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Old 10-13-2019, 09:13 PM   #1
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One coooooold night!

Sometimes we screw up, no matter how much we plan and keep our attention on the details... Last week my wife and I were camping at Moraine Campground near Lee Vining, CA and had been gone almost a month from home hiking, fishing the rivers and exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. That evening I cooked up some river trout with veggies, accompanied by a great salad my wife prepared. Later in the evening my wife said the heater wasn't getting very warm so I went outside to check the propane bottles. The visual gauge showed a red ring (low or empty propane tank) so I turned to lever to the other bottle...still a red ring...OH S*%...not good...it was getting dark and the weather forecast called for for low temps that night to reach the low teens. Somehow I let the backup tank run low over time and now I was really screwed. There was no way to get propane at that time and place, even if I drove over 100 miles so we decided to "tough-it-out" for the night. Fortunately, we had thermals and heavy down parkas so we put on at least five layers of clothing and tried our best to sleep until morning with leather gloves when we could then replenish the propane. We weren't really cold but were so bundled up we could hardly move. We got up around 5 AM and the heater thermostat indicated 19 degrees inside the trailer. I saw a long frozen drip extended from the kitchen faucet and the sink valves were frozen and wouldn't turn. I was really worried about frozen, broken pipes.

We waited for several hours for a local gas station to open to refill out propane tanks and after a subsequent, thorough trailer inspection I found no broken pipes nor leaks. What a cold experience that was for us and a lesson for me regarding proper management of our propane tanks.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
I went outside to check the propane bottles. The visual gauge showed a red ring (low or empty propane tank) so I turned to lever to the other bottle...still a red ring...OH S*%...not good...

Been there, done that. But, wasn't as cold as you endured. Still, I learned to check whenever I've an idle moment and to top up tanks before leaving home.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:59 PM   #3
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Brrrrr. Made a memory!

I'm saving my money to buy two Viking Cylinders. I want to see the amount of propane in the tanks. It's not a lot of fun lifting the tanks in and out of a 5.0TA (for me). While expensive at about $170 each, the tanks are certified for 15 years. At my age, it's probably going to be a problem for my daughter as I expect they'll last the rest of my 'towing' life.
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Old 10-13-2019, 10:13 PM   #4
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Bummer Steve! Last month had the refer alarm go off at 2AM(seems to be always 2-4 AM). Had to go out and open the other tank. Long ago I decided this was the best way to be sure I don't end up in this situation.
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Old 10-14-2019, 12:00 AM   #5
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PEX tubing is very forgiving. Metal fixtures, kind of. Plastic fixtures, not so much. We were in Colorado last week where the temperature dropped to 6 degrees overnight. Luckily, we were inside a cozy warm house looking out the window at our cold little Escape parked in the driveway.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:05 AM   #6
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PEX tubing is very forgiving. Metal fixtures, kind of. Plastic fixtures, not so much. We were in Colorado last week where the temperature dropped to 6 degrees overnight. Luckily, we were inside a cozy warm house looking out the window at our cold little Escape parked in the driveway.
When I was inspecting the PEX plumbing I noticed that the tees and elbows were all brass. That gave me a degree of confidence in the integrity of the plumbing under those adverse conditions.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:50 AM   #7
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When I was inspecting the PEX plumbing I noticed that the tees and elbows were all brass. That gave me a degree of confidence in the integrity of the plumbing under those adverse conditions.
Our 2013 19 tees and elbows are also brass . See on new trailers they are plastic or nylon . Prefer the brass . Pat
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:13 AM   #8
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Our 2013 19 tees and elbows are also brass . See on new trailers they are plastic or nylon . Prefer the brass . Pat

Which reminds me, I have to remove the 'Y' valves from the taps outside my house. They are made of brass, with a steel ball bearing inside to stop flow. Brass and steel don't expand at the same rate ( or something like that ), so these valves can't take freezing. I've had the brass split in a hard freeze.
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:14 AM   #9
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I’ve been thinking about getting a 1 lb to 20 lb propane adapter so I could attach a 1lb bottle to the trailer in a pinch. We always have at least a couple 1 lb bottles with us for lanterns etc. Would last a while for cooking, not so much for heating but better than nothing...
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:24 AM   #10
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I carry a 10 lb. tank for the BBQ in addition to the two 20lb. tanks on the trailer. That's my back up plan.
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
Bummer Steve! Last month had the refer alarm go off at 2AM(seems to be always 2-4 AM). Had to go out and open the other tank. Long ago I decided this was the best way to be sure I don't end up in this situation.
Me too. I'd rather risk the propane from one tank running out at an inconvenient time but know that I had an untouched tank in reserve.

