Propane safety?

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rvgypz

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I have a newbie question on propane safety and would like feedback from the pros on here.? :)

We want to have an external propane tank to use for the hot water heater. Hubby got an adapter to install it correctly and was shopping for an empty tank. I found one at Home Depot, but the feller talked to me like I was an idiot for wanting to buy a 100lb. tank for my RV.? :mad:? He was sounding like he wanted to chastise me for just the "idea" of it and said I should go to a "real" RV dealer.? :eek:? Was he right or just talking "smack" to me?

We don't want to use the tank on the RV because it has a small leak or something, and we're not using the furnace either because it just works "too good". Got a nice space heater that is sufficient enough to keep warm. We will replace the old tank later down the road, but just want to get through the winter first. So....is hooking up a separate external tank a good idea or not? Any thoughts??
 

Jim Dick

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Hi rvgypz,

My first question would be where is the leak in the tank and has it stopped releasing propane? I'm assuming it has. As far as using an extrernal tank, it's done quite frequently by RVers that stay in one place for the winter. Usually it's because they won't bring a truck in to fill a motorhome or the tanks on trailers are too small. Does the campground have the ability to pick up the tank and fill it? A 100 lb tank will be quite heavy to move around. Perhaps a better alternative would be a couple of 30lb tanks. That way you could use one until it is empty and then change over and take the other one to get it filled. They also have some 40lb available.

As far as your furnace goes, you should be able to regulate it with the thermostat. The temp will drop before it re-ignites but it shouldn't get too hot if set properly. If it does there may be something wrong with the thermostat.

Whatever you do be sure it's hooked up properly!
 

rvgypz

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Thanks Jim!

I guess I am the goofball this time? ::)....hubby said he wanted to get a smaller tank, like the 30lb.

As far as the furnace goes, the thermostat works fine....it's just too much trouble to pull up stakes just to drive to the Phillip 66 to fill the propane tank. Hookin' and unhookin' everything! We would have lots of that to do, just for a 15 minute drive to the station. Seems alot less involved if we could just grab the tank, throw it in the trunk of the car and go refill it. Would like to replace the original tank on the RV with a new one, but the budget isn't that big at this time. Just trying to get by as comfy as possible til then. Is this a do-able plan or should I just stick to my crafts and let Hubby do all the thinkin'?? :-\? I know that's a "loaded" question, but I asked anyway!? ;D
 

Ron

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Guess the question that comes to mind is are you sure the leak is in the tank and not the plumbing from the tank?  I'm like Jim to 30 or 40 lb bottles would sure be more manageable than a 100 lb.
 

Jim Dick

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rvgypz said:
Thanks Jim!

I guess I am the goofball this time  ::)....hubby said he wanted to get a smaller tank, like the 30lb.

As far as the furnace goes, the thermostat works fine....it's just too much trouble to pull up stakes just to drive to the Phillip 66 to fill the propane tank. Hookin' and unhookin' everything! We would have lots of that to do, just for a 15 minute drive to the station. Seems alot less involved if we could just grab the tank, throw it in the trunk of the car and go refill it. Would like to replace the original tank on the RV with a new one, but the budget isn't that big at this time. Just trying to get by as comfy as possible til then. Is this a do-able plan or should I just stick to my crafts and let Hubby do all the thinkin'?  :-\  I know that's a "loaded" question, but I asked anyway!  ;D

I'd say the 100 lb tank would be too much if you have to move it. It's very doable with the smaller tanks. You should be able to go a while on a 30 lb using both the hot water and furnace. Like Ron said, be sure the leak is in the tank and not in the line somewhere downstream from where you will connect the external tank. The connection should be made at the input to the regulator which only eliminates the tank and a short piece of plumbing.
 

Carl L

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We don't want to use the tank on the RV because it has a small leak or something,

Whoops!  Do not tolerate or tinker with that.  Take your rig to a repair shop and have the propane system tested for leaks on a manometer.  If they discover a leak, have them repair the thing.  To things you do not want to mess around with on an RV are the 120VAC system and the propane system.  Something goes wrong, get it fixed by someone who knows what he is doing.
 

rvgypz

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Thanks Gentlemen for the sound advice! Will have it checked out.? ;D
 

John From Detroit

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rvgypz said:
Thanks Jim!

I guess I am the goofball this time  ::)....hubby said he wanted to get a smaller tank, like the 30lb.

If you are planing on parking the rig for oh, till spring... You may find the LP service that refills the park's big tank may be willing to rent you 100lb bottles... They also pick up empties and deliver full ones you don't need to lug them

If, however you are moving about... I'm not sure of the laws on transporfting LP tanks any more

In days of old when folks were bold you could put a 100lb bottle in the trunk and drive to the refill station

Today, however. I do not  believe that is still allowed (there are limits on how big a bottle you can carry)

Also, an EMPTY 100 lb bottle weighs about 80 lbs  so the total weight is 180 lbs
 

rvgypz

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Good Morning!

Yes, John in Detroit, we are parked until Spring. Winters in the Mid South are not too bad. Will go with just getting the smaller tanks since the much larger one would probably be way more than what we would use, unless we were in Alaska.? ;D?

