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Old 27-06-2020, 06:02   #16
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

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Originally Posted by billgewater View Post
You may not wish to listen to my suggestions but some of them are compulsory in Queensland.

The installation MUST be done by a certified marine gas installer.
There must be a testing fitting after the regulator.
The regulator must be a two stage model.
There must be a manual cut off near the cooker. (unless it is all certified copper tubing - no flex tubing - to the appliance.)

For charter vessels they are all absolutely compulsory and the system must be checked every year by a certified marine gas installer.

This is not my opinion. These are conditions for Queensland vessel registration.
And
I have spoken to a number of Queensland marine gas installers and the use of a two sensor alarm system that operates a cut off solenoid in the high pressure side is strongly advised. Bilge vacuuming systems are just common sense.

Furthermore, in QLD and I believe the other states as well, the copper tubing must be a specific type of tubing and it is covered with a plastic tubing for mechanical protection. Green for half inch brown for three eighths. Again, this is not optional.

Visiting boats do not need to comply. Do all Queenslanders comply? I am sure they all don't, but them's the rules.
Bilgewater,

I have to express my extreme surprise that Boatpoker dismissed your thorough and thoughtful response with a, "Don't listen to that guy!"

Boatpoker is an experienced Canadian boat surveyor and a liveaboard AND someone who conducted a lengthy re-fit on his own cabin cruiser.

The only reason I could venture a guess at such a dismissal would be a difference in training and practices. As someone who was trained in England, the British-based schemes are quite fierce about LPG safety and, as one other poster described, ensuring that the lines are clear EVERY time the stove is used - which would mean not retaining any pressure at all in the lines when not in use.

Fiona, perhaps note specially those responding posts from people who are UK-based such as yourself: Pete7 and anyone else who is in the UK will be familiar with the common rules and regs and safety considerations related to LPG which are quite different from Boatpoker's personal practise and whatever scheme we might have here in Canada.

For what it's worth, Bilgewater, it sounds as if Queensland's rules are similarly rigorous to those of the UK.

Good luck, Fiona!
It's a good "paranoia" to have. Keeps you safe.
Warmly,
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Old 29-06-2020, 03:48   #17
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

Do you have pilot lights on your stove or electronic ignition? if you have pilot lights on ANY apliance they will burn until the gas is out of the lines after turning off bottles, as long as the thermocoupler is hot it keeps valves open to the pilot lights. If you have electronic ignition on everything I'd start looking for a leak. don't just soap joints also soap pressure regulator itself and stems around controll knobs they can leak not often but it can happen.
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Old 30-06-2020, 05:38   #18
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

I know more difficult to source than propane, but my boat came with methane and I've stayed with it...lighter than air (only 2 carbon chain)..so safer than propane albeit any gas by its nature can be hazardous. Also I am not a live-aboard so my usage is minimal except when on a trip. System similar to what's already mentioned, tank shutoff,(secured in starboard lazarette), solenoid near stove.
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Old 30-06-2020, 15:43   #19
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

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Boatpoker is an experienced Canadian boat surveyor and a liveaboard

Lol, surveyors.
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Old 30-06-2020, 16:07   #20
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

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Lol, surveyors.
DON'T BE MEAN!!!

Boatpoker is an amazing and incredibly knowledgeable surveyor who provides reams of helpful information to Forum members all the time. Take a moment to go on his website and see the beautiful re-fit he and Sharon did on their boat.

If you'd read my response closely, you would have seen that there are quite distinct differences and practices as taught in the UK versus Canada.

Boatpoker was trained in Canada. By comparison, I and others I mentioned to Fiona, were trained in the UK - so their answers are going to be more relevant regarding the UK's set-up and system safeguards for LPG.

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Old 30-06-2020, 16:19   #21
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

Gas name: Methane, ethane, prop, but, pent, etc
# Carbon atoms: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc

Properties of gases differ according to a number of factors eg molecular weight, temperature, etc. They all have one thing in common though and that is unless respected they can have disastrous impacts.

The OP is right to be nervous and ask questions, and has my admiration for doing so.
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Old 30-06-2020, 18:56   #22
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

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Originally Posted by billgewater View Post
Cooking gas is potentially very dangerous. You can expire from breathing it or for more excitement, a violent explosion with crew cartwheeling through the air, followed by a ripping fire. Then just to add to your woes, a recalcitrant, difficult insurance company stand off.
I do recommend the installation of a gas detector with one sensor just under the cooker and one in the lowest bilge area with an alarm and an automated solenoid cut off at the bottles. We always turn the unit off after use and then back on prior to ignition when it goes through the testing phase - which takes about twenty seconds. Also I noticed that you have a single stage regulator. In some places the two stage ones are mandatory. For good reason.
After the regulator, the gas pressure is actually very low (less than 1 psi). A little trick is to install a testing point inlet after the regulator that allows you to pump up the system with air from a (say) a foot pump to about 30 or so psi. (you may need to put in a stop cap or a manual valve to prevent this pressure from being exposed to the output side of the regulator. I have heard that some regulators don't like high pressure at the outlet. You don't want to damage your regulator.) This will safely reveal any leaks in the system much more conspicuously than the lower gas pressure will. If there are any leaks at any flare fittings, you can just slack off the fitting and re tighten it until the leak stops. Not advisable if there is still gas in the system.

