Propane leak testing

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by dcf1999, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. dcf1999

    dcf1999 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Illinois
    When I bought my new house (propane) the propane service guy came out to test for leaks. He basically just hooked up a gauge to the regulator on the top of the 500 gallon tank. After turning off all gas appliances, he turned off main service valve (between tank and regulator on top of tank) and watches the gauge for 10 min to make sure the pressure didn't drop at all.

    I just got done installing a new dryer, range, and putting in some new black pipe so I can run my grill off my house propane and want to leak check the system they same way he did it (seams like a good method... if it holds presaure, theres no leaks it would seem). I did the bubble thing but there are some spots in my new gas piping where I can't get to with the bubbles.

    Is it just a manometer that's used? If so, where so I find the end that connects to the regulator? The port on the regulator has a shrader (sp?) type valve on it. My manometer has a threaded adapter that screws into a appliance type regulator. I searched all over and couldn't find a gauge with the adaptor that would fit that valve or the answer to my question.

    I could have swarn he used a gauge read in PSI but I could have been wrong. I'm going to call tem out to check the system, but it would be handy to have the gauge to do it myself if I add another appliance or have to do some repairs and need to leak check.

    My system consists of the 500 gal tank, regulator at tank and low pressure regulators at house

    If he is measuring in PSI, I'm wondering if I could use a automotive fuel tester for it... Reason being, the hose on the automotive tester has the correct fitting that will attach to that port and open the schrader valve. However I may need to change out the gauge as that gauge is meant for automotive fuel and not a gas like propane. If i need to measure in WC, them just use the hose off the automotive tester and attach that to my manometer.

    Thanks in advance...
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  2. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    You're kidding right?
  3. dcf1999

    dcf1999 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Illinois
    Saying "are you kidding" doesn't really help because there is no reference to anything in question. Am I kidding about how the propane company tested the system? About the tool I'm in search of? Whether I'm confused if the pressure at that regulator is measured in WC or PSI?

    It doesn't seem like that hard of a question. I was there when they guy tested the system and that's exactly how he did it. I'm just wondering about the tool he used and how to obtain one. Maybe he tested the system wrong? Maybe there is no such tool and the port on the side of the regulator shouldn't be a shrader type valve and was put there by the company for some reason (and if so, maybe they made their own "custom" gauge set to use with it).

    If its confusing and you need a picture, I can send one. But don't just respond with "are you kidding me"... If you don't understand smth or don't know the answer... Why even respond? People come to forums to learn or grasp concepts...

    Anyways. I've posted nanometer in my previous post. I meant to say manometer (the gauge that reads in WC).
  4. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    Ok so you have no clue what you need, no clue what you are doing but you are going to do it anyway hoping someone a few hundred miles away can give you the right answer on a DIY forum. So, here's the right answer. Call someone in thats licensed to work on gas piping and appliances before you blow your house off the foundation. Is that helpful? I didn't think so LOL
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,754
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The gauge is in PSI

    Plumbing supplies sell them for testing. The ones I get are threaded. Just find a threaded connection. Many shutoff valve on gas won't hold a test though. When we do a new installation, the valves are off and the ends are capped.

    LP is more exposive than NG.
    LP is also heavier than air, and can collect in low places before exploding.
    Of all the plumbing I do, gas is the one I worry about the most.
    Good luck.
  6. dcf1999

    dcf1999 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Illinois
    Terry... thanks for the reply...

    I thought of the valve not sealing 100% so I still did the pressure test and it held at 9 PSI for 15 min... but I also did another test with soapy water and no bubbles... I need the LP guys to come over and locate my outside lines as I'm planning digging some holes and I don't want to hit the lines. When they come over, I'll have them look it over too...

    I do want to clarify... when I said I coudn't get to some of the fittings to test with the solution, it sounded bad. The fittings are exposed (not burried in the wall or smth) there just in a tight proximity to other things and hard to see all the way around the fitting... When I test with the solution, I look very clostly for any bubbles that form (small or large). I solved the problem by putting on the solution and using my borascope to look around to the back of the fitting. Basically that section of pipe with the fitting sits between a wall and about 5 plastic pipes that come out of the ground for my in-floor heating so it's hard to get a good look around the whole fitting.

    Anyways... I did make my own gauge set and it worked. I basically took a brand new automotive fuel tester and replaced the gauge with a 0-15psi gauge... the hose on the fuel tester had the right fitting to screw on to that adaptor. I posted a picture below.

    Like I said to the other guy, I'm comfortable working with black pipe but I do like to do as many checks as possible for leaks as it's an explosive gas and I like my new house. That's why I was wondering about the pressure test. As a backup or second test to the bubble solution. But unless I cap the ends like you said, I can see why the pressure test isn't that accurite. I'm not going to mess with capping the end by the tank either to do the test... I don't really feel comfortable removing the line from the valve to the regulator as I just don't know enough about the whole setup on the tank there and possible problems that may arrise by disconnecting the line between the regulator and valve. Dont' really feel like messing anything up so I'll leave that alone.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
  7. dcf1999

    dcf1999 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Illinois
    I'm pretty sure I never said I have no clue what I'm doing... It's not rocket science to cut a existing piece of black pipe, thread it, add a tee, and run a nipple outside for an LP grill. (Mine was a little more extensive than that... i had some elbows, and 2 shutoff valves (1 inside, 1 outside). I tested the system after install and no leaks around connections using soap mixture and the pressure at high pressure regulator held at 9 PSI for 15 minutes....

    All I asked for information about the tool and what the pressure at the high pressure regulator is measured it... Anyways, Terry explained it very well and was helpful. I couldn't find the exact tool so I made it myself... Took the hose from a new automotive fuel tester (because it had the right end to fit on the high pressure regulator test port), removed the gauge, and installed a 0-15 PSI gauge to it.... Pretty simple.... But since, as Terry explained, the gas valves on the LP tank sometimes don't seal properly and I may get a inaccurate result, I double checked all connections with a soapy water mixture... no leaks... no LP smells... no explosions... I'll be grilling on it tomorrow...

    I also tested the pressure at the grill after the install.... It's at 11" of WC.

    Anyways... point being... Don't assume that a person "doesn't know what the're doing" becuse the're not a licensed plumber by trade... If the question sounds weird or needs clarification, ask the poster to clarifiy what part confuses you. Lastly, if you don't know the answer to a question or how to answer a qustion, just don't answer...

    As for me, I'm comfortable working with black pipe (fitting them, threading, etc...). If I wasn't comfortable, I wouldn't do it. I've moved and replaced a lot of the black pipe in my old house and did a fantastic job. Now, if I was designing a whole new system for a new house, I would be calling a plumber because I don't have the "design" knowledge (i.e. what size pipes to use for the gas load, etc...) The actual fitting, cutting, and threading of black pipe really isn't rocket science, nor is it that hard. If it's done properly, and checked for leaks, it's a solid install.
  8. dcf1999

    dcf1999 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Illinois
    Here are the pics

    Attached Files:

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