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Old 12-21-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
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Propane Regulator ??

How much, if any, propane, is left in a tank after the regulator indicator has turned red ?

Just got a (30 lb) tank filled where they charge by the pound for propane. Was told by the attendent, he pumped 25 lbs of propane. I did not weight the tank before getting it filled. After getting it filled with an old scale in my garage, it weighted 55 lbs. The "TW" stamped on the tank says 25.0 lbs. therefore if 25 lbs were pumped into the tank wouldn't it weight a total of 50 lbs. not 55 lbs.

What Am I missing here ??

Any info/thoughts etc appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:38 PM   #2
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Since you did not weigh the tank before filling it would be hard to make assumptions, JMO. What we know, after the fact, is that your TW 25.0 tank is full with the 55 pound weight you get now.

As for thinking the tank was empty, probably because the regulator swapped over to the other tank, might not be true. If that is what happened. Your regulator could be off but not sure about how much. Five pounds seems like a lot for the regulator to be off. Perhaps weighing your tank first the next time would give you better answers.

Does your fill ticket say the beginning weight?
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:55 PM   #3
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Jim

Thanks for the reply.

No weight given to me by the guy puming the propane. Only thing I have to go on is the TW, stamped on the tank. I agree next time I will weigh the tank empty.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:52 PM   #4
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This is interesting, most of the propane dealers around here either charge a flat rate (i.e. so many $$ for a 20 lb. tank, regardless of how much they supply, aka a rip-off) or they meter per gallon. The new style tanks, they hook up to the tank, turn the pump on, and it automatically stops when the tank is full ie. just like a gas pump. Nobody I've been to since we have had our trailer has sold by weight.

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Old 12-21-2012, 05:08 PM   #5
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When I replaced my LP regulator recently I wondered if the regulator was really bad but that didn't really matter since I was going to replace it because of age anyway. When pulling the lines off of the old regulator I notice the fitting going into the regulator had a screen to filter the gas. Why do a screen on gas? I also noticed the lines were rusty inside. Not sure if that was from lines being left disconnected or for some other reason. Then I thought that if there was rust anywhere then it might be everywhere. Everywhere like the inside of the regulator. Could rust be hampering the valve inside the regulator? I don't know.

Also, what tests I saw to check the regulator were for operating pressures. Operating with enough volume, operating with enough pressure. All were over my head and ability since I do not have test equipment. Nothing I have seen would test for volume left inside the tank after regulator turns off, or switches to the other tank.

A long time ago when I worked we would put LP gas systems of forklifts. Best fuel for keeping motors clean but had less power than gasoline. Anyway, the LP gas company that installed our systems for us would check gas systems, including tanks and regulators, for free. The distributor close to you might do the same.
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:08 PM   #6
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The way it was explained to me at my fill station TW stands for tare weight or empty weight.The fill station takes that weight adds the amount that the tank will be filled,fills it until the scale levels and the tank is full.If a station does not adjust the tare weight of your tank,you will not get the amount of gas you are paying for
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:58 PM   #7
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We pay per gallon......
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:40 PM   #8
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Generally the 20# tanks are flat fee and the 30+# are by the gallon.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:30 AM   #9
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The last tank I got filled from the other side of regulator had the red indicator up. Took the 30 lbs to fill it not 25 lbs as this tank.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:38 AM   #10
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I have 20#s and 40 # tanks and the fill stations around me put them all on the same scale device
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:41 AM   #11
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oh a light bulb just went off...you don't take the tanks off your camper to have them filled...right
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:14 AM   #12
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It sounds to me, as if their scale might have been off. You have a 30lb tank with a tare of 25lbs.. If it is filled totally full, it would then weigh 55lbs..

I think you must have gotten 30lbs and told 25lbs...
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:00 AM   #13
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Either the guy read the scale incorrectly, or there was 5lbs still in the tank, I believe. Because a week or so ago I had the tank from the other side of the regulator filled at the same place and was charge for 30 lbs.

I did not weigh either tank before getting it filled.

I just read somewhere on the web, about check valves that can go bad in a regulator. Is it possible that some of the propane worked it's way into the tank after it was empty ?
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:23 AM   #14
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I'm not thinking that you would get 5lbs back-fed from the other tank. The regulator flips over, when the vapor pressure in the primary tank drops.

I bought/installed a vent free propane heater at home. I use a pair of 30lb tanks, with an auto-changeover regulator between them to feed it. Each time I get a tank empty, I can tell it is really empty. You can feel the liquid propane sloshing around, if there is any in there.

