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Old 06-21-2014, 02:38 PM   #1
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Faint gas smell at furnace solenoid

We've started noticing a faint gas smell at the furnace. Soapy spray doesn't show anything. Tried to tighten things down anyway and twisted the supply pipe. So I figured on just replacing the connection and see what happens. In describing the situation to people a few were aghast that the connection wasn't done with flexi pipe. I replace with flexi pipe. Still get the smell and then read the packaging for the flexi pipe and it says to not for use in a moving trailer.

Two questions. Can the leak come from the solenoid and is the flexi pipe wrong? Jamie
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:22 PM   #2
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Flexi-pipe will work harden with movement - cause crack, than leek - go boom!
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:15 PM   #3
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Flex connections are typical on boats where appliances are gimballed and have to move independently of the boat. In a trailer where nothing is gimballed, there's no need for flex connections. Copper pipe is ductile enough to flex the small amount that is necessary to account for over-the-road flexing of the trailer's frame.

It is possible for a solenoid to leak. It's an electrically-controlled valve, and ANYTHING with moving parts can leak. It's also possible for any plumbing connection to leak if it's not made up correctly. So it might not be the solenoid itself that's leaking; it could be the fitting at either end of it. You can check the same way you find a leak in a tire. Coat the connections with soapy water, and see if bubbles form. If they do, you have a leak.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:19 PM   #4
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E-Gads! Don't want to go BOOM! On my way to hardware store for fix! Jamie
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:26 PM   #5
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Just got back from the hardware store where the fellow who "made" me buy the flexi connector told me I can't use copper tubing for propane. That it will pit or whatever and my rig will go boom. I bought it anyway and will do the work, but any comments from y'all on what is going on here? Are we all driving time bombs around?
Jamie
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:39 PM   #6
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Just got back from the hardware store where the fellow who "made" me buy the flexi connector told me I can't use copper tubing for propane. That it will pit or whatever and my rig will go boom. I bought it anyway and will do the work, but any comments from y'all on what is going on here? Are we all driving time bombs around?
Jamie
If you use Type K or Type L copper tubing, the tubing wall thickness is adequate for propane plumbing, according to NFPA 58, Appendix G.

Do not use ACR copper tubing; that's for air conditioning and refrigeration service, not propane.

Make sure the guy sold you Type K or Type L copper tubing. If he didn't, get it elsewhere, from a guy who actually has some familiarity with NFPA 58.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:53 PM   #7
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Turtle,

First of all you need to find a new "hardware guy." Copper tubing (not the type K, L or M hard stuff but the 'soft' stuff) has been used for many, many years in the propane industry. Yes, it will pit eventually but we all will be dead for a lot of years before pitting every becomes a problem on your rig. For propane, make sure you use flare fittings and not, repeat, not compression fittings. Compression fittings are fine for water, but not for propane. And, especially if you are in a 'cold' climate, always use 'frost' nuts on any outside connections. They are heavier and stubbier and won't split from cold weather. Before flaring, clean all the burrs from inside the pipe after you cut it with a tubing cutter and be sure you put the nut on before flaring. It's embarrassing when you do a perfect flare and forgot to put the nut on. Been there, done that.

Agree with "Protagonist" that the solenoid valve could be leaking. Remember, you're only working with eleven inches water column pressure and that's pretty small so it may take a few minutes for a leak to show after soaping it.

You will prevail.

Dave
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Old 06-21-2014, 07:13 PM   #8
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Copper tubing (not the type K, L or M hard stuff but the 'soft' stuff) has been used for many, many years in the propane industry.
Senior moment. I omitted an important point, which you reminded me of… Type K and Type L come in either hard or soft-rolled. You definitely want soft-rolled as oldfulltimer said. Type M only comes in hard.

To tell the difference between types, look at the lettering on the tubing. It's color-coded. Type K has thinner walls and has green lettering on it. Type L is thicker-walled and has blue lettering. Type M is thickest and has red letting.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:46 PM   #9
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Thanks for the information. I feel a whole lot better about what's going on now. I checked the tubing I bought and there is nothing on it so I'll assume it's not what I want. I'll go to the official plumbing store tomorrow and get the proper tubing.

As for the hardware guy, he's great at locating what I want and he's been helpful in the past. I'll just have to be more savvy in the future.

Jamie
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