Old 01-25-05, 06:07 PM
Gary Doran
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My landlord got on my A$$ last weekend for using 20 lb propane cylinders to heat the apt I rent from him. He claims that dirt will be sucked into the heater if the small tanks run out frequently . I think the problem started in January when the temperatures plumeted here in the north east to around 10 at night . I thought the tanks would have a pressure drop in the lower temps ... maybe . Not dirt being sucked into the htr as my landlord believes . I never heard of dirt in propane gas ! My question to anyone familiar with propane htrs ? Is it possible that using 20 lb propane cylinders can harm a htr .This is a narrow tall wall unit, fan at the top, heat out the bottom, and is a vented unit . It is also thermostat controlled . I know it is a pain to keep lighting the pilot , and a royal pain changing cylinders often ... but aside from that, I just do not believe in the dirt theory and that I am causing harm to his htr by using 20 lb tanks . He wants me to sign a waiver that I am responsible for damage to the htr if something goes wrong with it . Imagine that was my first reaction . But I 've been wrong before . The htr sometimes makes a buzzing sound for 3-10 seconds before lighting . When the burner lights, the buzzing stops , and the htr cycles and shuts off normally .The problem (BUZZING SOUND LIKE SOMETHING IS HANGING UP) is only heard before burner ignition and is intermittant. The problem just started jan 20-05 .That is when I notified my landlord I believed the htr was malfunctioning . That is when he notified me .... he believes I am responsible for the problem myself .The controls can't last forever can they ? Could it be the regulator outside ? Does propane freeze? I respect my landlord and his property and do not intend on harming his heater . But I was thinking about rigging a stun gun to the thermostat somehow, to keep the old lady from spinning it up all the time.
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Old 01-25-05, 06:49 PM
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You got to be kidding me that you're using a small 20# tank to heat the Apt!??

There is no dirt inside the tank, so there will be no harm done.

Where is this tank sitting at??

Is this a free standing pilot unit? Not sure what the buzzing is.. I would guess it's the fan motor trying to start, and it's taking awhile to get going.

I'd be tempted to call the City Hall and have someone come buy and inspect this set up, My guts tells me it's a big NO NO. (having a small 20# tank heating your apt)

Right, nothing last forever, how old is this wall heater?

As LP is being used, it boils inside the tank, so thats why you will see frost/sweating outside. So if the tank is used up fast, it will lose pressure, and the burners will not work right when you have low pressure, and may lead to sooting in the heat exchanger.
Old 01-26-05, 04:11 AM
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What's wrong with the tank for the house?? If he can't keep heat going without you using your own tank he needs to step up to the plate and have the problem taken care of. You are putting yourself in liability if there was an accident, no questions asked waiver or not. If you are hooking up a 20 lb cylinder you are taking the responsibility for what happens. If he wont get the original problem fixed get ahold of the city and have your rent money put in escrow until the heat is fixed.
Old 01-26-05, 04:45 PM
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Like Mattison said--Something doesn't sound right here. Am I missing somethng? Where is the original fuel source. Is the furnace set up for nat gas or LP? Why do you find a need to use another fuel source??
Old 01-26-05, 05:51 PM
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Thumbs down

Like asked where did you get the gas for the heater before?

#1 A 20 lb tank wont even start to keep up with a small wall unit like said the tank will get so cold even in the home that the LP cant cook off and make gas.

#2 That wall unit can have a thermopile unit for the pilot and the gas valve. So as the LP 10" W/C goes down the pilot dont put out as much power and this can be why the Buzz you hear in the valve some times.

#3 I take it that the tank has a regulator on it . It has to now in th home if you look . The regulator has a small hole in it there . Thats there so it can get air from outside. thats how the regulator works.Now if the inside of the regulator goes out and the diaphragm gets a hole in it you will have raw LP comeing into the home.
check code there is noway you can have that regulator in the home on that tank.
Now as far as dirt in the lines I cant see how if you keep the lines clean you can have dirt in the unit.

My .02 cents
Old 01-26-05, 06:33 PM
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My take on your situation is that the refill cost of the large tank could be the reason for using a 20 lb'er.

I agree with your landlord.
You can get dirt in the lines by the repeated connecting and dissconnecting of the small tank.
This repeated tank changing increases the odds of a bit of something getting accidentally in the tank fitting.
I don't know how many times when I operated a propane fuelled vehicle, I had to make the pump jockey clean the snow out of the fill nozzle.

There also is a danger in the small tank running at too low a pressure and causing a flame roll out in the heater.

You are messing with the heating system so be prepared to pay for any repairs.
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