Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-09-2013, 07:51 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
edgewant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 456
Propane tank & regulator issues

I'm now on my fourth LP regulator and recently had a related bad experience. We were headed out this past weekend with only about a half tank of propane and since we were expecting temps in the mid 30's all weekend decided to stop and have the tank topped off. The fellow at the LP place we stopped at had an attitude and didn't even want to talk about the possibility of an overfilled tank being the cause for the failures ( ruptured diaphrams) of the regulators. He also appeared to be intent on getting as much LP into the tank as possible.

We continued on our 200 mi journey and made camp that evening. Upon trying to heat the motorhome (2013 390RB) with the furnaces I noticed no heat and could hear the ignitors popping, trying to lite the burners. I switched the furnaces off and went to space heaters until I could figure out the problem. One thing I did to diagnose the problem was to light the stove burners. I did get flame there but could not get the hot water heater to work either.

Saturday morning I again attempted to get the furnaces to work without any luck. So I went and checked out the propane tank. I pulled the cover off the regulator and discover it was covered with heavy frost. I had read that frost was not unusual but that a possible cause for my furnaces and hot water heater not working was liquid propane getting into the regulator and freezing it up internally. I also noticed the tank gauge was so far past full that I couldn't see the needle.

Since I could get the kitchen stove to work I burned it for approximately six hours. While it burned I would periodically attempt to get hot water. Turning on the hot water would cause such a demand for propane that the burners on the stove would practically go out until the hot water heater would cycle the gas flow off prior to attempting to light it again. I reasoned that until I could burn off enough propane to relieve the overfilled condition I would not be able to operate the furnaces or hot water heater. Finally after 6 hours of burning the stove I finally could operate all my gas appliances.

I didn't think with an opd protected tank that overfilling was even possible. I thunked wrong!!!! It can and does happen.

Will probably find a different LP provider!!
__________________

__________________
edgewant

2013 Berkshire 390RB-60
toad - 2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport
edgewant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2013, 08:16 PM   #2
Site Team - Lou
 
Herk7769's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: South Eastern PA
Posts: 21,169
Unscrewing the vent plug defeats the OPD.

Since the installation of the overfill prevention device it is illegal to fill a tank that way.
__________________

__________________

Lou and Laura with Bella - German Short Hair Pointer
2008 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crewcab SB Allison Duramax
2010 Flagstaff 8526RLWS - Superglide 3300
HAM CALLSIGN - KC3FFW
Herk7769 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2013, 09:14 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
NV245's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Carmel, In
Posts: 175
Many years ago, before overfill prevention device (OPD) I used to get 20# liquid petroleum gas (LPG) tanks filled wherever. I happened upon a place where the attendant started filling my tanks, and then took a screwdriver to the vent. I wondered what was going on, until fog started coming out the vent, he closed the tank valve, closed the vent, closed the fill valve, disconnected thee fill hose, then charged me by the gallon, not pound of LPG. Later, I found that this was more accurate than what I had gotten before. The same attendant refused to fill outdated tanks (I got them filled elsewhere until the others caught up). After OPD came in, and I had swapped out my tanks, he informed me that 3 out of 5 OPDs were non-functional, found out by filling the tanks with the vent (actually the full vent) open. So, the full vent does not defeat the OPD, however they (the OPDs) are not failsafe, and there is nothing saying that if the attendant finds a non-functional OPD, they have to condemn and drain the tank, or even report such a failure to the owner, I would believe that the OPD on your coach is not closing its valve. You could replace the OPD or find a knowledgeable attendant to properly fill your tank. You probably also could have opened your full vent until the fog stopped coming out of the vent, BUT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY DANGEROUS.
__________________
NV245 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2013, 10:41 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
mjracsj's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Vermont
Posts: 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
Unscrewing the vent plug defeats the OPD.