Update on the RVs tank is there may not be an actual leak. There's no propane smell inside or out, but has something to do with the valve sticking when it was filled. It took awhile to bleed off, and Hubby was concerned about having to fill it again until we have a chance to correct it. Didn't want to take any chances. When the furnace runs it's a bit weird. It sounds fine, comes on fine, runs fine, thermostat works fine, but when it reaches the set temp. and cuts off it starts and stops numerous times. Each time it does this, the cycle gets shorter and shorter. Have been told that this is normal and it is disapating the heat.? ??? It is a 1977 RV and furnace is factory original. My new space heater is doing a fine job of keeping "home" cozy!? ;D
 

Jim Dick

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rvgypz said:
Good Morning!

Yes, John in Detroit, we are parked until Spring. Winters in the Mid South are not too bad. Will go with just getting the smaller tanks since the much larger one would probably be way more than what we would use, unless we were in Alaska.  ;D 

Update on the RVs tank is there may not be an actual leak. There's no propane smell inside or out, but has something to do with the valve sticking when it was filled. It took awhile to bleed off, and Hubby was concerned about having to fill it again until we have a chance to correct it. Didn't want to take any chances. When the furnace runs it's a bit weird. It sounds fine, comes on fine, runs fine, thermostat works fine, but when it reaches the set temp. and cuts off it starts and stops numerous times. Each time it does this, the cycle gets shorter and shorter. Have been told that this is normal and it is disapating the heat.  ??? It is a 1977 RV and furnace is factory original. My new space heater is doing a fine job of keeping "home" cozy!  ;D

The furnace normally dissipates heat by running for a period of time after the burner has shut down. Cycling is sometimes caused by poor insulation in the rig. The temp drops fairly quickly so the cycle of on and off is short. Not sure why your cycling would continue to get shorter each time. Sounds like it's time to have it checked out by a competent tech.
 

Carl L

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It is a 1977 RV and furnace is factory original

A 28 year old furnace.  And is your propane tank built in or portable?  If built in it is also likely to be 28 years old.  Time to get the whole system vetted by a technician.    Seriously.  In my 10 year old RV, I have had the gas system checked over every 2-3 years by technicians at the local RV shop.
 

Tom

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Carl Lundquist said:
I have had the gas system checked over every 2-3 years by technicians at the local RV shop.

That sounds like a very good practice Carl. I haven't done that, although I know that each time I've been to the Monaco service center they won't start working on the coach until they've successfully completed a test of the propane system (including the manometer test). Last time there, the electrical shutoff switch wasn't working correctly and they wouldn't do anything else until they'd replaced the shutoff relay and all was working OK.
 

Carl L

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...each time I've been to the Monaco service center they won't start working on the coach until they've successfully completed a test of the propane system (including the manometer test).

Cannot fault them.? Working around some 50 odd gals of propane can make one nervous.  Sounds like they don't want to star at an impromptu 4th of July event.? ;D
 

blueblood

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rvgypz said:
I have a newbie question on propane safety and would like feedback from the pros on here.? :)

wanting to buy a 100lb. tank for my RV.? 

For clarity, propane tanks are sold by gallons capacity not weight by Fed Regs I believe. Must multiply the gallons by 4.5 plus add tank weight to get total.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re the furnace: what you may be hearing is the furnace fan running. That's different than the burner firing.  The fan may keep running to dissipate the heat built up inside, as the tech said.  If you listen closely, you will hear the sound of the burner ifniting after the fans start running, and later hear a change in pitch when the burner shuts off and the fan continues to run.  The fan may cycle again without the burner lighting up. However, if it happens multiple times I would suspect the furnace burner is shutting off due to exceeding its internal heat limit (there is a built in safety limiter). That suggests a blockage in the air distribution system (the heat outlets) or simple an inadequate set of outlets, causing heat to build up excessively within the furnace.

I see no risk in running from external propane bottles, providing you shut off the suspect internal tank (or verify that the internal tank is still OK). There is a tee fitting sold just for the purpose of using auxiliary tanks. It is called an Extend-A-Stay and is available at Rv dealers or Camping World. For an example see http://www.rvpart.com/amazonstore/iws?request=8&asin=B000AREF9U&merchantId=1576&browse_id=90089&parent_id=
 

John From Detroit

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I have that "Extend-a-stay" Built by Marshall brass... I believe my mother did some consulting for them on one of their milling machines when it lost it's mind (She was good with computer type gear)

I got to use it last trip out when the tecnichian at the campground could not fill my primary tank for me on arrival... Seems he coudl not get propane to flow into my tank.

(Turned out that when he pulled the fill hose out of the cabnet he snagged the safety cutoff cable and tripped it to safety mode... No wonder it failed to work)

Got filled upon exit but while there had to run off the 20lb bottle.. Good for 2 nights in the weather we were having (possibly 3 if it had been full)

The Extend-a-stay has check valves so it will not let one tank backfill another, it also has a flow limiter which greatly reduces flow should a line rupture happen (The instructions explain how that might false when you first turn on the gas and how to re-set it by opening the tank valve VERY SLOWLY)

Worked quite well

Though, as I said, there is a check valve there,  I'd not trust it to prevent back flow into a deffective tank.. Best to make sure that tank's valve is well closed.
 
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