

Call it food for thought on your journey to the hospital.

Chemistry

Crude oil is the stuff that gets pumped out of the ground. Crude oil is refined into a whole range of products from gases (propane, butane) to liquids (gasoline, kerosene) to solids (paraffin wax).

All of these products are hydrocarbons. The ‘hydro’ part of the word stands for hydrogen (symbol = H). The ‘carbon’ part of the word stands for carbon (symbol = C). Am I going too fast?

In refining, distillation breaks or fractures the crude oil into groups of hydrocarbons with similar boiling points. The five major fractions are (1) refinery gases, (2) gasoline, (3) kerosene, (4) diesel oil, and (5) residues.

Our interest here is in the first group, refinery gases. And there are four: methane, ethane, propane, and butane.

The refinery gases have the following chemical formulas: Methane is C1H4. Ethane is C2H6. Propane is C3H8. Butane is C4H10. This is simply a reference list. Sometimes we need to be precise in our language so as to remove any confusion regarding which gas is under discussion.

Note that the C-number or carbon-chain number climbs one step at a time throughout the progression: C1; C2; C3; C4.

The English language can be ambiguous. The word ‘gas’ has several meanings: [1] it can mean gasoline (petrol to the British), or it can mean [2] methane or propane (“Now you’re cooking with gas.”), or it can mean [3] a vapor (as in the three states of matter – solid, liquid, and gas), or it can be [4] a euphemism for farting (“He passed gas.”). As we go along I’ll do my best to make the meaning clear.

Methane (C1H4). Methane is used as a fuel, commonly called natural gas, and is transported via pipeline in LNG form (liquefied natural gas). Methane is also the swamp gas of UFO lore. Methane is lighter than air.

Lamps that burn natural gas inside your home, common in the gay ’90s – the 1890’s – back when ‘gay’ meant happy – are still manufactured today. Paulin, Mr Heater, and Humphrey [1] are three U.S. brands. Their use requires that you have a natural gas line into your house. If you heat with natural gas, you do. Lamps burning natural gas are wall-mounted (or ceiling-mounted) and thus not portable.   Note that such lamps can readily be converted to propane.

If you put in one of these wall-mounted lamps (and, personally, I think it’s a great idea to do so), I urge you to have it installed by a certified-licensed-authorized technician and not attempt the installation yourself.

Should you ever have a house fire, the insurance company will look for excuses not to pay. So let’s not void our fire insurance to save a few bucks on installation, shall we?

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Ethane (C2H6).  Ethane is used as a catalyst in other chemical processes, more so than as a fuel in and of itself.

Propane (C3H8).  I live in the country, beyond the reach of natural gas pipelines. As a consequence, I have a 200 lb. propane tank behind the house. We use propane for cooking.

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

The company who delivers our gas is Suburban Propane. I can drive to their storefront and refill a small 20 lb. cylinder [2] to use on a camper or RV (recreational vehicle) or propane BBQ grill. The tank behind my house and the 20 lb. cylinder contain exactly the same stuff – LPG (liquefied petroleum gas).

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

The skinny little propane cylinders sold for Bernz-O-Matic [3] (brand) soldering torches hold 14.1 oz. (400 grams). The more squat ‘one-pounders’ [4] sold for camping stoves and lanterns hold 16.4 oz. (465 grams). That’s how much they hold. What they hold is LPG. That is, propane. That is, C3H8.   Propane is propane is propane.

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Can you hook up a propane camping lantern, [5] the kind that customarily runs on a one-pounder, to a 20 lb. propane tank? Sure. The fittings and extension hoses to do so are sold as a kit [6] under the Century brand name. And the Mr. Heater brand name. And the Coleman brand name. I bought one myself in the camping section at Wal-Mart.

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Wall-mounted propane gas lamps (and other appliances such as refrigerators) are often employed in cottages and hunting camps located at a distance from both electricity and in-town natural gas lines. These appliances burn LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) rather than LNG (liquefied natural gas).

LPG and LNG lamps can look identical on the outside but propane is more highly pressurized. Propane lamps therefore use a nozzle with a smaller orifice (the hole through which the gas comes) than do natural gas lamps. If you move from city to country, or vice-versa, your gas clothes dryer presents exactly the same orifice problem. Fortunately, conversion kits are readily available.

