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Old 01-14-2011, 08:24 PM   #1
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LP regulator question

Simple question. I purchased a new regulator that has a switch over valve. I haven't used yet and didn't keep the directions(I usually don't read them anyway). how does this valve work. Do you turn on one tank and use it until it runs out or open both tanks and it switches over. If one tank is empty and accidentally open will the other tank pressurize the tank with lower pressure. .Today I installed a new furnace and want to ops check but make sure I do correct. Thanks
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:49 PM   #2
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They are supposed to switch automatically when one tank empties, assuming you have the other tank open.

I've never trusted them, and aways switched over manually when the first tank emptied. That way I know I always have a tank in reserve, and I always know which tank I'm using. But, that's just me.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:20 PM   #3
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Ours just switched automatically with no problems.

Manually select one side or the other and open both valves to start. When the selected side is empty, it will switch automatically to the other. The empty tank is the one you selected at the start, and it will remain empty.

Pretty simple system using tank pressure to actuate the switchover.

Doug
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:34 PM   #4
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You are supposed to open both full tanks. The "indicator" should turn green. Which ever tank the lever is pointing to, will feed gas. When that tank is empty, the regulator will switch to the other tank, and turn the indicator red. At that point, you should turn the lever the other direction, which should make the indicator green. You then turn off the empty tank and have it filled. After filling, turn that tank on. The whole thing will repeat with the other tank.

I have been using this process for years. I have had two problems. On our Caravel, when I was checking for leaks using soap and water, I found that there was a very slight leak around the indicator plastic tube. On the Excella, it seemed that it had been a long time since I had to fill a tank. Further inspection showed that one tank had gone empty, the regulator switched to the other tank, but had not turned the indicator red. In both cased I put on new regulators. I think the one on the Excella was original, and about 26 years old.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:27 AM   #5
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I know this is not a new thread but an indicator of how much info is out here if you search. We have an 84 Sovereign and I could not figure out what in the world the little red/green plastic thing on top of the regulator was. But I was smelling gas and cannot find the leak. This thread taught me how the regulator is supposed to work and also that I should probably just replace it. If I take off the empty tank and switch the supply lever to the full one, it still forces gas out the hose on the side with no tank. So I would be leaking gas while trying to get the empty one filled. Hope I can find one before Wednesday 'cause we are headed to the rally in Glen Rose..
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:35 AM   #6
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if i take off the empty tank and switch the supply lever to the full one, it still forces gas out the hose on the side with no tank. So i would be leaking gas while trying to get the empty one filled..
I can't stress this enough people, never never never operate your propane system with only one tank in place leaving an open line. The op knows about this but i need to make it apparent to others. Would you disconnect the line to an appliance and continue to use the system, so why would you leave the open hose for the other tank ans still think it was safe to operate.
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:07 AM   #7
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Great safety advice wasagachris! Propane definitely could ruin your day

In my case I was not operating anything, but chasing a leak that I could smell. By removing the empty tank and turning on the full one I discovered the regulator was still forcing gas out the hose that would normally be connected to the empty tank. Seems like that is not the way it should operate. I would not expect it to force gas back into the empty tank...
I immediately turned off the full tank and tomorrow, when places are open, will refill the empty and reinstall on the trailer. In the meantime I have removed all hoses, cleaned and replaced fittings. Hoping that when my new regulator shows up I will no longer smell gas.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:05 AM   #8
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I can't stress this enough people, never never never operate your propane system with only one tank in place leaving an open line. The op knows about this but i need to make it apparent to others. Would you disconnect the line to an appliance and continue to use the system, so why would you leave the open hose for the other tank ans still think it was safe to operate.
The system was designed to function with a tank removed with out turning off the gas supply. If there is gas when you remove the unselected tank, the regulator is faulty and needs to be replaced. The following is from my 1975 owners manual:
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:30 AM   #9
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Richard it may have been designed that way but would you feel safe operating with an open line? Can you be 100% sure the system is functioning properly? Do you really advise people to operate that way? I personally would never trust it not to leak. I also would never advise anyone to operate that way for safety's sake and for liability reasons.
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Old 05-08-2011, 04:06 PM   #10
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to leak or not to leak

I'm with azflycaster. Propane systems for homes and rv's with duel tanks with automatic changovers have been designed for many years to be able to safely disconnect your empty while getting it refilled. If it leaks, you have a problem. You could have propane leaks from many areas. You don't shut off the main gas supply to the refrigerater or the hot water heater or the furnace or stove when you'r not using them each day. They could develop leaks. I would cover open gas line when going to refill your empty tank to prevent an insect or other debris from clogging the line,
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:01 PM   #11
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I give up. You just can't teach common sense. There is a huge difference between an open line and an appliance gas valve that may fail. BTW Reo do you currently hold a gas technicians license? If not I wouldn't be giving out advice in an area that you are not qualified in. If someone followed your suggestions and God forbid something happened you could be held partially responsible.
Just how hard is it to close the second tank valve while you go to refill your first empty one? If you need to relight a pilot light afterwards it only takes a few seconds for that extra measure of safety.
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:29 PM   #12
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I agree with Richard and Reo on this. The system is designed to allow you to remove an empty tank and fill it while leaving the other tank in play.

The auto switch-over is designed to draw from only one tank at a time. When one tank is empty it switches to the other and the "dead" tank's line is no longer open. The only way the dead tank's line would become open is if the 2nd tank also runs out of propane. But there would be no gas available, so it's a non-issue.

You would know immediately if there is propane escaping when you remove the tank. If you smell gas or hear gas escaping from the "dead" line, immediately turn off the remaining tank and have your regulator checked.

I am comfortable operating our system the way it was designed to be used. If you are not comfortable with the integrity of the system, then turn them both off.
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:33 PM   #13
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This is unreal. My original post on this thread (#5) was a celebration of of easy it is to get info if you take the time to look back thru old posts. And also how I was able to determine I had a faulty regulator by using that info. The forums have helped me numerous times.

But this post seemed to have started a debate about safety. Never my intent. I think the bottom line is this. Be safe. Trust the manual, or take an extra step and shut the full tank valve. But be safe.

And if you need to learn how things work, use the forums..
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:07 PM   #14
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... BTW Reo do you currently hold a gas technicians license? ...
Do you?

If so, does it address RVs and RV appliances?

Just asking.
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