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Old 08-10-2017, 01:11 PM   #1
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Propane Tank Storage

Hi All,

During the survey yesterday we found the propane tank horizontal in the locker under the bridge helm seat, not really secured in any fashionable manner. Probably not adhering to any code either. Where is your tank on a Taiwanese or GB trawler?

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Old 08-10-2017, 01:48 PM   #2
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I was not sure about about the horizontal position question until I did the usual Google search. Apparently, tanks must be vertical in order to release gas (rather than liquid propane). Also my understanding is that tanks must be secured with a drain/vent line to overboard. Ours were stored upright in a dedicated upper deck exterior locker which vented to the upper deck. Securing and venting outside of the vessel are essential. Is it possible the propane is only used for a BBQ and removed from the locker during use?
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Old 08-10-2017, 01:54 PM   #3
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Horizontal is fine if it is a horizontal tank.

As Chris said, the tank has to be secured and the space needs to drain to outside the boat. The drain also needs to be a certain distance from any window, hatch or door that opens as well as the engine room intake.

I assume your talking about the bridge seat on the flybridge. Depending on the configuration, there may be a drain in that compartment that would meet the requirements.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:32 PM   #4
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Apparently there a 2 different types of tanks/valves. One will operate horizontal, the other must be vertical. I would guess that if the tank "works" then it is the correct type.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:49 PM   #5
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Horizontal-use tanks are rare, and are usually fixed mounted, or at least with a key slot to a specific "this side up" orientation.

Storing is not an issue, but releasing propane from the wrong position can result in **liquid** fed to a vapor-only appliance.

Resulting in a huge quick-burning expanding fireball, if not an actual explosion.

Please, if you're not sure, get a pro to vet your setup.

Boom bad!

especially on a boat, LPG being heavier than air.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:56 PM   #6
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Horizontal-use tanks are rare, and are usually fixed mounted, or at least with a key slot to a specific "this side up" orientation.
I have a horizontal tank on my Catalina 400 sailboat. It is a pain. As you mention, it has welded on feet that are designed to be bolted down. That works great to keep it in place and in the right position. However, it is also more of a hassle to remove to be refilled. Also, many of your typical propane sources have no idea what to do with a horizontal tank.

I think a vertical tank setup is much easier to deal with.
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:34 PM   #7
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Yes, the bolted-down ones are supposed to be refilled in place.

Forklift tanks are portable horizontal, but you need valve adapters for most general suppliers.
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:38 PM   #8
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There are a lot of requirements, sealed compartment with overboard vent, opening only on top of compartment, dedicated compartment for LPG and no storage in the compartment. Those are just a few off the top of my head. As previously stated, get an expert to check the installation.
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:41 PM   #9
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Cheers has a horizontal tank in an open area under the fly bridge console. It's factory original ('87) and is held in place with metal straps. The surveyor didn't have a problem with it.

Unfortunately, it's rusty, so I'm planning to replace it with a vertical tank. I'm looking at a small tank (11 gallons), which should be enough for a long time at my present usage rate. Two reasons for the small tank: vertical clearance and ease of handling when it's refill time. Oh yeah, it's under $100 whereas a new horizontal tank is north of $300.

I'm going to replace the regulator and add a leak detection gauge. The solenoid is working fine so I plan to leave it. Can't believe how inexpensive the plumbing parts are!
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:47 PM   #10
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Greetings,
We have two horizontal aluminum tanks on board in a dedicated locker. Not that big a deal to remove for re-filling and haven't had a problem yet with filling stations. As mentioned, the tanks MUST be designed for horizontal use. We also have a "sniffer system", one sensor mounted IN the propane locker.
The mounting arrangement was designed and built by the Hinkley yard in Thunderboldt GA.
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Old 08-11-2017, 12:13 AM   #11
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Yes, the bolted-down ones are supposed to be refilled in place.

Forklift tanks are portable horizontal, but you need valve adapters for most general suppliers.
Forklift tanks are liquid feed and shouldn't be used on equipment designed for vapor. I use one as a fuel tank for my Lehr 15 Outboard.
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:14 AM   #12
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Cheers has a horizontal tank in an open area under the fly bridge console. It's factory original ('87) and is held in place with metal straps.. Unfortunately, it's rusty, so I'm planning to replace it with a vertical tank. I'm looking at a small tank (11 gallons), which should be enough for a long time at my present usage rate. Two reasons for the small tank: vertical clearance and ease of handling when it's refill time. Oh yeah, it's under $100 whereas a new horizontal tank is north of $300.
Consider fitting 2 smaller tanks, joined to a common supply head. When one is empty, switch to the other and take the empty ashore to refill/exchange.
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:19 AM   #13
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Yes, forgot to mention a vapor valve needs to be added or the fill port converted if only five ports.

Even better, there are pre-configured vapor-use only tanks designed for mowers, the outflow blocks liquid and there's an anti-sloshing baffle.

Aluminum also saves a lot of weight.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:01 AM   #14
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There are brackets for portable horizontal tanks. Typically from suppliers that deal with forklifts and related equipment where a vertical tank would be a problem.

A bracket could be bought and installed which would be very effective for easy removal and installation and safe securing of a horizontal tank instead of the tank itself being bolted down.

They would be painted steel so would need some attention periodically to maintain. I would not use an RV bracket though as they are lightly built, too lightly.
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:25 PM   #15
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Nash is a decent bracket maker, ebay seller propane-kit carries them I think.
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Old 08-11-2017, 04:47 PM   #16
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Every time someone comes up with a better mousetrap, like aluminum or FG propane tanks, smaller, sideways stow tanks, etc, I wonder if the fill stations will still refuse to fill them when they hit 10 years old.
I just lost a pair of 5 lb tanks to the 10 yr rule, for my BBQ.
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:08 PM   #17
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Greetings,
Mr. k. I wonder the same thing but I haven't noticed a date anywhere on my aluminum tanks although I admit I haven't looked too hard.
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koliver View Post
Every time someone comes up with a better mousetrap, like aluminum or FG propane tanks, smaller, sideways stow tanks, etc, I wonder if the fill stations will still refuse to fill them when they hit 10 years old.

I just lost a pair of 5 lb tanks to the 10 yr rule, for my BBQ.


If I was starting from scratch I would probably create a tank box to fit a standard 20 lbs tank and just use a propane tank exchange instead of refilling. I don't have to worry about a steel tank rusting, the requirements changing, etc... Blue Rhino puts 15 lbs in their 20 lbs tanks. Plenty for my purposes.
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:52 PM   #19
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Every time someone comes up with a better mousetrap, like aluminum or FG propane tanks, smaller, sideways stow tanks, etc, I wonder if the fill stations will still refuse to fill them when they hit 10 years old.
I just lost a pair of 5 lb tanks to the 10 yr rule, for my BBQ.
You just take them to a shop that inspects and recertifies them. Have never been charged more than $25, usually $15.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:35 PM   #20
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You just take them to a shop that inspects and recertifies them. Have never been charged more than $25, usually $15.
I think the date is stamped on/near the filler. At worst(usually) they replace the valve. If you have tanks sized to a particular secured location it helps to keep them.
For horizontal tanks. We secured an auxiliary fuel tank in a rally car, using fixed bottom brackets and a reciprocal top bracket, with bolts at the "joining " flange facings so the brackets could be securely tightened. Survived 10000 miles over 2 weeks in the Australian outback, though the tank itself developed cracks a "courageous" Alice Springs welder was willing to repair one night while we ran his 24hr. gas filling station for him.
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