Portable Gas Stove Smell

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
Capuchin Monk

#1: Post by Capuchin Monk »

The following question is for those who use portable gas stove to roast coffee beans. My Gas One portable gas / butane stove has this distinctive smell which was present right out of box and will not go away. It smells like propane gas even when it's not in use and disconnected. Is this common or is mine a unique case?

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drgary
Team HB

#2: Post by drgary »

I would be concerned about it leaking. You might put soapy water on any valve or fitting and see if it bubbles.
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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Peppersass
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#3: Post by Peppersass »

Do what Gary says.

That said, from the photo it looks like you may not be able to access all the internal places where there could be a leak. If not, I would return the stove. There shouldn't have been any smell out of the box, and definitely not a persistent smell. That could mask a real leak.

If you can access all the gas fittings and parts that may be leaking, and don't find a leak, this might help:

Propane gas is naturally odorless. Manufacturers mix Ethyl Mercaptan, which smells like sulphur or rotten eggs, with the gas to alert users of leaks.

I believe this substance tends to sink and concentrate more in the lower part of the tank, so the smell intensifies as the tank nears depletion. One time when our gas company was tardy refilling our tanks during an especially cold spell, there was a strong odor near our propane furnance. I had the gas company come out on an emergency call to check for leaks, and the tech found no leaks and said it was just that our tanks were almost empty. After refill the smell went away (and no, they didn't charge for the emergency call as it was their fault for not filling our tanks on time!)

I read an online article that said there's anecdotal evidence that Ethyl Mercaptan can settle into fabrics and make them smell bad. Perhaps the manufacturer of your portable stove tested it with a propane tank that was nearly empty, and the Ethyl Mercaptan sprayed out of the burner and settled on some part of the stove. You might try disconnecting the tank and sticking your nose close to various parts of the stove, especially inside. If the smell seems to come from a particular area you might be able to clean the Ethyl Mercaptan off. If the smell goes away, problem solved.

Capuchin Monk (original poster)

#4: Post by Capuchin Monk (original poster) »

Perhaps propane gas smell isn't very accurate description. It had the smell of something cross between match stick and Loctite (thread locking) compound right out of the box, even before its first connection to gas (I've only used propane gas with it for last 3 years). The same smell persists after all this time.

I'll have to try the dog action on this tomorrow and narrow down the location.

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drgary
Team HB

#5: Post by drgary »

Maybe it needs a good cleaning to eliminate manufacturing residue?
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

luvmy40

#6: Post by luvmy40 »

Capuchin Monk wrote:Perhaps propane gas smell isn't very accurate description. It had the smell of something cross between match stick and Loctite (thread locking) compound right out of the box, even before its first connection to gas (I've only used propane gas with it for last 3 years). The same smell persists after all this time.

I'll have to try the dog action on this tomorrow and narrow down the location.
I'd have to say, if you've been using it for over 3 years, and it hasn't blown up yet, and it has always had the smell, you are probably good to go.

I have a similar stove that I take camping and I have never noticed any smell like you describe.

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Peppersass
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#7: Post by Peppersass »

They may have used a thread sealer that has an odor, even when dry. You may have to live with the smell.

It's always good to check gas appliances for leaks, but I agree that after three years with no incidents you should be OK.

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littlenut

#8: Post by littlenut »

Hey JS

Just some thoughts. HTH

-Tom

My understanding is that this has been an issue since new 3 years ago. The fuel source is propane/butane. You have an induced draft arrangement for your roaster.


-Does it happen whenever in use? or at certain times in the use cycle? e.g. full load, drastically reduced load...

-You aren't spraying it down w/ parts cleaner, WD40, Windex, 409, touch up paint...every so often to clean or dress it?

-Is it a fuel leak? If you're unsure if it is butane/propane go outside and release a little bit and see if the smell is the same.

-Do you get a nice clean burn? normally blue blue with a little yellow sometimes? any sooty stuff around burner or bottom of roaster?

-Could it be the combustion products from the burner? If not exhausting well (whether inside or out)you may get some smells. If unsure, increase the air flow or direct further away and see if it goes away.[/list]
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Capuchin Monk (original poster)

#9: Post by Capuchin Monk (original poster) »

Found the culprit!
After sniffing around like a dog for a minute, I discovered that it's the gas hose shown in the picture below. It's for connecting to propane gas canister. I figured it's a rubber but it has a shiny finish and smells like I described above. Definitely not rubber smell and it's pungent for some reason. :shock: I wonder if scrubbing it with something like Ajax would help... :?:


Marcelnl
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#10: Post by Marcelnl »

I would leave the gas hose alone to avoid the risk of damaging it, and plan to replace it next year or now for one that does not stink...these hoses do degrade (at least in my country) they need to be replaced every X (many in four) years, the date for replacement is usually printed on the outside.
(I'm not overly cautious but I had one of these stoves and was not very impressed with the quality of parts, with a cas can inside the design made for frequent leaks when as the can could lock in incorrectly quite easily)
Buy some leak finder spray in a can, it's easy to create a soap solution that gives you a false negative leak indication!
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