Any LP/Propane gas installers here? Need to ask some questions.

This is a discussion on Any LP/Propane gas installers here? Need to ask some questions. within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; If there's someone here in the LP/Propane business I have some questions. I want to buy a 30K btu ventless space heater at Lowes, but ...

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Thread: Any LP/Propane gas installers here? Need to ask some questions.

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    Any LP/Propane gas installers here? Need to ask some questions.

    If there's someone here in the LP/Propane business I have some
    questions.

    I want to buy a 30K btu ventless space heater at Lowes, but the package says "must be professionally installed." * I was hoping to run it off 20 lb BBQ style cylinders, with the tank(s) located outside the house and a hose run up through the floor. (Shack is on piers off the ground so it is easy to run a line.)

    I have no idea what to look for in regulators, what fittings I'd need, where to get these.


    * The local gas company refuses to install as code won't allow ventless for primary heating. The bldg inspector (good guy actually) is worried about CO and won't give me a variance. I figure between all the leaks in the structure (the attic is open and vented) and some CO detectors I'll be OK. Besides, the only option the inspector is leaving me is to run a couple of smaller (and more dangerous) propane heaters off 1 lb cylinders and add a 23 btu kerosene heater. This doesn't exactly reduce the CO issue.

    Anyone with advice, thoughts.

    P.S. It looks like it would take 3-4 K to replace the existing 55 year old Empire space heater and install a 125 gallon tank plus new line all up to code. I don't get enough use out of the shack to justify that expense.
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
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  3. #2
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    You can buy a catalytic propane gas heater that installs directly on top of BBQ propane tanks.
    There is a double one that I think is close to 30K BTU.

    I used a slightly different older model in my (small) cabin.

    It might work as a temporary fix 'cause Old Man Winter is fast approaching.

    This one is a Mr.Heater at 28,000 BTU.

    I would just use mine to warm the place up a bit on extra frigid days and right before hopping into the ol' sleeping bag...but, if you run it continuously at 28,000 BTU ~ you'll be burning through a lot of propane tanks.


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    Not quite the same, but we have an unvented propane fireplace in the house. I gotta say we don't use it because after just 20 minutes of use with a low flame, we start to get light headaches. I can't recommend unvented appliances for indoor use.

    I'm still trying to figure out how it passed inspection when the house was built. Go figure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctr View Post
    Not quite the same, but we have an unvented propane fireplace in the house. I gotta say we don't use it because after just 20 minutes of use with a low flame, we start to get light headaches. I can't recommend unvented appliances for indoor use.

    I'm still trying to figure out how it passed inspection when the house was built. Go figure.
    Is your house reasonably new with tight construction and few if any drafts? I'm talking about heating an old cabin.

    One thing the inspector did point out to me was that they always talk about their low O2 detection but never come with built in C0 monitoring.

    Anyway, I want to try it if I can figure out how to install the gas line, per my initial post.
    I actually have a vented 70K heater, but I need to replace it and I am not yet ready to shell out the estimated 4K for new heater, new gas lines, new 125 Gallon propane tank. So, I'm looking for a stop gap that won't kill me, burn the house down, but will get me through colder nights in the NE in mid-April to late October.

    PS--are you certain your fireplace is working properly? That seems like a very short time to start feeling ill.
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
    Andrew Jackson

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Be very careful re the CO. I had some friends who had a hibachi in their race car trailer on a cold night and it damn near killed them.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    I've used them, Just get a regulator for a stove and a line for tank. Run the line from other end of regulator to heater with ceramic bricks Should work fine, Just get a Carbonmanoxcide detector & your in the warm ; )
    H/D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Is your house reasonably new with tight construction and few if any drafts? I'm talking about heating an old cabin.

    One thing the inspector did point out to me was that they always talk about their low O2 detection but never come with built in C0 monitoring.

    Anyway, I want to try it if I can figure out how to install the gas line, per my initial post.
    I actually have a vented 70K heater, but I need to replace it and I am not yet ready to shell out the estimated 4K for new heater, new gas lines, new 125 Gallon propane tank. So, I'm looking for a stop gap that won't kill me, burn the house down, but will get me through colder nights in the NE in mid-April to late October.

    PS--are you certain your fireplace is working properly? That seems like a very short time to start feeling ill.
    They sure want a lot of money don't they? I hope you find a solution that works for you.

    The fireplace is not vented, the gases are passed directly into the room. We have had one HVAC guy look at it and he says it can't be vented. We would have to get a whole new unit to vent to the outside. We would like to use it more, and have it as a good backup heat source should the furnace or power go out. I just can't justify the $$$$ for a new unit.

