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"Burping" the Propane Tank?


SpaceNorman

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The folks on this forum have been incredibly helpful in assisting me get up to speed on the nuances and possible root causes of issues associated with the various systems on our new (to us) motor coach. I've got yet another question for the group .... this one associated with the coach's propane system.

 

We've got a 39 gallon propane tank - however being that the coach has an diesel power Aquahot that provides comfort heating and hot water - the only appliances that run off of propane are the two burner gas cooktop in the kitchen and my BBQ grill (when attached to the auxiliary propane "quick connect" port). We're 10 months into owning the coach - and the sensors on the "tank status board" was well as the gauge on the tank itself all say that the tank is full (still running off the full tank that came with the coach). Occasionally, we run into a problem where the gas cooktop and/or the BBQ grill is simply starved for fuel. When the problem is present - burners will light but immediately drop to a sputtering flame and often simply go out due to lack of fuel.

 

I've experiences these same systems with my BBQ grill at home - and have always been able to correct the problem by simply disconnecting the 20 LB propane tank from the system - giving it 30 seconds - and reconnecting it. While I can't explain exactly what it does - I'll say that it seems to "reset" the regulator such that once reconnected - there's a constant and strong supply of propane at the burner. I've come to call this procedure "burping the propane tank".

 

On my BBQ grill at home - I have noticed that it where I turn off the propane after using it - makes a big difference. If I first turn off the burners and then turn off the valve at the tank - I don't seem to need to "burb" the system as often. If I turn off the valve on the tank (and let the burners shut off because they're starved for fuel - I must "burb" the system the next time I go to use it.

 

I've been thru my coach's owner's manual - and find lots of descriptions of the system - but virtually nothing regarding adjustment or procedures that can be performed by the end user (there are several mentions about only having certified technicians touch anything propane related). The manual does mention calibrating the regulator - but also includes a stern warning that this requires calibration instrumentation and states it should only be touched by a certified technician with the right tools.

 

Anybody else experiencing this and if so, is there anything that the end user can do to affect the flow of propane thru the system?

 

As always - thank you in advance for any tips or suggestions you might have for me!

 

 

The Spacenorman

2012 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 43' DFT

2012 Jeep Liberty

Our Travel Website: www.penquinhead.com​

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When you open the valve on the tank, do it very slowly. If you open it quickly, and the gas lines going to the appliances are partially empty, the safety valve on the tank may try to shut off flow. I've had this result in a low flow situation before. The tank valve is designed to shut off in the case of a sudden release (as in a line break).

Everybody wanna hear the truth, but everybody tell a lie.  Everybody wanna go to Heaven, but nobody want to die.  Albert King

 

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Is the sputtering flame right after you light it or after it's been burning for a while?

 

If the former, over a long time sitting with the valve shut off there may be a very small leak, undetectably small, that lets the gas sitting in the line escape. You simply wait until the line fills up again. May take a few seconds.

 

Your "burping procedure" IMHO does nothing, unless the regulator is sick.

Previously a 2017 Forest River, Berkshire 38A, "The Dragonship". https://dragonship.blog/

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Is there a rubber line anywhere in the system that can be kinked enough to limit flow. Letting the line sit for awhile lets it build pressure, but lighting a burner burns the pressure off quickly.

This is also the symptom of a regulator having issues. I would replace the regulator first since your coach is a 2010.

Alie & Jim + 8 paws

2017 DRV Memphis 

BART- 1998 Volvo 610

Lil'ole 6cyl Cummins

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Your "burping procedure" IMHO does nothing, unless the regulator is sick.

I tend to think the same. In all of my years of using propane in RVs and also with several devices at stick homes, I have never heard of that procedure. It is normal for the propane in a line to be replaced by air when it sits a long time, but I'd expect that to take at least a week and probably longer and it would only happen if you turn off the propane at the tank. When we were fulltime in our motorhome, the only time that the tank valve was ever closed was to fill the tank, since it is required for that. As soon as the tank was full, the operator normally would open the supply valve although a few times it was left to me.

 

We have propane heat in our stick house and that is the only thing using the propane from a 200 gallon, outside tank. When we reach warmer temperatures we turn off the gas at the valve behind the heater but the valve at the tank is left open to keep the line charged. We then leave the valve at the heater shut for the next 6 months or longer and then in the fall a turn the heater one and relight the pilot light. When I do that it takes a couple of minutes to vent the line from the wall to the heater of air, but the line from the tank does not loose it's charge and the tank level does not change.

