2

votes

Sleeping on the screened porch - fresh air vs propane fumes

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 17, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Inspired by my relative I want to start sleeping outside. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is to just set up on my screened porch. I may not be on the ground, but I'll get plenty of fresh air. I will also avoid having to do a tick check with a flashlight in a tent (we're a big lyme disease area). On the other hand, I may breath a little propane as well. The porch sits above two propane tanks.

When you put your nose right up to the tank you can smell a little of the propane (actually the ethyl mercaptan that they add for odor) so there must be at least a tiny amount leaking out. I cannot smell anything either standing a few feet away from the tanks, or up on the porch, but there must be a small amount in the air.

What risk do these levels of propane (for 8-9 hours/day) pose?

I see my options as:

  1. Indoors (convenient, but BORING, stuffy)
  2. On the porch (fresh air, convenient, no ticks, but possibly small amounts of propane)
  3. In a tent (fresh air, on the ground, but inconvenient, annoying tick checks, and either wear and tear on my nice tent, or the cost of a new tent.

Which would you choose? Why?

Thanks!

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 18, 2012
at 04:41 PM

I think the porch is probably fine, too. The concentration of propane is likely to be minimal. BUT. Yes, please get the tanks checked. I used to volunteer with the fire department and last summer I saw a really nasty house fire related to propane.

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4 Answers

best answer

10
7caec21ad66b572d9afcb1e24f7297aa

on May 17, 2012
at 08:49 PM

I'd go for the porch - propane is heavier than air, so it should sink to ground level and dissipate harmlessly.

But, I'd also call the propane guy or gal and have the tanks checked.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 18, 2012
at 04:41 PM

I think the porch is probably fine, too. The concentration of propane is likely to be minimal. BUT. Yes, please get the tanks checked. I used to volunteer with the fire department and last summer I saw a really nasty house fire related to propane.

2
Eea6a68f5a7190d13c60e1c72417a581

(1376)

on May 18, 2012
at 02:37 AM

  1. Have the tanks checked. This is usually free, because leaking gas is a safety hazard.
  2. If they are super old, see if they can be updated.
  3. Look into having them moved if 1 or 2 doesn't fix the problem.

Don't risk Lyme diseas, it's not worth it. A good friend of mine just got diagnosed w Lyme she contacted tent dwelling last summer. Its been a hellish 8 months for her but at least she has a diagnosis.

1
306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on May 18, 2012
at 03:33 PM

I agree with everyone else - get the tanks checked. All health and safety considerations aside, if propane is leaking, you're leaking money!

However, if you plan on sleeping outside on a regular basis, it would likely be worth the effort to not go for simply the easiest solution. It would take an afternoon or two to build a "porch" out of pallets or something to serve as a base for a more permanent tent-like structure. Clear a perimeter around it that you keep well maintained. Then ticks shouldn't be a huge concern.

Which isn't to say that I think the existing sleeping porch is a bad option, just that I think there are solutions other than tent-in-the-grass that wouldn't require huge amounts of work.

I do hope to take our porch (currently totally unenclosed) and turn it into a three-season sleeping porch. It would add livability to our house in so many ways. We could leave the doors leading to the porch open and increase airflow without letting in bugs and animals. It would serve as a guest room/playroom for much of the year. During the winter, covers for the windows would increase insulation for the whole house, and it could serve as a greenhouse.

1
4ccf5d9bba64e54fc95802fe8ae33c47

(900)

on May 17, 2012
at 08:55 PM

Indoors with the windows open but screened, that is until 2-3 weeks from now, then indoor only with the A/C blasting.

Outdoors I would only sleep in an emergency or a climate or season with no bug invasion (I already can hardly step outside after dark without being eaten alive) and other wildlife visiting my porch.

I believe there is a reason why we started building houses and shelters.

Propane gas I am already freaked out by if I see it in the neighbor's yard a few hundred feet away, the same for natural gas.

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