Another safety aid is the installation of a manual cut off near the cooker and use it every time you use the cooker. If there is a flare up at the cooker (e.g. cooking oil ignites) and you can't reach the normal controls, then this manual cutoff (situated a short distance from the cooker) allows you to save the day, the boat, the food and importantly, your social standing as a reliable chef. (One with "flare"?)

Finally, consider installing a bilge vacuum system with a 12 vdc flame proof motor. Not expensive, but if you do have a gas spill, then you will definitely need one and there are no chandlers at sea. Some propellant gases from hair sprays, insect repellents, carbon monoxide from engine exhaust gases etc. can also accumulate in the bilge so regularly vacuuming is a good practice in keel boats. The larger the bilge, then the more gas can accumulate so the more important this vacuuming becomes.
Consult a qualified marine gas installer. Get certification that the system meets legal requirements and file it with your insurance company.
Lots wrong here with these suggestions.

1) never have a manual shutoff valve at the cooker.(not allowed) as it introduces extra connections in the system which is not allowed. The solenoid shutoff must be located such that you can turn it off without reaching over the stove ( or a fire) to deactivate.

2) the sniffer (or alarm) should be on all the time not just when the stove is in use.

3) bilge vacuum system? really, does such a thing even exist?

4) installing a test point after the regulator, again no extra joints, just a bad idea

5) most of your "suggestions" would result in a surveyor raising serious safety concerns about the install. Just read the abyc regs and reference Calder for a safe install.
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Old 30-06-2020, 22:22   #23
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

For PCCM and others.
1. Manual shutoffs near the cooker are to be placed so that you don't have to lean over the stove and ARE MANDATORY in Queensland if there is a flexible section at the cooker.. .... Irrespective of any solenoids in the system. They are there not just there as an ultimate safety back up, but are required if there is a flexible section to a gimballed (swinging) stove. These hoses can be subject to continuous flexing at sea. The shut off valve is intended to be placed at the junction of the rigid to flexible plumbing joint, but easy safe access is paramount. All cookers must have their own auto shutoffs at the burners as well, so the manual shut off is a back up, if one of these fail.
2. If the solenoid at the bottle high pressure end, before the regulator, is turned off, then there will be no gas entering the plumbing after that solenoid. That's why it makes sense. However, I am not sure if having it turned off is mandatory in QLD. If Fiona has the ability to turn off (close) the solenoid when the stove is not in use, the possibility of a continuous gas flow to the inside of the boat is essentially eliminated. Solenoids can be manually switched or they can be controlled by a sensor detector system. Not all alarms have a solenoid on/off facility so the sensor may be detecting gas, setting off the alarm but still not cutting off the gas. Another consideration is the area where the bottles are stored. if there is a leak at the bottle valve, i.e. before the cut off solenoid, then for a badly vented container, a leak at the bottle may result in gas going into the boat. However, obviously, even if the solenoid did automatically turn off this would not stop the gas flow as it was released before the solenoid.
I have seen a system that had two solenoids that allowed selection from either of two bottles from inside the boat. In this case the solenoids were both on the low pressure side of two single stage screw in regulators. Would not pass in AUS at all.
3. A bilge vacuum system is simply a safe means of removing any gas from the bilge. They usually consist of concertina style 4 inch (100 mm) light flexible tubes and a flame proof DC motor. They are sold in boat chandlers for safety conscious owners. Maybe you can suggest another means of removing accumulated gas from the bilges. You would want to remove the gas wouldn't you? No it is not (as far as I know) mandatory in QLD because it would depend on the boat design.
4. The test point allows the owner or certifier to check the plumbing system. By pumping higher pressure air into the system it provides a superior and safer means of leak testing. It is located just after the compulsory two stage reducer. These check points are mandatory in QLD. Charter/commercial vessels must be tested every year and that is where the higher pressure air is introduced.
5. Australian Standard 5601-2004 is the reference document for gas installations. In particular section 6.3, LP Gas Systems for. Marine Craft.
6. In QLD, a gas barbecue on the aft deck, with outside bottles, does not need to meet any of the otherwise stated conditions.

Clearly different countries have different rules, but when a safety installation is optional, surely you would at least try to comprehend why it is available or even mandatory in some places.
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Old 01-07-2020, 04:43   #24
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billgewater View Post
For PCCM and others.
1. Manual shutoffs near the cooker are to be placed so that you don't have to lean over the stove and ARE MANDATORY in Queensland if there is a flexible section at the cooker.. ....

The setup you describe is pretty similar to my boat which was certified in Victoria. And, from memory, similar again to the NSW standards applied on the Murray River.

Certainly it all makes sense to me. I was initially unhappy about the shutoff tap next to the stove, but being a gimballed stove I concede it allows you to easily isolate the flexible hose and stove from the system should either start to leak.

Iíve added a Peel twin sensor gas alarm and solenoid, with one sensor in the bilge and one directly under the stove. The Peel should turn off the solenoid in the event of a gas leak being detected.

