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Old 05-20-2023, 02:05 PM   #1
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Propane on board

So I have this trawler project, and have a propane question. There is copper plumbing from the bridge to I assume the stove. Nothing else propane on board, and the stove is pretty inaccessible. The end of the line on the bridge is cut clean off. Should there be a regulator at the tank or would it be at the stove?
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Old 05-20-2023, 02:26 PM   #2
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The regulator is always at the tank. Otherwise that whole length of tubing would be under high pressure, enormously increasing the risk of a leak even if that tubing was rated for the high pressure, which it isn’t.

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Old 05-20-2023, 02:31 PM   #3
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The regulator is at the tank. It has a safety vent.
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Old 05-20-2023, 03:56 PM   #4
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I believe that you need one continuous run from the regulator to the stove. I donít think you can splice the tube.
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Old 05-20-2023, 06:45 PM   #5
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I believe that you need one continuous run from the regulator to the stove. I donít think you can splice the tube.
This is correct. However, I donít know what a soldered splice would be considered.
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Old 05-20-2023, 07:30 PM   #6
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You also need a means of shutting off the flow at the tank, from the stove. That's usually done with a solenoid valve at the regulator with a control switch at the stove. While you're shopping for that, you might as well get one with a propane alarm built in that shuts off the flow if it detects a leak. I have a two sensor alarm with one sensor in the bilge and the other right under the stove. Trident and Firebuoy make those.
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Old 05-20-2023, 10:59 PM   #7
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This is correct. However, I donít know what a soldered splice would be considered.
I think it would be the same as a fitting and not allowed. They should replace the whole line with one piece as painful as that may be.
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Old 05-21-2023, 05:54 AM   #8
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I had intended to flare the end still there and use fittings. Just like two others I can see in the line. I'm putting in a gen, before I go nuts with all these alarms I'll rip it out & go electric. Still, appreciate all the input!
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Old 05-21-2023, 07:05 AM   #9
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Did it have propane run to the fridge also? I had a 3 way fridge.
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Old 05-21-2023, 07:18 AM   #10
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If pulling a new copper line isn't feasible, then I would consider a fitting but only if the location of the fitting was such that if gas did leak it would go overboard, without any potential for exposure to a spark on the way -- so no wiring in whatever flybridge compartment it may be in.
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Old 05-21-2023, 07:44 AM   #11
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When I did my propane stovetop (electric oven range was mostly trashed), I ordered all certified fittings, regulator and hose from a propane supplier. Was only a couple hundred if that total. Really not that much more than local purchase.

I ran a continuous rubber hose (which the pro calculated diameter for proper flow) from lower, forward galley up to the overhead but through cabinets and molding, then through the cabin wall, hid it in a pvc pipe tucked up under the overhang to around the back of the salon...... to the flybridge where it connected directly to an outdoor propane tank that I made a cover for that matched the rest of the canvas.
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Old 05-21-2023, 07:52 AM   #12
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I see a lot of trawler type boats with the propane tanks under the flybridge, but that poses a problem. The locker is supposed to be located so that any leakage goes directly overboard. I don't think the flybridge fits that. On my boat there are two wiring channels from under the flybridge directly into the engine room. Exactly not where I want leaking gas to go. I put my locker out on the swim step. Took a lot longer hose that way but safer.
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Old 05-21-2023, 08:05 AM   #13
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On the flybridge or any upper deck, I believe I remember the ABYC recommendation that the propane drain is OK if located something like 48 inches from any opening leading to the interior of the hull. Not absolutely sure of the exact distance requirement. Under the flybridge was too tough for me to do with the wiring/cable channels.

I can only assume the separation distance between the drain and hull opening was based on probable dilution of the propane before it could get to the opening.

