Thursday, November 02, 2017

Testing

Day 8

Propane Gas Detector

8:29am:
Do you remember when I got badly burned in a propane fire? Ignorantly, I did not have a propane detector/alarm. Now, I have one. It's a:
Safe-T-Alert
20 Series
Mini Propane Alarm

I wanted to test how well this device works when propane is actually present. I searched, and searched on the net. Nothing there!

I phoned MTI Industries, manufacturer of this alarm, to find out about this test. Here is what I was told:
"Take a BBQ lighter. Light it up. Blow out the flame. Direct the gas into a hole in the alarm case!"

This testing method is NOT acceptable to me!

I asked for somebody in their engineering department to phone me.



8:47am:
Testing for propane leaks
There are many websites that address how to test for propane leaks. All of these sites that I have viewed, advise to spray soap solution on the pipe or tube joints, and look for gas bubbles.

I do not like this testing method. How do I know that I am testing every joint? Also, what if the propane leak is very small. Maybe the bubble is not detectable!

Testing the leak that caused my fire
On the day I got burned, after I returned from the hospital, I tested the joint that leaked. I tested it with soap solution. A bubble came up about every 5-seconds.

That's a mighty slow leak! But that leak went on for several hours. And the amount of gas that accumulated on Scampy's floor was enough to explode giving off a great amount of high temperature heat.

Enough heat, that in less than one single second, I got 2nd degree burns on my hands, arms, legs and feet.

A better leak test
➜ Turn off gas to all appliances by moving the knob on each appliance to off.
➜ Turning off gas this way, turns off the pilot.
➜ At the propane tank, turn off the supply valve.

Now there is no propane gas supply for your RV's propane system. The propane gas is trapped in the line between the propane tank valve, and each appliance in your gas system. 

Mark the position of the gage indicator on your propane tank. Let this test go on for a couple of hours. If there is no leak in your propane system, the gage indicator will not have moved.



1:27pm:
Moving right along!
Every day, we are accomplishing things:
Just a few minutes ago, the flooring guy came by. His boss informed that they will not do a flooring job in Scampy.

However, he showed me what he would recommend for Scampy's floor. It's vinyl sheet. He says that vinyl can get wet and not be ruined. He also suggested that I go to Home Depot, because HD can set me up with an independent contractor.

He also told me that a flooring job like this should cost $3 to $400.

Packing up inside Twayler. Yesterday, over at Staples, we bought five cardboard cartons. These are the size for storing legal size hanging files.

All of our records are now in one of these cartons.





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29 comments:

  1. One gas bubble every five seconds is not Acceptable
    The quick connect/disconnect coupling was more likely your culprit the photo that you had showed a brass coupling an a Steel connector
    In the gas industry that is not acceptable either
    Now if you look at the mechanics of a connector coupling the only thing that keeps the gas in or out is an o ring
    In your case you had the coupler right next to the heater that is the wrong position because you wanted to move the heater and the hose that's why you put the connector in that position,
    the proper way to do it is hard connections
    Propane is heavier than air is you know and a propane detector really needs a lot just set the alarm off using a BIC lighter or a propane burner bottle As they told you is a good way to check the alarm system
    Heres a simple test but you're only going to use compressed air
    The next time you go to your friend At Desert welding have him hook up To airlines with connectors with your good hearing you should be able to hear air coming out
    There's very little difference between compressed air connectors and gas air connectors (about the only difference is the End stub is longer)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ed,

      Didn't you and I comment to each other awhile back, about the quick disconnect that I used being for air, not propane?

      The proper quick disconnect for propane is [This] one.

      I've ordered one of these Stanbroil valves.

      George

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      Delete
    2. Connect high pressure compressed air to a system designed to run at 0.5 PSI (11 inches water column)?

      Sounds like a recipe for disaster!

      Yes, you might find a leak at a quick disconnect. But I'd be more concerned about what happens to the rest of the gas appliances when you subject them to 15 - 20 times their normal gas pressure.

      Delete
    3. Hi Lou,

      I believe that you may have misread my Blog. I did not connect high pressure air to my propane system. I used a quick disconnect valve designed for air in my propane line.

      You might wish to re-read my Blog post?

      George


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      Delete
    4. Lou Schneider11/3/17, 3:24 AM

      Hi George,

      I was commenting on Mr. ed's suggestion to connect high pressure air to the quick disconnect. That sounds like a good way to blow up the rest of Scampy's 0.5 PSI propane system.

      Delete
  2. I think their method makes perfect sense.
    Bill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's like testing a smoke detector: feed it some actual smoke. Testing a propane detector by feeding it some actual propane from the lighter makes perfect sense. It's far safer than cutting the hose to the Wave, closing the door and listening for the alarm while you run for you life.

      Delete
    2. Hi Bill,

      I was thinking of a test where propane is introduced into the room and the detector, detects it. That's like a "real-life" test.

      George

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      Delete
  3. Eric I like the idea but you left out key part you have to have a candle burning at the other end of the trailer as to burn off any propane residue that the propane alarm doesn't pick up

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ed,

      Stretching a bit for humor here?

      George

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      Delete
  4. I connect a pressure guage in the line and turn off the propane at the bottle and check the pressure drop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David,

      I posted the same thing as your comment in:
      "A better leak test" ---above.

      Check it out.

      George

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      Delete
    2. I didn't see any thing about using a pressure guage.