Propane, by the way, is heavier than air. It pools in your basement. And it pools in the hull of your boat; it only takes one spark to cut your vacation short. Check out ‘boat explosions’ on YouTube. It will likely make you sit up and take notice. It did me.

Butane (C4H10).  Like propane, butane is also heavier than air. Please note that we are still climbing the C-numbers.

It’s interesting that, given the right adapters, propane can be substituted in camping lanterns and stove burners originally designed for butane. It’s not just theory. I’ve done it. You can too.

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Most butane cigarette lighters are disposable; some are refillable. [7] If refillable, you’ll find a small fitting on the bottom of the lighter. Note that the butane cartridge [8] must be turned upside down to fill the cigarette lighter. In your hands, you can feel the butane cartridge get cold as the transfer of gas takes place.

Butane is used in cigarette lighters, in pressurized cartridges for one-burner stoves, and in camping lanterns for backpackers. It turns from a gas to a liquid at 31º F (almost the same as the freezing point of water).

Mexico has a warm climate and butane, they say, is favored over propane as cooking gas. Butane is even called ‘Mexican gas.’ If you Google for images of butane tanks, you’ll find many pictures of large tanks (100-pounders and the like).

In cities with a large Asian population (e.g. Toronto, Canada), one-burner stoves [9] that run on butane cartridges [10] are for sale in all the ethnic food stores. I’ve also seen them on eBay and in restaurant supply stores (caterers use them). The fuel cartridges are lightweight, similar to shaving cream containers. They hold 8 ounces (227 grams).

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

These butane stoves are a pleasure to use – easy to light, regulate, and extinguish. Why they’re not more popular with the state-park-camping crowd is no doubt their low-temperature limitations. Ditto for the use of butane in lanterns. Below freezing, a lantern that runs on butane (and there are some) will not light. How wonderful is that? (FYI, I’ve seen lanterns that run on these 8-ounce butane cartridges under the brand names of Kovea, Glowmaster, and American Camper.)

Adapters & Substitutions

American Camper sells (1) a butane-only lantern as well as (2) a Multi Fuel Lantern that comes with an adapter; it will run on either the 8-ounce butane cartridges or propane one-pounders.

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

It is interesting, is it not, that propane (C3) can, given the right adapter, be burned in the same appliance that uses methane (C1). A clothes dryer, for example. At the other end of the spectrum, propane (C3) can be burned in the same appliance that uses butane (C4). The American Camper lantern, for example.

Mini-lanterns and micro-stoves using butane cartridges (in 110-gram, 230-gram, and 450-gram sizes) are made for backpackers. Unlike the 8-ounce canisters discussed above, the cartridges have a threaded 7/16″ male coupling. (And, typically, they contain a propane-butane blend – to avoid freeze-up – rather than pure butane.)

So wadda ya do when you have a lantern [11] or stove [12] made with the screw-type coupling but only have an 8-ounce cartridge of butane to use as fuel? Come now. That’s why God made adapters. [13]

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Tip. Butane lanterns use mantles [14] (just like Coleman lanterns). Butane lamp instructions (auto-translated from Chinese via computer) typically say ‘wicks’ or ‘gauze.’ Oops! Sorry. They are mantles. Although mantles are beyond the scope of this discussion, it’s ‘mantles’ you need to ask for in the sporting goods department, not wicks or gauze.

Back to our story. Say you have a butane lantern or stove made with the screw-type coupling but you only have a propane one-pounder for fuel? Solution. A different adapter. The adapter shown below is the Kovea VA-AD-0701. [15]

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Aside. There’s one application for propane one-pounders that I don’t much care for. It’s the direct-screw-on single-burner stove. [16] To me, it looks awfully top-heavy when loaded with a pot of water. Boiling water being sterilized in a grid-down situation – let’s just hope the cat doesn’t jump on the table and knock anything over.

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Speaking of adapters, you can use an adapter to refill [17] a propane one-pounder from a 20-lb. cylinder. That will be covered in an upcoming article in the series. But before we embark upon the ‘how-to’ of refilling, we first need to understand some basic plumbing stuff – tanks and valves and such – so that we have our terminology straight. Plus there are safety issues that we need to understand.

MAPP Gas

And even before that, let me mention MAPP gas. MAPP originally stood for MethylAcetylene-Propadiene Propane although today (since 2008) products labeled MAPP are really MAPP substitutes.

