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Old 05-23-2009, 06:45 AM   #1
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Do you empty propane before polishing tanks?

I'm thinking about polishing my tanks. I'm wondering if they need to be empty before polishing? I'm terrified of those things since a guy down the street got his head blown off while filling one! People do use power tools to shine them, right? Sparks, propane, explosion?
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:28 AM   #2
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Do you empty propane before polishing tanks?

Greetings Becky!

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Originally Posted by beckybillrae View Post
I'm thinking about polishing my tanks. I'm wondering if they need to be empty before polishing? I'm terrified of those things since a guy down the street got his head blown off while filling one! People do use power tools to shine them, right? Sparks, propane, explosion?
I, too, have more than a little distrust of natural gas/propane. One of the early owner/polishing gurus, Bill Scott, just shut off the tank valve and proceeded to polish with his grinder/polisher using the same compounds utilized for the trailer.

When I had my Overlander polised at P & S Trailer Service in Helena, OH, they only would polish the tanks if they were empty and purged. I was switching from steel tanks to new aluminum tanks at the time so that worked well for me.

Intuitively, I would feel safer with the tank empty -- but I can't site any authoritative ruling on the concept.

Kevin
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:22 AM   #3
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I'm thinking about polishing my tanks. I'm wondering if they need to be empty before polishing? I'm terrified of those things since a guy down the street got his head blown off while filling one! People do use power tools to shine them, right? Sparks, propane, explosion?
Why take a chance?

Be safe when near or around things that can explode.

Since crazy things can happen, and often do, empty the tanks and leave the valves open for a couple of days.

Then do the polishing, leaving the valves open when you do it.

You can stuff a little paper or something into the tank valve, to keep the bugs out, and still let the tanks vent.

Andy
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:39 AM   #4
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Shouldn’t one close the valve after venting, as LPG is heaver than air and vapors would still be in the tank if left upright?

Steve
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:49 AM   #5
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Shouldn’t one close the valve after venting, as LPG is heaver than air and vapors would still be in the tank if left upright?

Steve
The idea is to get "AS MUCH" vapor out as you can.

That's sort of difficult to do with the valve closed.

Andy
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:55 AM   #6
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It's kind of difficult to empty them with the new valves because, even if the knob is turned open, nothing will flow out unless an appropriate connector (usually a propane line) is inserted.

Ideally, you'd use up all of the propane that you can, remove the OPD valve entirely and then let the cylinder stand upside down for a while. Short of that, insert a pig-tail propane line, open the valve knob, and let it stand upside down for a longer time.


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Old 05-23-2009, 11:37 AM   #7
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Andy, you silly, I said after venting, close the valve, but I think that we might all be going the wrong direction here.

http://www.e-lpg.com/faq.asp
LPG Safety
Venting may not be the best way to empty a tank, as LPG is heavier than air. Any significant leak will move downwards and stay on the ground. It will accumulate in any low-lying area such as depressions in the ground, drains or pits.

Perhaps someone should check with a LPG supplier about the proper method for emptying and purging a LPG container.

We all should be informed about this one.

Steve
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:58 PM   #8
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Andy, you silly, I said after venting, close the valve, but I think that we might all be going the wrong direction here.

http://www.e-lpg.com/faq.asp
LPG Safety
Venting may not be the best way to empty a tank, as LPG is heavier than air. Any significant leak will move downwards and stay on the ground. It will accumulate in any low-lying area such as depressions in the ground, drains or pits.

Perhaps someone should check with a LPG supplier about the proper method for emptying and purging a LPG container.

We all should be informed about this one.

Steve

I always look inside mine to make sure they are empty. I just shine my little ole match down the hole so I can see real good...and as soon as the exposion and subsequent fireball burns out I know they are empty..........I save money on haircuts and eyebrow waxing too.

Just Kidding!!!!!

Be safe, never take a change with LPG or NG.
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Old 05-23-2009, 01:04 PM   #9
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Best way to empty an LPG tank, is to use it up.

If you can't with your trailer, then hook the tank up to your outside grill, and have a steak or chicken cooking party.

Just think, the fuller the tanks, the bigger the party.

Whoopee.

Andy
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Old 05-23-2009, 01:21 PM   #10
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Also, in addition to the safety issues, do you really want to deal with an extra 30 lbs while you are polishing?
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:53 PM   #11
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Weight helps

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Also, in addition to the safety issues, do you really want to deal with an extra 30 lbs while you are polishing?
I like to polish with them full,they lay in the cradle and are so much easier
to control.That extra 30# sure helps.Dave
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:48 PM   #12
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Thanks, everyone. I'll for sure use up the gas before polishing. Maybe I'll just use the cover I have & skip the polish. I'm still a bit scared of blowing up, maybe just a little left in the tank will do it!
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:06 PM   #13
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It seems this is being overcautious. You don't empty the tanks when you polish all around them, do you? Or do you take them 100 yards away when you polish the trailer? There are propane lines with many connections under the trailer—do you evacuate these before polishing? Better to spend your time checking all the connections under the trailer for leaks (I found one on a 6 month old trailer). Just make sure there are no leaks, close the valves, tie them down closed if it makes you feel better, and polish. If you're worried about sparks, polish by hand.

If you take "you can't be too safe" to it's logical end, you end up living in a rubber room with a food taster (who tastes the food after the taster dies?).

Gene
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:08 AM   #14
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I am certified and fill LPG bottles every day. To be the safest, use up what is in there and bleed off any reamaining fuel, or just bleed it off. you can then remove the valve and let air get into the tank for a few hours to allow remaining vapor to disipate. then put your valve back on so it is sealed while polishing. However, you will have to have your Propane bottler re-purge the tank before re-filling. Unlike a gasoline tank that can be filled until there is no room for vapor that can ignite, propane is only filled to 80% to allow for liquid to boil and turn to a vapor, so you always have a vapor issue with it. However, polishing the outside of the tank should'nt be a problem full or not. if you will notice, a propane grill has the bottle hanging right under the flame. as long as there is not sufficiant concentration of vapor outside the bottle, and you are not using anything that is causing a spark, you should'nt have any problems. but it is ALWAYS best to err on the side of caution!
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