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    Be very careful with the carbon monoxide, it's a product of incomplete combustion. Incomplete combustion is normally produced from an improper fuel to air mixture. Incomplete combustion can be visually (not measured by any means) identified on a kitchen stove or the application you are intending to utilize, by yellow flame tips. The more yellow you have in the flame with butane, propane, LPG or natural gas, the more carbon monoxide it is producing. Minimal CM produced would be a completely BLUE flame with NO yellow flame tips what-so-ever. What ever you decide on doing, NEVER EVER, in-case you didn't see the upper case letters, NEVER EVER get to comfortable and/or go to sleep using any unvented gas heating system, period. I don't want to sound like I'm preaching or scolding or anything but, many lives have been lost by people to carbon monoxide, using unsafe and dangerous heating and cooking practices. I was in the propane business for a decade and seen and heard some terrible things. One more item if you'll bear with me. If you unwisely proceed with your installation, install it using flare hardware and tools, never compression fittings or the like. Carefully check each and every connection for gas leaks with a solution of liquid dish soap. Pour the soap on liberally all over the connection and watch carefully for a few minutes to insure there are NO little bubbles indicating a gas leak. You can get the copper tubing (1/4 or 3/8") and flare hardware you need at most Home Depots, Lowes, or plumbing stores. Sounds like you will also need a low pressure regulator installed from your tank prior to your appliance. That will need to be purchased at your local propane dealer. If he sells you the low pressure regulator (since you're not a professional) ask him/her any questions you may have. Take care.

    Dennis

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    OK, so I have mentioned that I work in the plumbing allied trades, this is where I got my start. First off, unvented heaters are a great source of supplemental heat and, they are very safe when properly installed. I have stayed in many hunting cabins where they are the only source of heat. Oxygen depletion sensors or ODS work in conjunction with the thermocouple, when there is not enough oxygen the pilot flame will "lift". Put a glass over a lit candle, the flame will lift; in the case of the heater as the flame "lifts" it stops heating the thermocouple and breaks the pilot circuit in turn shutting off the main burner.

    As for the regulator you need a two stage regulator which takes the gas pressure from 25+ psi to less than 1/2 psi, no reputable distributor will sell you this type of regulator. High pressure gas can cause the heater to over fire (think torch), you need a quality two stage regulator. As for the piping you need at least copper tubing connected with flare fittings adapted to pipe fittings to connect your appliance and regulator (you need a flaring tool to make these connections) (do not use a hose or non metalic tubing).

    My recommendation: do not attempt to rig a gas supply system, use electric if you cannot have a professionally installed system. Try a small local LP dealer, they should be willing to do the install at a very competitive rate, buy the heater from them and they will be more competitive. Lowes sells junk heaters anyway (that is an educated opinion).

    Chas
    "To believe that social reforms can eradicate evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new shape when deprived of an old one." - SAT

    Never argue with an idiot - they'll bring you down to their level then beat you with experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis1209 View Post
    Be very careful with the carbon monoxide, it's a product of incomplete combustion. Incomplete combustion is normally produced from an improper fuel to air mixture. Incomplete combustion can be visually (not measured by any means) identified on a kitchen stove or the application you are intending to utilize, by yellow flame tips. The more yellow you have in the flame with butane, propane, LPG or natural gas, the more carbon monoxide it is producing. Minimal CM produced would be a completely BLUE flame with NO yellow flame tips what-so-ever. What ever you decide on doing, NEVER EVER, in-case you didn't see the upper case letters, NEVER EVER get to comfortable and/or go to sleep using any unvented gas heating system, period. I don't want to sound like I'm preaching or scolding or anything but, many lives have been lost by people to carbon monoxide, using unsafe and dangerous heating and cooking practices. I was in the propane business for a decade and seen and heard some terrible things. One more item if you'll bear with me. If you unwisely proceed with your installation, install it using flare hardware and tools, never compression fittings or the like. Carefully check each and every connection for gas leaks with a solution of liquid dish soap. Pour the soap on liberally all over the connection and watch carefully for a few minutes to insure there are NO little bubbles indicating a gas leak. You can get the copper tubing (1/4 or 3/8") and flare hardware you need at most Home Depots, Lowes, or plumbing stores. Sounds like you will also need a low pressure regulator installed from your tank prior to your appliance. That will need to be purchased at your local propane dealer. If he sells you the low pressure regulator (since you're not a professional) ask him/her any questions you may have. Take care.

    Dennis
    OK, since you were in the propane business, let me ask a slightly different related question. Do you know of any VENTED propane space heater I could install to run off 20 lb cylinder. Ca. 30 K BTU again. I have an existing Vented 70 K btu Empire but, aside from the fact that it needs professional attention before being used, is ancient, etc., I rather suspect it is so inefficient that it is sending 80 % of the heat up the existing flue.

