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Old 11-13-2019, 09:16 AM   #1
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Regulator freeze up

Does anyone have an idea on how to keep the regulator from freezing. We just went into this crazy arctic blast. Went down to 3 above. Regulator shows empty on both tanks, but they are not. I have a 38 foot 5ver, the tanks are in the compartment.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:29 AM   #2
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Warm the compartment up. Maybe moisture.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:31 AM   #3
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There are several methods to unfreeze the regulator if it will not allow the LP to furnace. The old fishing ice fishing house methods will work very well on an RV. First I would try placing an activated hand warmer on the regulator you will need to tape this or similar to the regulator, this works best if you cover the regulator (insulate) the regulator after the hand warmer trick. Or you can pour hot water over the regulator. If either case if the regulator is frozen you should hear a click as the internal valve opens.
Best of luck.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:59 AM   #4
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Thanks for responses. Right now I have a heating pad and a blanketon it now. Good for 2 hrs. Then turn on again. It is suppose to warm up to 27.🤞
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:28 AM   #5
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I use a bottle warmer on my 20lb tank. Had problems during winter use at work and use to heat the tanks.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:43 AM   #6
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I read that it is not the tanks freezing, but the liquid gas running through. The tanks are suppose to be good to -40 degrees. Even if that is a far fetch statement, we are never that cold. This will be the last time we stay up here this long. Normally gone in October. Never expected this cold. Oh well.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:49 AM   #7
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Tank does not freeze per say, but the colder temp slows the change I've from liquid to gas. That and warming some of the gas coming out helps stop the regulator from freezing. We had problems with the tanks running heater/blower generators at work for working in man holes. Found that heating the tank made a bottle last all day and everything worked as they should. That what I learned in 37 years working outside in Jersey in the winter.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:52 AM   #8
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Oh ok will try that. Thank you for input!!
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:06 AM   #9
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FYI
At 0 degrees ambient you should have 28-30 psi in the tanks. If you are getting no flow thru you regulator in cold weather you have moisture in you gas. Only good way to fix it is to add methanol. LP dealers add methanol in the winter but usually not in the warmer months so if you filled when it was warm you might have issues.
Water vapor condenses on the regulator orifices and on any "restricted" surface (low flow pol fittings) and freezes causing loss of pressure and or no flow. The above methods will help but methanol is the best fix if you plan on cold weather use.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:40 PM   #10
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One other trick you may try. Make sure the level of the LP tank outlet is below the input to the regular. This will allow any moisture that may develop on the orif to drawn back into the tank and not freeze and block the orif.
As others have said if you have an empty tank take it to an LP dealer and have it filled with LP and methane (winter mix) and you should be OK.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:57 PM   #11
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When I got set up for a winter stay in Denver years ago the Propane delivery guy explained a lot about regulator freeze-ups.

They installed a horizontal tank (about 250 gallons) and I asked why not a vertical fat-boy tank. Answer was simply "evaporation surface area".

The colder it gets the harder it is for Propane to evaporate, turn into a gas versus liquid. The small surface in a round tank relative to the surface area of the liquid in a horizontal tank doesn't provide as much gas to the regulator during super cold temps.

Short of a tank heater (or heating pad, blanket, etc) the low pressures can often cause liquid droplets to be transported into the regulator and freeze it up.

For those who regularly camp in sub freezing environments perhaps a couple of tank heater accessories would be in order. They'll also keep the regulator warm(er) if mounted under the tank cover.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:06 PM   #12
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Let me add this. If you just filled one of the tanks, it could actually be overfilled and venting liquid LP into the regulator which is causing the freeze up.

I had this happen on a LP grill in July 90* weather. Had just filled the LP tank and the flame kept going out. When looking at the regulator, it had visible frost on the outside from the humid air. The LP is supposed to flash over to a gas inside the tank, not the regulator. An overfilled tank will let liquid LP into the regulator and the process of flashing to a gas LP creates colder temps. I ended up having to take a hair dryer to keep the regulator warm while the grill burned off the top portion of the LP in the tank.

Just a thought if you recently filled a LP tank. But the solution is to heat the regulator as others have suggested.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:35 PM   #13
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Has anybody heard of using water pipe heating cables w/built-in thermostat?
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dward51 View Post
Let me add this. If you just filled one of the tanks, it could actually be overfilled and venting liquid LP into the regulator which is causing the freeze up.

I had this happen on a LP grill in July 90* weather. Had just filled the LP tank and the flame kept going out. When looking at the regulator, it had visible frost on the outside from the humid air. The LP is supposed to flash over to a gas inside the tank, not the regulator. An overfilled tank will let liquid LP into the regulator and the process of flashing to a gas LP creates colder temps. I ended up having to take a hair dryer to keep the regulator warm while the grill burned off the top portion of the LP in the tank.

Just a thought if you recently filled a LP tank. But the solution is to heat the regulator as others have suggested.
How does one overfill the newer tanks with OPD valves? They flat out stop any in-flow when the tank hits 80%. I suppose it could happen but most operators will also open the old school outage valve that spits liquid when thank hits 80%.

I guess anythings possible though.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:44 PM   #15
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Has anybody heard of using water pipe heating cables w/built-in thermostat?
Tank heaters made for LPG tanks heat to a far higher temp than the heat cables for water pipes. LPG needs more heat as when it evaporates it absorbs heat, making the liquid colder.

LPG tank heaters can heat into the hundred degrees and are around 120 watts. Water pipe heat cables max at around 60 degrees and are much lower wattage

Then there's the fact that heat trace cables aren't rated for that use so there might be an issue in the event of a fire.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:52 PM   #16
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Great thought. (Darn insurance companies).
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:18 PM   #17
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Put a light bulb in the compartment
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:18 PM   #18
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This may or may not apply but I have noticed that how quickly I open the valves on the tanks in cold weather can cause the regulator to shut off. If I open them really really slow for the first turn it will work. If they do shut off I will open a burner on the stove to vent the pressure and then try again. It seems to work.
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:25 PM   #19
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This may or may not apply but I have noticed that how quickly I open the valves on the tanks in cold weather can cause the regulator to shut off. If I open them really really slow for the first turn it will work. If they do shut off I will open a burner on the stove to vent the pressure and then try again. It seems to work.
It's not the regulator that shuts off when a valve is opened to quick but rather the safety feature in the valve itself. Kind of a "choke" that shuts off gas flow if a line is broken while the valve is open.
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:50 PM   #20
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It's not the regulator that shuts off when a valve is opened to quick but rather the safety feature in the valve itself. Kind of a "choke" that shuts off gas flow if a line is broken while the valve is open.
Good to know. Thanks
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