Ron
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:44 AM   #12
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I don't understand why it is difficult to check propane when we check battery condition several times a day ( it appears ).

And, I have a spare 10lb in any event.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
Sometimes we screw up, no matter how much we plan and keep our attention on the details... Last week my wife and I were camping at Moraine Campground near Lee Vining, CA and had been gone almost a month from home hiking, fishing the rivers and exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. That evening I cooked up some river trout with veggies, accompanied by a great salad my wife prepared. Later in the evening my wife said the heater wasn't getting very warm so I went outside to check the propane bottles. The visual gauge showed a red ring (low or empty propane tank) so I turned to lever to the other bottle...still a red ring...OH S*%...not good...it was getting dark and the weather forecast called for for low temps that night to reach the low teens. Somehow I let the backup tank run low over time and now I was really screwed. There was no way to get propane at that time and place, even if I drove over 100 miles so we decided to "tough-it-out" for the night. Fortunately, we had thermals and heavy down parkas so we put on at least five layers of clothing and tried our best to sleep until morning with leather gloves when we could then replenish the propane. We weren't really cold but were so bundled up we could hardly move. We got up around 5 AM and the heater thermostat indicated 19 degrees inside the trailer. I saw a long frozen drip extended from the kitchen faucet and the sink valves were frozen and wouldn't turn. I was really worried about frozen, broken pipes.

We waited for several hours for a local gas station to open to refill out propane tanks and after a subsequent, thorough trailer inspection I found no broken pipes nor leaks. What a cold experience that was for us and a lesson for me regarding proper management of our propane tanks.
Exactly why I only open one tank at a time. I will forget to check the indicators when I should.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:06 AM   #14
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Exactly why I only open one tank at a time. I will forget to check the indicators when I should.
I would never do this, much easier to keep track of when a tank empties than to have one run out in the middle of a cold night.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:15 AM   #15
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Costco sells 20 pounders that come with a gauge--- a lot easier to tell quickly how much is in there than pouring hot water on a tank.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:37 AM   #16
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I would never do this, much easier to keep track of when a tank empties than to have one run out in the middle of a cold night.


Agree.
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:38 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Brrrrr. Made a memory!

I'm saving my money to buy two Viking Cylinders. I want to see the amount of propane in the tanks. It's not a lot of fun lifting the tanks in and out of a 5.0TA (for me). While expensive at about $170 each, the tanks are certified for 15 years. At my age, it's probably going to be a problem for my daughter as I expect they'll last the rest of my 'towing' life.
Would love those tanks too ! Pat
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:41 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
Sometimes we screw up, no matter how much we plan and keep our attention on the details... Last week my wife and I were camping at Moraine Campground near Lee Vining, CA and had been gone almost a month from home hiking, fishing the rivers and exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. That evening I cooked up some river trout with veggies, accompanied by a great salad my wife prepared. Later in the evening my wife said the heater wasn't getting very warm so I went outside to check the propane bottles. The visual gauge showed a red ring (low or empty propane tank) so I turned to lever to the other bottle...still a red ring...OH S*%...not good...it was getting dark and the weather forecast called for for low temps that night to reach the low teens. Somehow I let the backup tank run low over time and now I was really screwed. There was no way to get propane at that time and place, even if I drove over 100 miles so we decided to "tough-it-out" for the night. Fortunately, we had thermals and heavy down parkas so we put on at least five layers of clothing and tried our best to sleep until morning with leather gloves when we could then replenish the propane. We weren't really cold but were so bundled up we could hardly move. We got up around 5 AM and the heater thermostat indicated 19 degrees inside the trailer. I saw a long frozen drip extended from the kitchen faucet and the sink valves were frozen and wouldn't turn. I was really worried about frozen, broken pipes.

We waited for several hours for a local gas station to open to refill out propane tanks and after a subsequent, thorough trailer inspection I found no broken pipes nor leaks. What a cold experience that was for us and a lesson for me regarding proper management of our propane tanks.
Glad you were alright and the trailer survived too ! Pat
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:44 AM   #19
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Which reminds me, I have to remove the 'Y' valves from the taps outside my house. They are made of brass, with a steel ball bearing inside to stop flow. Brass and steel don't expand at the same rate ( or something like that ), so these valves can't take freezing. I've had the brass split in a hard freeze.
Glenn very foreign to us . My kids put some kind of cover over their outside facets in winter . Still was happy to see brass fittings . Pat
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:50 AM   #20
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I bought tanks that have gauges as well. The gauges work off of the internal floats that propane tanks have, so they are not precise, but they give you some idea of how much propane you have.

I hope you didn't have to buy gasoline in Lee Vining ($$$$). That plus the cold night would have been too much trauma.
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