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Checking For Propane Leaks


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#1 DougT ONLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2015 - 09:13 PM

A couple years ago my old motor home developed a propane leak and emptied the tank. I didn't mess with it last year, just used it without propane. I'd like to try to fix the leak but am wondering how to check for it. Will I be flirting with disaster if I pressurize the system with compressed air? Will the residuals from propane still be explosive after 2 years? Should I use an inert gas like the argon tank from the mig or should I try to find someone with nitrogen? Should I just put some propane in it and use the sniffer for  A/C freon?  Thanks for any suggestions.


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#2 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2015 - 09:21 PM

On all of the Gas Train ( gas lines with a valves and meters) systems we build for our customers, we use soapy water at all joints and also anywhere you might think there could be a rub or cracked line. Your LP gas company should do the tests for you for free, our will !!

 

You can use the gas, but leave all windows and doors open and blow a fan in a window from outside to eliminate any spark issue.

 

 

I bet you have a cracked line close to the tank. Does it have a tank selection valve?


Edited by Texas Deere and Horse, May 11, 2015 - 09:26 PM.

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#3 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2015 - 09:26 PM

Added to comment above, please re-read.


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#4 ol' stonebreaker OFFLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2015 - 09:40 PM

Don't use compressed air unless you can regulate it down to the regulated gas pressure as much higher pressure stands a good chance of ruining control valves on some appliances.
Mike
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#5 Chopperhed OFFLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2015 - 09:56 PM

 

 

Low pressure gas, with soapy water . Inert gases (nitrogen, helium, argon, CO2 etc. ) don't oxidize explosively.  They are all safe to use as a purge or test gas. Soapy water (or commercial equivalents)are great for finding the leaks.


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#6 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted May 12, 2015 - 05:11 AM

Best to put some propane in the tank. You will need to check the tank, welds, valves that screw in the tank and the valves and the gauge. Check the regulator. Pressure is only 1/2 psi downstream of the regulator. Best to get the proper soap solution from the gas company for testing, some dish soaps will corrode the fittings and lines. Was the tank shut off or on when this happened? If left on , and there are pilots on the cooking range , the gas will escape thew them and empty the tank. Common things to check, gauge on tank, vent on regulator, on-off valves on the cook stove and cracked flare nuts. The valve on the tank that turns the gas on or off must be turn all the way off or all the way on. If the valve is only opened some and not all the way , gas may leak around the threads on the valve, another common place for a leak. If the tank was off , it may still leak thru to the system if not off nice and tight. Noel

Ps. Don't use a lit match.

Edited by propane1, May 12, 2015 - 05:15 AM.

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#7 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 12, 2015 - 07:16 AM

I have no practical advice.  All I can say is good luck.  Been helping a friend of mine do repairs to a motor home he picked up.  Water lines are messed up, Previous owner didn't winterize and it froze up and split the water lines.  Had to repair and replace a lot of them under the floor.  We can't fit.  Had to get his 13 year old nephew to climb through the floor and attach the pipes.  What a mess. 


Edited by toomanytoys84, May 12, 2015 - 07:17 AM.

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#8 hamman OFFLINE  

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Posted May 12, 2015 - 07:43 AM

On all of the Gas Train ( gas lines with a valves and meters) systems we build for our customers, we use soapy water at all joints and also anywhere you might think there could be a rub or cracked line. Your LP gas company should do the tests for you for free, our will !!

 

You can use the gas, but leave all windows and doors open and blow a fan in a window from outside to eliminate any spark issue.

 

 

I bet you have a cracked line close to the tank. Does it have a tank selection valve?

Our local LP provider will do a leak check, however you have to leave it with them. I don't believe they charge for the service either. Most LP providers will leak check a system if you ask them to. I don't like messing with LP or NG so I take my things to the guys who do. They make a product that is a Leak Check in a florescent color so you can see the leak as it bubbles.  I know that using compressed air can damage LP regulators and gas valves in appliances.   Good luck take care.                                                                                                                           Roger


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