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Old 10-06-2021, 10:34 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Guidance on the Propane System

Hi all,


Getting ready to install my propane system. I have room for three 20lb tanks. I will be running an antique Wedgewood 22in kitchen stove, PrecisionTemp RV-550 NSP EC water heater, and a Propex HS2800 furnace (will potentially add another later).


- What type of pipe would be best? Copper or black pipe (leaning towards copper).
- What size of pipe should I use?

- Would I use one regulator or does each appliance get its own?
- Would the three tanks be plumbed in tandem or would I use one at a time?



Thanks for your help!

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Old 10-06-2021, 11:01 PM   #2
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Black pipe higher diameter is for long runs, safer more durable.

Copper for the "last mile".

Get a pro to at least lay out the design

the inspect after if you DIY.

Same with high voltage AC.

Frequent leak tests, ideally a detector
CO as well.

Safety first!
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Old 10-06-2021, 11:51 PM   #3
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Read NFPA 1192. You can read it free online.

Use black iron. The last 6” are flared seamless copper and flare fittings. Bushings on any sheet metal the copper passes through. I think in a lot of cases 1/2” is going to be fine, but look at the table for sizing.

Look at some YouTube videos on installing gas pipe to get an idea of how to do it.

Pressure test @ 16 PSI. Should hold that without losing pressure for at least 10 minutes. This is done before installing the copper or connecting the appliances

U bolts work great to suspend it from the cross members
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Old 10-07-2021, 10:44 AM   #4
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After you connect the appliances you’ll need to check for leaks again at both ends of the copper appliance connections. You’ll do this by turning on the propane tank and applying a bubble mixture like the stuff kids use to blow bubbles. You can make it with dish soap and water.
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Old 10-07-2021, 10:48 AM   #5
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You’ll want to degrease and paint the black iron. I saw a video of someone taping the threaded ends of all the disassembled pipe and spraying it. I think that’s a lot of work. I’d just do the best you can at degreasing it before installing it and painting it in place if you can do so without getting paint where you don’t want it.
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Old 10-07-2021, 10:50 AM   #6
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Don’t use galvanized pipe. As I understand it, the zinc flakes off and can foul regulators and jets
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Old 10-07-2021, 10:54 PM   #7
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I was pricing out black pipe and noticed that stainless only cost about 60% more. For my small system, I could probably justify that. Is stainless ok to use for propane?
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Old 10-08-2021, 01:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
I was pricing out black pipe and noticed that stainless only cost about 60% more. For my small system, I could probably justify that. Is stainless ok to use for propane?
I have never worked with it except as where it exists as appliance connections. Considering all the sheet metal edges and vibration in a bus I wouldnít do it.

As far as code goes, I have not researched it.

Hereís a previous thread where itís discussed

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f51/p...ion-29095.html
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Old 10-08-2021, 02:07 AM   #9
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Looking back on that previous thread and what I actually did are different.

My setup is a little small with stove, water heater and catalytic air heater

At the tank I installed a rubber propane tank connection. It has a 3/8 Thread on it. I installed a 3/8-1/2” bushing

All the main tubing is 1/2” and fortunately in my case all landed in a single space between C-channel cross members.

At the appliances I reduced the pipe to 3/8 using a bushing and was able to bring the iron pipe into the stove and water heater so the flared copper was very short and protected from abrasion. In the case of the stove, the copper tubing had to be bent. A 3/8 tubing bender made for a nice clean Bend. The connections at the water heater and air heater were made with these super short factory made 3/8” double ended flare nut connectors.

I did not install shut off valves anywhere, relying solely on the valve on the BBQ tank. I figured I can get to that just as quickly
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Old 10-08-2021, 07:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
I have never worked with it except as where it exists as appliance connections. Considering all the sheet metal edges and vibration in a bus I wouldnít do it.

As far as code goes, I have not researched it.

Hereís a previous thread where itís discussed

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f51/p...ion-29095.html
I should have been more clear - I didn't mean the thinner flexible corrugated stuff. I was looking at 1/2" SCH 40 black iron pipe and fittings vs the equivalent 1/2" SCH 40 stainless pipe and cast stainless fittings from SupplyHouse.com. Upon further review, I now see that the stainless is about 2x as expensive (not 1.6x like I said before). Still potentially worth it for very short gas runs unless there's some compelling reason against it.
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Old 10-08-2021, 08:14 AM   #11
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Should be fine but I see no advantage
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
I should have been more clear - I didn't mean the thinner flexible corrugated stuff. I was looking at 1/2" SCH 40 black iron pipe and fittings vs the equivalent 1/2" SCH 40 stainless pipe and cast stainless fittings from SupplyHouse.com. Upon further review, I now see that the stainless is about 2x as expensive (not 1.6x like I said before). Still potentially worth it for very short gas runs unless there's some compelling reason against it.
The pipe itself is insanely expensive if what Iím looking at is correct itís $200. It would be fine, as is brass. Good for short visible runs, maybe a marine application?
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
The pipe itself is insanely expensive if what Iím looking at is correct itís $200. It would be fine, as is brass. Good for short visible runs, maybe a marine application?
Maybe we're looking at different things? Here's a link to one of the threaded pipe nipples I'm looking at: https://www.supplyhouse.com/Boshart-...s-Steel-Nipple

This Boshart brand stuff seems to be around $0.75 an inch for 1/2" threaded pipe sections. Comparable black pipe from that same website is very roughly $0.50 per inch. For a small system with one or two appliances, the price difference would be minimal, which seems like it would be worth not having to paint it.

