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Old 03-18-2009, 12:51 AM   #1
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1 lb. propane bottle storage question

Okay, here's the thing. I've read all (okay, almost all) of the postings back to 2002 regarding propane. I had a VW camper for years (and, yes, I wear Birkenstocks), so am somewhat familiar with using it. My concern (er, paranoia) runs amock when I read the warning on the 1 lb. propane canisters that I use for my little outdoor cooker that I am not to store them in living quarters nor in 120 degree plus weather. Well, in my Bambi, the storage unit is under the bed and certainly the heat in the trailer will get above 120 degrees on a hot summer day here in California's central valley or while travelling in Arizona - especially while out hiking or swimming (so no air conditioning running) - or when, sob, I'm not using the trailer and it's parked on my blisteringly hot driveway. So, do I have to velcro the bottles to the outside of the trailer (maybe stuff them between the main propane bottles?). I've looked all over the internet and also read Janet's article about propane, but I have not seen this issue addressed. Perhaps eubank or Andy at Inland RV can help with this? It's one thing to blow myself up, but I plan to take my granddaughter camping...a lot.

Any help you folks can provide is greatly appreciated.

Sally
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Old 03-18-2009, 05:03 AM   #2
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Sally,
Instead of using the throw away one pound propane bottles might I suggest getting a refillable propane cylinder. They can be had in aluminum or steel and you can get them in small sizes like 6 and 10 pounds. I have a 10 pound steel bottle for our Weber Baby-Q grill and love it. it lasts forever on one fill.

Here is the link to a 6 pound aluminum Worthington bottle from Vintage TRailer Supply...

Vintage Trailer Supply - Vintage travel trailer parts and supplies!

If that is too expensive you may be able to get a small steel bottle from a local propane dealer.

Then all you need is a hose to connect the bottle to your cooker. These hose adapters can usually be found in the camping section at Wally World.

It may be a little more expensive up front, but you will be keeping those little bottles out of the land fills.
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:26 AM   #3
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Using a small, refillable cylinder is a good idea, but it doesn't solve the problem that Sally brings up, namely, storage and heat.

The problem is that propane expands a lot when the temperature rises. For this reason, refillable cylinders are filled only to the 80% level and must be stored/used in their relative upright position. People who store these cylinders, especially full ones, in their sun-overheated RVs in their relative horizontal position are asking the potential of major trouble. (I wrote "relative" here because there are vertical cylinders and horizontal ones, with different engineering.)

So this brings up Sally's question. What about those throw-away cylinders? Well, thankfully, they don't hold that much propane (and it does make a lot of financial sense to procure one of the small refillables, as Deitz points out). Even so, whether stored or used, I'd try my best to keep them in the coolest location possible. (I'd also recommend storing them in an upright position, but this may be a waste of time because, as far as I can remember, the throw-aways don't have a pressure relief valve like the refillables do.)


Lynn
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:00 AM   #4
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We have an attachment and hoses made by Coleman which allows us to tap into our trailer tanks to hook up the BBQ, fire pit, lantern or other propane appliances. This negates the need for any small tanks ~

Propane Distribution Tree

We put the lantern on top and our Road Trip Grill on the middle branch then a fire pit on the bottom. The only negative is you have to stay within the hose length from your trailer tank. The way we get around this is to sometimes carry an extra refillable tank - but you need only one, because you can attach three items to the tree.

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Old 03-18-2009, 09:03 AM   #5
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Hey Prude;

The bottles have a pressure relief valve on them. You only live about 15 minutes from me here in Lodi. I leave my 1 lb cylinders all over the place, in the trailers, in the burb out in the full summer sun. Never a problem.

I see you have signed up for the Forum Rally at Casini, bring any empty cylinders that you have and I will refill them for you. Or take them off your hands.The nice part about refilling cylinders is that it can be done while wearing birkies.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:18 AM   #6
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Ok, if those little throw-aways have a pressure relief valve, then by all means store the cylinder with the pressure relief valve in the highest physical position. This is so because propane is heavier than air, so any propane in the cylinder should be further from the pressure relief, and any air in nearest proximity to the pressure relief. The propane will expand with heat, pushing only air out of the pressure relief just in case of excess build-up of pressure from excessive heat.

