Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 21-10-2010, 05:50   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 18
Propane Leak - What Do I Do ?

A copper pipe has fractured and leaked propane into the bilge of my yacht. Luckily I heard the leak. I have opened all hatches and its a breezy day so there is a reasonable airflow through the cabin. But my question is, is this enough to vent the heavier than air propane from the bilges? How long do i need to leave it till its safe? If I can no longer smell propane is that enough? Or do i need to actively suck the gas out from the bilges to be safe. Of course i don't want to turn on any bilge pumps etc until I'm sure its ok so I'm not sure how to remove it. I have read a lot of advice on how to avoid leaks but can't find any on what to do once you have one!
__________________

__________________
Carmelo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 06:18   #2
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmelo View Post
and its a breezy day so there is a reasonable airflow through the cabin.
I'm only putting down my idea as no one else has replied yet.

I reckon an hour I'd leave it.

Obviously youve got a bit of breaze and youve wafted a bit about by hand.


Mark
__________________

__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 06:20   #3
Registered User
 
captain465's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ft Lauderdale, FL
Boat: 38ft Irwin center cockpit sloop MERIDIAN
Posts: 619
Smell in deep bilge areas for any propane pockets. Open up all floorboards to help in venting. If still in doubt, call fire department........most have devices for electronically sniffing gases. For the future, purchase a propane sniffing alarm to install in your system.
__________________
Do not go where the path may lead.........
go instead where there is no path........
and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
captain465 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 06:20   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ontario
Boat: 5 m Bolger runabout, plus a Starwind 860 power tri under construction
Posts: 248
The explosive limits for propane in air are 2.1 to 10.1 percent by volume. Most people can smell the mercaptans (added to the propane to get the characteristic odour) at very, very minute concentrations far below the lower explosive limit; at 2% it will be so offensive that you'll have long since evacuated the boat. If you vent until you don't smell propane in the bilge anymore, the gas should be far below dangerous levels.

edit- as suggested by captain465, a gas sniffer should be considered essential equipment on any boat that uses propane.

The ignition-protected blowers used on gas inboard boats should have an easy time clearing the bilge of flammable vapours. If you don't have one of those, lots of ventilation (all hatches/ports open, all bilge access panels and cabinets open) should eventually do the trick.
__________________
Matt Marsh
marshmat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 06:53   #5
Registered User
 
svHyLyte's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Tampa Bay area, USA
Boat: Beneteau First 42
Posts: 3,434
Images: 25
Take a small shop vac and place it on the deck. Run the vacuum hose into the deepest part of the bilge--extend with a length of tubing if necessary. Turn the vac on and let it run for a few hours, suctioning the air out of the bilge and discharging it over the side. The gas concentration on deck will be diffused enough not to present a problem. You could do the same by temporarily rigging an engine room blower on deck but the shop vac should do it.

FWIW,,,
__________________
"It is not so much for its beauty that the Sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
svHyLyte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 07:02   #6
Registered User

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Elsewhere on the Water
Posts: 571
Propane sniffers, of the permanently installed type sold for marine use, are not very reliable in my opinion. As a test, I discharged a puff of propane directly at one of the sensors, and it failed to recognize it. The manufacturer recommends replacing the sensor. After doing so, I get the same result.
__________________
St. Elsewhere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 07:15   #7
Registered User
 
capn_billl's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Houston,Tx
Boat: Maxum 37'
Posts: 1,587
Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Take a small shop vac and place it on the deck. Run the vacuum hose into the deepest part of the bilge--extend with a length of tubing if necessary. Turn the vac on and let it run for a few hours, suctioning the air out of the bilge and discharging it over the side. The gas concentration on deck will be diffused enough not to present a problem. You could do the same by temporarily rigging an engine room blower on deck but the shop vac should do it.

FWIW,,,
I've seen that done. Just be sure the vac doesn't spark, (sealed motor), use remote switch outside of Vapor area. Dont plug or unplug when turned on. Propane diffuses readily into the air, time will reduce it to below LEL.
__________________
capn_billl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 07:32   #8
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,594
Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Take a small shop vac and place it on the deck. Run the vacuum hose into the deepest part of the bilge--extend with a length of tubing if necessary. Turn the vac on and let it run for a few hours, suctioning the air out of the bilge and discharging it over the side. The gas concentration on deck will be diffused enough not to present a problem. You could do the same by temporarily rigging an engine room blower on deck but the shop vac should do it.

