Propane tank hookup.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Randyj, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    Location:
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    This is another one of those things I've done quite a bit of but still have questions and don't feel comfortable quoting a price simply because I won't know what's involved until I get into it. Here's what the guy has told me about the job of running a gas line from two propane tanks to his fire place.

    Best I can tell it will be a single 50 ft. run and then I'd like an A-B switch so the two 23 gallon tanks are connected and all I have to do is throw the switch when one runs out.

    If it were natural gas I'd run 3/4" black steel pipe which I'd transition to 1/2copper tubing at the fireplace. Since it's propane I plan on using 1/2" pipe. Since I'm not sure if they even still make those "switches" or where to get them (probably from a propane company) I've suggested just using a tee with two gas valves at the tanks. If the pipe has to be underground I'd assume that 12" is an appropriate depth. Any comments? Suggestions? Hints on pricing? Rough guessing is fine with me too.... Of course I'll pressure test the pipe all the way back to the valves and check with soap bubbles at all other connections.
  2. gmt

    gmt New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The A/B switch you are referring to is a RV regulator. It automatically switches from the empty tank to the full one. You can then disconnect the empty one and have it filled while still operating on the other tank. Be sure to check the BTU output of the regulator to ensure you have enough flow for the fireplace.
    You will most likely need two pigtails to connect the tanks to the regulator, and the outlet of the regulator is either 1/2 or 3/8 npt.

    Rather than copper tubing, I would use a gas flex and shut off. Don't forget, MAKE SURE THE FIREPLACE HAS A 100% SAFETY SHUT OFF. Is this a fireplace? Or a log set?

    Quite a difference...
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2006
  3. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    Thanks gmt... and since I do not find those listed at ACE Hardware, Lowe's, or Home Depot... could you suggest where I should shop for one?
  4. gmt

    gmt New Member

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    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Unsure where you are located, but a RV Supply house? A larger propane dealer may have one also. It is the type that is for trailers. Where there are two LP cylinders installed, one is in use. I think it is called a "switchable regulator"
  5. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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  6. gmt

    gmt New Member

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    Location:
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    Actually...On the top of the reg there is a sight gauge, which helps identify when the cylinder is empty. See the red in the glass? The reg has a depending on where the reg was set up, and which side it is set, it will tell you when the original (first) cylinder is empty.

    As for the manometer link, quite interesting. After using them for over twenty years, some never change.
    Just make sure they are accurate. Test any manometer often to ensure they are set accordingly. Gas can be tricky and temperamental. Always side with caution. If it's not done correctly, lives are at stake.

    I may have OCD when it comes to gas. Been in the business over 20 years. Respect it.
  7. gmt

    gmt New Member

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    Location:
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    Last edited: Dec 19, 2006
  8. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    Location:
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    I'm having a 150 gal propane tank delivered to my house tomorrow. I'll be sure to kick the whole project around with the delivery technician. Prices on all kinds of work around here are somewhat different than where I moved from. Too, I'm living on a lake and sometimes prices differ significantly from one side of the lake to the other ... mainly because lots of these places are far out in the woods and miles down little crooked roads. I just need to be sure I'm fair and reasonable with the customers and that if I'm not making money then I don't need the job(s). Oh, and like you, I'm extremely and overly respectful of gas. I had a water heater blow out on me when I tried to light it .... about 25 years ago... and I remember it VERY well. It didn't burn me badly but did blister the back of my hand pretty bad and that was enough warning. I've also seen a heater blow up because enough time was not given to allow gas to evacuate the combustion chamber before trying to relight it. Gas is serious stuff.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2006
  9. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    Any more comments/suggestions... someone jump in here...
  10. Phil H2

    Phil H2 New Member

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    Perhaps no one is answering because the idea is akin to saying. I am going to install (in someone else's house for a fee) a 60 amp electrical service and run knob and tube to a laundry. The best advice I ever heard regarding gas is "When you work with water and something goes wrong, someone may get wet and there can be property damage. When you work with gas and something goes wrong, people can be burned, maimed, or killed."

    There really isn't much of a place to begin to comment. Maybe: uncoated steel pipe should not be put in the ground. Or, you should follow IFGC or NFPA 58. I don't want to seem mean or be wet blanket or stick in the mud. But, it does not sound like you are qualified to do the work and your description is vauge. It could be a log-lighter or a fake-fireplace
  11. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    Location:
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    New ventless gas fireplace with auto cut off... I'm qualified in every aspect except not being licensed for gas. Was mainly looking for suggestions on pricing. The RV regulator for twin tanks was the biggest snag....found one at a local RV store.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Location:
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    Gas

    Unless it was a very short gas line, I would not use steel pipe, even the "approved" coated pipe, (which to me is the worst material ever invented for burying in the ground), but rather PE, which usually requires certification to even buy it.
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