porpane burner at altitude

Hi again, I was just looking at a couple of propane ventless room heaters. I guess are the catalytic propane heaters, and they say not for use above 5,000 ft.
Why?
I'm at 6500ft near flagstaff. I'm wondering about all these various forge burners that I see plans for. I know they are not catalytic, but that does give me a question.
Are there operation differences in the various forge burner at high elevation? DIfferent gas hole sizes etc. Bigger or smaller?
Al
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This won't answer your question, but whenever you burn propane without venting, you get, among other things, a lot of water vapor. Even if you have sufficient air movement so you aren't worried about carbon monoxide, you will still get a lot of water condensing on things in the cool part of the year.
Pete
Alpinekid wrote:

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Hi, Thanks for the reply. Is this true even for catalytic type heater or only true for catalytic or do you get a condensing problem just by burning anything for heat.
These ventless heaters are approved for indoor use, so I'm assuming its the case that when you use a catalyis instead of simpling supplying fuel and air and causing combustion that you dont get the carbon monoxide that you would in a "normal" furnace.
I thought that the catalytic heaters "burn" at a lower temperature and dont form the bad byproducts of combustion. I know that is how hydrogen powered catalytic heaters work.
I need more information. Al
Pete & sheri wrote:

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Alpinekid wrote:

Any burner using hydrocarbon fuel will produce primarily water and carbon dioxide. The more complete the combustion, the less other stuff (such as NO2 and CO) will be produced.
Ted
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wrote:

Let me start off by saying I work in the vented heater business. Ventless gas is not a very good option for most homes. It throws a lot of moisture in the air and to work properly has a very narrow window for cumbustion ratio's.
Propane varies greatly from one supplier to the next and region to region. Throw in high altitude and not knowing wether the gas is already derated or not and the manufactorer isn't willing to take on the liability

Call your propane supplier and ask them if your gas is derated. If not the orifice needs to be smaller to create the correct mix.
Ironhorse, HSB#96, SENS BS 2001 Ultraclassic with Sidecar 96 Custom bucket of bolts (gone but not forgotten)
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Ironhorse wrote:

Thank you for the good information. I guess I had better wait until I get there. I know some of my future neighbors use them. One of them is over 6,000ft. I'm at 5500. I should check with them to get the exact manufacture and supplier of gas.
In the high desert near Flagstaff Az. extra moisture is not a problem. We have a RH around 18 I think. They define the beginning of the moonsoon season when the moisture is above 55% RH for three days in a row:-)
Al
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No one really answered your question, so I will send a post. The reason they say not to use that heater above a certain altitude is the lower oxygen level. When you get to a certain level you can start producing CO, which is deadly. Also, use of any kind of fuel/air heater in an enclosed and unvented space is foolish, catalytic or otherwise.
The same thing applies to forge burners. If you go to a high enough elevation you will need to reduce the gas orifice diameter, or it will burn rich and produce CO. The burners on my web site, the Reil and EZ burners, and the Rex linked burners, can all operate well up to at least 7000 feet, although you do need to pay attention to your fuel air mix. I know that because smiths send me e-mails about easily forge welding with the Reil or EZ burners at elevations as high as 7000 feet. No one has ever sent me an e-mail about elevations higher than 7000'. It is a good idea when using the Reil or EZ burners to use at least a 2" diameter bell fitting, and the use of a TWECO tip is recommended too. Look carefully at the fuel/air mixture flame images I have posted at
http://www.reil1.net/richtolean.jpg and be certain you can achieve a neutral burn. If it burns rich, then you are producing CO, and that can kill you if you are in an enclosed space. Then you need to reduce the jet diameter.....before it kills you!
Ron
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Ron Reil wrote:

Thank you. My address is Flagstaff, or will be when I finish building, but my house is 20 miles outside of Flagstaff at about 5500ft.
All my forging etc will be outside. I'm currently in SanJose Ca, sealevel, and was wondering if what I was learning and playing with here would work there. Thank you for answering. I'm sort of limited to what I can play with here in the big city. Too many ignorant neighbors:-( and too many houses too close by.
I was looking at the catalytic heaters to keep me warm until I get a proper furnace installed. I think I will continue to look for a solution. I have heard of "tent heaters" which are real furnaces, two air sources- combustion and domestic ducks, designed for tents. Havent found any at a price I want to pay.
Thanks for the help. Al
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Ron Reil wrote:

Great answer Ron. All this points out the real beauty of the forced-air system. The ability to control both the fuel and the air gives you a much expanded envelope of operations. You can run from almost too lean to burn to so rich you can caseharden soak, at any altitude that you can get the fuel. I love mine, Elliot is my Buddy.
Charly
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I never could see the "real beauty of a forced air system," when a naturally aspirated burner can do just as well under normal conditions. I do agree that under conditions where there may be back pressure problems, or in windy conditions working outside, a blown system will have significant advantages over Venturi burners. No one can argue that. In my shop I have only 500 s.f. to work with, so almost everything is on casters and can be moved. When I need to move the big forge it only requires one gas line quick disconnect to be opened and I can roll it out of the way, and move another forge into place under the exhaust hood. It makes for a very clean package, and is very convenient when I need to work on the shop patio, or even in a remote location where there is no power. I think there is a place for both systems. When I have a situation where a blown burner would be a better alternative, such as in a melting furnace that I need to build soon, a blown system it will be. There is no way to achieve the temperatures I want with a naturally aspirated burner. However, for general forging and forge welding, I find my simple Venturi design burner system to be the ideal answer. It can produce far more BTUs, and resulting higher temperatures, than I have ever needed, so what more do I need. My normal forging pressure is around 2-3 psi, and with the idle-full valve dropping it to zero gage when I am at the anvil, probably only a couple ounces of pressure... it is very fuel efficient and economical. Also, it is very quiet, and has no dragon's breath, so is very pleasant to work around....no burned off hair on my arms. I just don't see how I can improve on that. If I thought I could, I would.
Yours,
Ron
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[Snipped]
Ron, I just wanted to say it's good to see you're once again up and about and back with the group. You were missed, and we (I can only speak for me, but I know most will agree) really missed you and your expertise. Thanks for coming back to share it with us.
Bill
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Thank you Bill. I had a little set-back with the lung infection...almost killed me, but I am back into things full swing now, and it is great to be alive and doing. I no longer take my existence as a given, not that I did before. I drowned once many years go in a flooded cave, and that pretty much changed my outlook on life. I just didn't expect a flu bug, turned Bronchitis, turned Pneumonia, would be my end. Pneumonia is now not the same beast it was 10 years ago. Many forms now are untreatable, as was mine. I have been given another chance to do some good in life, so I hope I can justify what has been given back to me.
Thanks again Bill, appreciated more than you know. :-)
Ron
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Ron Reil wrote:

What's the advantage of a TWECO tip over machining your own? TIA.
Ted
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None at all.
Ron
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