I'll try digging into the NFPA regs, but what I think I'm hearing is that there's nothing wrong with it if the price is right. I still feel like I MUST be missing something, because I haven't heard of anybody else using stainless pipe for their propane.
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:35 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
Maybe we're looking at different things? Here's a link to one of the threaded pipe nipples I'm looking at: https://www.supplyhouse.com/Boshart-...s-Steel-Nipple

This Boshart brand stuff seems to be around $0.75 an inch for 1/2" threaded pipe sections. Comparable black pipe from that same website is very roughly $0.50 per inch. For a small system with one or two appliances, the price difference would be minimal, which seems like it would be worth not having to paint it.

I'll try digging into the NFPA regs, but what I think I'm hearing is that there's nothing wrong with it if the price is right. I still feel like I MUST be missing something, because I haven't heard of anybody else using stainless pipe for their propane.
I didnít look for long nipples and went straight to finding full sticks. IDK about the code for stainless. Youíd think it would be alright.
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:35 AM   #15
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Costs more, harder to work with, no advantage, so no professional would use it.

Not something a DIYer should be doing anyway

So why would you expect to have heard of it?

If you want, be the pioneer just for bragging rights and report back here, heck you might start a new trend.
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:41 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Costs more, harder to work with, no advantage, so no professional would use it.

Not something a DIYer should be doing anyway

So why would you expect to have heard of it?

If you want, be the pioneer just for bragging rights and report back here, heck you might start a new trend.
Iíve never worked with it except I think I have a stainless nipple on my mash tun.

Iíd think it has similar properties to the black iron, similar malleability, similar hardness. I think it would work the same. Price wise, Iíd opt for paint.
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Old 10-08-2021, 10:23 PM   #17
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Hmmm... Good points. I'm probably just use the black pipe in the end. It's tried and true, and any $ saved is a very good thing.

OP- I'm sorry to have side tracked your thread. Back to one of your original questions, I believe a single 2-stage regulator is the norm. Both your Precision temp and Propex require roughly the same pressure (11-14wc for the water heater and ~14 for the Furnace). If your stove has similar specs then you should be able to get away with one regulator.
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Old 10-09-2021, 10:43 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
OP- I'm sorry to have side tracked your thread. Back to one of your original questions, I believe a single 2-stage regulator is the norm. Both your Precision temp and Propex require roughly the same pressure (11-14wc for the water heater and ~14 for the Furnace). If your stove has similar specs then you should be able to get away with one regulator.
Thanks Tejon7. It looks like I'll run 1/2in black pipe down the the driverside frame rail, about 20ft total from the tanks to the furthest appliance. I will T off the black pipe to each appliance along the way, hopefully routing the black pipe through the floor at each location, then transition to either copper or SS flex pipe for appliance connections.


I'll check with the guy repairing the stove to see what its pressure requirements are.
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Old 10-15-2021, 05:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
...Is stainless ok to use for propane?
.
Your answer is in the thickness of the wall of black gas pipe.
The stuff is massive.
The pipe ends use a lengthy tapered thread to ensure an adequate seal.
I see no reason to re-invent an approved -- and proven -- system.
.
.
A contrarian view:
* Could you avoid pipe issues by placing your propane bottles closer to the appliances?
or
* Could each appliance pull from a dedicated propane source?
This way, you can bake if your water-heater is out, you can shower if your furnace is out, you can barbecue showerless.
.
I realize this may require re-working your design.
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Old 10-15-2021, 09:06 AM   #20
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Hi all,


Thank you for all the input, it's been really helpful. I am currently in the middle of installing my system and I'm pleased with how it's turning out.


I ended up going with black pipe. I used this Gas Pipe Calculator to determine that I needed 1/2" pipe, which was double checked by a propane technician. The black pipe runs from the regulator, under the bus, and up through the floor under each appliance and makes the final connection with stainless steel flex hose. The only exception being a 5ft section from the stove to the rear furnace; this is done with a 5ft nipple that runs through the closet, instead of underfloor, and will have no concealed fittings, as per NFPA 1192 guidelines. Each appliance gets its own shutoff valve.



Yesterday I dry-fitted the whole system and today is the final fitting.
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