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Old 05-06-2015, 09:34 PM   #21
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Re: Propane seems to stop at below freezing

I think it would be really interesting to know where and when the Propane was purchased for those that have had the problems at or near freezing temperatures.

Since Butane is cheaper and has more energy per gallon than Propane, it is a better fuel for places that don't get that cold. The distributors are doing you a favor when they substitute Butane if you don't need real Propane.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:38 PM   #22
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Re: Propane seems to stop at below freezing

Quote:
Originally Posted by haywoodphotomaccom
I have had this issue several times with outdoor heaters on small bottles.

Heard somewhere that the size of the bottle vs the flow rate of the heater device are related.
I think the small bottles are typically butane or a butane blend, aren't they? If so it could be back to the butane vs. propane issue. Propane is happy at very low temps; butane not so much.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:36 PM   #23
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Hey everyone

Still battling the freezing propane issue. I replaced my batteries this summer with fresh AGM's so voltage to the furnace was not an issue. I recently went on the first cold weather camping mission of the season, and low an behold, my furnace crapped out in the middle of the night once the temps reached the low 20's / high teens. I thought maybe the bottle was empty, but once the temps warmed up into the 30's again the next day, the furnace and 2 burner stove worked fine. The last place I filled up with propane was at Amerigas in San Diego. Maybe they are mixing with Butane? If the tank was properly purged last time, could I empty it and have it purged again? I wonder if I should just have the regulator replaced. Nothing worse than freezing your buns off after a long day of riding....

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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Old 01-11-2016, 07:56 PM   #24
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Hi,

What you are likely experiencing is the contents of the tank cooling down as propane gas is drawn off by the furnace. The liquid in the tank gets cold enough to almost look like jelly. This in turn reduces the gas cloud pressure above the liquid and starves the furnace. The expansion and resulting pressure drop as it turns into a gas provides the cooling effect. It's the same effect that compressor refrigerator systems use. AC as well.

While the boiling point of propane is down around -40 degrees, and you could carry a bucket of the liquid around at that temperature, as it cools down the amount of gas created in the tank is severely limited. You could probably douse a lit match in a bucket of propane.

Proof of this is my garage heater that starts to sputter on cold days. A good shake of the propane tank makes some gas above the liquid and it fires up again. Leaving the tank somewhere warm would help, but I prefer the tank be with me in the garage. I leave it outside when not in use.

I suggest a half full propane tank might work better for you as it has a greater proportion of gas to liquid. Also installing a two stage regulator might help as the pressure drop would occur away from the tank and limit the resultant cooling effect. I'm not sure anyone makes such a setup, but it is essentially what is used in cold climate to keep propane equipment running.

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Old 01-12-2016, 02:04 PM   #25
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Hi,

I took the following photo of my 100lb tank running a 125,000 Btu heater. After 4 hours the frost is evident on the side of the tank. The area is well above freezing, but the high demand of the heater is drawing gas out of the tank fast enough to cool the tank exterior to below freezing. The conversion and expansion of liquid propane to gas draws in a lot of energy.

I think there is enough gas volume above the liquid line to keep it running. If not I'll give the tank a good shake and voilà more gas will be available to burn.

For the RV heaters that use much less propane I'm still betting that a half full tank will get a longer burn before "chilling" out for the night.

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Old 01-12-2016, 07:09 PM   #26
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Hmmm... This is really interesting information. I don't know much about propane.

Do you think this would still be happening even though the heater cycles on and off only every 30 min or so and only runs for 10? The PSI required for the heater is only about .5 and if it ran continuously for an hr it would consume about .5 lb of propane. To me, this doesn't seem like a huge draw on the tank.

I guess the test now would be to see if it works better the lower the tank gets.

Thanks for the insight.
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Old 01-13-2016, 06:33 PM   #27
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Mine did the same thing. I replaced the regulator and problem solved.
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Old 01-13-2016, 11:04 PM   #28
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Looks like a single stage regulator. Replace it with a dual stage and I'll bet you have better luck.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:56 PM   #29
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Thanks for the info! I will look into replacing the regulator with a dual stage one, hopefully that will solve the problem.
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Old 10-29-2021, 10:57 AM   #30
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Yikes that picture is terrifying.
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