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Old 01-04-2019, 11:13 AM   #1
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Propane heaters failure at 30 degrees

I own a 2014 Fleetwood Expedition 38S. While camping in Wickenburg, AZ in Dec 2018, both propane heaters would stop working when the outdoor temp reached 29 degrees. When the outdoor temp would finally reach about 50 degrees, everything would work perfectly until the next morning about 6 AM when the temp was 29 degrees again. The propane tank is full. This happened in Dec 2017 and the pressure regulator was replaced. While the heaters were not working, I would light the stove. It would go out after 30 seconds. When the outdoor temp would reach approx 50, I would light the stove and it stayed on. Thus, I turned on the heaters and they worked perfectly until the next morning. HELP
Thank you
Tired of waking up to a 45 degree RV
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:18 AM   #2
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Sounds like something if freezing up, maybe something in the pressure regulator?



Next time it happens try a hair dryer on the regulator and see if that solves the problem.



The reason your stove lights is propane in the line and goes out when it is used up.
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:21 PM   #3
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Sorry, never heard of that problem! Have fun and keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:45 PM   #4
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Where did you get your propane? How full is your tank?

Sounds like you have water in your propane that is freezing up. If you do not keep the tank full (80%) you will develop condensation with the temps going up and down. Once it gets in the system it will wreck havoc with it.

A Mobile RV Tech could check it out and if water is the problem purge the system. If water in tank you will freeze up anytime temp drops.

Counter this and propane has a tendency to freeze up the regulator in very warm weather too.

Wish you luck - Richard
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:22 PM   #5
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From my Refining background, I'd say your problem is either the propane contains moisture (which is unlikely if it was purchased from a reputable propane dealer as refineries and gas plants remove moisture from propane to prevent ice formation down to an ambient temperature of -20 F) OR your regulator pressure setting is too high and the propane will not vaporize at 29 F.


From my Gas Processors Association Handbook, propane at 30 F will not vaporize if the system pressure (i.e. pressure regulator setting) is above 25 psig. In other words, if the pressure regulator is set above 25 psig at 30 F, the propane will remain a liquid and your furnace and stove, which burn propane vapor, will lose flow and quit functioning.


Hope this info helps!
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:24 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.


Wild guess.. The air gap in the tank is contaminated with moist outside air. The tank needs to be purged.
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:48 AM   #7
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You will not have condensation building up in a pressurised propane tank, no matter if full or near empty.

Air in the head head space will flow out when the system is working. You only purge a new tank by filling it slightly and opening the valve to push the air out.

The problem may be that this tank was left with the valve open to atmosphere for a long period or it got a fill of water contamanated propane.
Propane suppliers can add some
methanol to the tank to cure the problem.

If you got a fill of butane, it stops vaporizing at 30F. Bleed it out, safely, and get a refill.
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Old 01-05-2019, 01:48 PM   #8
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Propane heaters failure at 30 degrees

Thank you so much for the quick and detailed responses.
Although I have been a member since 2017 and my computer skills are Neanderthal, this is my first post and I certainly appreciate the help.
I use Tractor Supply for all of my propane. The tank was half full when this started, so I had it filled with the hope that a full tank would solve the problem. It did not. I called Fleetwood and they asked if my propane supplier added a "winterize mix" into their propane. I called both Tractor Supplies that I buy from and they BELIEVE there is no mix.
When I lost heat in 2017, I would see if the stove would light and stay on. When the burner went out after 30 seconds, I believed it was a regulator problem. A local mobile service recommended that I 'insulate' the regulator and tank, so I took every blanket and rag I had and wrapped it around everything in the compartment. After all of these trials, when it went below 30 outside the next morning...no heat.
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Old 01-05-2019, 02:21 PM   #9
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Have yo checked voltage? We had some weak batteries and cold means voltage drop. Fans need voltage or they will shut off the heater. The cellanoid at the propane tank could also be dropping out. Ive Had Both happen to me. Good luck
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Old 01-05-2019, 03:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulglaser View Post
Thank you so much for the quick and detailed responses.
Although I have been a member since 2017 and my computer skills are Neanderthal, this is my first post and I certainly appreciate the help.
I use Tractor Supply for all of my propane. The tank was half full when this started, so I had it filled with the hope that a full tank would solve the problem. It did not. I called Fleetwood and they asked if my propane supplier added a "winterize mix" into their propane. I called both Tractor Supplies that I buy from and they BELIEVE there is no mix.
When I lost heat in 2017, I would see if the stove would light and stay on. When the burner went out after 30 seconds, I believed it was a regulator problem. A local mobile service recommended that I 'insulate' the regulator and tank, so I took every blanket and rag I had and wrapped it around everything in the compartment. After all of these trials, when it went below 30 outside the next morning...no heat.
Are the Tractor Supplys in the deep South ?

