Catastrophic loss of propane

Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: coalkirk On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:04 pm

I feel like I got hit in the gut with cannon ball and I need to vent. Weather was nice yesterday so I was out picking up some branches that had come down with the heavy snow and ice. I was in the area of my underground propane tank so I popped open the top to check the gauge. First of all the odor of propane was overwhelming. The regulator was covered in frost and an "ice cube" was noted on the line where it comes out of the regulator. There was a very noticable hissing sound.

A little background. I had a 1,000 gallon tank installed in Nov. of 2005. We have a gas stove (cooktop only, ovens are electric) and a 15kw standby generator. Needless to say our usage is low. The generator runs about 12 minutes a week to keep it exercised. When the tank was installed, I had it filled, 850 gallons. I last checked it in late November of 2010 while raking leaves. There was just over 700 gallons left. At my current usage that propane would have lasted me another 17-18 years! At this point many of you are saying, "Why did this a-hole get such a large propane tank?" I wanted the capacity to run the generator for a sustained period in the event of a major ice storm or terrorist related sabotage to the grid. OK, I'm a preparadeness junkie.

Back to my sad F ing story. The needle on the guage was so low, I couldn't even see it. I've lost about 700 gallons of propane. At the present cost of propane in my area, that's about $1,800.00 worth. As someone who goes to such great lengths to save on energy, this is devastating. That would pay for my coal for 2 years. So the propane company says they are not responsible and I understand their perspective. It was over installed 5 years ago. It appears I am just screwed.

So what can we learn from this teachable moment? First of all I had a beer summit. No I didn't invite Obama, I just slugged down about 8 beers last night to drown my sorrow. Obvioulsy I need to check the tank much more often than I have been. The tank can have a remote gauge installed somehow so I can check it from the house. The propane company will explain that to me Friday morning when they come out. I thought about placing a propane detector in the tank access pit but the propane company said that would probably not be a good idea. :blowup:

I'm only going to get a minimum delivery of propane of 100 gallons for now. Cost per gallon, $2.69. I paid about a dollar per gallon less than that when it was originally filled. I think I'll plan another beer summit.
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coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: AA130FIREMAN On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:12 pm

Look at it like this, at least no one was hurt or a fire, the propane can be replaced. Bad thing with propane, it's heavier than air, can go into a basement with bad results.
Last edited by AA130FIREMAN on Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
AA130FIREMAN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: axeman anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130 anthratube

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: Rob R. On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:13 pm

That could have ended BADLY. Thankfully no one got hurt.

-Rob
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy


Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: ricoman2737 On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:25 pm

Rob is right and Beer is good!!!!!! Somebody was on your side in this unfortunate event that could have gone terribly wrong.

John
ricoman2737
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat
Other Heating: Lennox Fuel Oil boiler as a backup
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: lsayre On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:26 pm

Glad you are safe! Just the thought of propane scares me. Is there some way that you can make the claim that someone is liable for your loss via a manufacturers waranty against defects in workmanship or materials?
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Stockton Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13 KW)

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: coalkirk On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:54 pm

Well the tank is not close to the house at all and it's down hill from it also. The leaking propane just went into the woods. Yes I thought about how it could have been something bad. Luckily I don't smoke and didn't have a cigarette hanging out of my mouth when I opened that access. Inside the house I have all black iron pipe. Pressure tested and time proven reliable.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: Sting On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:23 pm

never a good read to see heart ache such as this -- but locking the barn door after the horse is stolen -- there 573 old sayings -- if the gen set is on an automatic start -- get yourself a 100 pounder and put it in line for that occasional use -- should you decide later to bank a slug of fuel in the bulk tank - close the valve and pad lock it. Now if the 100 pounder was lower than the bulk - it could be allowed to fill by condensing - but it could also over fill so just forget that = put the little tank in the pickup and have it filled at an RV store and should the valve fail in cold damp weather like we just had... well - the loss will only be a beer or two and not a case of sorrow.

Kind Regards
Sorry for your loss - it could have been worse
Sting

Image
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: Hambden Bob On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:33 pm

Bad News,Good Outcome.....Regarding Sting's parking lot burial-"Oh God,NO! Not Blue !.."
Hambden Bob
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman 1998 Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: Rice-A-Roni !

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: samhill On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:51 pm

Did you buy the tank & regulator outright or are they leased from your supplier? If they are leased & its a defect wouldn`t the owner or manufacturer at least be partly responsible?
samhill
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: keystoker 160
Hand Fed Coal Stove: hitzer 75 in garage
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker/hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: koker 160/ hitzer 75

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: EarthWindandFire On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:57 pm

The leaking propane just went into the woods.


So, this is where "swamp gas" comes from!
EarthWindandFire
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Leisure Line Lil' Heater.
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer model 75.
Other Heating: Oil and Natural Gas.

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: Sting On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:02 pm

samhill wrote:Did you buy the tank & regulator outright or are they leased from your supplier? If they are leased & its a defect wouldn`t the owner or manufacturer at least be partly responsible?



no
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: Freddy On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:06 pm

Oh man, I'm sorry to hear of the loss. Glad no one was hurt, but the damage to your wallet isn't good. Just exactly where did it leak? Certainly 5 years is not long in the life of a tank. I'd be calling my homeowners insurance. It's not like is was 27 years old.

An underground tank? Not in Maine....not unless it's a double lined tank with sensors. They are expensive as heck but you'd have known if it was leaking. We have NO single wall underground tanks in Maine. They were all removed in the 90's.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: Dann757 On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:12 pm

Yeah, I agree with Samhill, do you know any lawyers? If it's the propane company's equipment, I don't see why you don't have a shot at legal recourse. You have photos. Sorry for your loss, man.
Dann757
 

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: 009to090 On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:12 pm

I agree with Freddy. Pursue the Homeowner's insurance policy, especially if to have an umbrella policy.

Wow, yeah, it coulda been worse :blowup:
009to090
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice

Re: Catastrophic loss of propane

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:47 pm

Anyone who has been here for awhile knows how I feel about propain...I won't have a tank on my property. Sorry for the lost $$$ Terry, but as everyone has said it could have been much worse.
Any claim with the source of the tank is probably hopeless, it has been there for 5 years. I doubt homeowner's insurance will cover it either, talk to your agent.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert