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Propane
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Feb 18, 2021 23:39:49   #
Bill_de Loc: US
 
I did a propane exchange at Lowes yesterday. Before I got home I smelled it. It looked like an old tank with a new valve and had a slow leak where the valve screwed in. I called Lowes before bringing it back. I left it outside when I went to the service desk. The clerk was very friendly as she told me I would have to bring it in to get the exchange. I asked her, just loud enough for the others behind the counter to hear, 'do you really want me to bring a leaking propane tank into the store?' Before she could say yes three of the other employees made it clear that yes was the wrong answer. It was all friendly, and the guy I originally spoke to on the phone said they had a place for it.

I had done the soapy water test and at first thought it was OK. Because of the smell I looked more closely and there were 2 spots that small bubbles were popping. I wonder with so much cold weather across the country if tanks are not being tested as well as normal.

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Feb 19, 2021 00:02:32   #
wjones8637 Loc: Burleson, TX
 
It sounds like they inspected the tank and found a suspect valve. It's too cold and late to see if mine have teflon tape to insure the seal. It's possible the cold caused someone to rush, and it is possible that different metals contracted differently in the cold causing the leak. Whatever the cause it sounds like the store handled it the right way.

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Feb 19, 2021 00:05:37   #
rmalarz Loc: Tempe, Arizona
 
Good for you to be attentive and notice. It's also good that you were part of the training team to assure accidents don't happen.
--Bob
Bill_de wrote:
I did a propane exchange at Lowes yesterday. Before I got home I smelled it. It looked like an old tank with a new valve and had a slow leak where the valve screwed in. I called Lowes before bringing it back. I left it outside when I went to the service desk. The clerk was very friendly as she told me I would have to bring it in to get the exchange. I asked her, just loud enough for the others behind the counter to hear, 'do you really want me to bring a leaking propane tank into the store?' Before she could say yes three of the other employees made it clear that yes was the wrong answer. It was all friendly, and the guy I originally spoke to on the phone said they had a place for it.

I had done the soapy water test and at first thought it was OK. Because of the smell I looked more closely and there were 2 spots that small bubbles were popping. I wonder with so much cold weather across the country if tanks are not being tested as well as normal.

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I did a propane exchange at Lowes yesterday. Befor... (show quote)

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Feb 19, 2021 01:33:55   #
anotherview Loc: California
 
I believe the government has set norms in place for propane bottle integrity. I've owned many propane bottles, new and old, with only a single problem that involved replacement of its valve. Anyway, it's good you found the leak before worse happened.
Bill_de wrote:
I did a propane exchange at Lowes yesterday. Before I got home I smelled it. It looked like an old tank with a new valve and had a slow leak where the valve screwed in. I called Lowes before bringing it back. I left it outside when I went to the service desk. The clerk was very friendly as she told me I would have to bring it in to get the exchange. I asked her, just loud enough for the others behind the counter to hear, 'do you really want me to bring a leaking propane tank into the store?' Before she could say yes three of the other employees made it clear that yes was the wrong answer. It was all friendly, and the guy I originally spoke to on the phone said they had a place for it.

I had done the soapy water test and at first thought it was OK. Because of the smell I looked more closely and there were 2 spots that small bubbles were popping. I wonder with so much cold weather across the country if tanks are not being tested as well as normal.

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I did a propane exchange at Lowes yesterday. Befor... (show quote)

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Feb 19, 2021 05:58:46   #
Scruples Loc: Brooklyn, New York
 
Bill_de wrote:
I did a propane exchange at Lowes yesterday. Before I got home I smelled it. It looked like an old tank with a new valve and had a slow leak where the valve screwed in. I called Lowes before bringing it back. I left it outside when I went to the service desk. The clerk was very friendly as she told me I would have to bring it in to get the exchange. I asked her, just loud enough for the others behind the counter to hear, 'do you really want me to bring a leaking propane tank into the store?' Before she could say yes three of the other employees made it clear that yes was the wrong answer. It was all friendly, and the guy I originally spoke to on the phone said they had a place for it.

I had done the soapy water test and at first thought it was OK. Because of the smell I looked more closely and there were 2 spots that small bubbles were popping. I wonder with so much cold weather across the country if tanks are not being tested as well as normal.

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I did a propane exchange at Lowes yesterday. Befor... (show quote)


The soapy water is the best test. The least best way is using a lit match. BOOM!

Brass valves and steel propane cans don’t do well together in the cold. It is best to unhook the can and close it off. Otherwise you need a decent amount of Teflon tape for the valve threads.