Small MAPP ‘welding sets’ [18] are widely sold. They employ oxygen cylinders as well as MAPP gas cylinders. The MAPP gas cylinders are the same size and have the same threads as the soldering cylinders (Bernz-O-Matic variety) that hold propane.

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

So let’s put MAPP gas in context.

Given the right adapter (and there are several brands of adapters we’ll identify when we get to that part in an upcoming part of the series), we can refill a propane one-pounder.

And, using the same adapter, we can refill the skinny Bernz-O-Matic-type soldering cylinders. The shape of the cylinder is different from a one-pounder but the threads are the same.

And we can refill a MAPP-gas cylinder with propane. Again, the threads are the same so we can use the same adapter. Let us be clear. The MAPP cylinder comes from the store holding MAPP gas. When empty, we can refill it with propane. From a technology point of view, it’s no more complicated than storing salt in a sugar canister.

But leave yourself a clear trail. A label on the cylinder would be a good place to start. As an analogy, how good are you at finding stuff on your computer? Stuff that you, yourself, tucked away for future reference. And remembering today which gas cylinder it was that you refilled two or three years ago . . . and where you stored it . . . and how you labeled it. “Houston, we have a problem.”

… to be continued                                                                           © Ron Brown 2014

Sources – For Reference Purposes

Ron has provided a list of items available at Amazon that are footnoted above.  They may or may not be precisely the items/brands displayed in the article.

Treat this list as a starting point. At the very least, the items on this list will reveal the terminology manufacturers themselves use in describing their products (e.g. is it a canister, a cylinder, or a cartridge?). Just knowing the terminology will provide some clues about what to search for.

[1] Natural Gas Wall Lamp: Humphrey Gas Light, Natural Almond (9NA), Pre-formed MantlePropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[2] 20-lb. Propane Tank: Worthington 336483 20-Pound Steel Propane Cylinder With Type 1 With Overflow Prevention Device Valve And Sight GaugePropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[3] Bernz-O-Matic Soldering Cylinder: CRL Standard Propane Fuel CylinderPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[4] One-Pounder: Propane Fuel COLEMAN 16.4OZ CAMPING FUEL CYLINDERPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[5] Propane Lantern: Stansport Compact Single Mantle Propane LanternPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[6] Propane Distribution Post: TXS PROPANE DIST TREE 2-PIECEPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[7] Refillable Butane Lighter: 2PK Comet LighterPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[8] Butane Refill Cylinders: Ronson Universal Lighter Refill Ultra ButanePropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[9] Butane Stove: Camp Chef Butane 1 Burner Stove with Camping Case
[10] 8-oz. Butane Canisters: Butane Refill Fuel Gas Can Cartridge for Camping Portable Stove Gas RangePropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival [11] Butane Lantern: Snow Peak GigaPower Auto Start Stainless Steel Lantern Auto One SizePropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[12] Butane Stove (for backpackers): Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo IgnitionPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[13] Butane-to-Butane Adapter: Kovea Dual Stove Adaptor
[14] Slip-On Mantles: Coleman Double-Tie Fuel Lantern Mantle #51Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[15] Butane-to-Propane Adapter: Butane-to-Propane AdapterPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[16] One-Burner Propane Stove: Coleman PefectFlow 1-Burner StovePropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[17] Refill Adapter: Gascru Brass Propane One Pound Tank Refill Adapter EZ CouplerPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
[18] MAPP Welding: Welding, Brazing, and Cutting Torch KitPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

The Final Word

When I first discussed this project with Ron, I had proposed a relatively simple rewrite of the articles posted in early 2013.  Somehow, however, as we got into the details, Propane for Preppers took on a life of its own and became something quite different.

Many hours of research went into this article as well as the subsequent parts.  Due to its unique nature, the copyright belongs to Ron Brown, and not Backdoor Survival.  I do, however, have permission to use it in whole or in part, both now and in the future.

All that being said, I would like to thank Ron for sharing his time and patient research with us.  The complete series on Propane for Preppers consists of multiple parts that I will be posting over the next couple of months.  As always, if you have something to add or even if you have a question, please leave a comment below.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

PS:  You might want to check out the page I created featuring Ron’s books.  Every single one of them is a worthwhile investment in practical and useful knowledge.  Meet Ron Brown!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin:  Below are some items related to today’s article.  As with the sources listed above, use the descriptions to educate yourself so that you are well-versed in propane terminology.

