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Old 11-24-2020, 09:45 AM   #1
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Fridge not cooling on propane

My searching skills here apparently aren't good because I'm sure this topic is a common one...?

Nothing popped up so I'll just add this (hope to help others)

I've been having issues with my Norcold fridge not cooling enough on propane for a long time. I checked or replaced almost everything the Norcold said might be the issue with no luck solving the problem. I ended up using my Honda generator to run the fridge this past summer while hosting at a BLM campground with no hookups. (save the Onan 6500 RV genset from over-use)

When I got back to civilization I looked at ordering a new fridge, but decided to have my gas pressure checked first... it was a tad low 10 inches (instead of 11) so I told the tech to just replace the propane regulator ($40) and when he removed it, about 4 teaspoons of oil came out of it. I'm sure oil is a minor by-product of LPG, but this oil had been collecting for the last ten years and was blocking the flow apparently.

With the new LP valve installed the fridge works on propane perfectly.

New fridge : $1400
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:29 AM   #2
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Good to know! Thank you.
I've heard that propane produced in the West is oilier than that produced in the east, and that it can reduce the life expectancy of propane appliances.

I wonder if removing the regulator every year or 2 and draining any oil would help alleviate the issue?
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:31 AM   #3
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Sure glad he was able to solve the problem!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless
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Old 11-24-2020, 01:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave6152 View Post
My searching skills here apparently aren't good because I'm sure this topic is a common one...?



Nothing popped up so I'll just add this (hope to help others)



I've been having issues with my Norcold fridge not cooling enough on propane for a long time. I checked or replaced almost everything the Norcold said might be the issue with no luck solving the problem. I ended up using my Honda generator to run the fridge this past summer while hosting at a BLM campground with no hookups. (save the Onan 6500 RV genset from over-use)



When I got back to civilization I looked at ordering a new fridge, but decided to have my gas pressure checked first... it was a tad low 10 inches (instead of 11) so I told the tech to just replace the propane regulator ($40) and when he removed it, about 4 teaspoons of oil came out of it. I'm sure oil is a minor by-product of LPG, but this oil had been collecting for the last ten years and was blocking the flow apparently.



With the new LP valve installed the fridge works on propane perfectly.



New fridge : $1400
Last year my 1210 was the same way. Rv tech said when lazy days rv replaced the fridge the got plumber goop in the line. Clean up the line and it been running perfect since.
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Old 11-25-2020, 09:27 AM   #5
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Well thatís something I did not know,! Can somebody tell me how the propane can produce oil. I understand correct me if Iím wrong that propane comes from and oil well so to speak in oil and gas comes up but isnít the oil removed from the propane or just the propane itself contain so much oil you can actually develop into droplets. Never heard of this before so please somebody enlighten me.
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Old 11-25-2020, 10:00 AM   #6
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Oil in propane

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Originally Posted by Pslif View Post
Well thatís something I did not know,! Can somebody tell me how the propane can produce oil. I understand correct me if Iím wrong that propane comes from and oil well so to speak in oil and gas comes up but isnít the oil removed from the propane or just the propane itself contain so much oil you can actually develop into droplets. Never heard of this before so please somebody enlighten me.
Propane doesn't "produce oil", the oil must be present during production of the propane in some fashion I'm guessing... couldn't locate an answer on Google.

Hydrocarbons have many forms
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Old 11-25-2020, 10:01 AM   #7
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Draining oil occasionally

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopsBrewster View Post
Good to know! Thank you.
I've heard that propane produced in the West is oilier than that produced in the east, and that it can reduce the life expectancy of propane appliances.

I wonder if removing the regulator every year or 2 and draining any oil would help alleviate the issue?
Good idea !

Thanks to all and one more clue to investigate before buying that $$$$ fridge
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Old 11-25-2020, 10:35 AM   #8
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Propane can contain varying amounts of oil as a result of production methods. While under tank pressure and up to the pressure regulator, the oil remains within the liquid or vaporous propane. As soon as the pressure is reduced at the regulator, however, the oil begins to condense out of the vapor stream and remain in the regulator or pipes.

Now, in an RV with a fixed tank, this is often mitigated by having the two stage regulator at a level at or above the 80% fill level of the tank. That ensures only vapor reaches the regulator and any oil suspended in the liquid propane drains back into the tank as it vaporizes within the tank. This does not remove any oil still suspended in the vapor that passes under pressure to the regulators.

When the vapor reaches the two-stage regulators that are typical on most RVs, any oil will begin to condense out as it passes through the first stage regulator. More will condense out in the second stage regulator as well. By the time the vapor is at standard appliance pressure, 0.39 psi, nearly all the oil is gone but will remain as residue within the regulators and pipes.

The recommended preventative solution for this is to install a drip leg after the first stage regulator and regularly monitor/drain the leg. Since this is generally impractical on RVs with two-stage regulators, a drip leg after the regulators will trap some oil to protect appliances down stream, but the deposit within the regulators will remain. A drip leg before the two stage regulator will trap some oil that has condensed out and escaped from the tank, but that will be a small amount since the gas at that stage is still highly pressurized.

Fortunately, for most of us, the propane tends to be relatively oil-free and we seldom see a problem. Over-filling a tank and allowing liquid propane into the plumbing to the regulator is nearly impossible for tanks built since 1998 with OPD valves and bleeders, but it's always dangerous to say, "never."
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