Frozen LP Regulator

 
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:07 PM   #1
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Frozen LP Regulator


Yesterday morning when I arrived at my shop I was greeted by a LP furnace that had decided to take the day off.

The pilot light wasn't lit but the tank showed 40% at the gauge so after some investigating I discovered that there was gas to but not from the exterior wall mounted regulator. I took it off and warmed it up with a kerosene heater (the outside temp was around 5 deg) and I noticed a few drops of water dripping out of it as it heated up. When it was fully warmed up it was easy to blow through so I put it back on and all is now well.

Question, I am assuming the water was from condensation and I am wondering if this is common? Is there something I can do to prevent it ?

Thanks
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:46 PM   #2
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


As far as I know there shouldnít be any condensation accumulation in there unless maybe itís leaking in from the vent hole on the regulator. They used to make shrouds to go over the regulators at one time, but I havenít seen them in years.
The only other thing I can possibly think of is if they donít purge the tank when they refill, maybe air and moisture might collect in there over time and cause icing in the regulator during cold weather, sort of like what could happen with a BBQ grill LP regulator in the winter.

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Old 01-01-2011, 10:28 PM   #3
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergstrom View Post
Yesterday morning when I arrived at my shop I was greeted by a LP furnace that had decided to take the day off.

The pilot light wasn't lit but the tank showed 40% at the gauge so after some investigating I discovered that there was gas to but not from the exterior wall mounted regulator. I took it off and warmed it up with a kerosene heater (the outside temp was around 5 deg) and I noticed a few drops of water dripping out of it as it heated up. When it was fully warmed up it was easy to blow through so I put it back on and all is now well.

Question, I am assuming the water was from condensation and I am wondering if this is common? Is there something I can do to prevent it ?

Thanks
That happened to me last winter, and when I called the LP company they sent a guy out who injected alcohol? into tank. He said it was fairly common .....especially on new tanks.(Mine was new)
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:27 AM   #4
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


Water from there large storage tanks made it into their delivery truck tanks.

As they pump LP into the trucks tanks, the reduced pressure in the storage tanks allows moisture to condense in the tank. And if they don't bleed/purge that moisture out often enough, it gets delivered to customers once in awhile.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:31 PM   #5
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


customer we do other work for was asking me about a similar problem...they have a ventless LP heater that freezers up...he hooked it up to a smaller bbq tank

he has had it refilled but im guessing same as you guys there is water in the line...i advised him maybe be best to upgrade to a bigger tank for a more permanenet install or at the least get a new tank to rid the moisture issues

from what he says he doesnt have a regulator on system outside unless its on the heater itself

im thinking a new tank and a better source lp is going to solve this
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:40 PM   #6
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


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customer we do other work for was asking me about a similar problem...they have a ventless LP heater that freezers up...he hooked it up to a smaller bbq tank
Not personal experience, but I've been told that won't fly because the tank, sitting out in the cold, will freeze up. Nothing to do with the regulator.

I'd actually like to hear from someone who's tried that and found whether it's true.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:43 PM   #7
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


thanks tin for the info...dont have a whole lot of experience with LP its about 30 mins out so natural gas isnt an option

i was kinda wondering why they would choose a smaller tank like that vs a more suitable one setup for that application
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:18 PM   #8
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


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i was kinda wondering why they would choose a smaller tank like that vs a more suitable one setup for that application
Simple. The ka-ching factor.

Seriously, based on my hearsay you gave the right advice. A larger tank isn't going to have nearly as much evaporative cooling going on relative to its contents as a smaller one.

OTOH, I've had people tell me that they've run such a hookup with no problem. I'd say it depends on the ambient outdoor temperature plus the sustained gas demand.

I'd just like to know what the critical balance point is, though admittedly there are several factors in play that can be difficult to quantify.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:23 PM   #9
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


from what i know just one ventless on it...maybe they have it set low

im sure since its on a 20 pound tank..with it being set that low perhaps it is giving the gas more time in line for condensation to occur..either way when he said when he heated up valve with a heat gun it works i knew it wasnt a gas line install issue

we are going to install some 220v baseboard heaters (this was planned beforehand) the lp in his mind was just a cheaper alternative

i have also heard of similar setups working fine
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:13 AM   #10
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


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Originally Posted by Tinstaafl View Post
Not personal experience, but I've been told that won't fly because the tank, sitting out in the cold, will freeze up. Nothing to do with the regulator.

I'd actually like to hear from someone who's tried that and found whether it's true.
The "freeze" up. Is not actually a freeze up. The low volume of the tank, doesn't give enough surface area for the LP to boil off to a large enough amount of vapor to maintain pressure. And as the tank gets colder, the LP boils to a vapor at a slower rate. But will frost/ice up the tank. And gives the impression that the tank is frozen up. When its just that the vapor generated is at too low of a volume to maintain sufficient pressure.

It can and does happen to larger tanks also. If the LP demand is high enough.

At 30įF, propane has a vapor pressure of 53 PSIG. On a small tank, the small surface area of the tank, won't let the LP absorb enough heat from the outside air to maintain the boiling rate. And the tank temp can drop. So that its not producing enough pressure. And then the appliance either loses flame, or burns very poorly.

When we use a LP space heater on a new construction site. Even a 100 gal cylinder will ice up if we jack the heater to full heat(250,000 BTUs).
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:20 AM   #11
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


Thank you! Very clear and understandable.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:31 PM   #12
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


hey thanks sounds exactly what is happening..just came back from that call and explained to ho that he will need a larger more permanent tank

we installed a few 240v baseboard heaters in same area so he doesnt have to worry or have motivation to upgrade the tank
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:03 PM   #13
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


If you lay 100 pounder on its side will it give it the serfiice area necessary?
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:30 PM   #14
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


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If you lay 100 pounder on its side will it give it the serfiice area necessary?
With a regular 100 pound tank. The tap would be under the liquid. So it wouldn't work.

If the tap was on the top of the tank when laid on its side. Then when the tank was getting close to half empty, it would probably have enough surface area.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:26 AM   #15
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Re: Frozen LP Regulator


Those regulator diaphragms are pretty delicate when it comes to liquid entering them.

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