Portable Propane Tank hooked up to Water Heater


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Old 07-18-11, 05:56 PM
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Portable Propane Tank hooked up to Water Heater

My city has only one gas company and my friend says he does this at his house, instead of using the Gas Company and being billed each month he has just un-hooked the Gas Companys line to the water tank and has a Portable Blue Rhino Propane Tank hooked up to his Water Heater, he says his family of 4 only has to refill it twice a month, which beats his gas prices he would pay.

He wants me to do this method with my new place i moved into, is this safe or is it very likely something bad can happen? The fittings are secure and he purchased a Propane tank converter hose from a general store.
 
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Old 07-18-11, 07:23 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Only problem is you are moving from natural gas at a prescribed rate of flow through a regulator/meter to Liquid Petroleum that is wao all the time and needs regulating. The orifices may need changing out, too. Not sure of the unit you have to heat water. I can't conceive LP tanks being more efficient than natural gas. How big are those tanks he is using? Certainly not 20 pounders.
 
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Old 07-18-11, 07:44 PM
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Whorable ,your going to kill yourself and/or someone else. And tell your friend that also.

If your friend went from NG to propane it can be done if done correctly. The orfice at the burner needs to be changed and the gas valve itself. LP and ZNG valvs are different.

NG valves are rated at about 3" water column. LP is 10" WC. Plus the orfice. Running LP on NG appliances is very bad.

Silly NG would have to be way cheaper then filling to propane tanks a month. I would say thats around $50 bucks.


Kids, dont try this at home.


Mike NJ
 
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Old 07-18-11, 08:48 PM
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Can you describe what could possibly happen? Like an explosion? or fire? He sounds very sure and has been doing this for atleast 2 years he claims.
 
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Old 07-18-11, 09:19 PM
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Sure. LP needs a smaller orfice. Its probably letting to much LP in the burner. LP is heavy and sits low. Higher chance of a explosion. Adding more water colomn (pressure) to a NG rated gas valve at 3" wc to LP at 10" wc cant be good. Dont you think that gas valve may fail? Possibly it may stay open with a unlit burner on day.......BOOM!!!!!!!

But who's to know. We dont actually know what he did, do we?

And I believe the LP regulators keep it at 12" WC or so. Is he even using a regulator. I am not an LP guy and only know from the many appliances I converted to LP over the years.

Thats why they make appliances that run on LP, and appliances that run on gas.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 07-18-11, 11:44 PM
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I don't know of any domestic water heater built in the last ten or fifteen years that is field convertible from natural to LP gas. As Mike states the pressures are all wrong and so is the orifice size. Using LP on a natural gas appliance will result in vastly overfiring the unit and most likely creating a huge amount of carbon monoxide when burning. Not even the pilot will burn correctly, let alone the main burner.

What your friend is doing is extremely hazardous. That he hasn't had a problem (yet) is pure dumb luck.

Since LP is heavier than air any leaks in his system will cause gas to collect in low spots and along the floor. LP also has a wider range of explosive limits which means that it will explode at both lower levels of concentration and higher levels of concentration than will natural gas.

Blue Rhino gas is NOT cheap, in fact it is rather expensive as far as LP gas is concerned. The only thing good about Blue Rhino is the availability. The only thing your friend is saving is the fixed monthly cost of natural gas service and possibly a transport charge. I guarantee the natural gas is far cheaper than the LP.

I normally don't use this word (except for certain politicians ) but your friend is an idiot.
 
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Old 07-19-11, 03:54 AM
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A couple of things are not clear.
Is your friend's original gas supply propane or natural gas.......You don't say if the original supply is piped natural gas, piped propane which exists in some areas or a large tank outside.
You also don't say if your friend hooked up the propane tank outside or inside the house.

Which is it?

Regardless, I agree that your friend is not being very smart.
One thing besides what has already been suggested is that if this propane tank is indoors, a standard home insurance policy does not permit more than one gallon of a flammable liquid to be indoors.
If he ever had a fire, even unrelated to the propane tank his insurance would likely be invalid!

my suggestion would be to not consider this and if your friend is a good friend try to encourage him to undo what he as done.........Show him this thread.
 
 

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