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We have a gas problem, the gas keeps going off. This happens in the evening (but that is when cooking gets done) and I think relates to low temperature or fairly rapid falls in temperature..

We are using standard Calor propane 13kg red bottles.

When it first happened I turned off the bottle, undid the union nut a turn or two and opened the gas bottle valve to confirm the bottle was not empty (it should have been almost full). A good blast of gas so tightened the connection, problem fixed, but only for about 1/2 hour.

This has happened several times now over two days and each time briefly cracking open the union gets things working again.

Today I changed the regulator. Tonight the gas failed again. This time rather than cracking open the union I poured warm water onto the top of the bottle over the valve (not the regulator). This got the gas flowing again. Outside temperature is -0.2.

What is going on?

 

..............Dave

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Probably some condensate gloop in the pipes. I had a similar problem with my caravan, the pipe was not continuously falling from regulator to bottle.

 

That said I’m surprised if you didn’t find traces of gloop when you changed the regulator. I eventually did that to my caravan (since which it has been fine) and gallons of the stuff poured out. Well I exaggerate obviously, but a surprisingly large amount flowed out.

 

Or maybe it is just some water in the pipes (condensed out) that is freezing? Anyway, propane boils at -42 so you will be a long way off the actual liquid gas failing to evaporate.

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Yup it will!

Expanding gas cools.  you will see a frost line on the side of the cylinder, this is the level of liquid gas, where the gas is changing from liquid to gas, hence the cooling effect.

Whats happening is the surface of the liquid is freezing solid, so no gas can form.

The answer is to draw less gas off, or increase the gas/liquid surface, by adding cylinders together, via "pig tails".

The "rocket" type gas heaters can take 4 x 45kg cylinders, in cold weather to run them fully.

 

Bod

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11 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

Probably some condensate gloop in the pipes. I had a similar problem with my caravan, the pipe was not continuously falling from regulator to bottle.

 

That said I’m surprised if you didn’t find traces of gloop when you changed the regulator. I eventually did that to my caravan (since which it has been fine) and gallons of the stuff poured out. Well I exaggerate obviously, but a surprisingly large amount flowed out.

 

Or maybe it is just some water in the pipes (condensed out) that is freezing? Anyway, propane boils at -42 so you will be a long way off the actual liquid gas failing to evaporate.

Had that once on a caravan.OAT -15C.

The cause was water freezing in the gas pipe.

Poured boiling water over the pipe and blew it through with a footpump.

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8 minutes ago, Bod said:

Yup it will!

Expanding gas cools.  you will see a frost line on the side of the cylinder, this is the level of liquid gas, where the gas is changing from liquid to gas, hence the cooling effect.

Whats happening is the surface of the liquid is freezing solid, so no gas can form.

The answer is to draw less gas off, or increase the gas/liquid surface, by adding cylinders together, via "pig tails".

The "rocket" type gas heaters can take 4 x 45kg cylinders, in cold weather to run them fully.

 

Bod

But it would have to get down below -42 to stop producing any gas. I agree that drawing off gas reduces the temperature, but surely not down to -42 just from some cooking when the ambient temperature is only -0.2. One propane cylinder works a cooker quite happily at well below freezing ambient temperature. Or normally does!

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17 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

Somebody has filled ya bottles with butane 😎

 

This had occurred to me but surely we would have noticed a change in flame pattern (at the very least) on the cooker.

I got this gas bottle (from a reputable farm shop) just before Christmas and gas was in very short supply, had to phone every few hours and dash down when the delivery arrived.

I hope Calor themselves would not mix a bit of Butane in if Propane was in short supply???

 

............Dave

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19 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

Probably some condensate gloop in the pipes. I had a similar problem with my caravan, the pipe was not continuously falling from regulator to bottle.

 

That said I’m surprised if you didn’t find traces of gloop when you changed the regulator. I eventually did that to my caravan (since which it has been fine) and gallons of the stuff poured out. Well I exaggerate obviously, but a surprisingly large amount flowed out.

