Propane real vs. best practices - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 53 Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Propane real vs. best practices

I'm just about done replacing the entire dual-tank propane system on my new-to-me old boat, from tanks to stove/oven and heater and everything between. First boat I've owned with propane.

So we all know the best practice is to turn everything off, including the valves at the tank, when not being used. Every book, manual, blog, and forum rat says so. Not a big deal, it's only a couple steps into the cockpit to open and close the valves.

But is that what everyone really does, always?

I have to admit it seems tempting, especially in cool weather after a long day that includes propane use right up to bedtime -- a pre-bed cuppa while warming up next to the propane heater in one's PJs and sleeping cap -- to just close the solenoid and head to bed, then open it again for breakfast in the morning, saving two trips to the tanks. I would off course close the tank valves before leaving the boat unattended for more than a few minutes.

Is that practice pure sin?
Surely more than one drunken sailor has slept off their grog more than once while forgetting to close their tank valves, maybe even forgetting to close the solenoid altogether, and lived to heat up a hangover cure the next morning. No?

Sincerely,
Fastidious and fearful of fiery death

p.s. feel free to pm if you're sure your insurer will read your response and void your policy!

Last edited by bajaking; 3 Weeks Ago at 02:14 PM.
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Re: Propane real vs. best practices

If you have the solenoid valve properly placed at the tanks (properly installed outside or in a vented locker), I see no reason to turn off the valve on the tank when you are aboard, or just leaving to go out for a few hours, unless you suspect a problem with the system.
If I were leaving the boat for an extended period, then yes, I'd shut off the tank.
If you consider the number of propane equipped boats out there and the number of explosions from the gas, even though many using it do not take any precautions, I'd guess you'd have a better chance of being hit by a meteorite than being killed by a propane explosion.
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Re: Propane real vs. best practices

We shut ours off at the tank after using...it’s really no big deal to do that. Yes we also shut off the solenoid.


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Re: Propane real vs. best practices

I turn mine off when I go on vacation away from my boat.

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Re: Propane real vs. best practices

Only shut the tank valve when leaving for long periods...leaks (there are none) will drain outboard.
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Re: Propane real vs. best practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
I turn mine off when I go on vacation away from my boat.
"go on vacation"????
Aren't you always on vacation? lol
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Re: Propane real vs. best practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
"go on vacation"????
Aren't you always on vacation? lol

Ummmm, yes. When I am on holiday from my vacation

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Re: Propane real vs. best practices

My routine...
When cooking is done..edge of being done..i turn off the tank then solenoid then burner then take pot or pan off burner.
If it is pouring..skip tank..unless sufficiently buzzed that the rain is a short buzz thrill
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Re: Propane real vs. best practices

++ for the manual valve is only when I leave the boat for a few days.

The solenoid is for every day use while living aboard or cruising.

One other paranoid idea is when you are done cooking, every once in a while with a burner lit, shut it off with the solenoid instead of the controls on the stove (shut the stove off after the flame extinguishes). It will take you longer to light it next time to get gas in the line, but you'll verify the solenoid works. This is not an every day thing either, but a good test that the system is working.

Y(Paranoia)MV YPMV...and I never want to discourage anyone for being more safe...so whatever floats your boat. Cool you updated everything!
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Re: Propane real vs. best practices

Propane leak anxiety? Not on my boat! Our cooking gas is lighter than air—unlike propane, which can settle in the bilge.

We have CNG and once we got a second tank, the inconvenience of limited CNG exchange stations faded. Hopefully, the resurgence of CNG fuel in the non-boating world will turn the situation around to make CNG refills more convenient.

Meanwhile, I don’t turn off the gas while I am cruising. The only downside in not shutting off every evening over the years, is that we had a regulator failure a number of years ago that vented the gas outboard (the good news), but depleted the tank in about 3 days.
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