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Tagged: propane safety
January 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm #36986
We bought a two burner propane stove and want to use it in the kitchen so I’ve been bringing our 17 lb propane tank in the house and hooking it up when we use it and putting it back out after. Does anyone just leave their propane tank in the house?January 9, 2012 at 1:50 am #42164
The experts will tell you that propane tanks do not belong inside your house, and rightly so, if anything goes wrong, things can go really wrong. Propane tanks can leak, the hoses can leak, connections can fail, and heaven forbid you have a fire (not related to the propane tanks) you have a major source of fuel inside your home.
Now, let me tell you what we have, we have not one, not two, not three, but four 20 gallon propane tanks inside our cabin. It started out with one, on the stove in the kitchen, next came the one for the on demand water heater next to the kitchen sink, the next two are semi inside and semi outside, it’s in a shower area that is built on the deck just outside our bedroom, one for the on demand water heater and one for the small propane heater.
Here’s the deal, we purchased NEW propane tanks, we refill OUR propane tanks, we do NOT exchange tanks, I do that because I know exactly how our personal tanks have been used and not abused, when you exchange tanks, you do not know the history of that tank, you do not know how old it is, whether the last person (or last 10 people) have cranked the handle too tight or dropped it. We also turn off the tanks when we aren’t using them.
Eventually we will get a large single tank that will stay outside and we will have normal propane gas plumbing like everyone else does, but for now, this is what we do, it’s a risk, but so is everything else in the world, it’s a risk we choose to take.
One of the on demand propane water heaters is inside the cabin, it’s over the kitchen sink, we do protect the wall and ceiling from the heat, we also don’t run it for long periods of time so I’m not worried about any fumes building up, the one for the shower is vented through the ceiling/roof, that one would run for longer periods of time so it was just the safer thing to do (venting it). Our cabin is not airtight, it’s not insulated, so I don’t worry about fumes, vapors or such building up on the inside.
For the record, we also keep some of our deep cycle batteries inside the cabin as well. These are calculated risks we take, if you are careful, use NEW propane tanks (not exchanged ones), use good connectors, keep flammables away from sources of ignition, well I’ll not tell you to do the things we do, it’s up to you to decide these things. We have lived this way, off grid, for 4 years now with no problems. Hope this helps.
WrethaJanuary 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm #42165
Wretha- Like usual your posts do help. I think I am going to keep doing what I have been doing which is just bring the propane tank in, use it, turn it off and bring it back outside. I am going to do that same thing with the new on demand water heater I will be mounting in the bathroom. Thanks again Wretha!January 10, 2012 at 2:55 am #42167
If it is peace of mind you want try installing a propane leak detector with alarm. These are available from RV dealers. Install sensor low down below where propane is used. Remember that propane is heavier than air so a leak will sink to floor.
If you visualize a water leak in the same place you can see where the propane vapor will flow.
I for one do pretty much the same as Wretha does. I have lived and worked around propane all my life including on boats. Test the connections for leaks using a soapy solution. Personally I think that frequent disconnections to tank is just as likely to damage the gasket. So why not leave it alone and just make sure valve is shut off. I know this is not what the nanny state inspectors recommend but then again I stopped relying on my mother’s advice after I became an adult.January 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm #42168
Elnav is right, moving it around, connecting and disconnecting is just as likely to damage something that isn’t damaged now… one thing we do on our cookstove, when we are done cooking, we turn off the bottle and allow the gas in the hose to burn off, then we turn off the burner. We also do that on the heater in the shower, I turn off the bottle and allow the gas to burn off before shutting down the heater.
Another thing to remember about propane is the manufacturers put in a chemical odor, and it stinks! You can smell it if it’s leaking, even in small quantities. The chemical is called mercaptan, it has a rotten egg or cabbage smell, as long as your smeller works OK, and you are awake and present, you will know if your propane is leaking. My brother in law is trained and licensed to handle and transport propane, he told me some interesting facts about propane and mercaptan.
I do know that as you near the end of a bottle, you can smell the mercaptan more and more while using the propane, that’s how I could tell that it was time to refill one of our empties (if we hadn’t done that already).
WrethaJanuary 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm #42169
Once again I appreciate the knowledge. I know a thing or two about propane myself (I am in the heating and air conditioning biz) and I have no reason to doubt the safety of the tank in my house, but I do like to ask because what I deal with is large propane tanks on the outside of houses and small tanks inside are very different. I have very sensitive combustable gas analyzers as well as CO detectors that have assured me that I am being safe, but I have to be very careful as I have a 4 year old and a very paranoid wife!January 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm #42170
i agree connecting and disconnecting leaves more opportunity for damage and human error. when i built my house i plumbed everything in with 3/4 in blk pipe with a regulator just outside that way i only needed to run off one tank. a code here in wyoming and idaho and i’m sure elsewhere is to strap the tank to the wall.
a regulator is about 90 bucks. code also will be an issue when you upgrade to a large tank. anything over 150 gal mush be more than six feet from a structue. propane line that is buried is about 60 cents a foot and 3/4 connections are about 60 bucks for each end. line must be 2ft or deeper with a bed of sand in the trench. if you choose to run any power or water in the same trench. the power must be more than a foot from the propane.
also for those using tanks in side with smaller bbq style regulators keep in mind that each time you pressurize the line you will hear small hiss and a smell off propane from the check valve . this is normal. any time you connect or dis -connect always put some dish soap around connection and look for bubbles indicating a poor connection. you can also have the local propane co make you custom hoses with quick connects if the wrench thing is getting old.
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