Propane leak? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-08-2019, 02:00 PM   #1
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Propane leak?

I have a gauge on a single 20 pound propane tank. When the tank is open it will read half full. When the tank value is closed the gauge with go to zero in a couple minutes. I did a leak check on the tank and fittings. Do I have a leak or is this normal? Scamp 13
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Old 06-08-2019, 02:04 PM   #2
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If it's this gauge, it's useless and should be removed and tossed.
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propane gas gauge.jpg  
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Old 06-08-2019, 02:15 PM   #3
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https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Propane...gateway&sr=8-1


This one
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Old 06-08-2019, 02:17 PM   #4
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It's a camco 5923
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Joe19403 View Post
It's a camco 5923
Google shows no gauge with that ID.
If its anything like the one Glen showed, then his advice is sound. The only decent gauge (IMHO) is the one built in to a tank with a float inside the tank. Even that one is not precise.

As for leaks, the only way to be sure is to do a timed pressure drop test with a manometer. Have it done (roughly) annually, whenever changes have been made to the propane system, or anytime you suspect a leak.

But I suspect you are fine.
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:53 PM   #6
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Thereís also the time tested soapy water spray test. Spray it on all fittings, couplings and appliance connections one at a time and watch for tiny bubbles.
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:08 PM   #7
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There’s also the time tested soapy water spray test. Spray it on all fittings, couplings and appliance connections one at a time and watch for tiny bubbles.
The problem with that is that it only works for the parts of the system that you can access and you can put the solution on. And people would normally only test the connections and not the entire piping. As an example of failures that can occur and not be found with the "soapy water" test, see:
Scamp owners seriously injured in fire caused by gas leak

The short version is that the propane line (pipe) itself split and leaked. That caused a buildup of gas that then was ignited causing serious injury.

Passing a manometer pressure drop test ensures there is not a leak anywhere in the system (at the time of the test at least).
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Old 06-08-2019, 07:02 PM   #8
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I put in a whole house natural gas line, from the meter to a hot water boiler I installed on the other side of the house. No unions are allowed, so the piping has to either pass a leak test, or be dismantled and redone.

So the city I lived in came by with their test gauge (city ran a natural gas utility). Sure enough, my piping did not hold pressure long at all, and leaked down rapidly. Crap!

So I get out the soapy water solution, spraying down every joint. Started at the end of the line (the boiler) hoping I could isolate the leak and only dismantle a small section. I slowly backtracked, not finding a leak, until I got to the city's gauge! It was leaking a LOT! They sheepishly removed their gauge, brought back a good replacement, and my piping passed.

The lesson of this, do not make a decision based on a crappy gauge. The manometer drop test mentioned above sounds good as long as it is a good one. The soapy water is to find the leak if you fail the test.
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Old 06-08-2019, 07:14 PM   #9
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I///
The lesson of this, do not make a decision based on a crappy gauge. The manometer drop test mentioned above sounds good as long as it is a good one. The soapy water is to find the leak if you fail the test.
Good point.. the pressure drop test will tell you if there is a leak but not where it is. When and if you fail the test you still need to find the problem.
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Old 06-08-2019, 07:41 PM   #10
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I canít disagree with you but most gas leaks are at fitting connections. Most but not all. The soapy water test is the first thing you do and anyone with a spray bottle and Dawn soap can do it and they can then tighten any fittings found to be leaking. RV service centers use the manometer first and then the soapy water test to find the leak. Not many people have a manometer much less how to use it so the soap test is a great way to find a connection leak especially if youíre at a campground. But if soapy water doesnít find the leak or if you're not confident that tightening the fitting stopped the leak turn the tank valves off and head to RV service center for a manometer pressure check.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:06 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies, I am going leak check the whole system and see if there is a leak. If none are found will get a manometer to verify the system is leak free.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:18 AM   #12
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Google shows no gauge with that ID.
If its anything like the one Glen showed, then his advice is sound. The only decent gauge (IMHO) is the one built in to a tank with a float inside the tank. Even that one is not precise.