Where I get my tanks filled, they charge by the gallon. I always get 7.2-7.3 gallons in the tanks. Propane weighs 4.23lbs per gallon. At 7.2 gallons, I'm getting 30.456lbs. At 7.3 gallons, I'm getting 30.879lbs. The station I use, does not go by weight. They let the OPD valve stop the filling.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:42 AM   #15
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I couldnt understand how 5 lbs could have back fed from the other tank. Also it happened overnight. Because I checked in the night and the next morning it was kicked and I replaced it immediatly with a spare 20 lb tank. So it was only a matter of hours.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:58 PM   #16
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If one tank could transfer to the other, the more full one would have to both upside down and warmer than the less full one. Once the liquid propane turns to a gas at the top of the tank, it cannot transfer to the other tank and condense back into a liquid.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:30 PM   #17
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Thanks for all your help as well as the explantion. I understand what your saying. Happy holidays !!
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:03 PM   #18
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Hi Sunline1,

Your question is a good one and one that I “may” have run into myself leaving me with the same question of why? Having a little time I did some digging out of total curiosity to see if I can find the answer to your question and why this "sometimes" happens on my tanks. Or at least I “think” it is happening.

First let's compare notes as to your first cylinder that they only added 25# of propane to. Your thought process is that since they only put 25#’s in and your older scale weighed in at 55# that there was 5# left in the tank.

Some Questions:

- What month did this occur?
- Were you camping in the camper when the auto switch over regulator switched?
- What was the approx outside temperature when that tank went empty as declared by the auto switch over reg?
- If you were using the camper, what was being used when the switch may have happened? Granted you may not know exactly when, but the LP usage events the night/day before leading up to it.

- Is this the first time you have refilled this tank?
- Is this the first time you have took notice the tank indicated 5 lb less than full fill?


After digging for a few hours on this in my spare time, I have come to some conclusions or hypothesis… that may create the actual problem and some things that I have ruled out. I for sure have learned a bunch doing this I did not realize before.

If I know some more background to the questions above, I might be able to point to some possibilities on what happened in your case.

In my case I have 2, 5 lb tanks I use on the outside gas stove, & Webber BBQ. When the stove goes out I change the tank. Sometimes it "feels" like there is still something left in the tank. I can feel what appears to be liquid in the bottom as it “feels” like something is sloshing around. And other times an empty tank "feels" pretty dry and nothing moving around. Never weighed these "yet". Will do so next time as I am now armed with what more to check as to is it really empty?

A similar thing has happened on the 30# tanks on the camper. However it takes a long time for us to use a 30# tank so I only get this opportunity about once a year, maybe twice.

In my case there is a mechanical difference between running out on the outside stove and running out main camper 30# tank with the changeover regulator. It is the changeover regulator yet I “feel” a similar “something” sloshing around in the tank.

The auto change over regulator has a pressure activated valve inside to know when to switch. The regulator works on pressure and has no idea how much LP liquid is in the tank. If the amount of propane left in the tank is very low, it is very cold out and you are running a high propane load in the camper, this can affect the amount of vaporization going on in the propane tank. Again need a little more to go on when your tank switched over to the reserve tank. 5 lb does seem like a lot but again need more info. There is a limit of how empty the system can detect. I know it cannot be zero LP left and I’m sure it would be different if the furnace was running when switch over occurred as to if only the fridge or a stove burner was running.

Since the other tank drew down to a full 30# to refill then this helps allow some justification that the changeover regulator is working as expected, or at least it did once. But again that tank may have gone dry to change over with a different demand on LP at the time.

Before I go off on a tangent… fill in some more on what was going on at the time of changeover of the 25# refill tank.

Thanks

John
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:30 PM   #19
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I'm a little confused why does it matter? with a TW of 25# full it weights 55# When all the propane boils off it's empty (boilling point is around -40) If your valved flipped I'll bet it was empty and you got a free gallon of propane the line pressure should remain high enough to make it seamless.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:31 PM   #20
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Hi John

Thanks for the reply. Will try to answer your questions as best as I can.

I currently am using my camper as a spare TV room, and let the heat on 24 hrs a day, turning wall stat down (50) at night and then back up (70) when I watch TV

Checked propane afternoon of the 18 of dec this month. Indicator Green, next morning went out to camper still dark outside, turn up therm to 70, watched TV went back in the house, came backout around 10am and checked tank indicator red.

Only gas being used in the camper was the furnace cycling on and off. Don't know if the furnace was running or not. I can tell you on a day in 20's to bring the camper up from 50 to 70 takes approx 20-25 minuted of furnace run time. My normal usage is prety muck the same record (DVR) a few programs at night while I'm sleeping in the house and then go out an view the in the morining.

This and the other tank have been filled many times their the original tanks I got with the camper new (2002).

This is the first time I noticed this, because where I normally get the propane they just charge a flat fee, so I don't know qty pumped.

Just started going to this harware store that pumps by the gal. After filling the tank they tell you how much they pumped and then radio info to the cashier and i go in a pay etc. This is the same place that I got the previous tank (30) filled a few weeks ago and was told 30lbs were pumped and paid accordingly.

P.S. Maniah Maybe I did get some free propane. I did not weigh the tank before I took it. Never thought to do it. Just for kicks will do that the next time, in a few weeks when the next one kicks, all depends on how cold it gets here in North Easter pa.
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