      Delete
  5. George, I know from recent experience that it can be tough to get a typical flooring installer to do any RV work. I redid the interior of our 34' class A and did most of the floor with commercial grade, glue down, vinyl plank. That part I did myself. I did need to have a carpet guy do the driver's area, and part of the rear bedroom. I contacted four installers until one would actually do the work. It was $300, but half the cost was a fairly large piece of carpet, and probably 60% of the carpet was wasted, since there were so many odd shapes to cut.Just my humble experience as a retired custom home builder,but if the big box store "contractors" in your area are anything like the ones where I did business, it would be a cold day in hell before they did work for me. I have a fantastic kitchen installer friend that spends 3/4s of his time traveling a three state area, repairing kitchen installation disasters that various big box store "pros" have screwed up so badly, that they were pulled off the job. By the time he gets called in, the customers are furious, threatening to sue, and in dire need of an expert to assess and correct the mess. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kerry,

      As I wrote above, the flooring guy who I met today, advised that Home Depot might fix me up with an independent flooring guy.

      I'm gonna check that out!

      George

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      Delete
    2. George, just be sure you're clear about what they define as an "independent" installer. As far as I have ever seen, the big box stores typically use ALL independent contractors, not employees, for installed services. The issue that I've seen in the business, is that a lot of their installers are there since they have run out of other options in the trade. I have talked to a couple of my subcontractors who looked into doing work for them, and concluded that it didn't pay enough to bother with. The kitchen guy I mentioned will not install kitchens for them. He charges over twice what they are willing to pay, and they only use him to fix the messes they create by hiring low paid monkeys instead of pros. Just be careful, and get some references. Good luck.

      Delete
  6. I could understand your gas leak concern, but if you have a gas bubble on any connections, you have a leak it doesn't make any difference how small the bubble is. Its a leak
    If you spray the connections and there are no bubbles of any form you're not leaking The connection that you made is connected professionally
    Your gauge theory is so far out the window it's laughable
    Think of it this way, you have a 5 gallon can of water if it drips one drop every hour
    How soon would it be before you realized the water is going down

    Make sure there are no open electrical circuits or any power in your trailer whatsoever before you do this kind of a test
    If you insist on checking the propane alarm system go get a Burns O-Matic turn on the gas valve. Aim towards the floor 3ft from the alarm
    propane is heavier than air and it'll set your alarm off

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, Ed!

      I don't get your comment. Too many comments in your comments. Just too many. Too many. Too many.

      Get the picture?

      George

      PS: Too many!

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      George

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      Delete
    2. Ed,

      I apologize for my "I don't get your comment."

      Being too critical is something that I have been working on. Apparently, I have a way to go!

      George

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      Delete
  7. Here's what I use to check propane connections.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/HOME-FLEX-Electronic-Gas-Leak-Detector-11-810-001/301876827?cm_mmc=Shopping%7cTHD%7cG%7c0%7cG-BASE-PLA-D26P-Plumbing%7c&gclid=CjwKCAjwhOvPBRBxEiwAx2nhLlERNizYbq18XzRJnA_6aQOQ_QABnGeT4CoIrcPF6zYOckoWrOnfYRoCuaAQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=COXUobqGodcCFUqFaQodjlsPhg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kenneth,

      I love it!

      I got to get me one of those!

      George

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      Delete
    2. Kenneth,

      I pick up my HOME-FLEX Electronic Gas Leak Detector at Home Depot today!

      Thank you,
      George

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      Delete
  8. George, the propane sold to us here on the East coast of South Carolina is required by law to have an additive for the purpose of making the propane smell like rotten eggs. I have a nose like a hound dog; therefore, when I light the gas stove manually, I know absolutely when propane has made its way to the burner. When you buy propane in California, does California require that the "rotten eggs" odor additive be included in the tank?

    The following is a true story. We were camping at Jordan Lake just outside of Raleigh, NC, and my granddaughter and I were dog sitting her dog Toby. Toby was inside of the camper because he was frightened of the thunder storm raging outside and was a little nervous. Thinking he was protecting himself from the storm, he had pushed himself up against the propane detector and then cut a couple of "air biscuits." That detector exploded with a horrific sound. At first, we didn't know why it went off, so we rushed outside in the rain. Finally, we figured it out, because the odor did not smell like rotten eggs! Ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dee,

      I wonder why propane in Oregon and California do not have that additive?

      Good story about Toby the Dog! 😄

      George

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      Delete
  9. Finally something that a propane pressure guage is good for! They are useless for indicating the amount of propane in the tank since they don't indicate the level of liquid propane. Using it to show if there is a pressure loss in the piping when the tank & appliances are off is just like the pros do when using a manometer. The only real difference is how sensitive the guage is since the manometer measuring water column would be faster. Where the manometer would show a drop in about 5-10 minutes, a %full guage might take a long time to show noticable movement. But it would work. I think I'll order one just for this purpose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tom,

      I do not know the amount time it takes for the gauge to show a drop which indicates a leak problem.

      Do you?

      George

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    2. Unfortunately, no. Also unfortunately, I suspect it might be longer than we would like. But, even if it takes several hours, it is better than no test. A way to test the concept, tho, would be to quickly open & close a stove burner to simulate a leak. Once proven, then set up a another test with an actual fitting that slowly leaks a small bubble (with lots of ventilation!). That would give you the time frame for testing for a real leak.

      Delete
  10. George, I spent my life in the military. Important systems have back-ups. In your case, because of the small space, the modifications you make and the potential effects of a leak, I’d have TWO propane detectors. I’d even use different brands and I’d listen to the company that makes them concerning how to test them. And be aware that other things can set off a propane detector like the funny story posted earlier about the dog, and things like an aerosol spray. Treat every “alert” like it’s gas until proven otherwise. Be safe George.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Robert,

      Two propane detectors of different brands!

      I like that!

      George

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