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Old 12-28-2015, 01:44 PM   #1
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Propane Freezing

Has anyone experienced this? How to prevent it. Got down to the minus' Thanks in advance.


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Old 12-28-2015, 01:50 PM   #2
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Unless you are seeing -30 or lower, you need not worry about Propane freezing.
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:05 PM   #3
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Unless you have gotten some moisture in the lines somehow...
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:10 PM   #4
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If you do a search on Irv, you might find that depending on where you bought the propane, they may have sold you part butane, and that will lower the vapor pressure enough it won't light.
Vapor Pressure (psig)
Mixture Propane (C3H8)
(%) 100 70 50 30 0
Butane (C4H10)
(%) 0 30 50 70 100
Temperature
(oF) -44 0 0 0 0 0
-30 6.8 0 0 0 0
-20 11.5 4.7 0 0 0
-10 17.5 9 3.5 0 0
0 24.5 15 7.6 2.3 0
10 34 20.5 12.3 5.9 0
20 42 28 17.8 10.2 0
30 53 36.5 24.5 15.4 0
40 65 46 32.4 21.5 3.1
50 78 56 41 28.5 6.9
60 93 68 50 36.5 11.5
70 110 82 61 45 17
80 128 96 74 54 23
90 150 114 88 66 30
100 177 134 104 79 38
110 204 158 122 93 47
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krivanj View Post
If you do a search on Irv, you might find that depending on where you bought the propane, they may have sold you part butane, and that will lower the vapor pressure enough it won't light.
Vapor Pressure (psig)
Mixture Propane (C3H8)
(%) 100 70 50 30 0
Butane (C4H10)
(%) 0 30 50 70 100
Temperature
(oF) -44 0 0 0 0 0
-30 6.8 0 0 0 0
-20 11.5 4.7 0 0 0
-10 17.5 9 3.5 0 0
0 24.5 15 7.6 2.3 0
10 34 20.5 12.3 5.9 0
20 42 28 17.8 10.2 0
30 53 36.5 24.5 15.4 0
40 65 46 32.4 21.5 3.1
50 78 56 41 28.5 6.9
60 93 68 50 36.5 11.5
70 110 82 61 45 17
80 128 96 74 54 23
90 150 114 88 66 30
100 177 134 104 79 38
110 204 158 122 93 47
Damn, knew I should of went to collage
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:23 PM   #6
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Hmmm, thought I answered this one earlier today?
It happened to us some years ago, bought "propane" in the South AZ or TX and headed North. Temps dropped and we ended up with no heat in the TT.
It's also possible for there to be water vapor in the regulator, lines or tank. A propane dealer can inject alcohol into the tank.
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:10 AM   #7
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I'm sorry. All I meant was that butane has a lower vapor pressure than propane so at lower temps (around 30 F), it will usually not pressurize the system and work. Lots of propane dealers sell mixtures of propane and butane as "propane".
I did not know dealers could add alcohol to help with this problem.
Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:57 AM   #8
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Propane will vaproize down to nearly -40 your choce of scales (i think"nearly" is like -39F -39.5C so you might as well say -40)

So if Propane is freezing....baby it's cold outside.

Butane however. is sometimes sold by rip-off artists in palce of propane. If you are running a BBQ at say 70(F) the major difference is very slightly greater heat (A good thing if Grilling and adjustable if BBQing) But if you are heating with it... Butane remains a liquid at temps just slightly below the freezing point of water.

But it costs less. so a dealer may pump Butane at Propane prices and pocket the profit.
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Old 12-30-2015, 08:47 PM   #9
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Propane pressure will start to drop at temps below about 20 degrees F. Below zero, not a good spot for a normal propane tank. So if you aren't getting heat it might simply be there isn't enough pressure from the tank to the furnace.

That being said there are a couple of things you can do. Being a hot air balloon pilot our tanks have padded jackets with standard heat tapes in them which we plug in at night for a flight the following morning. I wouldn't run them 24x7 but wrapping the tanks with a tape and plugging in for several hours might be worth investigating.

And I have heard, but never tried, pouring boiling water over the tank. Don't think that it would help for very long.

And only think I can think of that avoids the problem would be a diesel fueled hydronic system that are in motorhomes. Probably not possible in a 5th wheel.
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:39 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the answers. It wasn't 20 below in Taos but rather at 0 or plus a few degrees and our friend put his tank in the sun the next day for a few hours which warmed it and got it working.
I guess the bottom line is to be sure of where you buy propane. That seems likely to have been the issue although we will never know.


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Old 01-03-2016, 08:38 AM   #11
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collage, sp error

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Originally Posted by palehorse89 View Post
Damn, knew I should of went to collage

Don't sweat it, what can you do that he can't? More than likely something significant.

I'm no gearhead but with all the injuries these folks and their kids sustain, I'm a handy guy to have around. Facts and figures don't amount to a hill of beans when DW is freaking out after you or your kid mangle your hand.
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:31 PM   #12
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Similar problem with propane heater.

We have one of those six foot tall propane heaters on our deck that frequently freezes up when temps are only in the 30s-40s. The 20# cylinder gets covered with ice, and the flame almost goes out. The cylinder is usually less than half full, and I can shake it around and get the flame to come back up for a minute or so. The guy at the propane refill station said that can happen when the burner is trying to draw fuel faster than it can vaporize. Don't know if that's true, the propane guy was all of 20 years old, and he works at the _____ Butane Company. They swear they haven't sold butane in years, they just haven't bothered to change the name.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:28 PM   #13
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This "freezing" will happen if propane usage is high during below 32* temperatures, AND you have small tanks. The propane cannot boil/evaporate fast enough to keep up with demand, as it only boils/evaporates on the surface area of liquid.
The only way moisture can get in a propane tank is if the valve is opened when not connected to anything. If you do suspect moisture in your tank, have it purged and filled at a full-service propane dealer.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randalf View Post
We have one of those six foot tall propane heaters on our deck that frequently freezes up when temps are only in the 30s-40s. The 20# cylinder gets covered with ice, and the flame almost goes out. The cylinder is usually less than half full, and I can shake it around and get the flame to come back up for a minute or so. The guy at the propane refill station said that can happen when the burner is trying to draw fuel faster than it can vaporize. Don't know if that's true, the propane guy was all of 20 years old, and he works at the _____ Butane Company. They swear they haven't sold butane in years, they just haven't bothered to change the name.
The guy gave you good info. Turn the burner down some and the tank may not freeze up.
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