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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland Area
    Posts
    4,830

    Propane regulator freezing

    How do I prevent this? Was in the middle of grilling some brats yesterday. Went outside to flip them over and no gas, just erratic hissing. I tried to relight the grill and barely got any flame. Threw on another LP tank and got the same results. It's been in the low teens to mid twenties here. Is it freezing because there is no vent? I've never had problems with the smokers regulator in the winter, just the grills.
    Officially, Down for the count

    YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET

    I know enough to know, I don't know enough
    Liberalism-Ideas so good they mandate them

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
    Posts
    1,151
    I've grilled steaks in -30*C and the propane BBQ still worked fine.
    I suspect your regulator is no good

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Coastal Maine
    Posts
    883
    I would bet money that you have moisture in your regulator. In a bulk installation, they would inject methanol into the tank to absorb the moisture and keep it flowing at really cold temps. You can bring your regulator inside for a few days, but if the moisture is between the diaghrams then it probably won't help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,589
    I've seen it happen on a whole house reg, I went back later on and saw the lp company just replaced regulator.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,292
    It's called the "vaporization rate". The ability of an LP tank to convert liquid phase fuel into a gas is dependent upon the temperature of the fuel and the 'wetted surface' of the tank. A full tank can vaporize fuel faster than one down to 20%. With two identical tanks with the exact same quantity of fuel but one at 20F will not be able to supply the same fuel as one at 70F. Also, your grille's demand is drawing a lot of fuel---faster than the system can provide it. Most LP grilles use one single stage regulator, which is prone to freezing at high flow rates. Replace it with a two stage system and keep your tank warm & full and you should have no problems as long as the appliance is setup and installed correctly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Coastal Maine
    Posts
    883
    This is an outdoor grill Hearthman. On a 20# cylinder, an appliance regulator is all that is allowed/approved. I agree with you on a two stage system for a house, but it isn't approved on a 20# tank. Also at the temps he was talking about, he shouldn't be encroaching on the vaporization rate. Maybe if it was below zero, but not in the teens to mid 20's. I have run my LP grill down to around zero, while ice fishing, with no vaporization problems. Sounds like he got moisture in his regulator. Happens all the time. Grab a new one at the supply house. They're cheap.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland Area
    Posts
    4,830
    I think its shot. It's warmed up a bit outside and it's doing the same thing. Oh well. Time for a new one
    Officially, Down for the count

    YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET

    I know enough to know, I don't know enough
    Liberalism-Ideas so good they mandate them

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    6,959
    And this is why I will always stick with good ole Webber and Charcoal.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland Area
    Posts
    4,830
    Quote Originally Posted by Senior Tech View Post
    And this is why I will always stick with good ole Webber and Charcoal.
    My grill goes both ways


    $20 from Brinkman
    Officially, Down for the count

    YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET

    I know enough to know, I don't know enough
    Liberalism-Ideas so good they mandate them

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,292
    Quote Originally Posted by meplumber View Post
    This is an outdoor grill Hearthman. On a 20# cylinder, an appliance regulator is all that is allowed/approved. I agree with you on a two stage system for a house, but it isn't approved on a 20# tank. Also at the temps he was talking about, he shouldn't be encroaching on the vaporization rate. Maybe if it was below zero, but not in the teens to mid 20's. I have run my LP grill down to around zero, while ice fishing, with no vaporization problems. Sounds like he got moisture in his regulator. Happens all the time. Grab a new one at the supply house. They're cheap.
    Do you have a reference for that prohibition of two stage regulation on 20lb cylinders? I know 2 stage requirement is exempted for portable appliances under 100,000 BTU/hr input. The low pressure regulator must be limited to 14 wci regardless.

    Depending upon the input rating of your grille versus his could be a big difference with respect to the vaporization rate issue. Another issue could be what ID hose you both use. A 1/4" ID hose may not flow enough fuel for the demand and add to a freezing regulator. Try a 3/8" ID hose. I agree with the moisture issue and on 20lb exchange cylinders I doubt anyone added methyl alcohol. Strategies can include keeping the cylinder and regulator warmer or at least shielded from cold winds.

    Different brand of regulators behave differently, too.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Coastal Maine
    Posts
    883
    Quote Originally Posted by hearthman View Post
    Do you have a reference for that prohibition of two stage regulation on 20lb cylinders? I know 2 stage requirement is exempted for portable appliances under 100,000 BTU/hr input. The low pressure regulator must be limited to 14 wci regardless.

    Depending upon the input rating of your grille versus his could be a big difference with respect to the vaporization rate issue. Another issue could be what ID hose you both use. A 1/4" ID hose may not flow enough fuel for the demand and add to a freezing regulator. Try a 3/8" ID hose. I agree with the moisture issue and on 20lb exchange cylinders I doubt anyone added methyl alcohol. Strategies can include keeping the cylinder and regulator warmer or at least shielded from cold winds.

    Different brand of regulators behave differently, too.
    It is in the 58. I maybe be confused, but I will find it tomorrow when I get to the office. Are you getting Two Stage and Twin Stage backwards? A two stage system is a first stage tank regulator and then a second stage at the building. Say a LV4403TR at the tank and a LV4403B on the building. A twin stage is like a LV404B, like you would put on a Pig. An appliance regulator is a twin/automatic changeover.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Northern NV
    Posts
    155
    Propane grills have a safety feature in the regulator to prevent dumping tank if hose breaks. Try turning all burners off, lp valve off. Wait a second and open lp valve then burner valve as this gives the regulator the back pressure it looks for.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
    Posts
    1,018
    You guys should ask Hank Hill. I bet he would know.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten". --Benjamin Franklin
    "Don't argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". --Mark Twain
    http://www.campbellmechanical.com

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