Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oh It's So Pretty..........Boom!!

LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) propane is a wonderful fuel. We use it in our bbq, some vehicles run on it, or even heat homes with it. In a RV we use it for the water heater, the furnace the stove and oven and sometimes the fridge.

When I started owning RVs I was a bit confused on how this propane tank thing worked. Now I think I have a grip on it. Starting with the smaller RVs they have a small tank, usually I refer to them as bbq size, larger bumper pulls and 5th wheels have what they call a 30# bottle and most motor homes have larger tanks attached to the unit. We'll use my unit which has two 30# bottles.

Why is it called a 30# bottle? That's and easy one, the bottle weighs at about 30# when empty. When I get one filled it will weigh about 65# or so. Propane is measured in gallons when you get it filled. The 30# bottle can hold about 7.5 gallons and the bbq size bottle can hold about 4.5 gallons. This is how they are going to charge you by so much money per gallon. I just had one filled and it cost me $25 which is not bad compared to what I paid last year. 

Propane can last quite awhile but your biggest usage of propane is the furnace. Depending on the size of your furnace it is possible for you to use one bottle in a week. I found that out one winter when I used the furnace and went through propane quickly. Now we use electric heaters and try to save on propane.

When working with propane be careful in what you are doing. Propane is heavier than air and will collect at the lowest point. This is one reason why your "LP Detector" is located close to the floor. If you ever smell propane now is not the time to light up a cigarette. I think you know what I mean.

Now it is time to make a repair to one of your appliances, obviously turn the bottles off. Disconnect the line, make the repair and reconnect the line. Turn the propane back on and test for leaks. The easiest way to do this is a solution of soapy water in a spray bottle. Spray this onto the connection and if you see bubbles then you have a leak. There are some fancy leak detectors out there but this method works for me.

Propane bottles have quite a lot of markings at the top. The one that you want to pay attention to the most is the manufacture date. A new bottle is good for 12 years but when it expires then you have get it re-certified or buy a new one. A re-certified bottle is good for only five years. One of my bottles has expired and now I get to make this decision.

The propane system is pretty much maintenance free. The one thing that might happen is that the regulator might stick. The regulator maintains an even flow to the appliances. When switching from one tank to the other is when the regulator might stick. This happened to me a couple of times and might have to replace it.

I don't think there is much more to say about this so take that hot shower, have fun cooking and stay warm.

Until next time..........Be safe.

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