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Howdy yall.

This forum helped me so much I thought I would pass this by the peeps.

We had a power outage yesterday and used my generator using propane for fuel. First time I used it this long on propane.

I have a couple 40# bottles and a 20# bottle. After using about 3/4 of the 40# bottle the generator died of fuel starvation and the bottle was frozen. For grins I hooked up the #20 bottle and the generator quit after using about half the bottle and it to was frozen.

I have looked for manifolds to hook bottles up together to lessen the flow rate from a bottle to hopefully keep this from happening but really haven't found something I need. The manufacturer installed a regulator on the generator so any products that use a regulator to hook up bottles will not work.

Does anyone anything to share to resolve this issue?

Thanks everyone! And Merry Christmas!
 

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Does anyone anything to share to resolve this issue?
In cold weather, small propane cylinders require warming in order to function until empty. In my case, I place the cylinder in the exhaust air flow from my generator shed. I originally ran the propane regulator out through a hole on the intake side; that has since been changed for cold weather use.

The real solution is to use a very large cylinder, like a 420 lb tank: about 4 feet tall by 3 feet diameter.

 

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Howdy yall.

This forum helped me so much I thought I would pass this by the peeps.

We had a power outage yesterday and used my generator using propane for fuel. First time I used it this long on propane.

I have a couple 40# bottles and a 20# bottle. After using about 3/4 of the 40# bottle the generator died of fuel starvation and the bottle was frozen. For grins I hooked up the #20 bottle and the generator quit after using about half the bottle and it to was frozen.

I have looked for manifolds to hook bottles up together to lessen the flow rate from a bottle to hopefully keep this from happening but really haven't found something I need. The manufacturer installed a regulator on the generator so any products that use a regulator to hook up bottles will not work.

Does anyone anything to share to resolve this issue?

Thanks everyone! And Merry Christmas!
Your tanks are not big enough to vaporize the fuel, that is way they are freezing up. Regardless of what you are told or see in any ad,... NEVER EVER HEAT A TANK!!! That sir is asking for trouble. If Murphy comes calling he will either kill you, a loved one, or possibly destroy everything you own. Get a tank/s of the proper size or switch your fuel system to liquid.
 

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I assume that you are using 20 and 40+ bottles so that they are portable, can be filled at a propane fuel station and transported back home.

In theory the liquid supply concept suggestion makes sense, but portable bottles often don't allow for that concept anymore. Perhaps yours do but mine have an internal valve that prevents this from happening.

A lot of LP / Propane sold in retail contains substantial amounts of butane and other similar fuels. Butane evaporates at right around 30 - 35 F, so what can happen is the propane portion evaporates and leaves the liquid butane in the tank. Essentially in winter conditions, it doesn't evaporate very well. There is some vapor pressure - but not tons.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butane

It is one of the ways that companies that sell "pre-filled" bottles make extra money - only 1/2 is usable, but they charge for the whole "tank".

The other problem is what happens to every propane use - the bottle cools substantially during use. I get this just running a grill.

Since you (probably) cannot access the liquid in the tank, and direct heating with an electric blanket has been frowned upon, I would be tempted to put the tanks into a tank of warm water during use. (40-50 F). Even cold well water is usually this warm, so in theory you could just run cold water in / drain it off to help keep it "warmer".
 

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But can you rent a residential propane? Because maybe by the time you expend the time & money cobbling a piecemeal solution would will equal or exceed the price for a proper tank?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the responses!

My use is for a few times a year possibly one week per use for a 12,500w dual fuel (propane and gas) back up generator.

Unfortunately there is no way to install a large tank and due to the infrequent use, cost considerations.

I chose the dual fuel as to have fuel readily available.

I sure can understand the thought of combining propane and a heating source can be very volatile. A heating blanket seems very tame and can not find one case off hand where that became a problem for anyone. This option seems to be the most reasonable. Are they really that dangerous? Certainly don't want to do something that could cause harm and/or damage.
 

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A heating blanket seems very tame and can not find one case off hand where that became a problem for anyone. This option seems to be the most reasonable. Are they really that dangerous? Certainly don't want to do something that could cause harm and/or damage.
I can't imagine the Powerblanket PBL20 Cylinder Heaters being dangerous, or the company wouldn't be able to afford the liability insurance on them... It only heats to 90°F / 32°C (± 10°F/5°C), which is just a bit higher than my shed exhaust temperature of about 70°F when it's 32°F outside (I have thermal sensors with alarms inside & outside of the shed). The Powerblanket is certified to UL/CSA/CE standards. I would just plug it into the generator itself, as I do with my exhaust fan, so it runs when the generator does. Here's the link to the manual: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91I2r6wVGSS.pdf

As far as a large tank goes, my heating oil company was more than happy to loan me a 420lb propane tank for my barn heaters and only charged me for the propane itself. It was filled in 2007 and I still have not emptied it yet since I only run it in the winter when I'm working out there. Likewise, I have 2 "free" 100lb cylinders at our island camp that each get swapped out about every 1.5 years.
 

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FWIW: I have a 400 gallon propane tank which is used for heating and kitchen range. For the past twenty years the propane company fills it in August and February. This year, they also appeared in December. I asked the driver if they were getting a head start on Feb.? He laughed and said, no I'll see you then, much colder this year so we're taking care of our customers. It was 14 here this AM. So, if we actually have a real winter this year this topic should be very appropriate.
 

