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What does everyone do as far as propane safety precautions? How do you store your propane, inside or outside?

I mentioned I have my BBQ tank inside our campervan under the sink and the responses was that it's not safe and needs to be vented. A few thoughts on that. 1. I've stored my BBQ tanks in my garage or right outside my garage for as long as I can remember and never had one leak. 2. To my knowledge a leaky or left on propane tank, the gas can travel a long long ways to find a potential ignition source. 3. Have a locker on board with a vent out the bottom (like a boat) is like having a bomb on board. The gas if leaking will fill up the locker (leak will come from the top of tank) then vent out the bottom, and can travel along the ground to a campfire, smoker, or some other flame/ignition source. The fire will then go back to the leaky tank. On a boat, there usually isn't a smoker standing nearby or a campfire nearby. 4. A propane tank in a burning RV won't explode because it has a pressure valve, as the pressure builds it will vent off and burn in the fire and not explode.
 

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i had mentioned this before after talking to the equipment manufacturer, the only thing that vents propane while the system is in operation is the propane regulator, the manufacturer of my heater provided a regulator with an threaded vent port so a hose can be screwed on to vent the regulator outside the vehicle, problem solved without a locker! i also have an propane gas detector that turns off the gas in event of system leaks plus it give loud warning when and if a leak happens. these detectors are not cheap, i bought the lowest priced one i could find. (300 dollars, my heater manufacturer recommended one that cost 400 dollars)

http://tridentmarine.com/product/12-vdc-marine-gas-control-detection-systems/
 

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I can't comment on having propane inside because I bolted up a Manchester tank under the van. But I can see where venting a propane storage locker out the floor is a good safety precaution. I didn't know about being able to attach a vent hose to the regulator. I can see where that can make things a lot easier.

No matter which method you decide to go with I would make sure to have an LP detector on board. I bought the Safe T Alert model that is LP / CO detector and runs off the 12V battery so it is always working. Found one on sale at Camping World online.

This is the one I got: http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/35-series-dual-lp-carbon-monoxide-alarm-black/70012
 

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i had mentioned this before after talking to the equipment manufacturer, the only thing that vents propane while the system is in operation is the propane regulator, the manufacturer of my heater provided a regulator with an threaded vent port so a hose can be screwed on to vent the regulator outside the vehicle, problem solved without a locker! i also have an propane gas detector that turns off the gas in event of system leaks plus it give loud warning when and if a leak happens. these detectors are not cheap, i bought the lowest priced one i could find. (300 dollars, my heater manufacturer recommended one that cost 400 dollars)

http://tridentmarine.com/product/12-vdc-marine-gas-control-detection-systems/
do you have pictures of your heater install -- you're using a dickinson, if i recall. i'd love to see details, since the dickinson, and sig marine, heaters are top of our list right now.

paul
 

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I can't comment on having propane inside because I bolted up a Manchester tank under the van. But I can see where venting a propane storage locker out the floor is a good safety precaution. I didn't know about being able to attach a vent hose to the regulator. I can see where that can make things a lot easier.

No matter which method you decide to go with I would make sure to have an LP detector on board. I bought the Safe T Alert model that is LP / CO detector and runs off the 12V battery so it is always working. Found one on sale at Camping World online.

This is the one I got: http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/35-series-dual-lp-carbon-monoxide-alarm-black/70012
I use the same detector, except in brown.
 

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I use the same detector, except in brown.

Stan I know it works because when I was hooking up my heater I neglected to tighten the connection of the hose to my shut off valve. As soon as I turned the propane on to start testing I smelled a little propane and a few seconds later the detector went off. It would wake me from the most soundest of sleep.

With the hose tightened down and no leaks present all was good and has been since. But I do sleep better in the van having the detectors working.
 

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I went through the dilemma of weather or not to follow NFPA regs for my propane tanks. I love the idea of using readily available 20 lb tanks but they are clearly marked for outdoor use only. I figured there must be a darn good reason for that so I built vapor proof cabinets that are vented to the outside. This makes them technically outdoors and NFPA compliant. My mind was always wondering "what if" before and now I don't worry. To me, it was worth the extra effort.
 

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do you have pictures of your heater install -- you're using a dickinson, if i recall. i'd love to see details, since the dickinson, and sig marine, heaters are top of our list right now.

paul
no my transit conversion is largely gutted at the moment and being rebuilt into a euro camper design with all of the nice woodwork, i should have it mostly roughed in, in another month or so.

check the boat heater thread for other possible ideas. (not much there but lots on you tube links)
 

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3. Have a locker on board with a vent out the bottom (like a boat) is like having a bomb on board. The gas if leaking will fill up the locker (leak will come from the top of tank) then vent out the bottom, and can travel along the ground to a campfire, smoker, or some other flame/ignition source. The fire will then go back to the leaky tank.
No. Propane is heavier than air. It will leak out the bottom and NOT fill up the locker....that's why the bottom is open/vented. Outside it will disperse. It won't make a nice little trail to the flame source.
 