Mr. Heater F276172 Propane One Pound Tank Refill Adapter: One pound propane tank refill adapter with male soft nose P.O.L. and female 1″x20 throwaway cylinder thread refills 1 lb. bottles in one minute or less.

Mac Coupler Propane Bottle Cap aka MacCaps: This ingenious device protects the threads of disposable 1 pound propane bottles and helps prevent thread damage and seals out dirt. You will receive 2 caps per order. The Mac Caps makes a welcome addition to any camping gear, RV enthusiast, outdoorsmen, or home owner that needs to use a 1 lb. propane tanks. Now you can protect the threads of those tanks with the Mac Cap. Simply attach the Mac Cap to your 1 lb. tank when not in use to help prevent leaks and protect the threads.

Mag-Torch MT200C Propane Pencil Flame Burner Torch: Useful on leaky canisters, this small and inexpensive propane torch will also do a great job of starting campfires even in windy situations.

Coleman PefectFlow 1-Burner Stove:  This Coleman One-burner Propane Stove is an easy-to-use portable stove that should meet almost any camp cooking need. The PerfectFlow regulator provides consistent cooking performance by producing a steady fuel stream, even in cold weather, high altitudes, or when fuel is low. Equipped with one 10,000 BTU burner, this fully adjustable stove will last for 2.2 hours on high or up to nine hours on low.  Less than $25 plus a lifetime warranty.

Mr. Heater Portable “Big Buddy” Heater : A number of readers have mentioned this portable heater to me. Using propane and safe for indoor use, the Big Buddy Heater features an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system that automatically turns the unit off before carbon monoxide fumes reach dangerous levels in home.  Now how good is it? Read the reviews and decide for yourself. I think that in a power down situation, this is a great option for someone without a wood burning heat source.

Coleman One-Mantle Compact Propane Lantern: Easy to use and portable. This Coleman compact lantern lights with matches and is pressure-regulated for consistent light, regardless of weather. The porcelain ventilators will prevent rusting and help this lantern last you a long time.

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Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Top Sellers!

As we get down to the wire this month, I thought you might be interested in this month’s top sellers at Emergency Essentials.

They include Peanut Butter PowderPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival, Powdered ButterPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival, and Freeze Dried Super Sweet Corn.  To be honest, I have never used Peanut Butter Powder but given that is the #1 item this month, I plan to give it a try, perhaps adding a bit of coconut oil during the rehydration process.

Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Note:  If an item is on backorder, Emergency Essentials will take your order and ship it when it is back in stock.  Usually this is just a few days later.  This typically happens with the top sellers.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)? I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has a feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are ‘wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For and Best Selling Outdoor Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from Amazon.comPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival
Amazon Gift CardsPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

Care to share ?Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival88Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival154Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival15Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival0Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival5Propane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor SurvivalPropane for Preppers   Part One   Backdoor Survival

Comments

Propane for Preppers – Part One — 26 Comments

  1. Thanks Ron and Gaye. Hopefully you will be covering how to convert a gasoline generator to run on propane. And the pro’s and con’s of doing so.
    The only problem I see with propane is that if everything collapses you may have a difficult time finding more propane. That’s why I also have a wood burning heating stove in my house (plus it saves on the propane bill!).

  2. Thanks for a wonderful article.. a lot of people don’t think about fuel and its accessibility. I believe in solar and wind as the answer but the good propaganda campaign from big oil has been really effective.What a lot of people haven’t looked into is the unit ( not presently available in the USA) that turns waste plastic into oil .. or a hand cranked oil press.

  3. Did you guys read the article the other day from the UK where some homeowners were able to harness the heat from their compost piles and heat the water to their home? It was a fascinating story. Not sure how sustainable it is, but it is kind of cool.

  4. I remember back in 1999 when Y2K was all the talk. The knowledgeable preppers were looking for 500 or 1000 gallon propane tanks with a valve on the bottom. It requires a valve on the bottom to be able to get the liquid out of the tank. The top valve gives off the gas. It take liquid to fill the 20 lbs tanks and prepping groups were storing 20 pounders all over the hill sides for the coming bad times. They needed reliable filling stations.