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Feb 19, 2021 06:29:00   #
Gasman57 Loc: NYC
 
Bill_de wrote:
I did a propane exchange at Lowes yesterday. Before I got home I smelled it. It looked like an old tank with a new valve and had a slow leak where the valve screwed in. I called Lowes before bringing it back. I left it outside when I went to the service desk. The clerk was very friendly as she told me I would have to bring it in to get the exchange. I asked her, just loud enough for the others behind the counter to hear, 'do you really want me to bring a leaking propane tank into the store?' Before she could say yes three of the other employees made it clear that yes was the wrong answer. It was all friendly, and the guy I originally spoke to on the phone said they had a place for it.

I had done the soapy water test and at first thought it was OK. Because of the smell I looked more closely and there were 2 spots that small bubbles were popping. I wonder with so much cold weather across the country if tanks are not being tested as well as normal.

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I did a propane exchange at Lowes yesterday. Befor... (show quote)


Leaking propane gas indoors is VERY dangerous as it's heavier than air and sinks to the bottom of the room and pools. Natural gas is lighter than air and usually dissipates. I heard of many stories of campers with a leaky propane stove that leaked inside their tent. It didn't end well when a spark or flame was introduced inside the tent. Think of a mushroom cloud.

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Feb 19, 2021 07:09:11   #
cincykid
 
In Ohio tanks are good for 12 years & then must be inpected & rehabbed prior to returning them for use. There is a date stamped on tanks that gives this info.

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Feb 19, 2021 07:54:21   #
foathog Loc: Greensboro, NC
 
Gasman57 wrote:
Leaking propane gas indoors is VERY dangerous as it's heavier than air and sinks to the bottom of the room and pools. Natural gas is lighter than air and usually dissipates. I heard of many stories of campers with a leaky propane stove that leaked inside their tent. It didn't end well when a spark or flame was introduced inside the tent. Think of a mushroom cloud.


I was about to say the same thing. Not enough people know that.

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Feb 19, 2021 08:17:05   #
Canisdirus
 
It takes a lot more gas than folks realize to become a problem.

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Feb 19, 2021 08:40:20   #
jaymatt Loc: Alexandria, Indiana
 

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Feb 19, 2021 10:08:23   #
martin muller
 
That was a serious situation. Something I fear happens too often. In an exchange ten years ago, I too was given a bad tank. These must not be inspected closely as they should be. Hanging an inspection tag on the tank does not make an inspection. I did not discover the valve had problems until some time later as I then rotated between three tanks. I took my tank to a city sponsored hazardous waste day, staffed by police and fire departments, told them my problem and the fire department took the tank off my hands. Perhaps they were able to use it in training staff. Yes I lost 35 dollars on the value of a tank but I am alive to tell about it. Everyone be safe, be well.

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Feb 19, 2021 10:29:40   #
anotherview Loc: California
 
Suggestion for users of propane bottles: Visit a mobile home dealer or like business. There they can test your bottle or replace the worn valve. Better safe than sorry.
Gasman57 wrote:
Leaking propane gas indoors is VERY dangerous as it's heavier than air and sinks to the bottom of the room and pools. Natural gas is lighter than air and usually dissipates. I heard of many stories of campers with a leaky propane stove that leaked inside their tent. It didn't end well when a spark or flame was introduced inside the tent. Think of a mushroom cloud.

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Feb 19, 2021 10:36:23   #
Picture Taker Loc: Michigan Thumb
 
Be aware of propane. It expands (from liquid with air about(I think I remember) 11,000 to one --1 QuFt to 11,000 QuFt) and is heavier than air so it stays on the ground or to the basement and that is the-explosive mix.
A hand held can can take down your garage. A tanker truck can take a village.

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Feb 19, 2021 11:35:59   #
marine73 Loc: Modesto California
 
I taught compressed gas classes for years at my work since we handle a lot of different types of compressed gasses and the one thing that I stressed was to look for the dates. This would let the user know if the bottle was in compliance with the testing that was required.

Depending on when the bottle was manufactured the Hydrostatic testing was either every 3 years, 5 years or ten years. The rules change all the time.

Each time the bottle is tested a new date is stamped on the bottle neck indicating when the last test was accomplished. The oldest Bottle that I had come through my work was Manufactured in 1910 and you could look at that bottle and tell that it was tested every three years. As long as the bottle passes the hydrostatic test it is good.

As far as I know there is no requirement for a private person to have his/her bottle tested that they own and have filled on a regular basis. If you are doing the exchange thing then the place that does the exchanges would be reponsible for ensuring that the bottles have had current hydrostatic testing inspections. I would also look to see when the last hydrostatic test was done and if seems to have gone for longer then necessary then do not accept the tank.

The first recertification is 12 years from date of Mfg., then is good for 5, 7 or 12 years depending on method of certification.

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Feb 19, 2021 11:51:21   #
JBRIII
 
For whatever reason, natural gas, methane, has one of, if the, largest range of concentrations in air over which it will go boom. Something like 20 to 80%?. As a kid in Baltimore I saw the result. Someone lit a stove three blocks away and 3 row houses disappeared, seven in all burned out.

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