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fowldreams

Keeping propane tanks warm?

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fowldreams

Wondering with the cold snap coming, what do individuals do to keep tanks warm and flowing with the sub zero weather? I was thinking of wrapping electric blanket around the two tanks I have to keep everything flowing properly. Any other thoughts or suggestions? I just know in the past that the furnace has had issues because flow of LP. Thanks

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Twisted

Generator exhaust?

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buzz1ng

Yo uwill only get problems if its -30 or below. Which usually happens overnight. If its -30 during the day, the sun will help to keep the propane warm enough to make Vapor. It happened to me once on Red Lk a few years ago. I had 2 completely full tanks. What I ended up doing was just switching them every 30 min - hr Take one off bring it in, vice versa until there was enough Room in the tank that it was making vapor faster than I was using it. Just make sure that 1 of the tanks isnt completely full so there is plenty of room for the gas in the tank. MAybe keep it in the front of your vehicle to stay warm. Also a good choice Like Twisted said with the generator exhaust. If its terribly cold I put my generator in the back of my truck under the Teaneau cover, It stays plenty warm in there to keep a propane tank vaporizing. You could also Point your Generator Exhaust right at it while its sitting on the house, that would more than likely keep it warm enough as well.

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Twisted

It shouldn't matter how full a tank is but at extreme temps a full tank will produce more vapor than one that is closer to empty. That is why a 100# works better. There is more LP to boil into a vapor as well as more surface area of tank to absorb heat.

As you use the gas from a tank the pressure drops in the tank which lowers the internal temp. Propane still boils (produces gas) at -40* but with an outside temp of -30* and the pressure drop from usage the propane may drop to below -44* causing it to stay a liquid.

You must add heat to the tank to begin the boiling process again. That is the reason wrapping a tank is a bad idea. You are not allowing heat from the air to warm that tank above -44*.

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fowldreams

Thanks for the input guys. I just know it is going to be cold when I come up Thursday night. Forecast is -30. Last time it was that cold the tanks weren't working that well thats why I asked. Furnace blew light warm air and that was it. Thought tank was empty and it had well over half. I am running 30lb tanks.

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buzz1ng

Twisted: I may have not came off the right direction when I was talking about the Full tank, I didnt mean it would produce Vapor faster, I just meant that there is more room for vapor in the Tank & the extra room will help if it produces vapor slower than what the Furnace or heater takes to warm the house up. If you were to just use a regular blanket, put it over the tanks & Blow the Generator exhaust on there IM sure that would be plenty good, as long as you dont mind listening to a geneartor hum next to your house. grin

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GRAND DAD

This Trick has bailed me out more times then I can count and it works for me , I keep a bunch of hand warmers in my fish house , I take 2 hand warms put one on each side of my regulater and wrap a towel around the regulater, Maybe doesn't help the tank , and my be I just always have my regulater freezing up on me, but it works and gets my propane flowing nicely every time .

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fowldreams

Yeah, I guessed it was the tanks having the issue not the regulator. That may by a trick I will use. Cheap trial run anyway.

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Boar

Ive wraped my tank before an it caused problems, premeber ther is a breather hole on the rgulator that you shouldnt obstruct. I was up two weekend s ago with 30 below wind chiolls an had no problem, I would stick with keeping a spare tank handy instead of wraping. my two cents based on what Ive experienced.

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Twisted

How did last night work out for you fowldreams?

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fowldreams

We have made it through chill. Warm up is coming thank goodness. Now if only the fishing would pick up. Yesterdays bite was slow but atleast there was some of a bite. Today on the other hand. Fish biting was non existant. Marked fish all day but couldn't get them to go. I think we tried everything we could. Lots of ice out there.

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CANOPY SAM

I've always wondered if the "freezing" issue wasn't more of a regulator problem, rather than an actual tank problem.

I've been puzzling for years now on a way to have my 100 lb. cylinders semi-contained within a closet of some sort, attached to the house, with a few breather holes between the outside closet, and the interior of the house - and still not risk leakage into the house from the breather vent.

If there was some way a guy could provide some of the interior heat, produced by the propane, back to the propane tanks and regulator.

How about a forced air vent (one of those little computer fans) from the interior of the house, thru the wall blowing air out to the little "vented closet" tank and regulator storage compartment? It would only provide a little heat, but you'd only need to keep a little heat in there to prevent freezing or gelling of fuel.

Would this work? I don't presume to be any kind of propane guru, so I'd greatly appreciate some advice. I suppose containing a tank and regulator inside a small wooden "vented" exterior container would be dangerous?

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Twisted

That would work in theory but remember that propane gas "sinks" so it would be best to have the inlet from your house to the shed near the top and the shed vent to the atmosphere near the bottom.

