Propane Tank Storage Options - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-09-2006, 07:15 PM   #1
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I couldn't help but notice in the storage post pictures, the propane tank is lying on its side. I always thought that these were supposed to be carried upright, and in a quick search I found a document called Transportation of Propane Cylinders and Bulk Tanks by Road, from Alberta Transportation. Here's an excerpt from it...
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...according to CSA Standard B340 [Section 5.10 (1)(a)(I)], any gas with a liquid phase (for example, propane which is liquefied, or acetylene, which is dissolved in acetone), must be transported upright so that the safety valves are in contact with the vapour space and not the liquid.
Although this is an Alberta document refering to a Canadian standard, the reasoning seems universally applicable: I believe that cylinders designed for upright use should be held upright in storage.

There's a less formal guide called Transporting Propane Cylinders from the Propane Gas Association of Canada which essentially says the same thing.
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Old 03-10-2006, 01:49 AM   #2
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YABBUT Brian....MAYBE "they" DO things differently in sunny Florida...tee hee?!
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Old 03-10-2006, 08:26 AM   #3
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The exception would be a bottle designed to be on it's side. I had a camper with one, and many forklifts have them also. Those designed to lay on their sides have hold-down brackets which make it obvious.
You have brought up a good point which everyone should be aware of, particularily if transporting bottles for refill. Many of us have propane fueled barbeques, even if we don't use them with our TT's.
Thanks for the safety reminder.
Keep the side up!
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Old 03-10-2006, 11:04 AM   #4
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I know the post is about the handy pouch on the inside of the box lid (great idea ), but I couldn't help but notice the propane tank lying on its side. I always thought that these were supposed to be carried upright, and in a quick search I found a document called Transportation of Propane Cylinders and Bulk Tanks by Road, from Alberta Transportation. Here's an excerpt from it...

Although this is an Alberta document refering to a Canadian standard, the reasoning seems universally applicable: I believe that cylinders designed for upright use should be held upright in storage.

There's a less formal guide called Transporting Propane Cylinders from the Propane Gas Association of Canada which essentially says the same thing.
This is great information!!!! This is something I did not consider. I did move the battery to a location inside the trailer as I did not want there to be any chance of creating a spark in the same storage unit as the propane tank. Guess I'll have to store the tank in the back of my truck. FYI - the tank is not hooked up to the valves. I simply take the tank out of the trailer box and set it on the ground. Thanks again, YOU MAY HAVE SAVED MY LIFE.
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Old 03-10-2006, 11:08 AM   #5
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The exception would be a bottle designed to be on it's side. I had a camper with one, and many forklifts have them also. Those designed to lay on their sides have hold-down brackets which make it obvious.
You have brought up a good point which everyone should be aware of, particularily if transporting bottles for refill. Many of us have propane fueled barbeques, even if we don't use them with our TT's.
Thanks for the safety reminder.
Keep the side up!
Kurt & Ann K.
Agree. As a matter of fact, I viewed a mod about a month ago where I noticed two propane tanks stored in one storage unit. Well, along with those two tanks was the battery. Since propane is heavier than air and will settle, any spark may create combustion. Even if one vents their tank storage, there is still a chance for an accident. I wish I could find that mod post - I'd send the author a "heads-up".
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Old 03-10-2006, 12:21 PM   #6
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The reason why it wouldn't be OK to store or transport propane tanks on their sides must have to do with the possibility of mechanical damage to the tank. With the skirting welded to the bottom, it can take considerable abuse including setting on a porous surface that stays wet. It would take a long time in salty water to rust enough to compromise the tank.

But laying on its side, as soon as the paint surface was damaged, there is just a thin cross section of steel to rust through.

That said, it should be remembered that the propane coming out of the tank is supposed to be gas, not liquid. The liquid in the tank evaporates at a pressure higher than ambient air pressure. The gas flows out through the valve directly into a pressure regulator which provides a calibrated, stable, low pressure for use in the coach. All propane appliances in the coach are specifically designed and also calibrated to operate at this standard low pressure.

If for some reason liquid propane gets through to the pressure regulator, I would expect the temperature drop due to evaporation would freeze up the regulator. Not a good thing. It would probably freeze shut, but what if it froze open? Then full bottle pressure would be applied to all your coach piping and appliances. A plethora of not a good things!

So to avoid the temptation of disconnecting an empty bottle and just swinging your connection over to your bottle 'stored' on its side, it would seem better to store it upright.

