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Old 06-11-2015, 12:38 PM   #1
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Woodinville , Washington
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Red face Where'd the propane go during winter storage?

We have just discovered both propane tanks are empty after winter storage. Trying to figure out what happened.

My husband thinks he could have left the valves open. If so, would the propane leak out? Or does that mean there is an actual leak somewhere (we've already had a leak repaired a couple times by airstream).

Is it possible someone stole our propane? Can propane be stolen from the tanks or would they simply swap our full ones for empties?

Thanks for ideas and info! Just want to be safe.


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Old 06-11-2015, 12:42 PM   #2
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Theft is a possibility, but I'd have it pressure tested. You want to know.

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Old 06-11-2015, 12:48 PM   #3
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It's unlikely that a thief would replace the full bottles with empty ones in some futile effort to delay discovery and it's also unlikely that someone deliberately drained your bottles into some other container so I'm thinking that either the bottles were empty at the end of last season, or you have a leak someplace in your LP system. In either case, I would get a pressure test of your entire LP system done before you refill the LP bottles.
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Old 06-11-2015, 01:07 PM   #4
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A very small leak will, over the winter, empty the tank(s). Or a pilot light left on like the one in the stove oven. I would guess something like that rather than anyone substituting your tanks, full for empty.
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Old 06-11-2015, 02:06 PM   #5
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Barring theft, they should not lose any measurable amount. I leave my bottles open for months at a time without loss. There's a small leak somewhere.

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Old 06-11-2015, 07:39 PM   #6
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Turn on a full tank. The change over valve indicator should turn green. Light the stove to make sure the line is filled with propane. Shut the stove off. The system is now under pressure. Close the valve on the propane tank. See how long the change-over flag stays green. Several days, no big problem. A few minutes, you have a detectable leak.

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Old 06-11-2015, 08:42 PM   #7
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You have a leak. Recommend you have the system leak checked. Potentially a dangerous situation.

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Old 06-11-2015, 09:03 PM   #8
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Check your rubber hoses where they connect to the tanks, maybe not tight on the tanks
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:12 PM   #9
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Yup. A leak I bet. Did you have both tanks turned on? With a new Aas, I would make sure that it passes a leak test! Not only is propane explosive, it also will damage lungs when inhaled in relatively low concentrations!

Edit: is it possible either the water heater or fridge were left "on" and used up the propane?
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Old 06-12-2015, 10:51 AM   #10
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No doubt a small leak. The hoses leading from the bottles would be the first place to check.
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Old 06-12-2015, 11:42 AM   #11
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Get a propane leak detector for inside the unit! Older units did not have them. propane is heavier than ambient atmosphere and will stay at floor level. Static or electrical spark will allow new exit points in your camper! ie., explosion
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Old 06-12-2015, 12:02 PM   #12
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You can at least do a soap test on fittings outside the trailer. Make up a solution of dish detergent in a spray bottle; about 1 teaspoon of detergent to 10 ounces of water should give you a good solution. Spray the fittings including the attachments to the bottles and the auto change over unit. Soak everything real good and wait. Big leaks are obvious right from the start. Small leaks show up as fine white bubbles that take time to show up over 5 minutes or so.

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Old 06-12-2015, 12:52 PM   #13
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Old 06-12-2015, 02:20 PM   #14
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Losing LP?

We could not figure out where the LP leak was; it took 3 years of smelling & not smelling LP nearby the refrigerator access panel.

Finally, one day I wiggled the copper tubing feeding the refrigerator from under the compartment below the refrigerator and the pipe broke away in my hand.

The tubing was snaked over the wheel well and under the refrigerator but was kinked badly and thus broke easily when I wiggled it.

But, had I left the LP on while in storage, it most certainly would have depleted the supply.

We were lucky to find a solution to this took a while!


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