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 09-21-2002, 09:42 Post: 42725
Billy

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 Propane regulator

I have a poultry farm, 4 houses with one propane tank supplying all 4. Yesterday the tank was filled to 83% (3,200 gallon tank). Last night when I went to check the birds, I had no heat. After some investigation, I found the regulator at the tank had froze. I poured some water over the regulator and everything went to working. This has never happened before. Can anyone tell me what would cause this problem?

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Billy






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 09-21-2002, 09:49 Post: 42727
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 Propane regulator

Billy, was the humidity unusually high yesterday? May be related to the dew point spread. I used to know all that stuff a couple decades ago, but when I learned to tie my own tie, something had to go to make room for the new info. Maybe someone else can fill in the gaps.






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 09-21-2002, 09:56 Post: 42729
Billy

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 Propane regulator

No more than normal Mark. The temp yesterday got up to about 85 and it was 76 when I found the regulator froze.

Billy






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 09-21-2002, 12:27 Post: 42734
CB
2002-09-21 00:00:00
Post: 42734
 Propane regulator

tank should not have been filled past 80%. When the cold gas expanded it froze at the regulator






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 09-21-2002, 13:50 Post: 42736
Peters

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 Propane regulator

Two problems are possible. Excessively high gas flow can cool the regulator, but I imagine that the over filled tank probably warmed and blew the relief valve cooling the regulator further. I imagine that in Oklahoma they run a summer and winter mix like diesel. Butane in the summer and propane in the winter. I suspect that your freezing was due to the cold regulator and a tank of butane.






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 09-21-2002, 13:58 Post: 42737
Billy

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 Propane regulator

I don't know, Peters. I do think it was a bit overfilled for this time of year. The reason I say this is I just went to look at the regulator and it was frosted up again (not frozen yet). It seems the problem only occurs when the outside temp is in the 80's, causing the gas to expand inside the tank?

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 09-22-2002, 08:04 Post: 42769
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 Propane regulator

I guess you know if the regulator is rated for the flow required by the four houses and the system has operated long enough to know that it worked OK till now.

I wonder if I’ve got the mechanism that being thought about right? There has to be flow to produce icing. There wouldn’t be any expansion of gases in a closed system. However, the pressure in a tank should increase during hot weather so there’d be a greater pressure differential across the regulator, which probably means greater expansion and more icing. I’m not sure if a smaller gas space inside the tank due to over-filling would make any difference to the pressure rise, or if an 80%fill limit is required for other reasons.

I guess the extra expansion in hot weather idea would be true so long as the propane changed from liquid to vapour phase in the tank rather than regulator. I have heard of things called generators but I don’t know if they’re the same as regulators. I also don’t know about relief valves on large tanks. I’d sort of expect them to be designed to withstand pressures up to those that might rupture a tank and wouldn’t be encountered in ordinary operating environments. With all these ‘I don’t knows’ an assumption that there’s no expertise here would be correct. Maybe I’ll learn something.

I wonder if something would work like a heating pad placed beneath the regulator, or warm air directed at it, until the level declines to a normal fill to see if the problem goes away. Of course, any possible fire hazard should be recognized.






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 09-22-2002, 21:33 Post: 42795
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 Propane regulator

Butane has a boiling point of 31 degrees F and propane has a boiling point of -43 degrees F. I suspect that they delivered a tank which is high in butane and then when the gas expands through the regulator, high pressure to low pressure and cools. The pressure is high due to the temperature 80 F outside and the high fill of the tank. The gas liquifies in the regulator and stops it up.
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 09-23-2002, 06:28 Post: 42801
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 Propane regulator

Thank you Peters. I believe that's the explanation I was working towards and in far fewer words. Funny thing how knowing something shortens up the explanations. High pressure ='s more expansion ='s more cooling ='s liquefying butane rich gas in the regulator. I guess the solution would be cooler weather or turning down the heat till the next fill that hopefully would be a winter blend. Of course, the chicks may not be partial to a 'turning down the heat' solution.

I believe that an earlier comment from you led to an understanding why I grew up calling them butane tanks and now they're called propane tanks. I kept moving north and didn't know that butane freezes in northern climates so people don't call it butane.






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 09-23-2002, 14:14 Post: 42816
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 Propane regulator

Ok Folks, nows my chance to show of some knowledge that has little to do with tractors...well now days that is. We had a 4020 that ran on L.P. when I was a wee lad.

The reason the regulator is frosting over is due to a restriction in the flow.]

When propane is change from it's liquid state to it's gassious state (vapor), it cools just like any other refridgerant.

If there is a restriction in the flow, and pressure on one side of the restriction is enough higher than the are past the restriction, it will vaporize in the same manor as an expansion valve works in your car air conditioner.

I would say, off hand, you have a bad regulator, and this is one of the early signs of failure. It could even be a plug in the line where the regulator connects.

Propanen is a product derived from of crude oil. It is seperated from the crude by one of two processes. fractional distilation, or the more modern version of catlytic cracking. It is blended with other fuels to maintain the correct vapor pressure for the ambient outside temps at the time of usage.

Then.....usually it is sent down a huge pipeline to a storage field, usually undrground(don't ask).

There is a substance called "line rouge" that is used in the pipelines occasionally to help keep them clean. T

And here is where I think your problem comes in............

The line rouge is never cleaned completely from the system. It ususally puts a coating on the inside of lines, tanks, whatever it comes in contact with.

But every now and then, little balls of the stuff is formd and lay in the bottoms of tanks. These little balls sometimes fnd there way to your storage tank and usually...they just lay in the bottom harmless, but sometimes when a truck transferes fuel into your tank, these little rascals get disturbed and find there way into your plumbing and furnaces, causeing the problem you describe.

Regulators are not rebuilt, they are just thrown away and the cause of failure is never diagnosed.

The chances of this happening twice to the same tank is almost nil. But industry wide, it happens on an almost regular basis. The stuff is so fine, filtering would be impractical, and I've seen companies try to use filters,they cause more problems than they save.

Have your supplier change your regulator!!!!









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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Just For Fun Off Topic Forum

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