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Old 31-12-2014, 13:02   #16
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Re: Any way to test empty LPG systems on old boats?

I have a G2 Residential Gas/ Propane license and have worked with both for years. Propane in liquid for is under approximately 400psi depending on temperature. All certified tanks have what is called a free flow safety valve. If it is faulty the tank will not release gas. Only apply pressure to the system through the regular or you will risk blowing a seal. At most you should apply 30 psi of air and do a soap test at all permanent/ removable joints. Also with a very wet soapy rag wipe all rubber hoses to look for leaks. If you Still feel the need to test more the unhook the regulator but do not apply more then 5 psi or you will run the risk of doing more damage. If anyone on CF has any questions about LP/NG SYSTEMS on boats feel free to ask. I have done this for a long time and do not want anyone to have an accident on a boat.
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Old 31-12-2014, 14:36   #17
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Re: Any way to test empty LPG systems on old boats?

Hello Critter,
My 2nd attempt to post a response, the first earlier this am disappeared, damn. Decided to resend since no-one else has contributed this info yet.
Anyway, congratulations on your new project.

Don't waste your time testing a 27 yr old copper-tube based propane system on a boat. the copper workhardens and will fail. All the test will tell you is if it is holding pressure to-day.

Here is the thing. There are much more interesting and exciting ways to put yourself and crew at risk when sailing than in a propane explosion.

Best is to replace everything between the tank and the stove... hose, solenoid, wiring. Take the stove to an RV place and have them check it out. Use intended-use flexible hose, I got mine from Sure Marine, Ballard WA. They are helpful and will answer your questions. It takes end fittings that have to be professionally installed on the hose, which means that you have to have the shop do it. Measure the run carefully, at about $13.00/ft you don't want to be a foot short. Include some for the swing arc of the gimbal stove.

No joins below deck, and any holes through bulkheads must be sealed to gas (air) and water , you can get (expensive) fittings or make some other arrangement. Do not use vacuum or fuel hose and hose clamps.

If the tank is mounted on a box, the box must be sealed and have a vent hose out of the bottom to vent leaked gas far enough outboard that it does not drift back into the cockpit.

If your bilge blower hasn't been updated, toss it and get 1-2 inline blowers, more blow/amp. Install them with new wiring, and the switch must be sealed and installed outside of the house. Depending on the kind of sailing you will do, you might need a dorade box to prevent sea water ingress back into the hose. It must vent so that gas doesn't drift back into the companionway hatch, or other vents/intakes.

If you insure your boat through BoatUS, they are helpful, ask them for advice resources.

Oh, if you think the above is overkill, pm me and I'll try to intro you to my dock neighbor, her 50 ft wooden boat was about 30 yrs old when it blew up at the dock. When they raised the hulk, she found a cracked copper propane line.
Just sayin.

May you sail with fair winds and empty holding tanks!

Separate note to fkittson...... would love to swap notes on Albergs ... I'm refitting a AL35, pm me?


Peter
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Old 31-12-2014, 15:10   #18
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Re: Any way to test empty LPG systems on old boats?

To help will an evaluation of a potential boat, I agree that a quick pressurization with LP and shut it off and watch gauge would be fine. As others said it's only 1-3 psi in xx feet of abt 3/8" inside diameter hose and just not that much actual propane. Plus it gives an advantage of using your nose! If it passes, it will also give you an opportunity to test the galley stove. But, I agree that in a refit... it would be best to replace the tank-to-regulator hose, regulator, and hose/ line to appliance... for also all the reasons already given, plus... most LP installations occur after production by owners, yards, or independents. Many don't know/ adhere to ABYC guidelines and poke gas lines true space in 12v or 120v bulkhead holes (a big no-no) or through open voids without proper fasteners. Give the minimum expense to replace it all (right) and the consequences of a waiting failure... it just isn't worth saving that money. Some would say that your solenoid which would only pressurize your line when you're cooking greatly reduces 'old system' risk. Consider this... I use my sailboat all year in Chesapeake Bay area and one day as I came on the boat I got an ever so light wiff of propane. I got back off and turned off the dock breaker and couldn't smell propane around other boats. I got back on and slowly opened companionway (questionable action I guess... but we all want to save our boats) and thankfully no smell below... anywhere. But back topside I still could get a light wiff. I went to the propane locker and there was a much stronger smell. After the soapy water test... it was a failed rubber o-ring inside the connection going from the regulator to the LP tank, at the tank. This short jumper has been in use since I installed my new LP system 18 years ago. Just never thought about periodic replacement of the tank to regulator jumper. Home BBQ feeder hoses usually get tossed every 5 years or so when the rusty BBQ gets replaced. Not so on boats.

So there is more about your system age/ installation you don't know than you know and best to replace before you come home to the smell of propane... or worse. Good luck


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Old 31-12-2014, 15:25   #19
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Re: Any way to test empty LPG systems on old boats?

Someplace along the line I lost you stating lines that old. For the minimal cost, replace everything regulator included. You would spend as much checking the system, if found OK what about tomorrow.
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Old 31-12-2014, 15:42   #20
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Re: Any way to test empty LPG systems on old boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by W3GAC View Post
As others said it's only 1-3 psi in xx feet of abt 3/8" inside diameter hose and just not that much actual propane
The ignition point and explosive properties for gasses are expressed as a ratio with air. For propane it is 2.1%. A very large bang can be produced with very little propane.
I'd suggest all who have suggested a small amount is insignificant do some research before postulating.
"Table of explosive limits of gasses"
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Old 31-12-2014, 15:53   #21
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Re: Any way to test empty LPG systems on old boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
The ignition point and explosive properties for gasses are expressed as a ratio with air. For propane it is 2.1%. A very large bang can be produced with very little propane.
I'd suggest all who have suggested a small amount is insignificant do some research before postulating.
"Table of explosive limits of gasses"
Come on guys! lets not nit pick it to death. I'm sure everyone is correct. Is it going to help the OP?
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:28   #22
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Re: Any way to test empty LPG systems on old boats?

Plumb an air tank to the regulator, fill it with 150psi.
And use soapy water to find the leaks.


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