Propane Problems

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Toolsmith
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Propane Problems

Propane companies put customers through hoops other fuel users don't have to deal with...

http://www.sunjournal.com/legislative-fix-would-help-with-emergency-prop...

These claims about safety keep getting repeated, yet nowhere are they explained. Are tanks at different pressures? What does it matter what heating system configuration is used? The tank is what's getting filled - the heating system is separate. Filling the tank does not involve reconfiguring the system, so what exact risk are they talking about?

Another issue, not dealt with in this bill, is the consistent refusal of any propane company to actually quote prices. No suppliers website shows their current price - they do for oil or natural gas, but not propane! You have to order to get a price...

Tom C
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It's a big headache. I have a

It's a big headache. I have a couple of propane systems, and things get complicated in a hurry, sometimes. Other times it's smooth.

Explosions usually happen as a result of a fault in the lines or appliances, and a company would be worried about liability there - so they need to do leak tests when starting a new service, or whenever a tank runs out.

I have one tank I own, and the company tested the heck out of the system it before they'd fill it. I tried to switch suppliers on one system, but because it was running an unvented heater, they wouldn't take it on, so I had to stay with the old supplier. They guy scared me so much that for piece of mind, I put a carbon dioxide/ monoxide detector near it.

There have been some fatal explosion (search: "Fatal propane explosion") and companies are afraid of getting sued.

Toolsmith
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None of it has anything to do

None of it has anything to do with the tank. Sounds like it's the lawyers causing problems. I have direct vented heaters and water heater. Filling my tank has nothing to do with them. Now, if I ask them to SERVICE the gas appliances OR run gas lines... that's different. A certified propane tank is a certified propane tank. Just fill... don't touch the connections.

Besides, the big gas explosions are usually Natural Gas, because the entry is in the basement and leaking gas from the old decaying underground lines can follow those lines into the basements, where the heavier-than-air gas pools... and waits for ignition.

johnw
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MOstcompanies own the tanks

Most companies own the tanks that are at customers homes,they are expensive,a 120 gallon ASME tank now cost lose to $500 when you add a regulator,pig tail blocks and copper line you’ve got over $500 . Why would a company invest that much so another company could fill the tank? Next thing is that DOT regulations require a gas check of all lines and operating pressures before a system is energized . It is for the customer and the supppliers protection. An out of fuel situation requires a pressure test to ensure the reason for the run out was not a leak, ,,,,lots of gas explosion are caused by tanks being refilled and systems being energized and refired when there is a leak BOOM! NO SMART company is going to fill a tank set by another company without doing a full system check..... it’s just simple safety....... AND you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that customers do now that they you can buy gas appliances at Home Depot or Lowe’s...... they all think they are gas techs....... BOOM! O yeah..... when there is an explosion ,fire personal injury that is caused by a gas explosion the first thing the lawyers ask for is the documentation and certification of the techs......got no documentation....open up your checkbook.

Toolsmith
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If the system is empty, that

If the system is empty, that's a different issue. This is not "energizing" - these systems have been in place for years.

If you decline a system check, you sign a waiver. No liability. What's the problem? This is for an emergency delivery, not regular delivery.

Disclaimers handle this situation in every other industry. Why not this one?

johnw
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Toolsmith trust me.....a

Toolsmith trust me.....a waiver isn't worth the paper it's written on if there is an incident.....

Toolsmith
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Trust you? Why?

Trust you? Why?

Waivers work everywhere else... why not here?

Filling a tank does not make you responsible for the setup beyond the tank. The company which did that work is responsible. How does filling a tank change that?

It makes no sense. You never run into this with electric, natural gas, oil... so why here?

Toolsmith
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When I last switched... from

When I last switched... from Mid-State to Thompson's... the new company did NOT do any inspection of the systems inside the house. Their work ended at the pressure regulator. When DownEast bought out Thompson's, they took over the deliveries... again, no inspection took place.

So WHY is this stupid requirement in place? OK, you own the tank and have the right to control regular deliveries. But if it's an emergency and you cannot, for whatever reason, make a delivery... why can't a supply come from another supplier.

The reasons given do not make sense...

BlueJay
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This thread has my attention

This thread has my attention because as part of the downsizing process we're building a smaller house and I'm wondering now if we really want to go with propane for heat, on-demand hot water, etc. or stay with oil which we've had for 40 years.

I'd welcome thoughts on this.

Toolsmith
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I've been considering buying

I've been considering buying a tank myself, and then getting it filled by whatever company. That's how oil works.

Not sure how much of a problem that would be... I know I get a preferred rate for having a large company-owned tank.