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I can't imagine the Powerblanket PBL20 Cylinder Heaters being dangerous, or the company wouldn't be able to afford the liability insurance on them... It only heats to 90°F / 32°C (± 10°F/5°C), which is just a bit higher than my shed exhaust temperature of about 70°F when it's 32°F outside (I have thermal sensors with alarms inside & outside of the shed). The Powerblanket is certified to UL/CSA/CE standards. I would just plug it into the generator itself, as I do with my exhaust fan, so it runs when the generator does. Here's the link to the manual: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91I2r6wVGSS.pdf

As far as a large tank goes, my heating oil company was more than happy to loan me a 420lb propane tank for my barn heaters and only charged me for the propane itself. It was filled in 2007 and I still have not emptied it yet since I only run it in the winter when I'm working out there. Likewise, I have 2 "free" 100lb cylinders at our island camp that each get swapped out about every 1.5 years.
Yes, propane companies will loan bulk tanks out because they make a LOT of profit off of it. There were times in the recent past when the wholesale price was effectively negative. (refineries were paying people to take it)

One of the interesting aspects of your setup is that it is fairly similar to what is done to "blanket" tanks with a relatively inert gas. Engine exhaust has a reduced oxygen content, so in some applications, it is used to reduce fire risk.
 

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HarryN makes an interesting point. The amount of butane in the tank could be a big part of the problem.

LP gas is supposed to be produced and marketed seasonally, just like gasoline. The rationale is to provide gas with fewer high-freezing-point components, (or high-boiling-point components) like butane, in the mix in the cold winter months. They can get by with more of these components in the mix in the warmer summer months.

Since seasons may change before a tank or supply is exhausted, this may not always assure that you are getting a summer or a winter mix during the appropriate season. Where and when you buy your gas could affect the amount of butane in it.

It might be worth making the effort to try to find out what the butane content of the gas you're getting is. Your local LP gas company may be able to tell you what they currently have in their tanks, and you can buy accordingly.
 

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We used to live in a small home that had two 100 lb tanks. I know I used to deal with them by myself so they can't be all that heavy. I would think two people could deal with them just fine. Maybe a 100 lb tank which more than double the size you use now would be adequate to prevent freeze up. They are about 4 feet or so tall.
 

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I have used the Powerblanket heaters on my two 30 lb tanks for 3 years now in the winter months (4-5 months continuously 24/7) without any issues! This helps to get full output from propane heaters in the cold weather.

My 2 cents worth!
Gizmo
 

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HarryN makes an interesting point. The amount of butane in the tank could be a big part of the problem.

LP gas is supposed to be produced and marketed seasonally, just like gasoline. The rationale is to provide gas with fewer high-freezing-point components, (or high-boiling-point components) like butane, in the mix in the cold winter months. They can get by with more of these components in the mix in the warmer summer months.

Since seasons may change before a tank or supply is exhausted, this may not always assure that you are getting a summer or a winter mix during the appropriate season. Where and when you buy your gas could affect the amount of butane in it.

It might be worth making the effort to try to find out what the butane content of the gas you're getting is. Your local LP gas company may be able to tell you what they currently have in their tanks, and you can buy accordingly.
hey question while we are on blends for lp subject.
is there a difference on the water during combustion of these blended lp fuels??

I had a recent client with 2 bottles of lp for his fork truck..
one was filled at one vender in town and the other was filled by another...
both sell lots of lp… the vender with the higher moisture out the exhaust has a larger tank...
so could it have had summer blend???

and yes on tank heaters. they work!!
use double redundant thermo switches / sensors for tank temp regulation rated at explosion sealed... after all it will be located by a tank that could vent explosive gas!!

and watch all lp tanks for over fill!!
winter filled tanks if over filled may try to vent if they are not used some...
we had that on a couple of grill tanks...
they did not use the scale right and over filled a bit!!
 

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More details on your shed?

In cold weather, small propane cylinders require warming in order to function until empty. In my case, I place the cylinder in the exhaust air flow from my generator shed. I originally ran the propane regulator out through a hole on the intake side; that has since been changed for cold weather use.

The real solution is to use a very large cylinder, like a 420 lb tank: about 4 feet tall by 3 feet diameter.


Hi Just joined this forum because of this thread, which is pretty much the same issue I'm dealing with. I saw your post with the pictures of your generator shed, and was wondering if you'd be willing to share more info about it. I have a shed for my generator - Duromax XP12000EH Dual Fuel.


I've been running it since Friday due to outages, with two 40# propane tanks, swapping as needed. I experienced the same freezing problems as the OP.


I'd like to see what this shed is set up with, as I could do something similar with mine. The shed I have isn't as large, but it's big enough to store the generator and tanks with room to spare.


Appreciate any info. Thanks.
 

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I did a periodic test/exercise run on my two little Honda EU 2000 generators, converted to bi fuel. I hooked both to the same 20 lb propane bottle and had them each powering a 1500 watt electric heater. The bottle started getting cold quickly, so I tu. rned one of the forced air heaters on it and ran the generaters about an hour. Bottle was not full to start with, and outside temp was mid 50's so I can see where a small bottle could easily freeze in cold weather.
 

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Hi Just joined this forum because of this thread, which is pretty much the same issue I'm dealing with. I saw your post with the pictures of your generator shed, and was wondering if you'd be willing to share more info about it. I have a shed for my generator - Duromax XP12000EH Dual Fuel.
Here's a link to the details of the shed's innards: https://www.powerequipmentforum.com/forum/69358-post10.html Let me know if you have any additional questions.

I actually designed the shed specifically for the Duromax XP12000EH, but before I could purchase one an emergency arose; my older Generac broke a valve during a week-long power outage in 2017, and when I went to Home Depot for some parts, they were selling PowerMate PM0126000 units off a truck at a good discount due to the packaging being ruined from a warehouse roof partial collapse. I have now decided to keep running the PowerMate until a large inverter generator that meets my desires comes along: https://www.powerequipmentforum.com/forum/69020-post3.html
 
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