20# propane tanks used for clothes dryer and wall furnace

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Old 07-01-13, 05:56 AM
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Question 20# propane tanks used for clothes dryer and wall furnace

I have a summer cottage near Port Colborne, ON which is used only for 3 months each summer. The large propane tank is empty and because of its age cannot be refilled and the propane supplier will not provide any type of tank they normally service due to the low useage (about 30-40# per season). Therefore, having had experience with 20# tanks on an RV I have connected them to the main line into the cottage which feeds a wall furnace and clothes dryer. They seem to work okay but at a lower heat/flame. The 20# tanks have a regulator connected to a manual switching valve so that only one tank is in use at any one time. Each device also has it's own regulator.
My question is... should I remove the regulator closest to the furnace and dryer? or leave it as it is with two regulators for each.
 
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Old 07-01-13, 01:09 PM
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First, regulators come in different pressures so without knowing what you have I can't even comment if it's safe or not. Generally though you do not want multiple regulators of the same pressure inline.

Gas grills that use the common 20 pound tanks often reduce down to 10 in/hg pressure and can flow enough gas for about 30-60'000 btu of heat. If you put another regulator in line behind it like you might have at your dryer or furnace than that second regulator is only being fed gas at 10 in/hg and it's tinny internal passages restrict the flow of gas so it is flowing much less fuel to the appliance.

My house uses multiple pressures because of the long runs of line and to keep the line sizes smaller. A first stage regulator drops the tank pressure for the long run to the house. Then on the house there is another regulator that drops the pressure to 2 psi for the gas lines inside the house. Then each appliance has it's own final regulator to drop down to working pressure. I'm only saying this because you need to know what you have and not just go adding and removing regulators willy nilly.

I spend a lot of time in Central America and it is very common for propane to only come in 20 lb tanks. The tank is connected to one, two stage regulator that feeds the entire house with propane at 10 in/hg pressure. There are no other regulators at any appliances. Restaurants or large houses wanting more capacity without having to swap tanks during the middle of cooking dinner will plumb multiple tanks together creating 40 or 60 lb storage capacity. All tanks feed the one regulator.
 
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Old 07-01-13, 02:42 PM
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Thanks for this information. Can you tell me if each regulator has something to indicate what pressure it is designed to process? I have checked the wall furnace and it seems that it is going to work just fine. The height of the flame on the burners is exactly as it was when I had the big tank.
However, the clothes dryer does not get as hot as it should so I think the pressure has been reduced too much, possibly by the regulator closest to the dryer so I need to determine if the pressure on that one is reducing the pressure more than necessary. Again, thanks for the info.
 
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Old 07-01-13, 03:44 PM
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You can look on your regulators for markings to indicate their pressure or try researching if you know the brand or manufacturer of your regulators. Often high pressure regulators are painted red, 2 psi blue and 10 in/hg are silver or gray.

If trying to find the pressures of your regulators is difficult it might be easier to find what your dryer and furnace need. That will be a good indication of the regulators that fed them.

Generally if you have a large propane tank outside there is a first stage mounted on the tank that drops the pressure to something intermediate like 10 psi. Then secondary regulators at your appliances drop it from 10 psi to 10 in/hg (it's 4.9 psi but for some reason it's always defined as inches of mercury). Silver or gray colored regulators that mount on 20lb tanks usually have both the first and second stage built into one unit and output in 10 in/hg
 
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Old 07-01-13, 04:00 PM
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Gas pressures are measured in inches of WATER column, NOT inches of mercury column. Otherwise PD is correct.
 
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Old 07-01-13, 05:00 PM
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%^&* you are correct. When I typed the 5 psi I thougt it seemed way too high. Actually the 10 in of water is about 6 ounces.
 
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