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Propane setup question


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#1 Carlewis

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:04 PM

I am trying to set up my new Chili forge. My local propane guy says that it is against the law (I am in WI) for him to install my propane tank outside with piping to the inside because it is high pressure and it is dangerous. (Chili recommends 9-15 psi working pressure.) He is only allowed to install pipe for up to 5 psi and that is only with a special permit. He said most residential uses are at .5 psi.

Now, of course, having the tank inside is even more dangerous. I have tried to research this to find out what others have done and to find a solution. Please tell me what I am missing here. What do all of you do?

Thanks so much.

#2 WmHorus

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:58 PM

What size tank are you trying to get? I don't know the laws in yer state but I would ask Richard Furrer ( http://doorcountyfor...om/Welcome.html ) who is out your way. I wont tell you to break the law god forbid but hypothetically speaking he could just drop off and fill the tank and you could hypothetically put your regulator on it and then hypothetically run a hose from your regulator to your hypothetical forge.

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#3 WmHorus

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 05:01 PM

What size tank are you trying to get? I don't know the laws in yer state but I would ask Richard Furrer ( http://doorcountyfor...om/Welcome.html ) who is out your way. I wont tell you to break the law god forbid but hypothetically speaking he could just drop off and fill the tank and you could hypothetically put your regulator on it and then hypothetically run a hose from your regulator to your hypothetical forge. But be aware you need propane hose that can handle pressure hypothetically speaking of course.

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#4 Dave Hammer

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 05:56 PM

I would presume that MOST of us that use propane do so with a regulator and hose directly off a tank. The regulator has a POL fitting that is screwed into the tank valve. Some put the tank outside and run a hose through a wall or window. Others just keep the tank inside (not the safest choice, but it's what we do). Size of the tank is up to you. 20#, 30#, 40# tanks can be purchased and filled at filling stations. 100# tanks are also used, but are more difficult to manage. Barbeque grill size tanks can just be exchanged at big box stores or Walmart. These small forges can be run on a barbeque grill sized tank (20#), but the tank may freeze up when it gets low on propane.

The most important thing to remember is to shut the tank off at the tank when you are not forging. If you keep the tank inside, I would recommend (although most of us probably do not do it) you use a soap/water solution to be sure the tank valve does not leak when you first put on the regulator. You do not want and leaking propane anywhere. Also, check your hose fittings and any other shutoff connections you may have with the soap/water solution.

If you are paranoid about following all the rules and guidelines, you will probably end up doing all your forging outside.

#5 SGensh

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:43 PM

I don't know the volume of propane your Chile Forge will consume in an hour as it burns as pressure is not a really good indicator of flow just by itself. Let's assume you are using a two burner unit and want to run it at fairly high pressure for a good heat. In most cases of a high withdrawal flow a twenty pound barbecue tank will wind up freezing up on you fairly quickly if you use only one so the idea of using a bulk tank if you have one is appealing. Since your chances of getting any propane company to run a high pressure (anything above 11" water column to them) line into your home or garage are practically nill don't bother fighting it. Go out and buy yourself a manifolding coupler so you can join two small tanks which you can either exchange (twenty pounders) or have filled easily (thirty or forty pounders) and screw the POL fitting on your regulator into that manifold coupling and have at the forging. It's probably a lot safer to have everything indoors where you can see it and reach the tank shutoff valves rather than have them in an inaccesible location if there is any kind of problem. Buy a good quality fire extinguisher at the same time you buy the manifold coupler and keep it handy and up to date. Keep a spray botle of soap solution handy and check every connection every time you use the appliance also. For what it's worth if you do buy a manifold coupler try to avoid using anything with a copper tube connection between the two tanks. Most propane companies will use this type to connect two houshold bulk tanks which they will be filling from a delivery truck and which will not be disturbed once they are connected. Your usage will be different as you will need to disconnect and move the tanks to have them refilled and you could easily kink a copper tube when doing so leading to a weak spot, crack, or leak. A manifold for our type of use should have a flex hose between the two tanks. Good luck with the new forge.

