Small Cabin

Small Cabin Forum
 - Forums - Register/Sign Up - Reply - Search - Statistics -

Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Bye Bye Propane
Author Message
# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 11:46 - Edited by: groingo

Over the past three seasons propane in Washington state prices can swing wildly....that is a given but the quality can also swing causing low heat output, odd odors and using twice as much propane to do the same job...generally becoming a bit of a costly pain.

Checking into why propane quality in Washington State is so bad it took little time to see that safety and handling are regulated but that the propane itself is not, the regulations only say the three classes of propane "should" work in particular applications but don't elaborate on just what is considered functional.

The gas itself is not regulated and the suppliers when asked if they ever tested the propane all blamed it on their supplier and ultimately when the trail ended they all said the same thing, there is no quality requirement for propane itself so they don' t have to check.

# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 18:15

Of course price fluctuates, same as the price of gasoline, natural gas and diesel fluctuates. It is a part of the commodity market. Yes, there are many regulations covering the safety aspects of storage and handling of propane. And yes, there are three classes of propane. However, to state the gas is not regulated is, IMO, incorrect. The most commonly sold grade, HD5, must contain no less than 90% propane, and not more than 5% propylene and not more than 5% iso-butane and/or methane. HD5 can often contain as much as 95% propane.

HD10 is I believe only available in California and can contain up to 10% propylene. It can not be sold for vehicle use as the higher propylene content can cause some components if the vehicle system to stick. Then there is commercial grade which can have a high % of other gases. The only requirement is that there be enough propane content to maintain a flame. Commercial grade also can not be used in vehicles.

Commercial grade is usually only used in commercial chemical processes. It should never reach the consumer. If it does get to consumers somebody along the line is cheating someone. There is much sampling and testing during the production and as propane moves through the distribution system.

Just saying don't condemn an industry and don't say there are no rules when there are. Possibly you are unfortunate to have a shady dealer someplace in your area. I have never had a bad batch of propane and we have used many thousands of gallons of it over 3+ decades.

# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 18:27 - Edited by: groingo

The problem as I mentioned is there is no, zero, none checking required to guarantee that the product meets at least some minimum standard because in Washington state at least there simply is none and if you ask about testing they simply say the state doesn't require it, because they have no standards to test to.

Not condemning an industry....just the one here in Washington.

# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 19:03

I always wondered about that. I would get gas for my grill and it always burned blue. Then, I happened to get Blue Rhino gas from Home depot once and it burned blue and yellow. I didn't know there were grades of propane.

# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 19:42

So are you doing away with propane? I know you ran off the power company and just removed your wood stove. What will you do for heating?

# Posted: 3 Jan 2017 17:40

Yes, there are grades of propane not only by its hydro-carbon composition (propane, butane etc), but also by humidity %. If you get humid propane, the tanks may rust.

# Posted: 3 Jan 2017 19:19 - Edited by: groingo

Haven't been connected to utility for the past couple years but I am looking at going back to PSE mainly because of one rule I must be doable for same or less than grid, along the way I have been able to find workarounds to make the numbers balance but the past two years the propane has been the problem child with wildly swinging prices and increasingly poor performance (that's what happens when you keep detailed records).....the numbers never lie....since 2015 fall winter consumption has gone from 16 days per 20 lb tank to currently at 7 days with no change in use habits or equipment with all valves and lines tight and clean and tank at room temp.
If propane was reasonably consistant I would continue trying different things like modified burners, high swirl and heat sinks to get more heat from less flame but that all requires a stable fuel both chemically and economically.

Here is irony for you....had I gone back to PSE my power would have been out as we speak from 2:30 am with no estimated return time as it sit here warm in my fully charged solar powered home the hasn't had an outage since I turned it on years ago while PSE has had easily 30 outages in my area over the past two years.

One thing my formula lacked....a value for reliability and with it 18 degrees out and windy and the solar pushing max power I need to rethink the formula it seems and as far as Propane....I need to dig deeper to find a solution to get more for less.

Anyone believe in Kharma?

# Posted: 4 Jan 2017 16:14

Time for an air source heat pump. Runs of electricity. Which you can generate from the sun.

I like the Gree units.

And say gubye to propane forever!

Your reply
Bold Style  Italic Style  Underlined Style  Thumbnail Image Link  Large Image Link  URL Link           :) ;) :-( :confused: More smilies...

» Username  » Password 
Only registered users can post here. Please enter your login/password details before posting a message, or register here first.