Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Propane Gas and the Barbecue

A few days ago, my husband went to turn on the BBQ, and the last person who cooked (could it be me!) left the gas valve open. So, there was no propane left in the tank. During the summer I kept thinking about buying a second one as a backup, but never did. I don't know much about propane tanks, except that you turn the valve and it stinks.

My husband purchased the BBQ a few years back, and it has this cool side burner. We've never used it, but I can see that the benefits of a side burner are that we can boil water for purification, or to cook on it in an emergency like a major earthquake (can't use gas or electricity until damage is evaluated).

I am somewhat uncomfortable lighting our barbecue. I usually ask my son to do it. Yes, I'm a baby about it. However, I come from pioneer stock. My pioneer ancestors crossed the plains pushing and pulling handcarts, and I'm sure my female ancestors gathered wood, and lit their own fires.

So, I want you somewhat dependent-on-my-husband females to think about the next thing I am going to write. My husband is employed in the medical field, and in the event of an emergency, will probably have to stay at work and not come home to help me light the BBQ. Since he commutes 20 minutes away, getting home could also take forever. And if your husband works away from home, you might need to be less dependent on him.

So, yesterday I unhooked the propane tank by myself, and hauled it to the grocery store to get a replacement 20# Rhino. Okay, I know I cheated and exchanged it at the grocery store. And purchased a 2nd tank. I say cheated because it's lots cheaper to take it to a propane station like Uhaul. One of my impatient moments. Next time, I'll do it the right way. Learn from my mistakes. So, now we have 2 full 20# propane tanks. And tonight I lit up the BBQ in the 50 degree weather, and we had somewhat rare steak for dinner! Got to work on cooking on the BBQ. Just like those pioneer women.

How do I connect my tank? go to Blue Rhino


  1. Emergency Fuel! I just thought I would let you know about something I found out about a month ago. If you store 14 25lb bags of charcoal you will have enough to cook one meal every day for a year. Get a few garbage cans and fill them up! They store forever as long as you don't get them wet. I hope this helps someone!

  2. Where are you storing your extra propane tank? We bought an extra one but, once home, we googled to find the best place to store propane and found we had no "safe" place to do so. We ended up returning the extra tank. We really want to have extra fuel around for our BBQ grill and propane lanterns.

    So, where do you store yours?

  3. Adhis: My extra tank has been on the back deck near my barbecue. Probably a better place is in our covered backyard dog kennel away from the house. The dog does not use it anymore. Any links to "safe" places?

  4. It's pretty much never supposed to be stored in the house, the garage, the basement, or near a BBQ grill that has a tank attached already. It cannot be somewhere that gets too hot or too cold or too wet.

    Seriously, there are a million links as to where NOT to store them and the dangers of doing so, but I have yet to find great suggestions as to where IS a safe place. The most consistent I have seen is it should be on concrete or in a propane cage. (Although, if I had your option of an empty dog kennel away from the house, I'd probably settle for that.)

    The most I've heard is "30 feet away from the house, but in our situation, that would be in a neighbor's yard (and he doesn't want it that close to him)!

    Everyone else seems to store them in their garage or outside next to their house. But I'd hate to be "that one house" that ends up in the news when it's blown to smithereens!

  5. A solar oven is easy to make and will let you bake bread, and cook different dishes without using up your other fuels.

  6. We sell a cooking stove that is called the Grover Rocket Stove that uses very little fuel, such as wood, to cook your meals with. With just a small handful of wood you can cook a whole meal with it. You wouldn't need to have propane, electricity or gas to beable to cook all your meals. Great for emergency preparedness and more. A very well built stove. Videos, pictures and more information can be found on our website.

  7. We have a woodstove with a cook surface so most of our emergency heat and cooking will be done on that - but for the summer time we also store charcoal. It's inexpensive and safe to store - but it is worth noting that you should NOT use it indoors. Charcoal is a crazy consumer of oxygen and not safe for indoor use.

    Propane is safer to store than the internet makes it out to be. We have a 500 gallon tank that powers some of our home appliances - plus we store little 20# tanks for emergencies. Check with your local city or county fire department for ordinances and guidelines - there is usually a limit to how much you can store and where you can store it.

    As a fireman's wife I can say that propane tanks explode in structure fires only very rarely. The main hazard is when the release valve on the tank melts to let the gas out and prevent an explosion it acts as an accelerant and speeds up and heats up the fire this can at times also turn the tank into a projectile making the fire dangerous to fight. But in 20 yrs of fighting fires they have witnessed only one tank actually explode.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!