#6 nhblacksmith

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 07:13 AM

I use a 4 burner Whisper Gran daddy Forge that needs 10-15 lbs operating pressure. I have a 100 gallon tank located outside the building with steel piping to just inside the wall near the forge. At that point there is a ball valve followed by rubber hose to the forge with a second regulator and ball valve located right at the forge. The rubber hose is suspended from the ceiling so it won't be walked on or have a piece of hot iron melt it. The gas company had no problem hooking it up even though they had to order a special high pressure regulator. They did insist on the steel pipe with an inside shutoff in case the rubber hose failed or burned through. One doesn't want to have to run outside and shut the tank off. They told me that while it wasn't required I could make the setup safer by installing what they called a "slug" valve at the tank. They would have insisted if I had gone with a 1000 gallon tank. That valve shuts the propane flow off at the tank if it senses flow over a certain amount. That saves dumping the whole contents in your shop if something ruptures. A friend of mine is a glass blower and had exactly that happen. He also ran high pressure and his furnaces had to run 24/7. One night a line failed and he had a propane fed fire inside his shop. Needless to say, nothing left.

Be careful about hypothetical situations and advice. If your property has any value and you skirt the codes, it is very likely your insurance company will not pay in case of catastrophe. I have been using this setup safely for over 15 years and my insurance and gas companies both know and approve. Codes may vary so check yours.

Neal Wells
Vulcan Forge Blacksmith Shop
Manufacturers of specialty tongs for the precious metals refining industry.
Lancaster, NH

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#7 macbruce

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 11:50 AM

Find another propane supplier , they don't all play by the same rules............I had to shop around because of pressure issues and after a few trys I found an outfit that had no problem filling my 250gal tank......try hooking up with a private owner company.....mb
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#8 Carlewis

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 02:51 PM

I use a 4 burner Whisper Gran daddy Forge that needs 10-15 lbs operating pressure. I have a 100 gallon tank located outside the building with steel piping to just inside the wall near the forge. At that point there is a ball valve followed by rubber hose to the forge with a second regulator and ball valve located right at the forge. The rubber hose is suspended from the ceiling so it won't be walked on or have a piece of hot iron melt it. The gas company had no problem hooking it up even though they had to order a special high pressure regulator. They did insist on the steel pipe with an inside shutoff in case the rubber hose failed or burned through. One doesn't want to have to run outside and shut the tank off. They told me that while it wasn't required I could make the setup safer by installing what they called a "slug" valve at the tank. They would have insisted if I had gone with a 1000 gallon tank. That valve shuts the propane flow off at the tank if it senses flow over a certain amount. That saves dumping the whole contents in your shop if something ruptures. A friend of mine is a glass blower and had exactly that happen. He also ran high pressure and his furnaces had to run 24/7. One night a line failed and he had a propane fed fire inside his shop. Needless to say, nothing left.

Be careful about hypothetical situations and advice. If your property has any value and you skirt the codes, it is very likely your insurance company will not pay in case of catastrophe. I have been using this setup safely for over 15 years and my insurance and gas companies both know and approve. Codes may vary so check yours.



The above is exactly what I was hoping to accomplish. I have a 100# tank as recommended by Chili Forge but want to have it outside. I would be happy to have two regulators and would like a steel pipe with emergency shut off inside. I will take this answer to the propane guy and I guess to another propane guy... Another friend suggested I ask a plumber to place the pipe to my exact specifications and that I then "do" the illegal hookup. So far, I don't know what the "exact specs" would be and of course I don't want to void my homeowner policy.

BTW, I already use a small propane tank inside in an adjacent studio for my glass torch. I check it regularly with soapy water and have fire extinguishers near by. But this situation is also risky (duh!) and 10 years ago when I set it up I also couldn't get anyone to run pipe to a high pressure regulator inside. I live with that danger but it is a 40# tank and there are no flying sparks.

