How do i find a VERY slow propane leak? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-19-2012, 07:21 PM   #1
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How do i find a VERY slow propane leak?

I just put in a new propex heater so I made two new connections and neither of them are generating bubbles when I test them under pressure. I've checked them a few times, all without any bubbles forming.

I didn't have a gauge or check for a leak until after the heater installation. So it may be the new connections or maybe not. Or is it even considered a leak? I have difficulty smelling propane, but no one else has noticed a tell tale odor. I have done the bubble leak test for the outside connections near the tank. I have not tested the stove connections or any connections that may be under the trailer.

The leak, if it is one, is slow! I just got a tank gauge and when I turn off the tank at night the gauge shows no drop in pressure that would indicate a leak, but by the next morning there is no pressure registering on the gauge.

I took some pictures of the gauge over time.

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Tank and gauge.


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1:40pm


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2:40pm


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3:40pm


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4:40pm

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5:21pm

Something like watching paint dry!

Of course it has been getting colder which changes the pressure in the tank! But in the morning it will show empty.

If I turn off the tank, then light the stove, the burners run half heartedly for a very short time. So there can't be very much propane in the line. But if it was pressurized would it be leaking more?

I'm going camping for two day starting tomorrow, so the tank will be on all night, as will the heater. Will it be dangerous?

How can I find a leak if it isn't bubbling?
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:43 PM   #2
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That is not a slow leak. It looks like you're losing a pound an hour. If it's leaking like that it would have the potential to bubble pretty furiously - somewhere along the line or in the appliance itself. I'd shut everything off, open the windows and start working back from the tank itself.

You could use compressed air through the regulator to find that leak. It's cheaper than gas, and less explosive!

Regards,

Matt
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
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Did you use the yellow tape? Yellow tape is for gas. If it's leaking you should smell it. I had a leak at my old regulator and I could even see the fumes escaping. Be careful and don't light a match.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:05 PM   #4
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I have a small tank:


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20 pounds I believe.

And I turned off the valve before I started taking the pictures. So it is only leaking the residual pressure in the hoses.

I used yellow gas tape. I've done natural gas connections before when changing out water heaters and gas stoves. I used high quality fittings. And there were no bubbles. I just checked again before I took the pictures.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:13 PM   #5
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Hey Brooke
Try with a newly filled tank, you may get a better bubble check that way.
Try soapy solution also around the gage and on the tank valve itself.
Good Luck.

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Old 03-19-2012, 08:16 PM   #6
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Good ideas.

Done and done.

I even thought the new gauge might be the leak, but no bubbles.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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RE: LP Leak
I had a similar problem a few years back and it turned out being an internal leak in the regulator. New ones aren't very expensive.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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You could buy a gas leak detector ($150 - 200).It will find any leak. You may have to use bubble solution to pinpoint the leak ie. which flare on a tee etc.

Art
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:02 PM   #9
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Just for clarification, is the loss occuring when the tank is OFF? Or ON?
Is the guage showing the drop in the line between the tank and the trailer with the tank off or on?
OR, is the tank on and all appliances off AND the pressure is dropping?
Richard
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:24 PM   #10
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The tank is valve is closed or off.
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:46 PM   #11
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Maybe getting the propane lines pressure tested would be in order.
My 200 Casita had just had the propane system recertified after 10 years of age and I suspect that is something that would be done. Since the tank would be removed and likely air is used, it should not be too expensive or even too difficult to rig something using compressed air.
Richard
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:22 AM   #12
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You could buy 3/8 copper plugs and disconnect the L.P lines at each appliance and cap them off . And test again that will let you know if it is a line/regulater leak or it is in a appliance. Just a note did you check the L.P. regulater, there is a small hole to let air in so the diaphragm can move and regulate the pressure. It is on the first stage. That was where my was leaking.

Ken
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:12 AM   #13
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You cannot do a pressure test with more than 2# on a regulator or gas control!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOU CAN BLOW OUT THE DIAPHRAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 03-20-2012, 06:23 AM   #14
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Your problem is likley that when you turn it off the gas in the line leaks out through the valve . These valves should always be opened fully and snugged at the top to seal the valve . I don't believe you have a problem at all
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