 

Or maybe it is just some water in the pipes (condensed out) that is freezing? Anyway, propane boils at -42 so you will be a long way off the actual liquid gas failing to evaporate.

 

Its a simple setup with the regulator screwed directly to the bottle so no high pressure hose. The low pressure hose does fall and rise again but its less than a year old. When I poured the hot water on the bottle I made sure not to move the low pressure hose in any way.

 

It does appear to be bottle/valve related which makes no sense to me......unless its time related and the time to get coat on and get outside with a spanner is also the self fixing time?

 

............Dave

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5 minutes ago, Bod said:

Oven, 2-3 ring hob,+ Alde, would be enough in this weather, for a full cylinder.

 

Bod

 

For tonights failure it was the oven and two rings only. Yesterday was oven, grill and 2 or 3 rings. No Alde, It has to get down below -10 before we contemplate lighting the Alde  😀

 

.............Dave

And ten years ago in the real cold winter we saw much lower temperatures and had no gas problems.

 

..............Dave

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If it is not frozen pipe condensate I would bet on a frozen regulator.  They have a vent hole to below the diaphragm and if there is damp in there the regulator can freeze up, since the gas passing has a cooling effect.

 

Bring the regulator into the warm for as long as possible and allow it to dry out.

 

N

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13 hours ago, dmr said:

When it first happened I turned off the bottle, undid the union nut a turn or two and opened the gas bottle valve to confirm the bottle was not empty (it should have been almost full).

If it "should've been almost full", couldn't you tell it from an empty by lifting it?

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2 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

If it "should've been almost full", couldn't you tell it from an empty by lifting it?

 

Its actually quicker and easier to crack open the union, especially when its cold, dark and the foredeck is icy.

We keep three bottles in the gas locker and there is no clearance for lifting the rear two without moving the third (forward) one or even taking it out, and there is other stuff in the locker that makes moving difficult.

 

The gas failed to light late last night so its not flow related. Changed the bottle, it was ok this morning, will see what happens tonight.

When I changed the bottle I closed the valve then undid the union and there was certainly good pressure on the high pressure side of the regulator.

This is all very odd.

 

..............Dave

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Just now, dmr said:

 

Its actually quicker and easier to crack open the union, especially when its cold, dark and the foredeck is icy.

We keep three bottles in the gas locker and there is no clearance for lifting the rear two without moving the third (forward) one or even taking it out, and there is other stuff in the locker that makes moving difficult.

 

The gas failed to light late last night so its not flow related. Changed the bottle, it was ok this morning, will see what happens tonight.

When I changed the bottle I closed the valve then undid the union and there was certainly good pressure on the high pressure side of the regulator.

This is all very odd.

 

..............Dave

Ah, fairy snuff. Mine are behind side hatch doors - gotta love Piper Boats for that blessing! :)

 

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I doubt it is freezing gas. When you see propane bottles being really heavily used, for example on road works lorries to supply tarmac heaters and burning off white lines etc they form frost all over the pipework and on the outside of the bottles to the level of the gas inside. Its likely to be really cold gas freezing a bit of water. Regulaters are not that expensive so I think I would get a new one and fit that, whilst you are doing that try to drain the pipework if you can point it downhill. Keep the old reg. as a spare.

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1 minute ago, Bee said:

I doubt it is freezing gas. When you see propane bottles being really heavily used, for example on road works lorries to supply tarmac heaters and burning off white lines etc they form frost all over the pipework and on the outside of the bottles to the level of the gas inside. Its likely to be really cold gas freezing a bit of water. Regulaters are not that expensive so I think I would get a new one and fit that, whilst you are doing that try to drain the pipework if you can point it downhill. Keep the old reg. as a spare.

Hes changed the regulater and it still does it old bean.

