propane plumbing

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propane plumbing

Postby gratis » Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:19 pm

I am trying to plan ahead on the propane system. I plan on having a few devices that use propane in my tear and I was wondering what you guys use for the propane plumbing? Black pipe? That grey plastic pipe? High Pressure hose?

I am rather new to propane plumbing so any suggestions would be appreciated.

Right now it is going to be a bulk tank up front with most appliances in the rear hatch area. Possibly a propane light fixture too.
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Postby mikeschn » Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:35 pm

I use soft copper tubing with flare fittings...

Let me see if I can find a picture...

Mike...

P.S. Okay, here's a picture of the tongue. You can see the pressure regulator that goes on the bottle. On the other end is just a flare fitting.

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Postby JIML1943 » Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:56 pm

I'm with Mike on the copper tubing,all of my appliances have built in regularors, instead of running high pressure to back of TD i put a 10# regulator on the tank with flex hose and ran copper tube under TD and tee's to appliances.


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Postby gratis » Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:58 pm

So it is basically a BBQ type regulator connected to a flare fitting? Looks like solder on there too. That would be easy to set up.

I will have to get out the soapy water though. I don't trust my skills that much!

I assume you would plumb in a T someplace to run hose to the appliances?
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Postby mikeschn » Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:06 pm

Nope, there is no solder. Here's a close up of the flare fitting. It just looks messy from the soapy water that we put on it...

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Postby 48Rob » Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:35 pm

Gratis,

Soft copper tubing, as has been suggested, is commonly used.
In most applications, it works pretty well.
If you plan to do much off road camping, such as gravel roads, etc, steel pipe may be more suitable? :hammer:

Soft copper can be run through conduit as well.
Some folks run it through the frame tubing, and others use an old piece of garden hose to protect it.

Since the tear will flex somewhat, provisions should be made for the gas line to be able to flex slightly.
In other words don't make the entire system rigid.

Most folks will use a flexible rubber hose (high pressure) to connect the tank to the regulator.
Then they go to copper or black pipe for the run to the rear of the trailer.

Some folks run copper right to the tank, with the regulator wherever it will fit.
Soft copper is flexible, but much care must be used not to damage it when changing the tank...not the best way...


Once at the rear, the copper or steel should terminate at a tee, or other fiiting under the trailer.
From that fitting there should be a continious run of line to the stove, or other appliance.

The idea is to have all connections/potential leaks outside the trailer.
Obviously the final connection at the stove, or appliance will be inside, but the risk has been minimized as much as possible.

With the flexibility issue in mind, the last leg of tubing, the one that goes from under the rear to the stove/appliance inside is best run in flexible rubber hose.
I prefer high pressure hose not because of pressure, but because it is very strong and damage resistant.
Another important reason is that most people will move/lift the stove to clean under/behind it, having a flex hose there will minimize the potential for the final connection to become loose from movement.

Obviously those who have pull out stoves will already have a flex line, and those whose stoves are permanantly fitted into the counter won't need one.
But any stove not permanantly mounted should have one.


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Postby Micro469 » Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:30 pm

mikeschn wrote:I use soft copper tubing with flare fittings...


What size copper tubing? 1/2, 1/4 ??
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Postby mikeschn » Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:32 pm

3/8"

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Postby Jiminsav » Mon Feb 20, 2006 8:58 pm

OMG Mike...you didn't wash the soap off and now you have corrosion..need a light?
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Postby mikeschn » Mon Feb 20, 2006 8:59 pm

:oops:
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Postby Big Guy with a Little Guy » Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:31 am

With good flare fittings, there isn't any need for soldered joints.

I agree with the notion of having all potential leaks outside the cabin. This is safer and easier to fix. I would personally not conceal the tubing where it cannot be accessed. It does, however, need to be protected from chafing and stone pelting. I had an old tent trailer whose propane tube was punctured by pelting stones. I think the garden hose sheathing idea is the best one.
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Postby Mitheral » Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:08 am

Hydraulic hose works really good for low pressure LPG and is a lot more abrasion and puncture resistant than copper pipe without the cost of high pressure propane hose. Many places that sell it will crimp the ends for free for you too.
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Postby gratis » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:27 am

OK,

Lets see if I have this straight. You are using soft copper with flare fittings. This means you have to use a flare tool on the end of the copper pipe? Makes sense. I am not very good at creating good flares though. That is why I tend to solder instead when I can.

I may go the custom hose way though since I have access to cheaply created hydraulic hoses. I can see where these would be fine since they would be only dealing with the low pressure side.

What do you guys do if you have say a Portable BBQ that has a regulator in the flow adjuster? Could you replace that with a gas valve?
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Postby JIML1943 » Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:15 pm

gratis

You can use a small gas valve in place of regulator at the appliance as long as you have one at the tank, i did it on a small grill i have set up at my travel trailer. just have to eyeball flame to adjust.

Jim :thumbsup:
Last edited by JIML1943 on Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby 48Rob » Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:55 pm

Gratis,

I've heard of people doing a sweat joint for LP. plumbing, and not having any problems, though how long that joint held is unknown?

Soldered fittings are not bad, but are less suited to the vibration and flexing encountered in a moving vehicle than would be expected in a stationary house.

Sweated plumbing generally uses rigid copper, not soft, so you loose the ability/advantage of the pipe itself being able to absorb some movement.
If you had a flexible hose at each end, in theory it would be no different than a run of black pipe.

In this modern world where folks can't wait to sue someone else for something caused by their own actions, the hydraulic hose issue might be something to think about? :thinking:

Most folks will tell you that hydraulic hose is the same thing as high pressure propane hose, others will say it isn't.
I've never been able to get a clear answer in writing.

While hydraulic hose may work fine, if something happens, and it is discovered that you intentionally useed an improper material, or used a product for something other than its intended use, well, stuff could hit the fan.

Most hydraulic hose makers won't make you a hose if you tell them it will be used for propane.
Reasons vary, but liability is always at the top of the list.
That they are scared because of known incidents, or just afraid of lawsuits in general is unknown.

I'm not an expert on regulators, but I'd be concerned to know that the main line regulator was the same pressure as the one you'd be removing.
If it is a higher pressure, you're counting on the control knobs to act as a regulator.
If you rely on the shutoff valve to operate as the regulated control, it may
work okay till it puts a flame closer to your eyes than most would be comfortable with...

You may well be fine.
I'm not trying to be the propane police, but you know the old saying ; when you play with fire...

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