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Old 10-18-2010, 10:54 AM   #1
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Propane Stopped Flowing

Hi guys,

We're in Northern MT and last night we had 23F. Sometime in the middle of the night I noticed the furnace was making a whistling sound. It was about five seconds long repeated about every ten seconds. Shortly after that it stopped putting out heat. I tried the stove-top burners and they would barely light and then go out. So I went out and switched the tanks (BTW, the tank that had been in use had frost on the bottom half which tells me it was still about half full) with no result. I started reading forums and saw that some have been able to restart their flow by pouring water on the regulator which I did and was able to get the furnace going again.

My questions are: What made the whistling sound and what is causing the regulator to freeze up? Why did it not freeze up before now? We have had similar temps the last few nights.

Thanks,
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:11 AM   #2
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I can only assume that it's latent moisture in the propane that causes it to freeze up and usually it does so at higher flow rates like the furnace will use because the propane is flowing through at such a high rate. The faster it flows the colder the propane will cause the regulator to be. I think also it has a bit more to do with the humidity rate than the temperature as I have experienced a frozen regulator at ambient air temperatures way higher than freezing. Much like carburator icing in normally aspirated aircraft engines can occur at temps above freezing too.

I would try an insulate the regulator. Pouring the water over it is a quick but temporary way to get the gas flowing but it won't solve the problem. If anyone else has a more permanent fix to this I am sure they will post here and I would love to hear it.
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:43 AM   #3
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heh.. might be why sometimes the flames for stove etc come to a crawl if the furnace has been running..
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:01 PM   #4
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IT like NWJeep said moisture. Now what percent depends on dealer sometimes. I have had freezing @ 40 degree & run fine below freezing. All propane is not the same. Also the lower your tank the more vapor which drops the temp on the regulator. Just about all my freeze up were with half a tank or less.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:45 AM   #5
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Next time you refill your tanks ask the LP guy to purge them.
It can't hurt.
Good luck!
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakenjulie View Post
Hi guys,

We're in Northern MT and last night we had 23F. Sometime in the middle of the night I noticed the furnace was making a whistling sound. It was about five seconds long repeated about every ten seconds. Shortly after that it stopped putting out heat. I tried the stove-top burners and they would barely light and then go out. So I went out and switched the tanks (BTW, the tank that had been in use had frost on the bottom half which tells me it was still about half full) with no result. I started reading forums and saw that some have been able to restart their flow by pouring water on the regulator which I did and was able to get the furnace going again.

My questions are: What made the whistling sound and what is causing the regulator to freeze up? Why did it not freeze up before now? We have had similar temps the last few nights.

Thanks,
if u have an unfrozen area above the liquid in the tank, it sounds like the regulator is the problem. if u are dropping pressure there, it may freeze externally. if pressure is low in trailer, i would suspect the regulator is stuck almost closed. i would replace the regulator.
propane cannot be sold if the moisture content is very high...believe me, it is very very low. the propane may have turned to (propane) ice within the reg but i wouldn't suspect this.
a guess on the whistleing noise would be the propane squeezing thru a almost closed reg.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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Propane freeze

You may have some southern Propane or Butane it will freeze first think of the cig.lighters people had to hold in hand to warm a little to light same thing winter propane is now getting shipped up in the north I hate to say it but winter on the way right I go south but have My winter propane for the trip down Heat will be needed.I found a full 20lb tank of propane in a dempster last winter some one must have thought the valve was broken but was just frozen I used it up, so have a little luck it will straiten out as it warms up also open the valve very slow as they freeze or are tripped to safety shute off very easy in the cold Good luck
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bushman512003 View Post
You may have some southern Propane or Butane it will freeze first think of the cig.lighters people had to hold in hand to warm a little to light same thing winter propane is now getting shipped up in the north I hate to say it but winter on the way right I go south but have My winter propane for the trip down Heat will be needed.I found a full 20lb tank of propane in a dempster last winter some one must have thought the valve was broken but was just frozen I used it up, so have a little luck it will straiten out as it warms up also open the valve very slow as they freeze or are tripped to safety shute off very easy in the cold Good luck
I have NEVER heard of such a thing before. Propane's gelling point is -42c.

also lighters are butane, which gell at -0.5C or 32F
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:36 PM   #9
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yep propane is propane C3. at -35f should still be boiling.
my point was that if it stuck once, it could do it again. they aren't that expensive, i'd just replace it.

may be thinking of climitized fuel; diesel is lighter when sold in cold climates. diesel marketed for summer months, can give problems when it gets cold.
i'm not sure abt gasoline, it has a ignition temp down in the -40's F anyway.
propane was one of those things that had a very strict spec year round. the pipelines, that accept propane, do contineous monitoring and will shut a source down until they correct the problem.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:18 PM   #10
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I was told that about 10 years ago and think there is some truth to it .Would not think some one would disgard a full bottle would You that?That said is also why I think it is true and where I worked 33 1/2 years used propane fork trucks but the gas was a different mix in summer I still think it was Butane I wonder if Butane was less money to buy.But I care less if You want to beleave Me or not have it Your way I was just thinking I would not change out a thing on some ones say so.My old 2001 Motor Home diafram stuck every winter I would turn the gas on then tapp it with a cut off broom handle and away it would go every year never stopped working again. Till it sat waiting to go south about 2 months the next year.lol I have no reason to tell You a pile of crap but some think it is I was just trying to help.........Bushman
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