FWIW,,,
I really wouldn't do that. Most vac motors are exposed from the cannister side... Motors produce sparks...BOOM!!!
__________________
Randy

Cape Dory 25D Seraph
rtbates is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 07:41   #9
Registered User
 
bob_77903's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Rockport, Texas
Boat: Tartan 41 #68
Posts: 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtbates View Post
I really wouldn't do that. Most vac motors are exposed from the cannister side... Motors produce sparks...BOOM!!!
I agree with svHyLyte that it wouldn't present a problem with the cannister on deck, and the hose running below. I would use a plug source on shore, not below. That's the process I'd use.
__________________
bob_77903 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 07:53   #10
Registered User
 
Darryl's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Cruising SE Asia
Boat: Prout Snowgoose Elite, 37' - "Coral Kuching"
Posts: 22
Whoaaaaa!!!!
Do not use a vacuum cleaner to suck hydrocarbons. A vacuum cleaner uses a universal motor that openly produces sparks.
By all means if the vacuum cleaner can be used as a remote blower, feel quite free to do so but never ever use it to draw an explosive atmoshphere through an area of ignition i.e. a vacuum cleaner or otherwise.
Electrical equipment for use in hazardous areas (ignition situations) require special construction and certification ("Ex"). I don't think the average house vac falls into this category.
__________________
Darryl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 07:59   #11
Registered User
 
bob_77903's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Rockport, Texas
Boat: Tartan 41 #68
Posts: 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl View Post
Whoaaaaa!!!!
Do not use a vacuum cleaner to suck hydrocarbons. A vacuum cleaner uses a universal motor that openly produces sparks.
By all means if the vacuum cleaner can be used as a remote blower, feel quite free to do so but never ever use it to draw an explosive atmoshphere through an area of ignition i.e. a vacuum cleaner or otherwise.
Electrical equipment for use in hazardous areas (ignition situations) require special construction and certification ("Ex"). I don't think the average house vac falls into this category.
I stand corrected. Don't use a vacuum to suck out the propane.
__________________
bob_77903 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 08:01   #12
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PORTUGAL
Posts: 20,219
Images: 2
pirate

If you've a hand bilge pump (Standard fitting on most boats) make sure the end is in the lowest part of your bilges then give it some energetic pumping for about 10-15 mins... then stick your nose down there and have a sniff... continue till the smells gone... oh... and ventilate well while your doing this.
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 08:05   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 613
I wouldn't use anything that was not specifically intended for the purpose. E.G. shop vac to evacuate flammable or even combustable vapor. When dealing with flammable vapor (even combustable vapor) I would only use items which are specifically marked as 'Ignition Protected'. In this case, I do not believe that a shop vac is ingition protected. To my knowledge propane is flammable (as opposed to combustable) which makes it a bit more dangerous.

My rule of thumb: If I think it might be dangerous, it most likely is.
__________________
Shrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 08:31   #14
Registered User
 
svHyLyte's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Tampa Bay area, USA
Boat: Beneteau First 42
Posts: 3,434
Images: 25
I think you Chaps are being a bit over the top with the situation. Carmelo's post read:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmelo View Post
A copper pipe has fractured and leaked propane into the bilge of my yacht. Luckily I heard the leak. I have opened all hatches and its a breezy day so there is a reasonable airflow through the cabin. But my question is, is this enough to vent the heavier than air propane from the bilges? How long do i need to leave it till its safe? If I can no longer smell propane is that enough? Or do i need to actively suck the gas out from the bilges to be safe. Of course i don't want to turn on any bilge pumps etc until I'm sure its ok so I'm not sure how to remove it. I have read a lot of advice on how to avoid leaks but can't find any on what to do once you have one!
Given the foregoing, it's unlikely that there is enough gas to be an issue. If one is that concerned, however, one can obtain and temporarily power a purpose built 3" bilge blower and 10' of 3" hose and suction out the bilges for about $30.00 USD, See Bilge Blowers - Wholesale Marine
__________________
"It is not so much for its beauty that the Sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
svHyLyte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2010, 08:59   #15
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Use a piece of cardboard to fan the bilge. The propane sniffers were great in theory until the reality of being in a boat bilge destroys them routinely.
__________________

__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Propshaft Leak witchofendor Propellers & Drive Systems 1 10-10-2010 09:34
Leak at Shaft ukrsindicat Engines and Propulsion Systems 10 14-06-2010 21:51
Help! Saildrive Leak! captjohn360 Construction, Maintenance & Refit 2 30-11-2009 16:29
Another way to detect a propane leak coot Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 43 04-10-2007 16:50
Diesel Leak Bev & Bill General Sailing Forum 11 10-05-2006 18:34



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:28.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.