That would allow the propane gas to run out the bottom vent in the event of a regulator or fitting leak.

Did that make any sense at all or was it more jibberish?

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Twisted

I know this is off topic but I think it needs to be mentioned. Repremand at will.

A lot of propane gas monitors have been installed in fish houses after the recent tragedies. Remember that propnane gas is about 1.5 times heavier than air so it will sink. Placing the monitor above sleeping level in a house will do no good. The house will fill from the bottom up.

Just a little advice I thought might be worth tossing out there.

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wahoo

For what it is worth. We have a permanent and use a 20 lb cylinder always kept outside of the house when fishing and really never inside anywhere it is warm when not using it to heat the fishhouse--back of the truck, unheated shed, etc.

A few years ago we had a problem with the heater not starting, or starting and running a few minutes ( up to 15) and then sputtering out as if the cylinder was empty. I don't know how we stumbled on it, but we starting just placing a cloth (with a rubber band to hold the cloth on) over the regulator which, of course, was outside. This solved out problem--never had it sputter out or not start since no matter the temp or weather. The cloth covers the regulator but still allows some breathing

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BigDogRob

Here is an idea...They make 120volt heated pipe tape for trailer house water pipes. Do they make a 12 volt version that you could wrap around the tank and then drape the last inch or two over the regulator so it also stays warm? I would say that if you have a generator then you could get by with the 110 version, but if you could find a low draw 12 volt set-up there should never be any issues right? another thing that might work is taking some of these handwarmers that some use for hunting/fishing/skiing/snowmobiling to keep hands and feet warm and placing them under your propane tanks at the bottom and maybe a couple wrapped around the regulator It could get spendier than a 12volt version of ht tape if more than a day of cold temps. I just switched my house (thanks to christmas present) to a auto switch regulator and love the idea that it will switch automatically. 6 days on one 30# tank for a 8' x 17' plus 4'V I think that wasn't too bad. That was 3 times it had to warm up from well below freezing temps and using the stove and oven for cooking on 4 of the days...

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Twisted

A person could do the math to figure how many BTU's would be needed to keep the propane flowing with the volume of propane used out of the tank and the ambient temps but I'm really not sure if I'd get that one right. I'm more of a seat-of-the-pants guy. crazy

Just remember that the tanks WILL use the heat from the air even at -30* as crazy as it may sound. Overcoming the lower internal temp caused by the pressure drop is the trick. Switching tanks occasionally so they have time to "warm up" is one trick or hooking two tanks parallel so only half the draw on each one definatly helps in extreeme conditions. A full tank is always better.

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Boar

Say twistd, isnt it the CO gas to be concerned about, not the Propane gas. Co is created by the burning of the a fuel/oxygen mix right? Dont mean to sound nieve, but you can obviously smell the propane addittive to make propane smell, propane has no smell so they give it the rotten egg aditive. Am I off base?

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Fish Slayer

CO is Carbon Monoxide and is caused from dirty,plugged,poor venting, cracked or broken equipment not burning properly. You cannot smell it if you go to sleep you may not wake up if you have high levels of CO. Propane has an odorant added similar to the kind I add into the natural gas system here in Bemidji. We put the odorant into the gas so you can smell a leak before it becomes a hazard. I suggest getting a CO/gas detector close to the level you are sleeping. Also get your equipment checked occasionally and soap check your gas fittings under pressure to check for leaks every now and then to make sure all the banging and rattling on and off the ice could loosen the joints especially if they are not supported properly. As for the regulator issue I would have a spare on hand to change out if the other freezes.

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Boar

yea I tend o belive that ny probs are mostly related to regulator freezing than tanks issues, ive had weekends of 30 below with no probs, the one time I did have a prob was wen my regulator was wraped up trying to keep it warm.I Keep a spare like ya said fish an my tanks inside my suburban.

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Twisted

CO is a byproduct of combustion. An unvented heater will produce CO no matter how clean it is burning. A vented heater can produce CO if the unit is not vented properly.

Propane is not posinous like NG. The "stink" they add to it can be smelled at or below 1/5 of the level where propane will ignite which is about 2% fuel to air mix.

Gas detectors & CO detectors are different units but they might also make a combo unit.

These numbers are off memory & it's been a while since I've worked with the stuff so I might be off a bit.

I always have a spare reg on hand & have only had to change out one in over 20 years of staying on the ice. The cheapest one you can find is not always the best idea in this country.

One other thing to check on if it seems like one propane supplier seems to have more tank issues than others is to be sure it's pure propane & not a butane mix. Butane will not work at low temps like propane. I think it boils at 32*F rather than -44*F like propane.

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