Propane Gauge/Leak Tester - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 11-14-2013, 10:35 PM   #1
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Propane Gauge/Leak Tester

Here is a great tool to help see how much Propane is in the tank and it is also a Leak Tester. I just put two on my trailer tanks.
Visit FiberglassTravelTrailersRV.com
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:27 PM   #2
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My buddy and I had something similar for our BBQ tanks. I have a Weber Q and he has a Broil King. We both came to the conclusion that the gauge was restricting flow in some way that was preventing our Qs from getting as hot as they used to. We've both abandoned the gauges.
I'll throw mine in with the grease gun.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:53 PM   #3
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I have a couple. They are useful leak-checking tools, and if you're barbecuing they tell you when you are about to run out. On a tank that's not flowing, they tell you the rough temperature of the propane, and nothing else. Yes, temperature: they are pressure gauges, and the propane pressure depends on only the temperature (as long as there is any liquid left at all).

Two tanks sitting at the temperature of the surrounding air will show the same reading (pressure), even if they have radically different amounts of propane in them.

For an actual level, the last pair of tanks I bought are Manchester's SureFlame, with an actual float-based level gauge. Of course, if you use a tank exchange, you won't get another SureFlame tank in exchange.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:25 AM   #4
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The simplest way to check to determine the amount of propane left in a tank is to lift it and make a judgement based on weight. Of course, that would require that you first unfasten any clamps that may be holding it in place. My fallback approach is to always make sure that my 2nd tank has propane in it.
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:02 AM   #5
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can't the tanks just be weighed to determine how full or empty they are? Full they weigh _ and empty they weigh _.
Subtract one from the other.
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Mac View Post
can't the tanks just be weighed to determine how full or empty they are? Full they weigh _ and empty they weigh _.
Subtract one from the other.
I do that at home. By subtracting the tare weight stamped on the tank you can easily calculate the volume. Not an on-the-road procedure, at least for me.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:56 AM   #7
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The simplest way to check to determine the amount of propane left in a tank is to lift it and make a judgement based on weight. Of course, that would require that you first unfasten any clamps that may be holding it in place. My fallback approach is to always make sure that my 2nd tank has propane in it.
Yes, I agree... with the method and the reserve

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can't the tanks just be weighed to determine how full or empty they are? Full they weigh _ and empty they weigh _.
Subtract one from the other.
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I do that at home. By subtracting the tare weight stamped on the tank you can easily calculate the volume. Not an on-the-road procedure, at least for me.
Exactly. Some people even sit the tank on a scale - some scales are sold for this purpose - but it's hard to safely secure a tank for travel and have it on a working scale at the same time... thus the desire for easier-to-use tools such as the SureFlame tank with gauge or the pressure gauges which Chuck mentioned.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:05 PM   #8
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A lot of Escape owners have dual tanks. When one is empty we use the full one and fill the empty one. After a couple of years of use the owner gets an idea of how long his particular usage lasts and fills/checks accordingly.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:09 PM   #9
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As for leak detection, I purchased a General PNG2000A Gas Detector through Home Depot. It is also available from Amazon for a bit less, although for some reason, it is a different color. While the Amazon reviews were mixed, I tested it on both propane & natural gas, and although it has a long start up time, once ready it works well.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:13 PM   #10
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I should have mentioned that my main reason for commenting on the pressure gauges as level indicators is that people are often misled by misusing them. They look at the gauge reading of an almost empty tank from which propane is not currently flowing, see that the reading is in the green, and mistakenly believe that they have a full tank. The instructions with the gauge usually explain that this will not work.

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Brian B-P
A lot of Escape owners have dual tanks. When one is empty we use the full one and fill the empty one. After a couple of years of use the owner gets an idea of how long his particular usage lasts and fills/checks accordingly.
I agree; that's what I currently do, although every trip may be different, and a September trip running the furnace for hours a day will use propane much faster than a July trip running just the stove and refrigerator; a stay in a serviced site with power for the refrigerator and water heater will use much less propane than the same time boondocking. Also, I would rather carry one tank, and that leads to an increased desire to know the level.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:13 PM   #11
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Doesn't the old soapy water trick work anymore for leak detection?
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:21 PM   #12
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Doesn't the old soapy water trick work anymore for leak detection?
Yes, if you want to check a specific fitting, soapy water is the right tool. If you want to see if there is any leak somewhere in the system, without covering every fitting, hose, and pipe in soapy water...
  1. put one of these gauges in,
  2. open the tank valve to bring everything up to pressure,
  3. close the tank valve,
  4. watch the pressure - it shouldn't drop because no propane should be escaping.
If the pressure drops too quickly (sorry, I don't know offhand how fast that is), then you work your way through the system with the soapy water to find the leak.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
As for leak detection, I purchased a General PNG2000A Gas Detector through Home Depot... While the Amazon reviews were mixed, I tested it on both propane & natural gas, and although it has a long start up time, once ready it works well.
Great tip Jon. I checked with Home Depot's Canadian website, and they list it (even for the same price), but only online... explains why I have not seen it in our stores. Maybe I'll order one.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:52 PM   #14
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Oh, I was thinking only of the tank.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:02 PM   #15
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Yes, if a tank leaks anywhere it is replacement time! The pressure gauge won't help detect a leak in a tank.

Leaks also happen in "pigtail" hoses, the connection between the "pigtail" hose and the regulator, the connection between the regulator and its outlet hose, that outlet hose, the connection between the outlet hose the piping that runs under the trailer, the elbows and tees in the piping, the flare fitting of the copper tubing to the piping, the copper tubing, the flare connections of the copper tubing to each appliance, and within the appliances' internal plumbing and controls. Not much of these problems have likely been seen yet in Escapes, which are well-built and all relatively new, but in time they'll appear due to wear and tear.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:03 PM   #16
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BTW, do the interior LP hoses (to the refer, hot water tank, furnace etc.) experience wear? Exterior hoses can get brittle. Is that an owner fix or should a " gas " fitter repair/replace as needed ?
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:22 PM   #17
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BTW, do the interior LP hoses (to the refer, hot water tank, furnace etc.) experience wear? Exterior hoses can get brittle.
Yes, hoses age; however, there should be no hose (fabric-reinforced rubber) in the interior. Those appliance lines should be bendable copper tubing specifically intended for gas applications, and I think that's what's in Escapes; please let me know if I'm mistaken. The copper stuff shouldn't suffer much from age if properly secured so it isn't bouncing around and flexing with road bumps.

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Is that an owner fix or should a " gas " fitter repair/replace as needed ?
The subject of what an owner can or should do has been very controversial in other forums. There is nothing complex or difficult about making gas connections, but there are very specific parts, materials, and techniques for doing it. A qualified professional seems likely to be a safe choice. (but I, personally, would do it myself )
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:24 PM   #18
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Isn't the propane gas / carbon monoxide detector that is standard in the Escape enough?
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:45 PM   #19
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After a couple of years of use the owner gets an idea of how long his particular usage lasts and fills/checks accordingly.
On a 3 week trip this past summer with fairly heavy usage of a variety of propane devices (fridge, stove, BBQ, hot water heater, furnace, and fire bowl) we used three 20-lb cylinders of propane (1 per week).
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:47 PM   #20
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Doesn't detect leaks, but for $10, I use a luggage scale to weigh my BBQ tank.
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