    • John, an ex-employer of mine refilled his 20# tanks from a 250 gallon tank. The hose connection was on the top of the tank. Apparently there is a pipe under the hose connection that extends down into the tank, allowing the gas pressure to push the liquid propane out the hose.

      • In a later installment we’ll describe the refilling of 20-pounders (BBQ-tank size) from bigger tanks. It is doable. That’s a fact. But it has the potential to burn down not your house but your neighborhood. That’s also a fact. You might want to talk it over with your fire insurance agent before you start.

    • Thank you. The “ebook” in question (Lanterns Lamps & Candles) can be found at http://www.rc-publishing.com/index.html. It is a CD in PDF format. Frankly, readers love the content but don’t care for the format. The CD actually forms the basis of the (paperback and Kindle) Non-Electric Lighting Series. The Non-Electric Lighting Series has three books currently but will ultimately have nine (and will cover Rayo, Aladdin, Coleman, Petromax . . . even Kosmos and Guy’s Dropper). Thanks again.

  5. Very good info! I can’t wait for the rest of the articles. I have a Mr. Buddy heater that takes 2 canisters of propane and it works great for heating.

    • When we get to the last installment of this propane series, I think you’ll find the Safety section interesting. I should say, the “double-standard safety section.” Indoor and outdoor use (and storage) of propane cylinders, what the labels say today, what they used to say, what they say in other countries . . . velly interesting . . .

      • Just bought a Mr. buddy heater with the 20 lb.tank hose adapter & filter here in Canada, could hardly see the heater under all the warning labels. Appears the 20 lb tanks are a cross between a live hand grenade and a claymore mine. Need safety facts and reasons not just warnings. Keep up the good work and waiting for more of this series.

  6. Hope I am not getting ahead of the articles here, but propane electrical power generators are VERY common in the communications business. Propane does not go stale, or decompose when stored for long periods. This makes it perfect for stand-by power at remote sites. Diesel,especially the new Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel (ULSD)can go bad in a matter of months without proper storage. Propane, on the other hand, stays just the way it was delivered for years. There is that little matter of temperature though, and if you live in cold climates you either run your generator on liquid, taken from the bottom of the tank, or you have tank heaters installed that keep the propane just above the completely liquid level.

  7. I’ve read Ron’s book on Lanterns, Lamps and Candles, loved it so much, I made candles of recycled ones too small to burn. I have two identicalColeman Campstoves that take fuel, and two Dietz Lanterns that work amazingly well for how old they are. Of course I have a propane grill with a 20 pound tank that I keep filled.
    Redundancy is the key for preppers who live far from the Madding Crowd.

  8. Excellent article, Ron. Thanks for the info. Perhaps you can help me . I picked up an old Magic Chef gas stove (circa 1940′s) with the intention of brewing beer outdoors with it or actually cooking with it should the need arise. I attached a propane tank and regulator to it but the burners will not stay lit. It looks like the orifices on the elements are too large and are not compatible with the pressure/volume of the propane. My guess is that this unit wants to run on natural gas. Can you explain the difference in the two and recommend a course of action? I really want to get this stove up and running. Thank you!

    • Propane is under higher pressure and the orifice (the hole through which the gas comes) is smaller than it is with natural gas. Your local gas company (i.e. the business or firm who would install a tank and deliver propane to your home) will have a serviceman equipped with conversion kits for clothes dryers and kitchen stoves to switch from natural gas to propane and vice versa. That’s where I would go. He’ll know what he’s looking at. He’ll have the tools and parts to fix it.

  9. My 2 sense.

    Love propane, buy every used 100 pound tank on Craiglist I can find. Just bought 2 TriFuel generators from Central Maine Diesel, a 2k and 8k. They both run great on gas and propane.

  10. Propane is NOT very efficient to run generators. Not many people realize that. A 20lb tank won’t last very long. Gas is still the most efficient. Unless you have one of those huge “buried” tanks, but propane is still not very efficient, which surprised me.

  11. Thanks for the article! We just upgraded our rented 100 gallon to a purchased 500 gallon propane tank and the cost per gallon goes way down, offsetting the cost of the tank. The 500 gal. will now support current use for over 2 years but also allows for the addition of a propane on demand water heater and/or furnace/ac. Adding lighting was something I had not thought of, so thanks sgain.

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