There are likely some other considerations on this topic that I'm unaware of. I just feel a bit uneasy (and irked) when told not to do something without knowing a reasonable reason. Nothing serious enough to see a shrink, or bad enough to cause an ugly scene, just a minor personality glitch.
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Old 03-10-2006, 04:09 PM   #7
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I believe that the issue with storing this type of cylinder on its side is that the valve would be exposed to liquid, but not due to regulator concerns - I was only talking about storage, meaning while disconnected as shown in the box. If the tank needs to vent, instead of a moderate quantity of vapour being released there would be a stream of liquid, which would then rapidly evaporate, creating a much bigger deal than a minor venting of vapour.

I think Loren has a good point about cylinder position in use, explaining why it would be a bad thing to attempt use of such a cylinder horizontally. Horizontal cylinders such as the ones Kurt mentioned have different fittings, and some are designed to deliver liquid propane to a regulator designed for that purpose (such as used in propane-fueled vehicles), but I believe that the over-pressure protection vent is still on top, in the vapour space. Horizontal cylinders are routinely built into motorhomes which are expected to drive to a bulk filling station, while trailers are normally treated as portable applications.

The propane tank and battery in the same box seems to occur often, but some installations that look like one compartment are really divided internally into separate areas, with appropriate venting and electrical isolation. I think this can be handled quite safely, but it takes some thought.

For this particular storage box, since the battery is already elsewhere, I think that if there is enough height to place the cylinder upright and there is venting low in the box, then it's a perfectly reasonable place to carry the propane. There are bases designed to securely hold a propane tank upright, since a loose tank isn't very stable standing up.

I didn't mean to make a big deal of this - just to identify a hazard that any of us could unintentionally create.
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:17 PM   #8
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This is all great information and propane use, storage, etc, shold not be taken lightly. I plan on storing the propane in my garage when not in use, then placing the tank in my trailer box (on it's side as it will not fit upright) during transportation. I'll keep you posted on my findings. Funny how this post was originally intended to show the soft organizer screwed into the trailer box.
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:36 AM   #9
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I plan on storing the propane in my garage when not in use.
Phil, this storage method is not recommended either! In fact, I think there's even something about it on the tank There's a reason those "exchange" propane tank businesses store the tanks outside and it doesn't have anything to do with convenience.
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Old 03-16-2006, 06:02 PM   #10
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I agree with Donna that propane tanks belong outside, or in a properly ventilated enclosure. Covered against weather is good, but fully enclosed is not, because any leaked or vented propane will pool near the floor, perhaps dangerously. This is why propane-fueled vehicles are generally banned from enclosed parking buildings. The small (one-pound) disposable cylinders are allowed inside (for storage or while is use with some appliances such as indoor-rated space heaters), which I believe is a reflection of the size of the hazard - a bigger tank presents a bigger risk.

My trailer's tanks just sit on the trailer tongue getting weathered, and the extra two (which can be used for the barbeque) sit outside the garage, right against the wall so the overhang protects them from rain.
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Old 03-16-2006, 08:46 PM   #11
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Covers to protect the propane bottles are available at most RV service stores. Just in case there is still any confusion,if there is an opening below the bottles on the tongue of your TT, then leaking propane would not be trapped inside the cover. As someone else mentioned, propane is heavier than air and flows down and it will pool at floor level if leaking inside a closed RV. To ignite a propane pilot light, place the match at the base of the pilot flame shield. Natural gas in your home is lighter than air and rises to ceiling level. To ignite a gas appliance at home if it is connected to a natural gas supply, place the match just above the pilot burner.
Hopefully, the mud is now slightly clearer
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Old 03-16-2006, 09:01 PM   #12
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I did move the battery to a location inside the trailer as I did not want there to be any chance of creating a spark in the same storage unit as the propane tank.
I hope that you are not intending to keep the battery inside, unless you install it in an enclosed battery box, vented to the outside. Batteries give off toxic gases.

When you transport a propane tank to have it filled, it fits nicely in a milk crate, and that stops it from falling over, and rocking and rolling around in the back of your pick up.
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:27 PM   #13
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Something was mentioned about propane canisters vs propane tanks. That it was ok to store a canister inside. A canister is manufactured and filled and tested at the factory. There's no valves except the one that you screw an appliance into and out of to fail. I have seen that one fail and it's quite impressive when it does. A propane tank and two valves that can leak. The main valve and the overflow valve. The one the guy/gal open when filling. Either one of those could have a small leak, leaking propane into an enclosed area goes boom.

I for one don't like big booms of that type.
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Old 03-20-2006, 02:45 PM   #14
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I hope that you are not intending to keep the battery inside, unless you install it in an enclosed battery box, vented to the outside. Batteries give off toxic gases.

When you transport a propane tank to have it filled, it fits nicely in a milk crate, and that stops it from falling over, and rocking and rolling around in the back of your pick up.
Yes, it is stored in a vented battery box.
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