Propane Transfer

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Old 12-02-07, 08:10 AM
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Propane Transfer

Is it possible for a do-it-yourselfer to SAFELY fill my small gas grill cylinder from my 300 gallon propane tank?

Thanks for any info!
 
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Old 12-02-07, 10:30 AM
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When you say "small gas cylinder" are you talking about a 20 Lb tank or the small cylinders commonly used for sweating copper pipes.

Have you thought about just putting in a tap on the tank or lien you already have and running the grill off of that? My outdoor natural gas grill is tapped into the line after my gas meter. I bought that grill just so I would never have to deal with refilling the 20 Lb tanks.

The thing you have to think about is SAFETY. I bet you you would enjoy never having to move that tank again if you piped in a line to the Grill.

Just my thoughts. Oh by the way I goggled trying to find out this information and came to the conclusion that nobody is either doing it or most likely the company refilling your 300 gal tank might not refill it if it is modified.

But you have an interesting idea.
 

Last edited by GregH; 12-02-07 at 01:19 PM. Reason: Remove link to an unsafe procedure.
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Old 12-02-07, 01:32 PM
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There are a few problems with attempting to transfer propane without the proper equipment and procedure.

A serious danger in transferring liquid propane is that if you do not use a proper grounding the static charge buildup from the liquid transfer poses an explosion hazard.

There are two other problems with this, one is that you will get minimal transfer if you do manage to get it hooked up.
You would get a small amount of liquid transfered and then the flow would stop due to the pressure in the two cylinders becoming equal.
Commercial refill stations force the liquid into the cylinder being filled with a pump.

The last thing is that it would really not be possible to even transfer from your larger tank because propane devices use vapor in operation and you need to transfer liquid.

It would be a good idea to see if your utility would allow you to have your bbq connected to your large tank.
In some areas this is not allowed because the propane used for home heating is taxed at a considerably lower rate than bbq fuel.

I use a 100 lb cylinder on my bbq and only need to fill it every second year. I have never run out of gas in the middle of cooking a rack of ribs.
 
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Old 12-02-07, 01:35 PM
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It is not advisable to do what you are looking to do for several reasons.

First, you need the proper fittings to go into the liquid withdrawal valve of the 300 gal tank which is not sold to the general public.

Second, you have no way of knowing when the portable tank is filled to a safe limit as the tanks can not be filled to 100 percent capacity. Realistically, these tanks need to be filled on scales. Even if the tank has an OPD (overfill protection device) on it, they are only there prevent the tank from being overfilled, not as a stop when filling the tank.
 
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Old 01-09-09, 07:33 AM
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Bulk Propane Transfer

I would like to continue this thread with a related topic.

I would like to eliminate my 500 gallon rental tank in favor of a 500 Gallon Purchased tank.

I would like to set my new tank next to my rental tank, bond them electrically, connect the two vapor lines together place an electric blanket over the rental tank and watch the new tank fill up. I don't care if it takes 2 weeks. I have read about using the wet leg, propane pumps, etc, but it all seems much too complex for a simple PV=nRT problem. Advice is appreciated. Tom
 
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Old 01-09-09, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by postgenerate View Post
I would like to continue this thread with a related topic.

I would like to eliminate my 500 gallon rental tank in favor of a 500 Gallon Purchased tank.

I would like to set my new tank next to my rental tank, bond them electrically, connect the two vapor lines together place an electric blanket over the rental tank and watch the new tank fill up. I don't care if it takes 2 weeks. I have read about using the wet leg, propane pumps, etc, but it all seems much too complex for a simple PV=nRT problem. Advice is appreciated. Tom
Such a transfer is not possible for a homeowner to do, due to the need to transfer liquid propane as discussed above. It would be much simpler to simply request your propane supplier to pump down the rental tank when they come to pick it up, then repump that back into your new tank. Or simply continue to use propane out of the rental tank and when its empty, switch the piping over to the purchased tank, since its sitting adjacent anyway.
 
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Old 01-09-09, 01:01 PM
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I would like to set my new tank next to my rental tank, bond them electrically, connect the two vapor lines together place an electric blanket over the rental tank and watch the new tank fill up.
Not by any means a recommended idea for several reasons.

First the safety reasons... placing an electric blanket over a propane tank is just outright dangerous! This is the exact reason that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code states that propane tanks shall be 10 feet from any source of ignition.

Now the practical reasons.... it won't work! Should you connect the vapor lines together and heating up one side, the only thing you will "watch" is the increased pressure from one tank transfer into the other. Once the pressure equalizes, nothing else will happen. Since you will only be transfering the vapor, there will be no increase in liquid into the receiving tank.

The only way to transfer the gas is with a special compressor. The vapor from the new tank is transfered via the compressor into the rented tank. That will increase the pressure and push the liquid out through another hose connected to the liquid withdrawal valve on the tank. Note: This is NOT something a DIY'r can do as it's extremely dangerous for an unqualified person to do.
 
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Old 01-09-09, 06:27 PM
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Hank pretty much summed it up.

The connection that you would have access to is a vapor connection.
The propane company has the needed fittings to connect to the liquid side.
 
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Old 06-04-09, 10:07 PM
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Propane

I once had a job as a forklift operator. Sometimes twice a day I'd take the forklift to the side of the warehouse, unstrap the propane tank from the back and take it out to fill it at the propane tank. The propane storage tank had a pump so it made the tank refill about a 4 minute operation. Here was the procedure (initially explained to me with a 1 minute briefing then told to "get to it")

Set tank down, attatch fill hose, open valve on forklift tank, start pump, wait a couple second then (with gloves on) unscrew vent cap on fork tank and let vent while liquid propane fills. Once liquid came out the vent it was for sure full. Then turn off pump, close the vent valve, take off the hose and re-attatch tank to forklift.

As for filling without a pump, (gravity fill) I did that if the power at the pump was off for whatever reason. Took at least twice as long and since the tanks on the back of those forklifts were usually hot the liquid propane went to gas fast and I couldn't get them full.

As for propane being hazardouse, maybe so, I once put a full (common store bought)propane torch canister on a hot open fire out in the field. Watched it bake for 3 or 4 minutes untill it finally popped it's relief valve and made a 6 foot flame for about 20 seconds.

If you hear a hiss don't make a spark and turn off the valve, if you make a spark get out of the way, get a hose and wait for the torch to run out of fuel.

Propane is a fuel, for it to burn it must have oxygen. There isn't oxygen in propane tanks. Only on the outside.

Unless of course you put oxygen in the tank, that would be a large bomb and might get a person in trouble. But to inject oxygen into a pressurized propane container takes some plumbing and some effort.

I looked at my grill tank and didn't see a vent valve like the ones on forklift tanks.Beer 4U2
 
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