    Ive seen some nice modern Empire units (run around $2K) and that is about double my budget, plus the gas
    company wants 800 for a new line, regulator, tank; and I think that is without the gas fill. I need something much less expensive.
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
    Andrew Jackson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis1209 View Post
    Be very careful with the carbon monoxide, it's a product of incomplete combustion. Incomplete combustion is normally produced from an improper fuel to air mixture. Incomplete combustion can be visually (not measured by any means) identified on a kitchen stove or the application you are intending to utilize, by yellow flame tips. The more yellow you have in the flame with butane, propane, LPG or natural gas, the more carbon monoxide it is producing.
    Dennis
    In regards to the bold statement that is not correct, I own and regularly use a combustion analyzer which measures the CO produced by any appliance.
    "To believe that social reforms can eradicate evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new shape when deprived of an old one." - SAT

    Never argue with an idiot - they'll bring you down to their level then beat you with experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbqgrill View Post
    OK, so I have mentioned that I work in the plumbing allied trades, this is where I got my start. First off, unvented heaters are a great source of supplemental heat and, they are very safe when properly installed. I have stayed in many hunting cabins where they are the only source of heat. Oxygen depletion sensors or ODS work in conjunction with the thermocouple, when there is not enough oxygen the pilot flame will "lift". Put a glass over a lit candle, the flame will lift; in the case of the heater as the flame "lifts" it stops heating the thermocouple and breaks the pilot circuit in turn shutting off the main burner.

    As for the regulator you need a two stage regulator which takes the gas pressure from 25+ psi to less than 1/2 psi, no reputable distributor will sell you this type of regulator. High pressure gas can cause the heater to over fire (think torch), you need a quality two stage regulator. As for the piping you need at least copper tubing connected with flare fittings adapted to pipe fittings to connect your appliance and regulator (you need a flaring tool to make these connections) (do not use a hose or non metalic tubing).

    My recommendation: do not attempt to rig a gas supply system, use electric if you cannot have a professionally installed system. Try a small local LP dealer, they should be willing to do the install at a very competitive rate, buy the heater from them and they will be more competitive. Lowes sells junk heaters anyway (that is an educated opinion).

    Chas
    OK, code prevents the local guys from installing ventless for primary heat--even though it is for an uninsulated cabin/shack. They of course can not stop me from doing it myself.

    But, since you say no reputable dealer will sell me the appropriate regulator, I need a plan. Is it possible to connect the 20 lb BBQ cylinders to those 30K BTU ventless units that are commonly sold at Lowes, as Hogdaddy suggested, or is that absolutely not something that can be done.
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
    Andrew Jackson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    OK, code prevents the local guys from installing ventless for primary heat--even though it is for an uninsulated cabin/shack. They of course can not stop me from doing it myself.

    But, since you say no reputable dealer will sell me the appropriate regulator, I need a plan. Is it possible to connect the 20 lb BBQ cylinders to those 30K BTU ventless units that are commonly sold at Lowes, as Hogdaddy suggested, or is that absolutely not something that can be done.
    Hopyard, you need the regulator, no way around that. In the northeast states where I work, distributors do not sell twin stage regulators to the general public. As Dennis mentioned the copper tubing and brass fittings along with the flare tool can be purchased at most hardware/home centers.
    "To believe that social reforms can eradicate evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new shape when deprived of an old one." - SAT

    Never argue with an idiot - they'll bring you down to their level then beat you with experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    OK, since you were in the propane business, let me ask a slightly different related question. Do you know of any VENTED propane space heater I could install to run off 20 lb cylinder. Ca. 30 K BTU again.
    Almost any appliance can run on a P20 tank. That said a P20 cannot vaporize enough gas to fire very high BTU appliances but, a space heater shoud be fine. A 30 kbtu heater will burn non-stop for about 15 hours on a single P20 tank. I am not very familiar with the RV industry but that may be the best place to look to find components to assemble a safe makeshift heating system.
    "To believe that social reforms can eradicate evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new shape when deprived of an old one." - SAT

    Never argue with an idiot - they'll bring you down to their level then beat you with experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbqgrill View Post
    Almost any appliance can run on a P20 tank. That said a P20 cannot vaporize enough gas to fire very high BTU appliances but, a space heater shoud be fine. A 30 kbtu heater will burn non-stop for about 15 hours on a single P20 tank. I am not very familiar with the RV industry but that may be the best place to look to find components to assemble a safe makeshift heating system.
    Do I need the two stage regulator for the 20 lb tank, or only for the large 125 gallon tanks?

    And, do you know of any vented space heater that doesn't cost two arms and three legs---
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
    Andrew Jackson

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