Propane at high altitudes

bawana

FNG
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
30
Location
OH IO!
What have you found to be the upper limits on using a propane heater? I've learned the hard way that 10,500 is too high!
 

wytx

WKR
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
2,100
Location
Wyoming
The regulator may freeze at cold temps but we too have used propane at well above 10,000 ft.
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2012
Messages
1,998
Location
BC
It's not altitude, its cold temps that slow or stop propane appliances. It won't vaporize as fast as it gets cold, especially if the container is too small and frost forms on the outside, stopping heat transfer to the bottle, as vaporization from liquid takes heat. Propane stops boiling at -44*F, but the use of it sucks heat from the bottle so boiling (vaporization can stop with ambient temps above zero) under hard use.
 

ColeyG

WKR
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Messages
320
I've used propane heaters and stoves at 14,200 feet (equivalent to 15k pressure at lower latitudes) in Alaska extensively in temps as low as -30F. I primarily used the larger cylinders, 40# and 100#. They worked surprisingly well even though most in the "propane industry" said that was impossible and they would not operate. The orifice (jet) in some propane devices can be swapped out for an orifice with a larger or smaller hole to achieve the ideal burn rate for the pressure and temps at your location. I ran Empire propane heaters and three burner camp stoves by Camp Chef with no modifications. Keeping the bottles warmer than ambient outside temps was not practical and so the fuel and bottles were quite cold.

I did occasionally have issues with regulators seizing up and so having a spare regulator and/or hose or two along would be a good idea. The appliances were kept in large tents, sheltered from the wind and elements, but still not much warmer than ambient air temps when not in use.
 
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