As for leaks, the only way to be sure is to do a timed pressure drop test with a manometer. Have it done (roughly) annually, whenever changes have been made to the propane system, or anytime you suspect a leak.

But I suspect you are fine.
It's camco 59023
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:26 AM   #13
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It's camco 59023

Looks very similar to the one I posted a picture of earlier in this thread. My buddy and I both had them on tanks to feed our BBQs. We both found that they restricted flow and the BBQs didn't work properly. So we tossed them out, which is what I recommended much earlier.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:20 AM   #14
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...I... will get a manometer to verify the system is leak free.
Thats a task usually left to professionals. I did use the words "have it done" on purpose. So if you do it yourself, be careful and do it properly. If you have any doubt about what you are doing, stop and reevaluate.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:19 PM   #15
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Looks very similar to the one I posted a picture of earlier in this thread. My buddy and I both had them on tanks to feed our BBQs. We both found that they restricted flow and the BBQs didn't work properly. So we tossed them out, which is what I recommended much earlier.
So if the gauge is junk, what can I use to determine the remaining propane?
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:46 PM   #16
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Use a scale,. The tare weight of the tank
( empty weight) is stamped on the collar. The weight you see on the scale when the tank is put on the scale, less the tare weight will give you the amount of propane remaining. Tare weight is usually in the neighborhood of 17 lbs. Three of the tanks I have are 17.6 lbs. I do not buy exchange tanks. They are often underfilled. My hardware store puts a full 20 lbs. in an empty tank. I can watch the fill, see the scale tip and get what I pay for. They weigh 37.6 lbs when full. Works for me. The often sold exchange tank with less than 20 lbs in it, with some fabricated safety caveat is BS in my mind. And I will not do business with them.
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Old 06-09-2019, 01:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
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So if the gauge is junk, what can I use to determine the remaining propane?
Joe,

I use the scale linked below; it's small and stays in the trailer. It takes a couple minutes to disconnect a cylinder, weigh it and then reattach it to the trailer. But weighing a cylinder and deducting the tare weight is the most accurate approach.

That said, this particular scale's accuracy might be suspect, but I am able to compare it to the tare weight when a tank is empty and so far the accuracy has been "good enough".

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NW62PCA
- Etekcity Luggage Scale


Also, reading your post, I wonder whether there is a leak. Normally a leak will produce quite the odor. Obviously, you want to be safe, but I wonder if doing all the testing folks are describing might be unnecessary. The odorant in LP gas is pretty strong and distinctive.
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Old 06-09-2019, 01:45 PM   #18
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Joe,

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NW62PCA
- Etekcity Luggage Scale


Also, reading your post, I wonder whether there is a leak. Normally a leak will produce quite the odor. Obviously, you want to be safe, but I wonder if doing all the testing folks are describing might be unnecessary. The odorant in LP gas is pretty strong and distinctive.
I do like the idea of using the scale. I did test every fitting, hoses and no leaks
detected. My concern was how the gauge would drop after the gas turned off. Only reason I can think of for the gauge going to zero is the changes in temperature of the propane in the lines inside the camper. Boyles gas law and the quality of the gauge used.

Thanks to everyone there insights.
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Old 06-09-2019, 01:56 PM   #19
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You can pour boiling water over the tank and note where condensation remains or you can use a luggage scale to weigh it. You subtract the tare weight ( container weight ) from the total to find out how many pounds of propane you have. Tare will be marked on the container as T 17.6 or such.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:09 AM   #20
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Weight is quite accurate, but super inconvenient. Going by poured water's a bit more convenient, but not very precise and probably depends a bit on ambient temperatures.

In terms of external sensor devices, I've heard the AP/Mopeka Tank Check sensors actually work pretty well other than the plastic feet needing to be replaced with sturdier metal ones or a ring. I think they're ultrasonic.
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