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Discussion Starter #1
So last time we were at camp I either read gage wrong on the propane tank (hopefully the case) or the needle was stuck or we have a leak. It got me thinking about an emergency back up method. I wished I’d paid more attention to our set up to talk about this is better detail. We heat by propane and have a large ish tank outside. I swear when we got to camp the gage read 80 (%?, lbs?). Then when we left it read 30. On the coldest winter weekends we usually use less than 5 so no way we actually consumed 50. So I am hoping I read the gage wrong when I got there.

The tank is by the property line with a line that runs under ground to camp where we have a regulator and ball valve to turn on supply to camp. Not sure what pressure the regulator is set for. Would it be possible to fashion a set up to bypass the main tank so that a 20lb(?) propane tank like used for a grill could be used as a back up? I know piping wise it can be done but should it go before or after that regulator? Any concerns? Am I crazy lol?
 

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Are you running a furnace or a wall mounted heater? Not sure if you could run a furnace off of a 20lb tank but should be able to run a heater. We have a medium sized wall mounted heater that runs off of 2 100lb tanks with an automatic valve. When 1 tank is empty it switches to the other. There is a green/red float to see what tank is on.
 

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One gallon of propane has about 90,000 BTU's. A 20 lb tank holds about 4.7 gallons. Depending on the load it can run a 20 lb tank down pretty fast.
 

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What size tank do have? A suggestion would be contact your propane dealer if you have one and have them do a pressure check and check your gauges and regulators , then go from there . Good luck with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the posts guys. I plan to leak test everything after the tank next weekend. We have an electric heater that would be fine for this time of year. Was thinking I would only run hot water tank off it.

Will have to check everything out next time. Never paid much attention to the propane system, it was all existing when we bought the camp and always ran smoothly.
 

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We have a 500 gallon tank at home . Two years we went to try another dealer and he found we had a leak between the tank and the regulator going into the house. Wanted a fortune to replace the section of pipe from the tank to the house. Called the original dealer and replaced the pipe and two regulators for a fraction of the price.
 

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I would check for a leak or see if someone tried to steal propane from you. My Buddies camp he had the copper from the tank cut as they tried to steal the copper. We think either he left the tank or they turned it on but his tank was drained when he found it. Might be worth having the propane company check the line and gauge.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all. I will be back at camp this weekend to figure out what is going on. Fingers crossed it was just a brain fart lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well nothing to report lol. Gage read the same when I got there and barely moved during our weekend which is what I would expect this time of year. So no news is good news lol.
 

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from what i understand propane has no odor, like natural gas does (they add the odor). the reason i mention this is, if anyone suspects a leak, get out, turn it off and have it checked. years back a family had a leak in their basement and didnt know it. from what i understand it was a new system they had installed. the husband was lighting the pilot light on the furnace ? or something like that and the entire house blew up, killed the wife and put him in the hospital for quite some time.


gas leaks of any kind are dangerous.
 

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from what i understand propane has no odor, like natural gas does (they add the odor). the reason i mention this is, if anyone suspects a leak, get out, turn it off and have it checked. years back a family had a leak in their basement and didnt know it. from what i understand it was a new system they had installed. the husband was lighting the pilot light on the furnace ? or something like that and the entire house blew up, killed the wife and put him in the hospital for quite some time.


gas leaks of any kind are dangerous.

Propane also gets an additive for it to smell as well. The regulator on my setup was defective when they installed it, you could smell the same rotten egg smell around my tanks and see the vapor. I do agree though, its always better to be safe than sorry when working with any kind of gases
 

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I use to work on hvac, when it comes to natural gas, my best friend was soapy water (dawn mixed in with water in spray bottle) A slight leak will even show tiny bubbles. I were you I keep a spray bottle with soapy water handy and check the connections often. Leaks do appear suddenly. Gas rated teflon (threaded) yellow tape and gas line sealant don't last for ever on connections. Flare joints rely on a tight fit to seal and don't require additional sealant. Stay safe.
 

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Yep soap and water is what I use. I check all my connections when I open camp up,then I do it again in the fall inside and out.
 
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