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Propane

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Larry View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 4:18pm

So I just filled both of my propane tanks at the place where I store my R-Pod and I had and interesting discussion with the guy as he was filling my tanks;

 

1) He told me that propane tanks should not be filled up all the way, and even though I had 5-gallon tanks he only put 4.8 gallons in them. His logic was that you need to bleed propane tanks and leave some air in them. Never heard that before.

 

2) He also told me that gas stations usually charge for the full 5-gallons even though they, by law, only may put 4.8 or 4.6 gallons in your 5-gallion tank. Never knew that before either. BTW He only charged me for the 4.8 gallons.

 

3) He told me that propane tanks have and expiration date and showed me where it was located on the side of my tanks. Using the tanks beyond that period he said is unsafe. Another thing I did not know. The tank that came with my pod is good for 10-years and the second tank which I purchased is good for 12-years, but I don’t plan to have my r-pod that long.

 

4) How can you tell when your propane tanks need to be refilled; I mean do you have a meter or gauge on your tanks, do you lift them out of the cradle to see how light or heavy they are? What do you use, if anything, to determine when you need more propane?

 

There are two States in the U.S. where it is illegal to pump your own gas at a gas station; New Jersey and Oregon, but I do not know of anyplace in the U.S. where you can pump your own propane. I guess propane is probably more flammable or more dangerous than gasoline?

 

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Ratdog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ratdog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 5:03pm
I don't know about other states but in FL propane dealers refuse to refill an expired tank. However, if your tank is in good condition you can get it recertified.
 
Also, never paint your propane tank a dark color. If you do, you will have trouble getting a dealer to refill it. I know . . . I've done it. Years ago I painted a tank black to match my BBQ grill and had to repaint it back to white before I could get it filled.
 
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Skooterpod View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skooterpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 5:08pm
Propane is one of the safest fuels there is.  At least, that's what I read somewhere.  MUCH safer than gasoline. 
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pentachris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pentachris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 5:30pm
My understanding is contrary to the info you were told. As I understand it, tanks will hold the amount they are rated for with some headspace at the top of the tank. I've been to several places that don't fill the tank by weight; they fill it until propane is coming out of the overflow valve, leaving virtually no headspace. This is actually more than the tank is rated for, although they just charged me what the tank is supposed to hold. Not really dangerous for the tank - it has safety features to compensate. But, it is potentially harmful to the regulator you hook it up to because liquid propane, not gas, will be going to it. If you've ever seen a regulator ice over, it's probably because it was getting liquid propane. The regulator on my Weber Q is particularly sensitive, and I've had to replace it because of this. The info about filling capacity was given to me by the Weber rep I talked to.

As for knowing how much is in the tank, I pick it up and swirl it around. If it feels like it's getting low, I put it on the bathroom scale. There's a marking on the collar that says "TW: xx lb" that tells you the tare weight of the tank. From there, you can figure how much propane is in the tank. Some people use the hot water trick, and that's something I should try, but haven't yet. I'm sure someone else will be able to explain it; I'm not 100% sure, but I remember it sounding simple enough.

I think the danger with propane is the combination of flammability with high pressure.
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furpod View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote furpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 5:47pm
If you are running dual tanks, get an automatic switch over regulator/valve, when it switches over, remove the empty tank and go get it filled.The one we have actually has a little red pointer that points at the empty..
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furpod View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote furpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 5:53pm
Originally posted by pentachris pentachris wrote:

My understanding is contrary to the info you were told. As I understand it, tanks will hold the amount they are rated for with some headspace at the top of the tank. I've been to several places that don't fill the tank by weight; they fill it until propane is coming out of the overflow valve, leaving virtually no headspace. This is actually more than the tank is rated for, although they just charged me what the tank is supposed to hold. Not really dangerous for the tank - it has safety features to compensate. But, it is potentially harmful to the regulator you hook it up to because liquid propane, not gas, will be going to it. If you've ever seen a regulator ice over, it's probably because it was getting liquid propane. The regulator on my Weber Q is particularly sensitive, and I've had to replace it because of this. The info about filling capacity was given to me by the Weber rep I talked to.