Lynn
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubank View Post
Ok, if those little throw-aways have a pressure relief valve, then by all means store the cylinder with the pressure relief valve in the highest physical position. This is so because propane is heavier than air, so any propane in the cylinder should be further from the pressure relief, and any air in nearest proximity to the pressure relief. The propane will expand with heat, pushing only air out of the pressure relief just in case of excess build-up of pressure from excessive heat.

Lynn
I don't believe that any air will be found in any LPG bottle that has some LPG in it, regardless of the position of the tank

You will have LPG liquid and LPG vapor, always, in the tanks.

LPG vapor, can be extremely explosive, especially in a confined area, such as the interior of an Airstream.

Andy
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
I don't believe that any air will be found in any LPG bottle that has some LPG in it, regardless of the position of the tank

You will have LPG liquid and LPG vapor, always, in the tanks.

LPG vapor, can be extremely explosive, especially in a confined area, such as the interior of an Airstream.

Andy
More or less right! The air at the top of the cylinder is a mixture of air and propane -- and is very flammable. The reason for NFPA's 80% fill rule, however, is to prevent pure, liquid propane from being released into the atmosphere (or into a propane system). If liquid propane is released via the relief valve (or, even less welcome, via cylinder rupture), dramatic expansion occurs, resulting in a much greater amount of extremely flammable propane-air mixure.

The trick, then, is to make sure that no liquid propane is released. That's why it's important to store a cylinder with the relief valve in highest position. (For regular vertical cylinders that are anywhere near to full, this means that one should store them upright, not on their sides.)

There's plenty of reading available on this from the National Fire Prevention Association, Publication 58. It's a dense-prose code book, so it's hardly intended for the casual reader!


Lynn
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:06 PM   #9
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Stoopid idea!

Since I use a Sewer Solution I don't need the tube under the A/S for stinky slinky storage... For a wild moment I thought why not store those little cylinders under there...

OK sanity hit after reading about the pressure relief valve... and the thought of having an explosion UNDER the Airstream isn't any better than one IN an Airstream.

I also know people DO refill them, but... they are made disposable for a reason.

I have two spare 20's (I fulltime and ALWAYS run out of propane on a freezing night at 3:00 am). I just store them under the trailer tongue. If I'm in a strange campground, I padlock them to my safety chains. When I travel I bungee them to hooks on the inside of my truck bed. I did get the plastic base holders that make them less likely to tip over.

Paula
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:07 PM   #10
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Well, storing under the rig at least keeps the cylinder in a somewhat cooler location! Our doggies loved to crawl underneath the rig where the temps seemed more tolerable.


Lynn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Since I use a Sewer Solution I don't need the tube under the A/S for stinky slinky storage... For a wild moment I thought why not store those little cylinders under there...

OK sanity hit after reading about the pressure relief valve... and the thought of having an explosion UNDER the Airstream isn't any better than one IN an Airstream.

I also know people DO refill them, but... they are made disposable for a reason.

I have two spare 20's (I fulltime and ALWAYS run out of propane on a freezing night at 3:00 am). I just store them under the trailer tongue. If I'm in a strange campground, I padlock them to my safety chains. When I travel I bungee them to hooks on the inside of my truck bed. I did get the plastic base holders that make them less likely to tip over.

Paula
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:19 PM   #11
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Sorry if this is off point, but my Camping World catalogue came today. On page 53 there are some incredible prices on Manchester tanks. 5, 11, 30 & 40 lb.
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:56 PM   #12
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You know, it pays a LOT to shop around for propane cylinders, for the price fluctuations are enormous for the very same products. A number of years ago, just before the change-over to OPD valves, we needed to purchase a half-dozen of the five gallon cylinders, so we let our fingers do the walking and found them for somewhat over $20 apiece at the low end and for around $50 apiece at the high end. Woulda never thunk.


Lynn
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