I also put the Peel head unit opposite the stove and I usually remember to use it to turn off the gas when I am not cooking.
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Old 01-07-2020, 05:49   #25
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

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Boat in the UK

I am paranoid about gas. 1 have a 24/7 gas detector in the bilge.

I had a two bottle system, vented outside, with a change over switch (shown below) and manometer gauge. I would turn off at the bottles and next time I went back to the boat I to the gas the gauge would show empty. As soon as I turned on the gas I would hear a psssssh and the gauge would show full again.

No joins bubble with soapy water and the cooker was professionally serviced.

Being paranoid I changed over to a single regulator without a guage. Still get the pssssssh though.

I use a 15Kg butane on a 4 burner BBQ at home. It seems I cook twice and its empty (same psssssh, but I usually leave it turned on on the connector)

I now have a 3.9Kg Propane (spare off the boat) running a six burner BBQ I tried it out and then five days later it ran for 30 minutes and went out.

Now my question and I don't think I have a leak, will a system naturally de-pressurise even when its off? or should it stay pressurised over a few days? No speculation or Ive read answers please, I can look things up too and I cant find any information on this. Most LPG suppliers wont help when I mention boat and others charge a fortune. I need an expert opinion please.
Your BBQ at home definitely has a leak ( or some other issue) if it goes through 30lbs of butane in 2 cooking sessions. my 10lb propane tank lasts about 3(ish) weeks of cooking when living-aboard (that's roughly 60+ uses between meals and coffee/tea making)

You shouldn't be loosing pressure when the system is off. loosing pressure is a leak somewhere. Could even be the line itself somewhere in the system if its old. I personally don't like change over switches. I prefer to have the spare bottle completely disconnected and manually switch the connection over to the new tank.

My system for example has 2 10lb tanks in a custom locker ( that is also a seat) on the aft deck. This means the tanks are on the outside of the boat. In the locker are 2 10lb tanks, 2 little bbq tanks and the regulator/solenoid assembly. the hose from that goes into the boat using a waterproof gland in the deck. then inside the boat it runs inside rigid plastic conduit ( to protect the hose) all the way to the galley where the conduit exits near the stove. From there the propane hose connects directly to the stove (with a loop to allow the stove to gimbal) this way there is only 1 connection inside the boat at the appliance which complies with ABYC propane regs. The conduit allows me to easily remove the hose for inspection, prevents chafe on the hose (and in my case make re-installing/replacing really really easy! ) At the stove (below it actually) is the propane detector sensor which is connected to a propane sniffer/solenoid system that is on 100% of the time. On top of that I manually close the tank valves every time I leave the boat for the day.
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:38   #26
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

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The setup you describe is pretty similar to my boat which was certified in Victoria. And, from memory, similar again to the NSW standards applied on the Murray River.

Certainly it all makes sense to me. I was initially unhappy about the shutoff tap next to the stove, but being a gimballed stove I concede it allows you to easily isolate the flexible hose and stove from the system should either start to leak.

Iíve added a Peel twin sensor gas alarm and solenoid, with one sensor in the bilge and one directly under the stove. The Peel should turn off the solenoid in the event of a gas leak being detected.

I also put the Peel head unit opposite the stove and I usually remember to use it to turn off the gas when I am not cooking.
Hi.
The Peel unit is excellent. I also have one with the two sensors and the solenoid cut off. I also turn it on for cooking and off after cooking. One small complaint is that it is not highly visible so I wired it into the main switchboard with a parallel warning light. The warning light is a bundle of 12 VDC red flashing LEDS (Jaycar). This flashing light faces the saloon area and is highly visible and near annoying, so we never miss out turning the whole thing off.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:12   #27
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

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Hi.

The Peel unit is excellent. I also have one with the two sensors and the solenoid cut off. I also turn it on for cooking and off after cooking. One small complaint is that it is not highly visible so I wired it into the main switchboard with a parallel warning light. The warning light is a bundle of 12 VDC red flashing LEDS (Jaycar). This flashing light faces the saloon area and is highly visible and near annoying, so we never miss out turning the whole thing off.


Yes, good point about visibility, it ainít good.

As a grim aside, the boat fire that claimed two lives last night in Geelong appears to be gas related.

And I just got a salient reminder of the stored energy in gas; I disconnected the gas bottle from the galley gas supply to run the bbq tonight. Ten minutes later I put a pot of water on the stove for the noodles. I actually managed to get the water to the boil from the gas that was stored in the 25 feet of copper pipe from the stern to the stove. Thatís just plain scary! Thatís the low pressure side of the regulator! It was only after the gas went out that I realised the bottle was no longer connected.
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Old 03-07-2020, 04:16   #28
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Re: Is there a gas leak?

Hi Fiona the OP
I have found the Calor Gas people in Southampton UK very helpful. The manager has a sailing cruiser
  • Socal89 Ltd
  • Southampton Calor Gas Centre
  • Third Avenue
  • Millbrook
  • Southampton
  • SO15 0JX telephone +44 (0)23 8078 8155
Although you are East Coast, I think they will offer help
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