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Burroman 11-03-2019 09:42 AM

Propane stove issues
Camping last week in very cool weather-33F at night- no freezing water.
Stove burners worked fine for cooking.
Propane tank 60% full.
Didnít touch the tank valve, but next morning- same temp, the burners would not stay lit. A little feeble, but when I put pot on top they would go out.
I could smell propane from unlit burner.
Came home to warmer weather and they worked fine.
Checked tank and it has 3 gal. Of propane in it.
Anybody any ideas?
Regulator sensitive to cool/cold weather?

Burroman 11-03-2019 09:43 AM

Propane issues
Temp was 33, not -33!

Stephe 11-03-2019 10:26 AM

I had this problem before.. Someone explained to me that there is some kind of oil that builds up in the distribution lines and also in the regulator... I replaced the regulator and it solved the problem. So far the lines have been good. I replaced the regulator about 3 years ago.

Burroman 11-03-2019 10:38 AM

Thanks for the tip.
Figured Iíd replace the regulator, as thereís not much else.
Thanks again,

ZachO 11-03-2019 01:00 PM

There are also, or so I've heard, different propane "mixes" or maybe additives. Warm weather states don't sell propane meant for cold weather. Someone will correct me, I'm sure. I know at a certain temperature propane gets real thick and won't flow well. I'm in a northern state so if there is a "cold weather" propane I know I'm getting it, but I've never had a problem in my camper, even down to the low teens. 33 shouldn't be a problem.

Burroman 11-03-2019 01:30 PM

Well, that is interesting, about the mixes.
Iím in California- Sf Bay Area and you could get by on a butane/propane mix here easily.
Iíll ask around.

AC0GV 11-03-2019 03:16 PM

About the mixes
1 Attachment(s)
Also: 60% full? By what method, on a scale is the only way to tell. The add on pressure gauges are seldom correct. The tank float gauges are ok. Mine are at about half capacity when at the bottom of the green.

Burroman 11-03-2019 03:29 PM

Yep, 63% by weight.
Total wt. minus TW printed on tank.

AC0GV 11-03-2019 03:31 PM

It's the only way to know for sure.

Originally Posted by Burroman (Post 759725)
Yep, 63% by weight.
Total wt. minus TW printed on tank.

It's the only way to know for sure.

Wayne Collins 11-04-2019 10:30 AM

LP tank levels
As a quick check, get a bucket of hot water, pour it slowly over the LP tank, then feel the tank. You should be able to feel cold on the lower part where the liquid propane is, and warm above that. There is also a stick on strip you can apply, that changes color at the fluid level.

steve67 11-04-2019 10:51 AM

We've had that happen. The propane gas that we use out of the tank comes from the top--vapor-- section of the tank. It requires a certain vapor pressure that the regulator controls. In hotter temperatures there is no shortage of vapor pressure. In colder temperatures that pressure is often lacking and insufficient for our appliances. If you have the means of warming the tank a bit it's cure. Warm water poured over the tank often works well.

larry-g 11-04-2019 12:08 PM

Boiling points
Propane & butane are two different gases. They can also be mixed. The boiling points, temperature at which vapor starts forming, are different. Propane starts boiling at -43*F. Butane at 30*F. Mixes are in between. With your night temp being 33*F, butane is just barely boiling with very little vapor. Propane is sold in the North & butane very common in the South. This is probably your problem.
It's a pressure/temperature relationship. The warmer it is above the boiling point, the more vapor pressure will be. ---Water boils at 212*F at sea level. At 10,000' it boils at 193.6*F. Foods cook much slower at high elevations. That's one reason pressure cookers were invented. And that's why cars have pressure radiator caps. To stop radiator boiling at high elevations. They came out in the 40's. ---The higher the elevation, the lower the atmosphere pressure & lower water boiling point. Hence pressure caps. The higher the water pressure, the higher the water boiling point.

Burroman 11-04-2019 02:39 PM

Iím leaning towards your explanation.
Now, I have to find a place that will refill with pure propane and try that.
Not sure if most places know the difference.
A trailer park that has a refill station should know, or wait til I go to the mountains and fill the tank there.
Thanks for the insight.

Wayne Collins 11-04-2019 03:49 PM

Look up Propane Grades on line.
All propane sold for RV use should be the HD5, which is 95 - 100% pure propane.
and is the "highest" grade.
California can also sell a HD10 or Commercial Grade which can have up to 10% Propelene.

MAP 56 11-04-2019 04:00 PM

Stove Problems
I had the same problem with the same temp .In Alberta they use a blend of Butane 60 40 butane in summer .i refilled the tank wthout the blend works good .down side propane dont work past - 45 c

Burroman 11-04-2019 04:14 PM

Lots of good information here- I had no idea about different grades.
I have a cabin in the mountains and will check the propane grade they have there, as compared to where I normally have it filled which is on the coast.
Thanks to all,Larry

Julie.OC 11-05-2019 07:40 AM

We had what sounds like the same issue.
*First replaced the propane tank (ours was expired) but this didn't fix it.
*We then replaced the regulator but the issue persisted.
*It was finally resolved when we replaced the pigtail between the two. Turned out it was ancient and probably dirty inside which made our stove act like it was temperature sensitive.

Taught us to start with the easiest fix first although the others were due for a replacement anyway :)
Everything works great for now.

Good luck.

Burroman 11-05-2019 03:56 PM

Took the lines apart from the regulator to the stove and blew them out- perfectly clean and clear.
Just leaves me with the regulator and the quality of propane I have in the tank.
Stove works fine here at sea level and 58F.
Iíll get a fresh bottle of propane, always use the current on at home for my grill and see what happens.
Guess I could check to see what the pressure is leaving the regulator, but I need a gauge that will read about 4/10 PSI as I read the information.
But, as I say it works fine here.
Maybe I can put the Burro in a walk-in reefer to check it out.
Let you know what I figure out.

gordon2 11-05-2019 05:46 PM


Originally Posted by Burroman (Post 759875)
Guess I could check to see what the pressure is leaving the regulator, but I need a gauge that will read about 4/10 PSI as I read the information.

Sounds like you need a manometer. And if someone is going to use one, one needs to know how to use it and use it safely or they should call in a pro. And there is more to a proper check-up than simply checking the static pressure. There is lock-up pressure tests, operating pressure test and timed pressure drop test (checking for hidden leaks).

Burroman 11-05-2019 06:19 PM

Yeah, and cheaper just to buy a new regulator.
Have no idea how old this one is.
Just checked the stove and it is burning just great.
Iím going to get a fresh tank of gas and see what happens.

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