Since the installation of the overfill prevention device it is illegal to fill a tank that way.
I dont believe that is true. The OPD is intended to be a last resort to prevent overfilling on tanks that are equipped with it. The vent plug you may be referring to is a bleeder valve and using it is the most accurate and safe way to fill a tank as it begins to vent when the dip tube is at 80% full which is the maximum any propane tank should be filled. That is how the attendant knows when to stop filling. I would not trust any propane filling station or attendant who relies solely on the OPD device which as stated earlier do have a higher failure rate than you would like to think. Also I was not aware that many MH tanks even have an OPD device as is mandated on any new bbq grill type 20lb cylinder you will find nowadays. Either way the safest way to fill a tank is to use the bleeder screw to see when it starts to vent and then stop filling and to not count on the OPD device. Maybe I am confused as to whether this thread is about portable (bbq type tanks) vs DOT fixed tanks that are fixed to our motorhomes. It sounds like the OP was the victim of a filling atendant who just filled the MH tank until it couldnt take anymore without the mandatory process of opening the bleeder valve to indicate when to stop. Very dangerous overfill as there must have been no room for expansion of the LP - good thing this wasnt in hot weather or the emergency safety valve would have opened up and started venting pressure.
And kudos to the place and attendant who refuses to fill any tank that is out of date as it is against the law. You can get an older tank requalified but then it has to be done every 5 years and the date engraved on the tank and is hard to get done most places. For bbq tanks the legal limit is 12 (or maybe in some other states 10) years from the stamped date of manufacture on the tank collar. Any place that uses the bleeder valve screw and checks dates on tanks is a place I would trust - even if it was inconvenient if you find out your tank is old. Also selling propane by the lb is very accurate for portable tanks (of course only if placed on a scale) vs places that meter it by the gallon. Both can be accurate if the place is to be trusted and has been certified by weights and measures. For our fixed MH tanks only by the gallon can be measured and dispensed for filling.
BTW I own a store that also is a filling station and am certified. More than once when traveling and needing propane I have stopped at a place for a propane top off and found a nervous attendant who was untrained and I ended up talking them into letting me fill it myself because even though that employee certainly was supposed to do it they almost obviously didnt even want to do it because they did not know what they were doing when filling a MH tank. Scary!
__________________
mjracsj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2013, 11:27 PM   #5
Site Team - Lou
 
Herk7769's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: South Eastern PA
Posts: 21,169
The Truth About Filling 20 LB BBQ Grill Propane Tanks | Web Design Greenville SC

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...N1lepQmPmiVTRA

This is a OSHA PowerPoint Module on filling propane bottles. You actually CAN fill a 20 pound bottle "by volume" (using the vent method). There are restrictions though and you should be aware of them.

Thank you for making me check. It is not DoT recommended to fill the tanks "by volume" commercially, or be allowed to be transported commercially.

Filling for a private individual who will transport the tank in his private vehicle, it is allowed. Commercial use tanks (like pre-filled ones sold at Costco or Lowes) must be sold by TARE weight.

New day; learned something new.
__________________

Lou and Laura with Bella - German Short Hair Pointer
2008 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crewcab SB Allison Duramax
2010 Flagstaff 8526RLWS - Superglide 3300
HAM CALLSIGN - KC3FFW
Herk7769 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2013, 12:04 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
mjracsj's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Vermont
Posts: 163
All true but also the quoted section of the OSHA manual you are referring to only covers portable "bottles" and should not be confused with a tank that is horizontally mounted and kind of permanantly mounted or otherwise somehow affixed to a motorhome. There is an entirely separate part of the training manual for motorhome tanks for which the bleeder screw vent method is pretty much mandatory. Good points also though in your first link about the truth about 20lb bottles - few consumers are aware that a lot of cylinder exchange places only provide 15 to 17 lbs whereas a filling station can fill it to a capacity of 20 lbs often for even a better price. Believe it or not some places even charge a flat rate for a 20 cylinder fill whether it came in empty or not which is in my opinion a very dishonest practice vs charging by the pound or by the gallon for how much propane was dispensed! Be careful - there are lots of places that take advantage of the fact that many consumers are either uninformed, unaware (since you cant really see what or how much goes into your tank vs what you are paying for) or are even a little afraid of propane in general and end up victimized by misleadong, untrained or even unscrupulous propane suppliers.
It seems like the OP was unfortunate to have his MH tank overfilled by an irresponsible (or even grossly negligent!) filling attendant and am just glad that it didnt cause him more harm or danger.
__________________
mjracsj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2013, 12:13 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
NV245's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Carmel, In
Posts: 175
Wish I had a thanks button for mjracsj sharing of information.
__________________
NV245 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2013, 12:19 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
mjracsj's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Vermont
Posts: 163
I certainly have learned more than I have shared regarding so many other Berkshire and motorhome owners' issues on this forum!
__________________
mjracsj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2013, 01:21 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
edgewant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 456
Since there appears to be some confusion I was talking about the propane tank on my motorhome.

It states on the tank that it is equipped with an OPD.

The attendant went through the motion of opening the bleeder valve at the very last instance before he shut off the tank and there was a fog of propane that came from it.

The really scary part of this is that this is an Allgas Propane distributor with 4 or 5 trucks that fill residential tanks. The attendant was one of truck drivers.
__________________
edgewant

2013 Berkshire 390RB-60
toad - 2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport
edgewant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2013, 03:46 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Witch Doctor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Clarksville Va.
Posts: 7,625
You should always open the bleeder screw when filling a tank when the vapor starts to come out you shut the gas off and tighten the screw. most refill stations have a meter for gals on it. at least all the ones I have been to. it falls under weights and measures law. Hell I had to meter freon in a/c units to be able to charge by the pound with freon when I was in business, and that started in the 80's late.
__________________

__________________
Rockwood #8289 WS 2012
F250 6.0 / Husky 16k
With 4 point leveling system
Witch Doctor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
propane, tank

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




ForestRiverForums.com is not in any way associated with Forest River, Inc. or its associated RV manufacturing divisions.


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:51 PM.