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Old 05-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #1
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1lb LP bottles for water heater?

I only have LP for my water heater at this point. My tanks are old and in need of painting and re valving to make them up to code so I was thinking about getting rid of them. Has anyone used the little 1lb tanks adapted to run the water heater? This would allow me to free up the two huge tanks on the A frame, reducing weight and also maybe opening up a space for a light storage bin. I would tap into the line right below the water heater, but what sort of regulator would be needed for this? Do you use the same type of regulator with adaptors to make the small tank fit (they make them, so clearly those tanks are used in place of full size ones for some things).
Has anyone done this? Any suggestions or advice? If done, anyone want two 30lb tanks that need to be painted and updated? I also have a tank cover from, what appears to be, an 80's model Airstream.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:47 AM   #2
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It might work... a pound of propane is roughly 91,502 btu's a typical water heater needs 12,000 btu's of input. Seems an expensive way to go though. I think you would need a different regulator. IMHO the easiest method would be to get a cheap 20# grill tank and paint it silver.

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Old 05-21-2014, 10:53 AM   #3
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A one pound gas tank has about 20,000 BTU of energy in it. Your water heater, as I recall has about an 8,000 BTU burner. So, you would get about 2 1/2 hours of burner time from a tank. I don't think it is a practical solution.

Yes, if you did it you would need a regulator to go from the high pressure tank to the low pressure needed for the water heater.

What are you using to cook with, and to run the furnace?
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:57 AM   #4
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A gal of propane has the 92,000 BTU, not a pound. A pound is aproximately 1/4 of a gal and that is where my 20,000 BTU came from.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:22 AM   #5
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We have never lit the furnace (Suburban) and just use a couple small ceramic heaters. Our cook top and stove we took out and just have a larger counter space and a big storage cabinet. All of our cooking is done outdoors because we do not like how cooking smells seem to permanently fix themselves into campers that are cooked in a lot. It is a personal preference. I have never filled our tanks since purchasing the camper a bit over a year ago. Neither seemed full, though one is now empty and the other is not far behind. I am guessing that we have gone through about 8 pounds of LP in our dozen+ trips. It was just a thought, maybe our tanks were fuller than I thought when we started.
Our 6 gal water heater usually seems heated within 30 minutes of firing it up and it only burns again when we shower. I may just end up with a 20# refillable tank not mounted on the A frame.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
A gal of propane has the 92,000 BTU, not a pound. A pound is aproximately 1/4 of a gal and that is where my 20,000 BTU came from.
I thought there were 8 pounds per gallon, and four quarts per gallon.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:47 AM   #7
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I'll put in another objection to the original idea: Those 1 pound cylinders are expensive, relatively speaking (environmentally wasteful, too). I'd go with the 20 lb bottle instead.

How do you cook when it rains? Still outside?
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
I thought there were 8 pounds per gallon, and four quarts per gallon.
Just some statistics:

Propane weighs 4.2 pounds per gal at 60 F.

So, one pound is about 1/4 of a gal.

Propane has 91,500 BTU per gal.

So, a one pound tank has about 23,000 BTU of energy in it.


Water weighs about 8 pounds per gal, not propane. Quarts have nothing to do with the issues.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I thought there were 8 pounds per gallon, and four quarts per gallon.

Hi, a 30 lb tank holds about 7 gallons of propane; That would be about 4 lbs per gallon wouldn't it?
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
I only have LP for my water heater at this point. My tanks are old and in need of painting and re valving to make them up to code so I was thinking about getting rid of them. Has anyone used the little 1lb tanks adapted to run the water heater?
No. They're intended for portable equipment. They don't have shutoff valves.

You can get smaller DOT cylinders if you just want to save space. 4, 5, 6, 10, and 11 pound cylinders are all readily available. They all have the same valves a 30 pound cylinder would. If cost is your main goal then 20 pound cylinders are cheapest because they are so widely used.

Quote:
This would allow me to free up the two huge tanks on the A frame, reducing weight and also maybe opening up a space for a light storage bin. I would tap into the line right below the water heater
Then where are you going to put the tank? Under the trailer? You have to think about how you're going to mount and secure it.

Quote:
but what sort of regulator would be needed for this? Do you use the same type of regulator with adaptors to make the small tank fit (they make them, so clearly those tanks are used in place of full size ones for some things).
The only adapters I've seen are the "steak saver" adapters that some people use so they can run their grill for half an hour after exhausting the gas supply in a larger cylinder.

Quote:
Any suggestions or advice?
Don't screw around with high pressure propane plumbing. Use the standard products with the minimum possible number of adapters and extensions. Fasten the tanks in place properly.

Aside from the obvious fire and explosion risk, there is the risk of frostbite from liquid propane. The injuries can be disabling.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:30 PM   #11
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We always have a "non cook" option if it is raining. Sometimes that involves a local restaurant. My biggest thing was getting rid of the huge tanks on the front for just a single use. Looks like I will scratch the original idea in favor of the swap out tanks (just not mounting it on the front). Thanks for the input.
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