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Old 08-26-2014, 07:24 AM   #1
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New gas system

We tried to get a gas (Propane) certificate for our boat but the gas fitter said it didn't comply The Hot water service doesn't have a gas approval certificate The stove doesn't have flame failure monitors the regulator is an old type and to top it off the pipework now has to be lagged
So today I spent all day removing all the old equipment ready for a new stove, Hot Water system , gas bottle locker and gas detector and solenoid
should be all fixed next week
Apparently they have just upgraded the Australian standards and there are lots of changes
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:24 AM   #2
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Some of us non-Australians would be interested in knowing if the very tough Australian standards reduce the number of propane/gas explosions from what other countries are seeing. Some of our North American explosions come from boats that don't meet our less strict standards.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:39 AM   #3
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Some of us non-Australians would be interested in knowing if the very tough Australian standards reduce the number of propane/gas explosions from what other countries are seeing. Some of our North American explosions come from boats that don't meet our less strict standards.
Seriously not trying to be non-confrontational as I'm truly interested in the source info...is there published data on this...especially where the weak points are cited????
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:52 AM   #4
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is there published data on this????
Good question. Not of which I am aware. The last two explosions of which I am aware involved systems that didn't seem to meet current standards. Can't remember the details of either, just my reaction of "what were they thinking."
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:12 AM   #5
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Sure would like to know the weak spots in any system...even standards sometimes overlook the obvious answer....and disallow what seems obvious but really isn't the problem.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:06 AM   #6
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My neighbor (the wife) does catering and she ordered a propane turkey/fish fryer over the Internet to cater a wedding (she wanted to fry fish). She couldn't figure out how to put it together so she came to me.

I put it together and we went to her garage/catering kitchen to find the rest of the parts. She went outside, got the 20 lb propane tank and brought it inside so we could hook it up and try it. I told her the tank wasn't supposed to be indoors and the instructions for the fryer specifically stated that it was to be used outdoors and away from buildings. She gave me a puzzled look and I took everything outside and shower her how it worked (I've never used one but I can read instructions pretty well).

I don't know how the catering job went but I wouldn't be surprised if she did use it indoors.

Propane is as explosive as gasoline vapor and must be treated with respect. It's safe if used correctly, deadly if not.

My boat has all the required ABYC safety features and equipment for propane and we use it on a regular basis.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:10 AM   #7
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With the exception of "lagging the piping" which must mean wrapping it with fireproofing (a very dubious benefit IMO) the issues noted by crashley are consistent with ABYC propane standards. Although US boats rarely use a gas fired water heater. Not sure what ABYC has to say about these.

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Old 08-26-2014, 11:14 AM   #8
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Sure would like to know the weak spots in any system...even standards sometimes overlook the obvious answer....and disallow what seems obvious but really isn't the problem.
I would say the the lack of flame detector on each burner that shuts off the gas if the flame goes out is a pretty important safety feature. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that a properly located and functional propane detector is important and it should be wired so it's powered at all times.

The switch near the appliance that shuts the propane off at the external tank is pretty important. We only turn it on to cook and turn it off after cooking. A propane water heater would require the propane to be constantly "on" and that's not as safe as it could be. I've never seen an approved marine propane water heater but I suppose it's possible.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:27 AM   #9
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I told her the tank wasn't supposed to be indoors and the instructions for the fryer specifically stated that it was to be used outdoors and away from buildings. .
I have seen more than one sailboat with the propane tank stored in a boat locker (not separate propane locker) aft of the cockpit. The locker drains into the bilge, not overboard.

As far as I know the only propane appliance certified for indoor use (with the tank) is the Mr. Heater type of propane heaters. These also have an oxygen sensor to shut them off.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:28 AM   #10
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I'm looking for CAUSES of explosions..not just what the rules MAY point to.

The switch to the solenoid is not a safety feature...it's an idiotproofing tool. The valve on the tank does the same thing.

Detectors are not the same as identifying weak points in the propane system...they are only backups.

If you want to make things safer..you have to identify what the problems are. I'm not saying ABYC recommendations were done by idiots...but sometimes what is finalized...isn't even close to what the real field safety guys find.

If I really wanted to make my boat safer...I'd add sails, get rid of all thru hulls and electricity, no gasoline or propane for sure, never run at night or water deeper than the distance from my keel to the deck,....well I'm sure the point is made....but I could go on till I threw up.

I wanna know what the really hazardous stuff is...just getting underway involves risk. So "statistics" without origin or investigation are pretty meaningless for my pretty well trained safety background.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:09 PM   #11
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The cause of a propane explosion is a concentration of propane gas and the addition of a source of ignition. Installing and operating a propane system according to the "rules" minimizes the chance of this happening.

The published "rules" make it easier for the installer and user by taking into account all the possibilities that an individual might overlook. I don't follow the rules because they are rules, I follow them for my own safety.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:29 PM   #12
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Keep talking! I am removing the electric stove from Lollygag and installing a propane system. I've done it before on Apophyge (with tanks outside and continuous hose with chafe where it passed through bulkheads) but that was 15 years ago. Things change and I'd like to know what the collective thinking is now.
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:23 PM   #13
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Tank outside followed by solenoid controlled from inside, followed by pressure gauge, followed by continuous hose to appliance. What is new (at least to me) in the last 15 years is the pressure gauge which allow you to determine if there is a leak once the solenoid shuts off the propane supply. If the pressure goes down, there is a leak.
You may want to chat with boatpoker....here's his cut...

3.Controls - In order from the tank - first the pressure gauge, then regulator, then the solenoid shut-off. All such equipment must be inside the locker. Pressure gauges are often omitted by the DIY'r to save $12 but are a critical leak detection safety feature.

I'm pretty sure ABYC says the solenoid can go on either side of the regulator....and doesn't discuss the pressure gauge though a good idea.

Safe Boat Propane System Installation
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Old 08-26-2014, 05:06 PM   #14
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That's the way I did it last time but without a locker. I had a double tank on a mounting plate that usually goes in front of a trailer on the small area behind the cockpit. I had the gauge, solenoid and regulator right at the tanks and a cover to keep them out of the sun. It made a great seat. Apophyge is now in the marquessas with her new owners and it's still good to go. Two 20# tanks lasted almost a year running the stove, oven and barbeque.
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Old 08-26-2014, 05:25 PM   #15
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"I'm looking for CAUSES of explosions.."
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:05 PM   #16
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"I'm looking for CAUSES of explosions.."
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:34 PM   #17
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:08 PM   #18
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:47 AM   #19
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One factor in safety is the human factor.

When I was outfitting for a living the range solenoid would get a light to note the unit was powered as well as a 2 hour wind up timer to turn it off should someone forget.

No problem baking for over 2 hours as the cool usually remembered to reset .
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:52 AM   #20
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I haven't heard of any propane explosions just a few caused by faulty petrol installations
The regs are pretty normal I think just have to work through them I have fitted the gas detector and run the wires for the cut off and mounted the sensors The enclosure for the bottles has been made, and the new stove is ready to be installed just have to work out what size invertor to connect the stove to for its electronic ignition and oven fan or wether to just use a match to light the stove.
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