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Old 09-12-2015, 09:23 PM   #1
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Propane problem

I went on a trip ,this week,and just 1/2 hour on the road ,I pulled over for the dog pee break.The carbon monoxide detector was beeping,so I push the button and soon the light returned to normal.
I continued to my destination 4 hours further and didn't see anything to be concerned about ,I travel with the fridge running on propane and it was on and no beeping C/M detector.

Now when I went to go to bed ,I turned on the furnace and noticed it was only blowing cold air and soon the C/M detector went off again.The furnace wasn't working ,so I decided to light the burners on the stove to take the chill off,before bed.But there was very little flame coming on the burner and the second burner wouldn't even light.The fridge was still working .So I checked my propane tank even though I new it was full ,having just done that before I left,It was still full.

Then I tried turning the fridge off ,and by doing that one burner on the stove worked in full flame,but the second burner still didn't light.
Then I turned both the fridge and stove off and tried the furnace again ,with no luck just cold air.

So the fridge works alone with nothing else drawing propane and the stove works alone with one burner with nothing else drawing propane.And no furnace not at all,with everything else off.
What possibly could be wrong?
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:31 PM   #2
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When the new propane tanks came out several years ago, I remember being frustrated because I was using one with a flame thrower (weed burner) and couldn't get much of a flame going. It was then that I learned about opening the tanks very slowly or otherwise a check valve would be activated. Now I don't know if that stops the flow of propane or just slows it down. My experience with the flame thrower was that the flow was inhibited but not stopped. Just my anecdotal experience here.

Edited: But NEVER ignore a CO monitor beeping.
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:23 PM   #3
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When the new propane tanks came out several years ago, I remember being frustrated because I was using one with a flame thrower (weed burner) and couldn't get much of a flame going. It was then that I learned about opening the tanks very slowly or otherwise a check valve would be activated. Now I don't know if that stops the flow of propane or just slows it down. My experience with the flame thrower was that the flow was inhibited but not stopped.
It's called an excess flow valve, it's in the hose (not the tank) but became common about the same time as the tanks got OPD valves and the new QCC style outlets, and it just limits flow rate severely. Since Woodie is getting propane, but only at very low flow rate (the refrigerator has a very small burner), this seems like a good possibility.

Another possibility is a frozen-up regulator (which can happen at well above freezing ambient temperatures due to the chilling effect of expanding propane); if that's the problem the regulator would likely be visibly covered in frost.

The last possibility I can think of is that a near-empty tank is being used (rather than the full one), and that the propane pressure is low due to chilling of the tank by evaporating propane - the tank would feel cold and the auto-changeover regulator should switch over.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:06 PM   #4
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Could it be as simple as a pinched line allowing only a small amount of propane to flow?
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:20 PM   #5
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Could it be as simple as a pinched line allowing only a small amount of propane to flow?
That makes sense, but it is really hard to bend propane hose severely enough to kink it, and the copper tubing under the trailer is tucked out of the way and would take a severe bashing to pinch it that badly.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:06 PM   #6
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So far I tried to turn the propane tank valve off,then light the stove burners,until they run out of propane and go out ,then run the furnace until no propane should be in the line.Then I disconnected to tank and let it set like that for several hours,hoping that valve would re set itself.Now I shut the stove burners down and reconnected the tank and ever so slowly opened the propane tank valve .No change.

I switched the tanks and just had both tanks filled ,so they are not near empty.

Another thing is it worked for years ,and I have not changed anything to make it all of a sudden do this.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:17 PM   #7
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A bad regulator maybe?
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:45 PM   #8
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You mention two tanks, but are they both mounted on the trailer, or is it a simple one tank non auto change over regulator? I have never had a single feed regulator fail, though as Jim states, it could be the problem. But I would add that a few years back, shortly after the onset of OPD, l had a similar problem that resulted from a faulty pigtail, probably a malfunctioning excess flow valve. Replacing the pigtail resolved the problem. And when it is working properly, even if the excess flow valve is doing what it was designed to do, if there are no downstream leaks, it should eventually reset itself when the downstream pressure builds to a point that it is equal to the pressure on the upstream side of the excess flow valve.
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Old 09-13-2015, 06:00 PM   #9
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Probably not your problem, but I discovered last year that if I tried to turn on the gas grill before I opened the tank; and then opened the tank, the flow limiter prevented the tank from providing full pressure. Turning everything off and opening the tank first solved the problem.

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Old 09-13-2015, 06:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by woodie View Post
So far I tried to turn the propane tank valve off,then light the stove burners,until they run out of propane and go out ,then run the furnace until no propane should be in the line.Then I disconnected to tank and let it set like that for several hours,hoping that valve would re set itself.
This seems like a reasonable thing to to, but if it is the excess flow valve, this will actually make the problem worse, because there will a rush of propane flow to re-fill the low-pressure plumbing.

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And when it is working properly, even if the excess flow valve is doing what it was designed to do, if there are no downstream leaks, it should eventually reset itself when the downstream pressure builds to a point that it is equal to the pressure on the upstream side of the excess flow valve.
I agree - leaving the downstream system pressurized is the way to get the valve to reset.

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Probably not your problem, but I discovered last year that if I tried to turn on the gas grill before I opened the tank; and then opened the tank, the flow limiter prevented the tank from providing full pressure.
Having the grill's valve open means a big rush of propane flow when the tank valve is opened, so definitely have everything downstream turned off when opening the tank valve.
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