 

We also have a heat-pump system so there are times that the propane heat isn't used at all for as much as a month even when the propane supply is turned on. In all of the 5 years that we have owned our home-base, I have never burped anything, just a normal lighting procedure each fall.

 

The only thing that I can think of would be some problem with your propane regulator and if you smack it and that makes it start working, I believe that you need to replace it ASAP and not fool around with it. If you were using portable bottles I would wonder if you had let them lay on the side and so had some liquid propane in the regulator as that can cause problems that sometimes go away, but with your class A the tank is permanently installed and it should be plumbed such that no liquid can ever leave the tank and get into the regulator.

 

If I understand your problem accurately, I think that you need advice from propane certified tech and I'd go to a propane supplier to get it, and not rely on any RV techs since you don't know how much real world experience and RV tech has with propane issues.

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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The folks on this forum have been incredibly helpful in assisting me get up to speed on the nuances and possible root causes of issues associated with the various systems on our new (to us) motor coach. I've got yet another question for the group .... this one associated with the coach's propane system.

 

We've got a 39 gallon propane tank - however being that the coach has an diesel power Aquahot that provides comfort heating and hot water - the only appliances that run off of propane are the two burner gas cooktop in the kitchen and my BBQ grill (when attached to the auxiliary propane "quick connect" port). We're 10 months into owning the coach - and the sensors on the "tank status board" was well as the gauge on the tank itself all say that the tank is full (still running off the full tank that came with the coach). Occasionally, we run into a problem where the gas cooktop and/or the BBQ grill is simply starved for fuel. When the problem is present - burners will light but immediately drop to a sputtering flame and often simply go out due to lack of fuel.

 

I've experiences these same systems with my BBQ grill at home - and have always been able to correct the problem by simply disconnecting the 20 LB propane tank from the system - giving it 30 seconds - and reconnecting it. While I can't explain exactly what it does - I'll say that it seems to "reset" the regulator such that once reconnected - there's a constant and strong supply of propane at the burner. I've come to call this procedure "burping the propane tank".

 

On my BBQ grill at home - I have noticed that it where I turn off the propane after using it - makes a big difference. If I first turn off the burners and then turn off the valve at the tank - I don't seem to need to "burb" the system as often. If I turn off the valve on the tank (and let the burners shut off because they're starved for fuel - I must "burb" the system the next time I go to use it.

 

I've been thru my coach's owner's manual - and find lots of descriptions of the system - but virtually nothing regarding adjustment or procedures that can be performed by the end user (there are several mentions about only having certified technicians touch anything propane related). The manual does mention calibrating the regulator - but also includes a stern warning that this requires calibration instrumentation and states it should only be touched by a certified technician with the right tools.

 

Anybody else experiencing this and if so, is there anything that the end user can do to affect the flow of propane thru the system?

 

As always - thank you in advance for any tips or suggestions you might have for me!

 

 

 

 

May I ask a few questions so that we might find an answer for you ?

 

1) Has the propane tank been filled with propane or butane ? It does make a difference when you drop close to 32 degrees. Butane will stop working close to that temp.

 

2) Do you hear any crackling or popping noises when the lp system is in use ( on stovetop when in use ) . This indicates that there is air in the supply tank. The supply tank might not have been purged properly.

 

3) Do not rely completely on the lp tank sensors for fill data. A test you can do to tell the liquid level of a tank of lp is to pour warm , not hot water on the tank surface avoiding fill areas and sensors. You don't need to use a large amount of water to do this. This will cause the tank to show a temporary line on the outside of the tank, indicating the lp liquid level. Remember, a lp tank is only filled to 80 percent. A very low tank level will not work very well, especially with a high demand request.

 

4) So if the lp has been in the tank a long time , there is something else to check. Lp over a long period of time will effect the rubber hose usually connected between the regulator and the copper supply line. There can be a reaction between the two and you will sometimes find oils in that rubber line , sometimes spreading to the lp regulator. This will effect lp flow and can damage the lp regulator. If you have access and feel like you want to check this out, safelyTurn off the Lp supply and appliances and check the lp hose .

 

5) Your problem can also be low lp pressure out of the lp regulator that needs adjustment under load, or a bad lp regulator. This can be checked out by an Rv tech or someone with a monometer .

 

Hope this helps, tim

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The folks on this forum have been incredibly helpful in assisting me get up to speed on the nuances and possible root causes of issues associated with the various systems on our new (to us) motor coach. I've got yet another question for the group .... this one associated with the coach's propane system.

