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Propane furnace in COLD weather

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SW3
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:03 pm    Post subject: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

My problem is that it is COLD outside! Northern Minnesota, the low tonight is -21 deg F. My propane furnace does not light very well when it drops below -10 deg F. The first two burners will light briefly, but the flame sensor is on the farthest burner and if it does not light right away it shuts off the gas. I have to use a torch and hold it on the flame sensor to light the furnace.
I have a 500 gallon propane tank, 60% full. The tank is 120 feet from the house, and the line runs uphill to the house. Copper line, 1/2 inch size. I realize that propane vaporizes at -44 deg F.
What are my options to solve this problem? I would rather not have to cover the tank with a quilt or heat it. My propane company suggested moving the tank closer to the house, but I would rather not. Would running a bigger line help? Maybe 3/4" instead? Any ideas appreciated.
 
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Bob Bancroft
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Do you know what your regulated pressure is from the tank to the house, and then what it is in the house?
 
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Frank A
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Do you have a two stage system?( A high pressure regulator at the tank and low pressure at the house) 1/2 inch copper should carry over 300,000 BTUs at 120 feet with high pressure. If it's the tank pressure that is to low you may cover the tank with black plastic so it would absorb some more heat during the day.
 
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Tom-NoCenTX
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

like the man below said. I have 2 regulators, one at the tank, and a second one at the outside wall of the house. Tom
 
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Dalet
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I had issues last night too. They told me to throw some boiling water on the regulators and it should make it through until daylight hits the tank. I am ready for the games tonight, but it's only going to be about -16 here! Sad
 
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SW3
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

It has a regulator on the tank, and then one at the house. I do not know what the pressures are. I did ask that the propane company (Cenex) come out and hook the truck up to the tank to pressurize it. I have watched them do this before and listened as the tank equalizes with the truck pressure. This usually takes care of my problems. It may be that I just don't use enough propane since it is my off-peak heat, so they only come out to fill it every other year. Maybe the pressure in the tank gets too low?Thanks
 
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old
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Do not know how well this would work but it might but also not sure how safe. I simple light bulb the old incandescent type and a box so as to hold in the heat over the regulator. That would keep it warm enough to work but yet not be able to freeze up which water will do.
 
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da.bees
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

SW3 wrote:
(quoted from post at 23:38:06 01/21/13) It has a regulator on the tank, and then one at the house. I do not know what the pressures are. I did ask that the propane company (Cenex) come out and hook the truck up to the tank to pressurize it. I have watched them do this before and listened as the tank equalizes with the truck pressure. This usually takes care of my problems. It may be that I just don't use enough propane since it is my off-peak heat, so they only come out to fill it every other year. Maybe the pressure in the tank gets too low?Thanks


There are a multitude of possiable reasons for what you describe but one of them "is not" because the tank needs to be "pressurized". The pressure does drop as tempature drops but there is nothing other than warming the tank you can do about it. We could give you every possiability and you probably wouldn't be any closer to resolving it.
Call your supplier and tell them what is going on and ask that they have a technician come check your system. Otherwise you will mess with it ubtil spring thaw.
 
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BobHnwOh
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:48 am    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Clean the shields around the nozzles,there is a gap about 1/16 wide that the flame travels from nozzle to nozzle,rust will build up in the gap and not allow the flame to go thru,BTDT!You can make the gap a little wider to help also.
 
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Greenday
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:54 am    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

You have a regulator on the supply line trying to freeze up or fail. Replace yuor regulators and it will fix uor prob.
 
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Stephen Newell
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:08 am    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

What I've always understood about propane is that it is a liquid and it comes to a boiling point at normal air temperature and the vapors of it flow to a persons house. When the temperature outside gets very low the liquid looses the means of coming to a boiling point so it doesn't produce vapors as well so you don't get vaporized gas at the house as well. The only real solution is to raise the temperature of the tank or insulate it from getting so cold.
 
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buickanddeere
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:53 am    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Insulate the tank so it doesn't get so cold ? The problem could be that the tank is already too cold . the tank and liquid LP needs to absorb heat to vaporize and maintain usable pressure.
Odds are the problem is not the tank but maybe a regulator and likely the rarely used furnace.
Time to get off the wallet and call a LP expert repair person before blowing the house up.
 
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Charlie M
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:40 am    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Propane will freeze up if its too cold or be too cold to vaporize. In my yonger days of working in a feed mill if the corn drier, which was propane got too cold it would freeze up. It didn't help that the line was in front of huge fans.
 
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Russ from MN
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:01 am    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Maybe put a magnetic heater on the bottom of the tank and then wrap it up with a tarp. Some people use propane successfully down to -35F.
Large construction heaters use liquid withdraw tanks and a vaporizer just like mobile equipment.
 
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mkirsch
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:07 am    Post subject: Re: Propane furnace in COLD weather Reply to specific post Reply with quote

They aren't "pressurizing" your tank. They are filling it.
 
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