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You have changed the regulator, 'cracked' the fittings to ensure gas is coming out, but I see no mention of trying one of your other cylinders. That would take a 'problem' cylinder out of the equation.

 

Have you ?

 

As it affects multi appliances then it is not appliance related so the system is just :

 

Cylinder

Regulator

LP Piping

 

You have replaced (renewed) the regulator, if you change the cylinder and it is still the same then the only remaining part is the pipe work, which may be restricted by "frozen' gloop", or 'gloop' sitting in a low point in the sytem restricting the flow.

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4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

You have changed the regulator, 'cracked' the fittings to ensure gas is coming out, but I see no mention of trying one of your other cylinders. That would take a 'problem' cylinder out of the equation.

 

Have you ?

 

As it affects multi appliances then it is not appliance related so the system is just :

 

Cylinder

Regulator

LP Piping

 

You have replaced (renewed) the regulator, if you change the cylinder and it is still the same then the only remaining part is the pipe work, which may be restricted by "frozen' gloop", or 'gloop' sitting in a low point in the sytem restricting the flow.

 

Changed the cylinder last night, gas ok this morning, will see what happens tonight.  Pouring hot water on to top of cylinder without disturbing low pressure hose in any way fixed the issue yesterday, and low pressure hose is only a year old. Hose looked clean when I replaced regulator but did not look too hard. If gas bottle change does not fix it then that points to low pressure hose. However this gas bottle was purchased at the same time as the one that's causing the problem. Third gas bottle currently empty. However if its not resolved tonight then weather starts to warm up so might never get to understand this..

 

..............Dave

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36 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

I mean the whole of the LP piping from regulator to appliance.

The gunk can collect in a dip in the copper piping (for example)

 

The symptoms are not really making sense. Pouring hot water onto the bottle went from no gas to full perfect gas flow, so if it was a blockage elsewhere that fixed itself due to time interval I would not expect such a good quick fix. Exterior copper has no significant dips though rubber hose does. Copper in boat is fairly straight (but one dip in a cupboard????) Flexible to cooker has a big dip. Will light Alde pilot tonight to eliminate the cooker hose.

 

..............Dave

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When we had autogas at work we had a tanker deliver dodgy gas in water it had butane in it I had cars all over running rough as a dog! In cars the fuel is liquid as far ad the heated vaporiser  the problem then is it does burn different and I would think its the same in normal gas appliances especially as it freezes at 4 degrees Celsius 😟

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14 minutes ago, dmr said:

 

The symptoms are not really making sense. Pouring hot water onto the bottle went from no gas to full perfect gas flow, so if it was a blockage elsewhere that fixed itself due to time interval I would not expect such a good quick fix. Exterior copper has no significant dips though rubber hose does. Copper in boat is fairly straight (but one dip in a cupboard????) Flexible to cooker has a big dip. Will light Alde pilot tonight to eliminate the cooker hose.

 

..............Dave

Probably a silly suggestion but just in case the gas supply is being affected by the cold weather, perhaps it is worth wrapping an old blanket (or dog bed) round the cylinder and gas pipes in the locker.

 

haggis

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7 minutes ago, haggis said:

Probably a silly suggestion but just in case the gas supply is being affected by the cold weather, perhaps it is worth wrapping an old blanket (or dog bed) round the cylinder and gas pipes in the locker.

 

haggis

No sorry that would be counter-productive for the cylinder at least. When the liquid “gas” boils/evaporates to replace the gas drawn off, it absorbs quite a lot of heat. Latent heat of evaporation etc. If the cylinder is insulated that heat cannot be drawn from outside, the cylinder temperature will plummet and gas will stop coming out.

 

The whole shebang relies on heat being drawn from outside to inside the cylinder, and don’t forget that heat and temperature are absolutely not the same thing. Heat can still flow from an ambient temperature of -10 to a cylinder contents temperatures of say -15.

Edited by nicknorman
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