 

We've got a 39 gallon propane tank - however being that the coach has an diesel power Aquahot that provides comfort heating and hot water - the only appliances that run off of propane are the two burner gas cooktop in the kitchen and my BBQ grill (when attached to the auxiliary propane "quick connect" port). We're 10 months into owning the coach - and the sensors on the "tank status board" was well as the gauge on the tank itself all say that the tank is full (still running off the full tank that came with the coach). Occasionally, we run into a problem where the gas cooktop and/or the BBQ grill is simply starved for fuel. When the problem is present - burners will light but immediately drop to a sputtering flame and often simply go out due to lack of fuel.

 

I've experiences these same systems with my BBQ grill at home - and have always been able to correct the problem by simply disconnecting the 20 LB propane tank from the system - giving it 30 seconds - and reconnecting it. While I can't explain exactly what it does - I'll say that it seems to "reset" the regulator such that once reconnected - there's a constant and strong supply of propane at the burner. I've come to call this procedure "burping the propane tank".

 

On my BBQ grill at home - I have noticed that it where I turn off the propane after using it - makes a big difference. If I first turn off the burners and then turn off the valve at the tank - I don't seem to need to "burb" the system as often. If I turn off the valve on the tank (and let the burners shut off because they're starved for fuel - I must "burb" the system the next time I go to use it.

 

I've been thru my coach's owner's manual - and find lots of descriptions of the system - but virtually nothing regarding adjustment or procedures that can be performed by the end user (there are several mentions about only having certified technicians touch anything propane related). The manual does mention calibrating the regulator - but also includes a stern warning that this requires calibration instrumentation and states it should only be touched by a certified technician with the right tools.

 

Anybody else experiencing this and if so, is there anything that the end user can do to affect the flow of propane thru the system?

 

As always - thank you in advance for any tips or suggestions you might have for me!

 

 

 

Since my first reply to your problem , I have been thinking about this situation a little more.

 

Another thing I came up with is how your Lp regulator is positioned.

 

How the vent on the Lp regulator is positioned is very important.

 

If the vent is pointed in an " upward " position , This allows even small amounts of water to enter the lp regulator.

This water can freeze inside the regulator, which causes issues with flow.

 

The vent should be pointed " downward " to prevent water intrusion.

 

When you said you had tapped the regulator to increase Lp flow, This could have shaken possible ice crystals apart , temporarily increasing flow.

 

Secondly, I had stated that the initial Lp fill might not have been done right ( purged ) . Even subsequent Lp fills could have introduced water vapor into the Lp tank .

 

This can cause some of the issues you are experiencing.

 

I would encourage you to use a commercial Lp fill station ( example: Suburban ) . They can install a substance to mitigate possible water in the tank.

Even though your Lp regulator might simply be out of adjustment ( allowing low flow ) , some of the listed ideas could also be checked.

 

As a side note regarding Lp Regulators, I do a flow test on my Rv regulator every spring using a monometer .

 

I usually find that it needs adjustment every year. Several times it has been only a slight adjustment of .25 inches of w/c to a full 1 inch adjustment.

 

You may wonder why I do this every year, Lp appliances have a working pressure of 1/2 pound of pressure ( 11 inches of w/c ) .

 

Go below approx. 9.5 inches or above 14 inches and your appliances wont work. Of course there is a plus or minus of .5 inches of w/c in that figure.

 

The bumpy interstates & country roads cause the spring in the Lp regulator to back off from the 11 inches of W/C . A simple test with a monometer with 50 percent of the Lp appliances under load will tell me where I stand with the Lp pressure. I then adjust as needed.

 

I hope some of the suggestion that that have been posted by myself and others will help you.

 

It is important that you let others know what you found caused your problem so it could help others who could have or will come across the same situation.

 

Best of luck and safe travels........................tim

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I'm happy (as well as a little distressed) to report that my propane problems appear to have resolved themselves with zero action on my part. The responses to my original post have got me thinking that I must have just had a little air in the lines. The problem occurred within the first 15 minutes or so of me using propane this season. The problem first manifest itself with the BBQ grill ... but shortly afterward also affected the coach's two burner stove, We simply put the BBQ grill away ... but continued to futz with the stove a bit - relighting it every time it went out. Finally, we shut that down as well. The next day ... the stove worked fine - and has continued to work ever since. I'm going to guess that the issue may have simply been an air gap.

 

We're in the middle of a 6 week Florida trip - so I don't really want to mess with it. Once I'm back home - I intend to see about filling the tank (and ensuring that it's properly purged. I'll also have the regulator checked to ensure that it's properly adjusted.

 

Thank you all for your input!

The Spacenorman

2012 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 43' DFT

2012 Jeep Liberty

Our Travel Website: www.penquinhead.com​

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