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I use a 20lb BBQ tank in the cabinet under my cooktop. My propane system is simply tank to cooktop so fairly simple. I have a simple PVC elbow 'vent' through the floor right at that location and a propane detector at the toe kick of the cabinet. Most of our van use is moderate summer use so the doors stay open most of the time as well. We take the tank out when the van is parked.

My current thought on NFPA requirements for sealed cabinets, etc. has to do with the RV industry taking a lot from the boat industry. Propane in a boat is especially dangerous due to the fact that you want to make sure the bottom of your boat is sealed, for obvious reasons. A propane leak will create an ever expanding pool of gas in the bottom of the boat that has no where to go. Therefore, contain and vent up and out with fans, etc. Talking to friends who sail, it's a big deal to put propane in a boat.

It is an issue that one should still be careful of, I don't know about propane specifically, but natural gas can ignite and combust at saturation levels of 3% to 97%. Which is pretty impressive.
 

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A 7 gallon plastic pail with a Gamma Seal® Lid makes an easy propane storage locker for an 11 lb cylinder. The plastic pail is secured with fender washers and heavy-duty wood screws sealed on the top and bottom to an oak base. The base is an extension of the oak cabinet frame and secured to the van's tie-down mounts. The cylinder is grounded to the van chassis.

There is ample room to store an adapter hose inside the pail. The foam collar prevents any rattles while driving. The bottom vent pipe extends through the van floor to the exterior and is sealed with adhesive at the pail bottom and the van floor.The HDPE pail has a low surface energy so it is a fairly non-stick surface. Surface flame treatment improves adhesion. The vent exterior is coated with Flex Seal Rubber Sealant.

The yellow plug shown in the photo is only for when I encounter a fill station operator that refuses to fill the tank for transport without it. The yellow plastic plug should not be used with an OPD valve. OPD valves have some built-in safeguards that prevent the escape of gas when the tank is not attached, even if the valve is open. However, if you screw a plug into the valve, you defeat these safeguards.
 

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... and is sealed with adhesive at the pail bottom and the van floor.The HDPE pail has a low surface energy so it is a fairly non-stick surface. Surface flame treatment improves adhesion. The vent exterior is coated with Flex Seal Rubber Sealant.
nice use of available materials, to minimize construction. i'm curious about "surface flame treatment". i used a home depot orange bucket for a project one time, and had to revise things when i realized i couldn't glue it with construction adhesive. are you saying that running a flame over the surface would have fixed that??

paul
 

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i'm curious about "surface flame treatment". i used a home depot orange bucket for a project one time, and had to revise things when i realized i couldn't glue it with construction adhesive. are you saying that running a flame over the surface would have fixed that??
https://youtu.be/h-9yhanz5DE
 

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Did you push a small piece of hardware cloth into the drain pipe to prevent insects getting in?
I live in an area where mud daubers and wasps will build nests in any protected cavity. A small piece of hardware cloth across the opening would work however while traveling I have not had problems. When I park the van between outings I remove the propane cylinder and insert a boat drain plug into the vent opening to keep insects and small critters at bay.
 

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thanks! interesting about the flame. you didn't specifically mention using TAP Poly-Weld -- is that what you used, or does the flame trick help other sealants as well?
I think you'll find the product has to be specifically for low surface energy plastics. I first learned of the flame treatment when I bought TAP Poly-Weld five or six years ago.

I used JB Weld Plastic Bonder (black) to seal the vent flange to the pail bottom. In addition to TAP and JB Weld products there are couple of 3M Scotch-Weld Structural Plastic Adhesives for low surface energy plastics.

When assembling and fitting the vent pipe through different layers to the van exterior I also used some Oatey cement, 3M Windo-Weld and Flex-Seal. The small area of the pail bottom around the vent flange was the only material flame treated.
 

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I ultimately decided to buy a marine propane locker, but I did research DIY propane lockers, and one of the first links I encountered showed a hose clamped onto the pressure relief valve to vent the propane outside. Is this actually as dangerously stupid as it looks?
A different approach: (It may be a Canadian thing or a Boat thing) In the installation manual for my Dickinson Marine propane fireplace heater it says to hook the vent hose to the propane regulator itself, The propane regulators that Dickinson sells have threaded vent ports for that reason. (No propane locker required)
 
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