They may be dispensing butane.
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
If you got a fill of butane, it stops vaporizing at 30F. Bleed it out, safely, and get a refill.
Following this thought I found this chart which shows a Butane/Propane pressure by percentage of mixture and temperature. https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/p...ix-d_1043.html

Have any of you ever checked the pressure of a mixture before? It seems it would be simple enough.

Paul, since you purchased the coach, how much propane do you think you have put in it? If we make an assumption that the tank had 100% Butane in it when purchased what would the mixture be now?

I'm thinking it's time for an early morning test of tank pressure before the regulator and manometer after the regulator.
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:18 AM   #12
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After reading all the input, even my own, I did what I was trained to do when learning to work on aircraft - read the book. LOL

From my Itasca manual they included this on propane freeze ups: "Regulator Freeze-up
Regulator freeze-ups are caused by the presence of moisture in fuel. This moisture will pass through the cylinder valve and into the regulator where it can freeze. Fuel producers, tank and bottle manufacturers and propane gas dealers take every precaution to reduce moisture, but sometimes only a fraction of an ounce entering the tank can cause problems. To help avoid the possibility of freeze-up, always keep tank control valve closed when not in use, even when tank is empty, to prevent moisture from collecting on the inside. If regulator freeze-up should occur, you may attempt to thaw the regulator using a light bulb.

If moisture begins to cause problems, have your propane gas dealer inject a small amount of dry methyl alcohol in your tank (approximately one ounce to 20 pounds or one pint to 100 gallons) to help guard against regulator freezeups.

…in extremely cold weather when a large volume of gas is being used by the furnace for heating, it is possible to experience a loss of gas pressure.
At first, this problem may appear to be caused by an empty tank or a regulator freeze-up, but is
actually caused by failure of the liquid gas to vaporize as fast as it is needed by the furnace.
The demand for propane to produce heat increases to the point where the gas cannot vaporize fast enough to keep the furnace going. The only solution to this problem is to reduce gas usage where possible.
Adjusting the temperature on the gas/electric refrigerator may be a first step. Using less hot water will also help, as well as refraining from using the gas cooktop. A final step is to lower the thermostat setting to reduce gas usage by the furnace." (Source: Meridian Owner’s Manual, 5.4)

Moisture is the number 1 problem in propane systems. My propane supplier always turns on the main valve allowing propane to fill the hose and then opens the valve at the end of the hose for a second or two before shutting it off and connecting it to my tank. He then opens the overfill valve on my tank and begins filling. In every instance there is a small amount of moisture coming out of the hose and then my tank. Condensation forms, especially in the hosing no matter how much pressure is in the lines.
If this is a continuous problem, which OP is experiencing, have supplier insert dry methyl alcohol in his tank. This will alleviate the problem if it is moisture.
Quick fix is to use hair dryer or incandescent bulb in cavity by propane regulator to warm it up. (It's almost impossible to find one today, so am looking at different bulbs that produce enough heat to warm bay.)

I would never, as some have recommended adjust the propane regulator. It's just too dangerous and I doubt if most possess sufficient knowledge to set it correctly. Glad though that some have it.

OP: Based on manual instructions I recommend you have the local supplier add dry methyl alcohol to see if this alleviates the situation.

Stay warm - Richard
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:42 AM   #13
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rrtribble what a concept to read the manual. I just did and it has this statement:
If A Freeze Up Occurs:
Have an LP-Gas distributor purge the
tank.
Have the LP-Gas distributor inject
methyl alcohol in the tank.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:01 AM   #14
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Just find a propane dealer who can inject methanol into your tank. Don't generally need to purge the tank. The methanol will stay in the tank forever and you will never need to worry about moisture in your tank again (at least with normal usage). Went through this 2 winters ago. My dealer didn't charge for it but it is pretty cheap.
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