Always good to check current ABYC suggestions and confirm the exact wording if you are worried about passing survery/insurance issues.
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Old 05-21-2023, 08:08 AM   #14
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Exactly. I could have built a gas tight box under the bridge, but it would have to be top loading. No way to fit that with the side loading doors already there.
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Old 05-21-2023, 08:32 AM   #15
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I think a propane system is among the most likely things to draw the attention of a surveyor, so I would suggest making it fully compliant. It would really suck build the whole thing then get flunked and have and insurance issue. I'd suggest getting a copy of the ABYC section that covers this, and meet the requirements completely. If doing so would be more hassle that it's worth to you to have gas, then switch to electric.


Some of the key requirements, as I recall them:


- Locker needs to "drain overboard" so sinking, leaking gas goes overboard.


- Propane lines need to be uninterrupted from inside the tank locker to the appliance.


- Sniffer and automatic shutoff. This consists of a solenoid valve in the locker, and two sniffers, one in the locker and one in the immediate vicinity of the appliance. The control panel is typically installed at a convenient location near the appliance.


- Each appliance needs to have it's own dedicated line and sniffer/shutoff system. In other words you can't tee off one line to multiple appliances.


- The regulator needs to have a pressure gauge. This allows for periodic leak-down tests.


- Obviously check everything carefully for leaks using soapy water
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Old 05-21-2023, 09:01 AM   #16
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My setup passed an insurance survey with my set up. May have been because the surveyor was an old school and saw the propane tank at the back rail of the flybride in an open air mounting (sort of like the tank mountings you see on the aft rail of sailboats).

Does anyone have the current ABYC on propane and could check to see if there is still a distance to hull openings line/paragraph? That one part does make aftermarket installs at least possible/feasible on some boats.
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Old 05-21-2023, 09:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
I think a propane system is among the most likely things to draw the attention of a surveyor, so I would suggest making it fully compliant. It would really suck build the whole thing then get flunked and have and insurance issue. I'd suggest getting a copy of the ABYC section that covers this, and meet the requirements completely. If doing so would be more hassle that it's worth to you to have gas, then switch to electric.


Some of the key requirements, as I recall them:


- Locker needs to "drain overboard" so sinking, leaking gas goes overboard.


- Propane lines need to be uninterrupted from inside the tank locker to the appliance.


- Sniffer and automatic shutoff. This consists of a solenoid valve in the locker, and two sniffers, one in the locker and one in the immediate vicinity of the appliance. The control panel is typically installed at a convenient location near the appliance.


- Each appliance needs to have it's own dedicated line and sniffer/shutoff system. In other words you can't tee off one line to multiple appliances.


- The regulator needs to have a pressure gauge. This allows for periodic leak-down tests.


- Obviously check everything carefully for leaks using soapy water
Are you sure about a second sniffer in the propane locker?

Also, if i remember, propane locker is supposed to be top-opening. Side doors are not acceptable even if otherwise compliant work overflow properly routed overboard.

Peter
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Old 05-21-2023, 09:24 AM   #18
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The inside of my locker always smells like propane even though it has never leaked. You get a little spurt of gas every time you disconnect a tank. I would not put a sniffer in there and I don't remember seeing a requirement for it. A sniffer just outside the locker would be a good idea. I did read the standards before starting the project.
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Old 05-21-2023, 09:26 AM   #19
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Interesting the European standards are much less strict. I chartered a French boat in the Caribbean and was shocked to see the gas shut off inside the boat. I believe they allow tees inside the boat as well.
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Old 05-21-2023, 11:30 AM   #20
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I got this off pcmarinesurveys.com. They have a really nice article on propane installations.



5. Fuel Line - Type approved (UL21) hose or grade K or L annealed copper in one continuous length from the locker to the appliance, must be chafe protected where it passes through bulkheads and secured with clips (plastic). There must be no other connections to this line outside of the locker other than at appliance and for your families sake, don't run it through an engine compartment. The photos in the next section will show why I don't like metal fuel lines approved or not. Each appliance must be supplied by it's own line directly from inside the locker. Any junctions must be inside the locker.
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