Islander
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 12:16pm
They fill your gas grill

They fill your gas grill bottle, I have a 40lb tank for generator and fill it wherever I need to. As for the house, we switched dealers I do not recall if they came in to check system. However both times we switched at our cottage there was a system check, once by Downeast energy and once by the other company my sister-in-law hired.
I think you would be fine using propane for your house, the key is for automatic delivery, not on demand. I would look into radiant floors etc

johnw
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Toolsmith you are obviously a

Toolsmith you are obviously a bright person,a gascheck is requir3d by code each time there is an out of fuel occurrence or when an appliance is added or any changes are made to the system.Or at the initial start up of a installation. I will tell you this , if you switch propane companies and they do not check your system they do so at the risk of trusting someone else’s workmanship. There are a lot of out of code installations out there.....Here is a hypothetical for you.A gas company decides to deliver to your home and they do not check the system and there is an accident,say because you decided that you could install your own water heater......And it had a gas leak it eventually accumulated enough combustible gas so The was an explosion..... and fire..and injury...... The very first thing that your insurance company is going to look for is the documentation of a system check....NOw here’s what happens when it gets to court.....The gas company says “ oh I have a waiver....blah blah blah” and the judge is going to say Mr Gas company you are the EXPERT ,did you take all reasonable measures to ensure that the system was safe before you delivered........Nope..... case closed.....And if you think owning your own tank solves the problem , it doesn’t...evrytime your switch providers they are required by NFPA 54 ... to do a gascheck ......

Bruce Libby
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Are we just forgetting the

Are we just forgetting the concept of personal responsibility ?
I wonder how many f the "victims" of this situation haven't paid their bills?

It is winter, listen to weather reports ( which have been pretty accurate IMO) and plan for needs.

johnw
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From NFPA54...... so it is

From NFPA54...... so it is written so it shall be done.......

Why Do I Have To Have a Leak Test?

Leak tests are required any time there is an interruption of service meaning the flow of gas was stopped for any reason. NFPA 54 (2006), 8.2.3 states that "Immediately after the gas is turned on into a new system or into a system that has been initially restored after an interruption of service, the piping system shall be tested for leakage. If leakage is indicated, the gas supply shall be shut off until the necessary repairs have been made".

Propane Leak Test Explained

All propane piping, connections and fittings are threaded so that they may easily connect together during installation or modification. These propane connections are coated with a pipe joint compound that lubricates the fittings during the joining process and will dry after a short while. During normal usage, a propane plumbing system is at a constant pressure. This means that as long as the tank has gas and is supplying the system with propane, a constant pressure is exerted on the piping and the pipe joint compound. The pipe joint compound will expand during normal pressurized usage and will retract if the system loses pressure. This loss of gas pressure may cause leaks to form because of the expansion and retraction of the piping compound within the propane plumbing system.

The leak test will indicate any leaks within the propane piping system due to interruption of service or out of gas situation. The leakage test is simply testing the integrity of the system plumbing joints and the seal of the pipe joint compound. This is the safety reasoning behind leak testing. The real reason a leak test is performed is because it is required by law and none other.

Out of Gas - Empty Propane Tank = Required Leak Test

All too often, propane customers run out of gas when temperatures are the coldest. No matter what the temperature or how busy the gas company is, if the tank is out of gas a leak test is required. This is considered an interruption of service. How do you keep from running out of gas? Keep an eye on the tank gauge or have your propane company place you on an automatic delivery schedule. Out of Propane = Mandatory Leak Test. It may not be convenient but it's the law. Learn more about reading your propane tank gauge as to not run out of gas.

Propane Companies Make More Money Performing Leak Tests...Not Quite

Many companies will charge a fee for performing a leak test. Even if a propane company does not charge for a leak test, it costs the company time and money. Cold weather brings about increased gas usage and because more propane customers run out of gas during these cold spells, propane delivery personnel perform more leak tests. If leaks are discovered during a leak test, the driver has to fix the leak(s) before filling the tank. These repairs can sometimes take an hour or more leaving the driver with less time to complete his deliveries. If the propane company is busy performing leak tests and repairs, they are not delivering as much gas as they could or should be. This sometimes results in lost customers and decreased output. Leak testing is required but costs a propane company more in time to test and repair a gas system than they could make by delivering the much needed propane to cold customers. Even if the propane company charges a hefty price for a leak test, consider it a positive thing. A propane company that is trying to deter consumers from running out of gas is taking an active stance in protecting the propane industry and its customers.

Toolsmith
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Well, I've never run out...

Well, I've never run out... so that probably explains why I have not encountered the test. I guess they check... and if the tank has pressure, no test is required.

Robert Reed
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Joined: 11/08/2007 - 1:53pm
I bought a camp last fall

I bought a camp last fall that has propane stove and heating..and when I signed up to change the billing from the previous owner they company came to the camp, inspected and replaced a couple valves and went through the stove and heating, - all as a courtesy to a new customer....I have no issues yet!

Tom C
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Joined: 01/03/2006 - 6:00pm
Seriously considered buying a

Seriously considered buying a 200 lb tank, but the delivery, installation, purging and testing would have put me in the $500 range. Companies charge $10 a month to rent the things, so it would have taken me 4 years to make back my investment. I have my own 100 lb tank at another location where I just use it to run a fireplace, but that was such a hassle to get companies to approve and fill it, and I don't have time for those games. Also, around here they don't give you a discount on filling your own tank and shopping for the best price doesn't work, and some places won't touch it if it is their own tank.

Plus, I don't have to worry about the tank date if it's the company's tank.

If you can get it set up with your supplier, then that's great - I know some people that have their own tank and will shop for the best price, but I haven't been able to get that to work for me.

johnw
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TomC owning your own tanks

TomC owning your own tanks and shopping for discount pricing usually only pays off if you are a volume user, 2500 gallons year and up.

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