Any more suggestions?
Thanks so much.

#9 Jack Evers

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:28 PM

Just a note about the propane company's concerns. About three years ago, I remodeled an old bunkhouse and added propane heat and cook stove. The propane company of course had to test it before hooking me up. I wasn't surprised that the system was leak free, seemed pretty straightforward plumbing.I was surprised when the propane guy said that he'd been doing that work for about four years and mine was the first owner installed system he checked leak free. Apparently there is some pretty sloppy work being done.

#10 ThomasPowers

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:47 PM

I ran the pipe from our outside propane tank to the new/old kitchen stove. My wife wanted to pay them to do it but I told her that it's dead simple and you follow the proper procedure and it works and a heck of a lot cheaper too. It was of course inspected and tested by the propane company---they told her I had done a GREAT job on it---no problems.
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#11 nhblacksmith

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 08:12 PM

Just a note about the propane company's concerns. About three years ago, I remodeled an old bunkhouse and added propane heat and cook stove. The propane company of course had to test it before hooking me up. I wasn't surprised that the system was leak free, seemed pretty straightforward plumbing.I was surprised when the propane guy said that he'd been doing that work for about four years and mine was the first owner installed system he checked leak free. Apparently there is some pretty sloppy work being done.


The gas companies can be sloppy too. In addition to gas in my shop, I have a propane furnace hot water system for the house as well as dual electric/gas hookups for the range and dryer and for an outside barbecue. I also installed all the gas lines using 1" schedule 40 pipe, and then the gas company tested them. The guy kept insisting I had a leak but couldn't find it with soapy water. After a couple hours I decided he was the problem and hooked up an air compressor to the line and charged it to about 75 psi. Guess what, no leaks. Turns out he had a faulty test gauge.

Installing the lines yourself can save tons of money, especially if you can thread your own pipe, etc. Just make sure to have it tested, hopefully by someone a little more competent than the one who checked mine.

Neal Wells
Vulcan Forge Blacksmith Shop
Manufacturers of specialty tongs for the precious metals refining industry.
Lancaster, NH

Member ABANA, New England Blacksmiths


#12 Ulric

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 10:04 PM

I'll second that in regards to 'professionals'.. I don't want to think about how many times 'they' had to come out and how long it took them to get the gas line properly connected to a 'mobile home' we had put on the property.

#13 sawyer04

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 09:23 PM

I'll second that in regards to 'professionals'.. I don't want to think about how many times 'they' had to come out and how long it took them to get the gas line properly connected to a 'mobile home' we had put on the property.


Sounds like you guys have so called propane installers working for the company. All these guys want to do around here is pump gas and charge the bill. Something about insurance.

#14 son_of_bluegrass

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 06:28 PM

It may be fine for some to install propane yourself in some places but where I am it is illegal unless you are a licensed plumber. Even if you do the work correctly you could be facing problems doing it yourself. Check first.

ron

#15 edge9001

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 12:07 AM

I've run into a similar problem with electrical work in my town. ther require all electrical work to be done under a license. I found a way around it. find a license person who will come out and inspect it and be willign to sign off that they did it. some of these professionals are more than willing to take say an hour or twos pay to let you do the work and supply all the material. then the licensed person can get it inspected and passed by the local GOV. types. we paid a electrician $45 to inspect our work and claim it was his to the inspector. this gets around paying him materials and hourly work to do what I already can. the inspector was more than happy to do it this way. i got cheaper work, govermental types got a license on the inspection sheet and the electrician made about an hour's worth of money for looking at a few things and standing around for 20 minutes.

I will stress doing this with gas or electrical work is dangerous so only do it if you have the proper knowledge of how to do it. DON'T GET YOURSELF HURT OR KILLED JUST TO SAVE A LITTLE MONEY!! nothing costs more than your life or health
Tim
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Do what thou wilst, yet ye harm none. Blessed Be.




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