You have not been able to "overfill" a propane tank for a decade. NO one will fill or exchange a tank with out a OPD valve. The only purpose of the OPD valve is to protect the head space in the tank.

Well and to confound every gas grill user in the country about 10 years ago. lol

Stolen from a website that knows..

"

An OPD Valve is easily identified by having a triangular knob with the words OPD marked on the valve itself. Overfill Prevention Device fitted valves are the result of extensive research into improving gas safety for you and your gas tanks. The new OPD valves prevent overfilling of gas cylinders, making filling and using gas cylinders safer than ever before. They are also compatible with your current gas appliances so it is easy to upgrade.

Older style valves were more susceptible to overfilling which leaves no room for the liquid propane to expand. As a result gas may escape, creating a potentially hazardous situation. OPD valves solve this problem by using a special float (shown right) which rises during refilling to block the filling process when the tank is 80% full.

The 1998 revision of the National Fire Protection Association's Pamphlet 58 requires that all cylinders, 4 lb. (1.8 kg) through 40 lb. (18 kg), fabricated after September 30, 1998 shall be equipped with an OPD valve. Further, any cylinders of these sizes that are re-qualified must be equipped with an OPD valve. If your cylinder is over 12 years old, it must be re-qualified before it can be refilled. It will be retrofitted with an OPD valve at the time of re-qualification. You can find the date of manufacture on the upper collar of your 20# cylinder. Effective April 1, 2002, no cylinder will be filled unless it is equipped with an OPD.

Mark, Susie, and The Maggie.
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Larry View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Larry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 7:29pm

Furpod, the guy who filled my tanks also told me about the OPD; it shuts down the flow of propane to the tank which is being filled and he told me that this often occurs prior to the tank being completely filled; leaving some space at the top; he also said that the person filling the tank should bleed the propane tank after it has been filled to allow for some space.

 

Thanks for mentioning the automatic switch over regulator I have to look into that!Thumbs Up

 

Skooterpod, I am not disputing what you have said, but if propane is safer than gasoline how come customers are not allowed to fill their own tank as they do when filling their car with gasoline?

 

 P.S. I was also told to never paint your propane tank any color other than white and that propane dealers will not fill tanks that are very old, have expired dates, or look like they have expired.

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pentachris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pentachris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 7:43pm
I obviously had some misunderstanding. I will say this, even though it's tangential to the topic: since I have stopped using tanks that are filled until the OPD operates and started using Blue Rhino "swap your tank" tanks which are filled by weight (to 15 instead of 20 lbs, by the way...), I have never had a problem with my BBQ grill's regulator.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote joe&carol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 10:10pm
A couple things - - - - First, I've always understood that a tank only gets filled to something like 85% as a safety factor.  And it isn't just your little old 20# tanks that are subject to this, if you have a 250 gal or 500 gal tank it will be the same thing. 
 
The other thing has to do with checking the fill level. (This isn't original with me, it appeared on this site sometime back.) Just go to your kitchen sink and let the hot water run until you get a good head of hot water - - - draw yourself a pan worth or a pitcher full and go out to your tank.  Pour the hot water down the side of the propane tank and wait 10-15 seconds.  Then place your hand along the side of the propane tank where you poured the hot water.  The empty portion of the tank will feel warm; the full portion of the tank will feel cold.   Good luck and happy camping.  Joe
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pod people View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pod people Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2011 at 10:43pm
I have used a propane tank level indicator that I got from Lowe's. It screws onto the tank  valve and the regulator hose screw into the indicator body.   It has a needle dial that goes into color ranges of green, yellow and red-not exact measurements, but a good indicator.  They cost about $12.  I've used them for years on my gas grill-they are effective, but not absolute.  Much better than guessing.

Vann Evans
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