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Old 10-11-2017, 02:42 PM   #1
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Propane Gas Piping Question

What kind of piping should be used to pipe propane gas?
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:57 PM   #2
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It's been a long time since I plumbed propane in a bus and wanted to see what materials are being used these days.

I Googled the question and came across this site: Piping, Connectors and Fittings | Proprane Products | Superior Propane | Northern Arizona

Some good info on newer materials and fittings. However, no direct answer to the bus question so I called them. I spoke with an installation supervisor who told me that black iron is still the only way to go. Flexible material is just for the "whip" connecting the end of the black iron pipe to the appliance.

Hope that helps.
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:42 PM   #3
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:32 PM   #4
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I take the point about black iron, but I'd only use that in a fixed, non-moving installation. It's heavy, fat and difficult to route in small spaces. If it gets salt water on it, it will corrode.

RVs have been fitted with small diameter copper pipe for generations, quite successfully.

Just make sure the line to the biggest demand has sufficient diameter to carry enough gas.

Flexible line should only be used from the regulator on the bottle to the nearest fixed point, probably a manifold.

There may be differences of opinion on this, so use Google for a variety of views and pick the one you feel most comfortable with.
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:50 PM   #5
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All of the RV's (4) I have owned have use black iron for propane. Last I checked, RVIA allows black iron. The one parked in my driveway right now has 28 year old black iron. So far it has held up fine. I will keep an eye on it though.

Heck, I even saw Marathon installing black iron propane pipe in a $ 1.1 million custom coach.

Flexible copper has it's own issues.

I think that I will stick with black iron
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:54 PM   #6
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Copper is notorious for "work hardening" and cracking after much exposure to vibration.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:22 PM   #7
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Please be safe ! Just a reminder for those who haven't read this post:

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^That's some scary stuff.

I tried to bend and flange my own copper for propane once. Realized it was a mess and threw it out.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:49 PM   #8
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Copper is notorious for "work hardening" and cracking after much exposure to vibration.
Yet in practise it has been used, and is still used, in both American and European RVs with no ill effects, and has been for decades.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:11 PM   #9
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Yet in practise it has been used, and is still used, in both American and European RVs with no ill effects, and has been for decades.
I think it's a matter of properly isolating it from vibrations and repeated bends.

There is always Cupronickel tubing, as well. Raypak uses it in swimming pool heaters.
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:38 AM   #10
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i work in the oil and gas industry in canada. theres only 2 things we use. black iron pipe or stainless.

stainless is expensive but if you can get your hands on some heavy wall stainless tubing that might just be your other solution.

i do know copper is still used too. once again. try get the heavy wall stuff. type k i believe.

personally. all my propane is running short distances and ill have full access to it at all times so i picked up a few hoses, tees, and fittings until i can find some spare stainless or black iron pipe floating around work that i can aquire for free.
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:09 AM   #11
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Yes, copper is still used. And RV's still routinely go up in flames with leaky propane systems being the number one culprit.
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Old 10-13-2017, 12:05 PM   #12
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Black iron for outside, usually longer runs.

Copper but it's soft, protect it.

Flex rubber hose short and only where necessary, inspect every use, replace annually.

All joins inspect for leaks with soapy water every quarter.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:47 PM   #13
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Please be safe ! Just a reminder for those who haven't read this post:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...html#post94041
That is an odd story.

You need a pretty rich mixture to ignite propane and with the odorant they put in, you should smell it way before the mixture gets rich enough.

As for piping, go black iron but try to use the minimum of fittings. I would rather mandrel bend black iron pipe than use an elbow with Teflon tape.

When you do have to have a fitting, I like the natural gas rated yellow Teflon tape that is nice and thick. I've tried pipe dope with poor success but relatively few issues with good Teflon. I like to think of Teflon tape as an art, wrap it tight, cut the ends square and massage it in to the threads a bit. Doing that consistently makes me avoid second guessing my work and I can usually tell when I'm looking at my work.

I'll be slightly upset if I need to use more than 10' of black iron pipe or more than one bend, you should design around your propane system, not design your propane system around other stuff (except the chassis).

If you have any electronics that might be an ignition source near your propane tank, make sure it's in a cabinet vented outside and sealed from the space where propane could fill.

Close your tank valve before you move the bus.

One more thing, there are electric propane sniffers available now, maybe there is a type that could be mounted in the basement like a smoke detector?
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:58 PM   #14
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That is an odd story.

You need a pretty rich mixture to ignite propane and with the odorant they put in, you should smell it way before the mixture gets rich enough.

As for piping, go black iron but try to use the minimum of fittings. I would rather mandrel bend black iron pipe than use an elbow with Teflon tape.

When you do have to have a fitting, I like the natural gas rated yellow Teflon tape that is nice and thick. I've tried pipe dope with poor success but relatively few issues with good Teflon. I like to think of Teflon tape as an art, wrap it tight, cut the ends square and massage it in to the threads a bit. Doing that consistently makes me avoid second guessing my work and I can usually tell when I'm looking at my work.

I'll be slightly upset if I need to use more than 10' of black iron pipe or more than one bend, you should design around your propane system, not design your propane system around other stuff (except the chassis).

If you have any electronics that might be an ignition source near your propane tank, make sure it's in a cabinet vented outside and sealed from the space where propane could fill.

Close your tank valve before you move the bus.

One more thing, there are electric propane sniffers available now, maybe there is a type that could be mounted in the basement like a smoke detector?
Good info! Thank you.
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:33 AM   #15
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they sell combination units. carbon monoxide and propane. mount them lower as both gasses are heavier than air. they can be found at any rv place, home depot or amazon. they typically run on 12 volt and consume very very minimal quantities of power. just wire them in without a switch and dont forget to test them once in a while.
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Old 10-20-2017, 12:33 PM   #16
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What size ( ID) black pipe for plumbing propane?
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:30 PM   #17
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What size ( ID) black pipe for plumbing propane?
It depends on the demand of each appliance and how many will be in use at one time as well as the length of the pipe run.

Every RV I have owned was piped with 1/2" pipe and I have not had any issue.

Here is a sizing chart: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.lp-gasequipment.com/products/pdf/LPGas_Cat2010_p157-175.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwjRg4P43P_WAhXqzVQKHbUPCMsQFgg9M AA&usg=AOvVaw2TD1XBE3fznVu_idnxvrcV
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:22 PM   #18
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What size ( ID) black pipe for plumbing propane?
If you can give me the BTU of each appliance and estimated length from tank to appliance i can help size them.
I have an LP service and handbook with all the sizing charts for pipe and regulators.
Need to know length wise if want one pipe to the first appliance and its BTU then the length to the second appliance and so on or if you want to do a manifold at the tank and run to each appliance separately. Or I can take pics. Of the charts and let you decipher them.
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:25 PM   #19
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I just did a job with 6 heaters at 60,000 BTU each 360,000 total on 400 ft of pipe and it was 3/4 sch40 the entire way
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:32 PM   #20
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I just did a job with 6 heaters at 60,000 BTU each 360,000 total on 400 ft of pipe and it was 3/4 sch40 the entire way
That sounds undersized to me.
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