What I just learned about propane. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-05-2012, 05:06 AM   #1
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What I just learned about propane.

So AFTER getting my new propane lines run and quick release valve installed I think I've just learned something important. Or perhaps I'm still just confused.

The quick connect was installed in the wall so I could attach a small heater. Well, I just plugged in the heater I've been planning on using at least initially, my Coleman Mr. Heater, the small one. It does light, sort of, very low heat only. On high it's probably not making as much as I'd expect at low.

Seems that while stoves and fridges like low pressure propane. (0.4 psi?) This heater expects pressure from a canister, or at least high pressure regulated propane, perhaps. It works great directly to a 5lb tank via hose. Makes sense, I'm disappointed it never crossed my mind, I knew that regulator on the tongue reduces pressure considerably from the tank.

Is it considered safe to run high pressure (but regulated) propane lines in an RV? Looks like there may be a place on my regulator to tap into the high pressure portion, before the low pressure reg? Mostly just curious, I'll probably leave it as is and I guess I'll get a Wave 3 cat heater for the winter. That was the longer term plan anyway.

I assume that a Wave 3 will be more than enough for a 13'er?? I'd just get the Wave 6, but I'd rather be too cold than too hot. Waking up from being too hot and having to get up to turn off the heater, then waking up too cold several hours later is intolerable!
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:23 AM   #2
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My guess would be that your wave has an internal regulator to set the correct pressure. By running your heater on your trailer's propane system you are reducing the pressure twice. Thats why it only gives you low heat. I wonder how hard it would be to bypass the heater's internal regulator. Which is less likely to get you blown up - high pressure propane lines in your trailer, or a modified heater?

The other answer would be to buy a heater without a built-in regulator. That is probably the wisest choice.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:21 AM   #3
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We've got a Wave 3 in our Scamp 13 and it keeps us plenty warm, even with windows cracked. Anything bigger would be overkill.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:26 AM   #4
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Do you have a propane gas detector in your camper?
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:04 AM   #5
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No.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:56 PM   #6
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bomb

I saw these people last week and they are still messed up. Wearing compression bandages to keep the scar tissue at bay. Not a good sight so I'm re-posting for your sake.

The smelly stuff in propane disapates especially on a small leak and then you don't know your about to ignite a bomb.
--------------

13 Aug 2012
How important is it to have a working Propane Detector?

Here in Louisa County Virginia it is in the local paper this week the story of a family of 4 that were badly burned when their camper exploded from a propane leek. They spent 2 months in the Hospital and still have a ways to go
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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"Which is less likely to get you blown up - high pressure propane lines in your trailer, or a modified heater?"

I have no data on the dangers of high pressure lines in RVs, but I'd guess DIY modifications to defeat a heater's internal regulator sounds dubious to me.

The other answer would be to buy a heater without a built-in regulator. That is probably the wisest choice."

I think I'll leave the Mr heater alone, it makes a good back up with a disposable canister as it was intended to be used. And yes, as I said a new low pressure heater seems the safe choice.

"We've got a Wave 3 in our Scamp 13 and it keeps us plenty warm, even with windows cracked. Anything bigger would be overkill."

Good feedback, thanks!

"Do you have a propane gas detector in your camper?"

I do not, but it is certainly on my list. I have fire and CO detectors. I have a valve that shuts off the new lines I've run so I can still use the stove and fridge without pressurizing the longer, more complex, more internal lines and fittings for the hot water heater and quick release. And unless something is in use I'll leave the entire system off at the tank until I get that detector installed. I have checked all connections and fittings with the pink foaming spray. I'd love a detector with an internal battery, not just a connection to trailer 12v as most seem to be.

Darwin, I'll try to keep that family in mind. Always good to have a healthy respect for explosive gases.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:02 PM   #8
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I looked several years ago for an internal battery powered detector and was told they were taken off the market. The one in my home that is heated with propane is a plug-in 120VAC type by Safe-T-Alert and the same brand in the camper that runs on 12VDC.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:36 PM   #9
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What I want is one that hooks into 12V and uses that when available, but also keeps a backup internal battery charged.

What I really want to avoid is seriously over draining my batteries (will be much less of an issue once I have some permanent solar panels on the roof). But also having detection without main battery power is good. I could always put a switch on the detector for times I had the propane off, but I'd want to make sure I never forget to put it back on!
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:05 PM   #10
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If your hanging your hat in Vancouver a small electric heater will do the job fine I keep my trailer at 60 degrees with a 1500 watt heater all winter.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:46 PM   #11
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My Mr. Heater Portable Buddy has it's own regulator and can use a 1 lb bottle or hooked to a 20lb bottle unregulated. At the main regulator I have a T-fitting on the high pressure side and run a hose off that to the Mr Heater or outdoor BBQ which also has it's own regulator. Yes - don't regulate propane twice.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel A. View Post
If your hanging your hat in Vancouver a small electric heater will do the job fine I keep my trailer at 60 degrees with a 1500 watt heater all winter.
Yep, I have two small electrics that kept me cozy this past winter, even down -7 F. But thats only useful with city power.

Maybe just maybe if things stay dry, and if its cheaper, I might use propane for heat while fulltiming, but electric is darn easy and thermastats beat adjusting gas all the time.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLP View Post
My Mr. Heater Portable Buddy has it's own regulator and can use a 1 lb bottle or hooked to a 20lb bottle unregulated. At the main regulator I have a T-fitting on the high pressure side and run a hose off that to the Mr Heater or outdoor BBQ which also has it's own regulator. Yes - don't regulate propane twice.
Yeah, I could T at the tongue, use more flexible line. I have various Hoses and adapter. I may end up with a second tank, I only have a 5 lb now. That 5lb tank fits nicely inside. The little Mr Heater hooked to my small tank was my backup heat last winter, but never lost electricity long enough to need it.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:14 PM   #14
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This discussion reminds me of a B.C. cartoon I saw years ago and never forgot. If I may modify it a little, to fit the thread (warning: sick humor ahead)...

See Dick.
See Dick hook a propane line to his heater.
See the heater work poorly.
See Dick modify his heater for more output.
See Dick doing his impression of "The Mummy" in the burn ward.

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