One of the essential tools to have in a workshop is a mini torch. Mini torches are also referred to as butane torches. They come in handy in a lot of ways, in addition to using them to light a fire. Mini torches are commonly used for culinary purposes, such as cocktail making. But these little butane blowtorches are also handy in lots of construction and DIY applications. Torches are mostly used in workshops, too. The best mini torch can also be utilized for brazing, soldering, and even for jewelry making.
Compared to a propane torch, butane torches are unable to reach the high-temperature level that a propane torch can. However, it does not mean it can’t be used professionally. Mini torches are much smaller, making them more economical and portable. It also features a smaller and weaker flame.
When it comes to using mini torches on projects, safety should not be forgotten. Since its use includes fire, you need to ensure that you are knowledgeable and careful in using it. If you are thinking of purchasing a mini torch soon and are wondering how you can ensure safety when you use it, we’re here to help you. In this article, we are giving you more information about using mini torches with safety in mind.
General Safety Precautions When Using Mini Torches
Here are some of the general safety precautions that you need to follow when using mini torches:
- Read safety warnings: Before using a mini torch or butane torch, make sure that you read and follow important safety warnings that are included in the product that you want to use.
- Use gloves and glasses: When using a mini torch, even though the flame is smaller and weaker, it is still important to wear protective gloves and safety glasses. This way, you can ensure that there will be no injuries in case an unexpected scenario happens as you work.
- Be careful when attaching a butane cylinder: When it is time to replace the butane cylinder, you need to ensure that the torch head is turned off. Hold the butane can upright while attaching it to the torch. Hand tighten it and avoid over-tightening.
- Check for leaks: You should also check for leaks through different methods. See if there is a hissing sound, if it feels cold, or if it smells a rotten-egg odor. These things indicate a fuel leak. You can also try to cover the connection area with soapy water. If there are bubbles, it means there is a leak.
- Keep hand torches upright: While using a mini torch, ensure that you are holding it upright. This will help prevent flare-ups or flashes. In case it flares or sputters, turn the cylinder upright and turn off the torch.
- Let the torch cool after use: When you are done using the mini torch, allow it to cool before storing.
- Do not drop, throw, and puncture butane fuel cylinders: The butane cylinder should be stored away from living spaces. It should be out of reach of children and away from sources of fire. It should not be left in direct sunlight. Also, avoid storing it at temperatures above 120 degrees.
How to Handle Butane Safely
Butane is among the most powerful and popular fuel sources out there. It is a highly flammable, odorless, colorless, easy-liquefied gas. When it is not used properly, it can be a health hazard. But if you follow simple safety rules for butane, it can be one of the safest fuels that you can store and use both indoors and outdoors.
When used correctly, the health risks of butane are very low. However, it is highly flammable and toxic, which can cause serious problems when used incorrectly. Here are some of the dangers that may be caused by butane when handled improperly:
- Inhalation: There are people who are into inhaling the butane from bottles or aerosols for a quick high. But doing this can lead to a lot of medical issues, such as temporary memory loss, drowsiness, asphyxia, cardiac arrhythmia, and other severe cases, even death. It is among the most commonly misused substances, and it accounts for about half of solvent-related fatalities.
- Explosion: Keep in mind that butane is a highly flammable and pressurized gas. Therefore, it is possible that it can explode when it is exposed to heat or used improperly. Butane gas is also heavier than air. This means it can travel long distances before it finds a material that can ignite it and travel back to its source very fast.
- Leaks: Butane is odorless and colorless. But organic sulfur compounds are added to bottled butane, causing foul smells. This way, people can detect a leak and leave the premises for safety.
- Skin Exposure: If the skin or eyes are exposed to butane, it may cause freeze burn or frostbite. This is why butane refills should be handled carefully.
To prevent the dangers mentioned above, here are some of the best butane safety practices that you need to follow:
- Take precautions to avoid inhaling butane when in use.
- Make sure to keep butane canisters away from heat, open flame, sparks, and hot surfaces.
- Avoid smoking when near butane, and do not light a cigarette while using a mini torch.
- Store butane in a well-ventilated area, far from direct sunlight, food, and drink.
- Before refilling, let the torch cool off.
- Only use approved containers for storage.
- Always keep the storage containers of butane closed and labeled.
- Do not extinguish a butane-caused fire until the source of the gas can be turned off.
- Wash or dispose of clothing that has come into contact with butane. There are times when the gas can start a fire in the washing machine.
- Always keep butane cylinders out of reach of children.
Additional Mini Torch Maintenance Tips
Here are some additional maintenance tips that you can follow for your mini butane torch:
Use the mini torch whenever you can.
Regardless of size, torches need to be used as often as you can so that they will remain functional. In addition to that, using it will keep its jets clean. When you keep it stored for a long time, it may stop working as it should.
Only use butane of good quality.
When butane has excellent quality, it can burn cleaner and will also keep the torch jets clean. For a mini torch, it is better to use a butane that went through a refining process of at least 3 to 5 times. This can be seen on the butane can, or you can also ask the store owner or helper for more information.
Always observe proper distance when torching.
Keep in mind that carbon can build up when you torch very closely. This may also cause debris to be gusted back in the jets and cause it to clog. When this happens, you can blow in the jets lightly to loosen the debris. You can also use a canister of compressed air to give the jets a good gust.
Always follow the correct filling and refilling process.
When filling or refilling, your mini torch should be free of air and butane. When you refill it, and there is still air in it, you will end up with a weak flame. The flame will only last for a few seconds as the air is not as strong and flammable as the butane it is mixed with. You can purge the air and butane every two to three fill-ups.
These are some of the tips and tricks that we can share when it comes to using mini torches safely. Mini torches are indeed great to have for DIY and hobbyists. It is also among the safest flammable tools out there, as long as you follow all the safety precautions and pay attention to how to use it properly. Therefore, to finish your projects smoothly and hassle-free, follow the tips we shared in this post and use your mini torch correctly.