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Safety -- Make sure you are safe!

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  #1  
Old 2007-02-16, 6:41pm
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Default Help! My propane regulator is frozen!

Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?!
I keep my propane tank outside my window, (hidden by bushes) so that I can quick connect when I torch. We've had snow and ice, and then more snow. I hadn't been torching because it was so cold, but I have an order that I need to make. I tried to hook it up this morning, and the regulator won't work-I think it is frozen! And, my tank is stuck in the snow and ice, so I can't move it. What can I do? Is my regulator ruined?

I intended to construct a box of some sort for the tank, but my intention was more for hiding it than for protection. Then I never got around to it.

Advice?
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  #2  
Old 2007-02-16, 7:21pm
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Take your regulator off the tank and bring it inside over night and let it thaw out. Reattach in the morning. It will be fine. It's just giving you a cold shoulder for ignoring it too long Baby it a little.

Me
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  #3  
Old 2007-02-17, 10:39am
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Thanks. I would like to try that but I can't get to the tank well enough to take the regulator off! It is stuck in the snow and ice, wedged between the house and the bushes. I'm thinking of pour warm water on the tank to try to dislodge it. Would there be any harm in that?
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  #4  
Old 2007-02-17, 11:47am
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Probably not.... But warm is relative... Once you get it loose go to hardware/home improvement store and get small garbage can to place it in....

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  #5  
Old 2007-02-19, 12:32pm
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Well, we are finally starting to thaw here. I was able to get to the tank to get the regulator off. It has been inside for a couple of days. I noticed that the needle on the gauge was stuck behind the stop pin, so I unscrewed the clear cover and fixed it--I don't know how that happened. So, I hooked it back up today to test it out, and the gauge doesn't move at all. I am so bummed.

Can I buy a regulator at Lowe's or Home Depot? This one is a Smith, from Arrow Springs and cost about $70. Do I have other alternatives or do I really need the Smith?
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  #6  
Old 2007-02-19, 1:01pm
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I have one of those bags of rice (or whatever? - we made some of rice) that you throw in the microwave to heat it up. They are to use for sore muscles or cold feet...
I heat that up, and place it on the regulator. That helps thaw it out.

Hmmm. That won't help with your problem, now, will it?
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  #7  
Old 2007-02-19, 1:21pm
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Not, really, but thanks anyway! I've talked Arrow Springs and a local welding place here--it's shot. It would cost $49 to have it repaired, but I would be without it for 2 weeks. So I'm going to buy a new one. Bummer! I just won't think about all of the glass I could buy with what this is going to cost.

Live and learn--I'm keeping this thing covered from now on!
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  #8  
Old 2007-02-19, 2:25pm
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Send the old one in to be repaired, at least that way you will have a backup unit.
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  #9  
Old 2007-02-20, 5:56am
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A heating pad works great to thaw it out and keep it thawed while you work. The diaphrams get really stiff in the cold. Don't adjust them while they are frozen...
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  #10  
Old 2007-02-20, 9:31am
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Brent, if you are talking about electric heating pads, I'd be leary of using them. They don't contain over temperature sensors or timers like most modern electric blankets do.

Because one side of the pad is going to be exposed to cold, they are almost always going to be running hotter than what you might expect if you've used one on your neck/shoulder/back.

An electric blanket is a much better way to go, they are larger, plus have built in timers and overheat sensors that won't allow the blanket to go beyond the pre-set temperature paramenters, plus the blanket itself will tend to keep the heat in and surrounding the tank and regulator.
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  #11  
Old 2007-02-20, 5:44pm
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My regs are frozen just 'bout every morning lately. I've found that a blow-dryer works wonders!
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  #12  
Old 2007-02-21, 6:37am
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Ummm...you might want to reconsider that. If you have a propane leak, the red hot elements in the blow-dryer are hot enough to ignite the propane. Additionally, many blowdryers use a brush type motor which tend to spark internally. Sparks and propane = boom.

Use indirect heat, such as an electric blanket.
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  #13  
Old 2007-02-22, 4:56am
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Oh! Wow! Great points Mike - really appreciate it - I owe you one...
Thanks!
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  #14  
Old 2007-02-22, 7:17am
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Dat's what I'm here for!
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  #15  
Old 2007-02-25, 9:43am
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ummmm...... what about running water over it? Thats what ive done for years and it works great.
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  #16  
Old 2007-02-25, 9:45am
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Dunno iif thatll work out east but on the coast(west) it works awsome.
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  #17  
Old 2007-02-25, 11:31am
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Regulators aren't really designed to be essentially immersed in water (which is what happens when you pour water over them). By doing this you are adding moisture to the device and probably setting it up to freeze again next time it gets cold.

The only way to do it and prevent re-occurance is to use dry heat, like from a heating blanket or some other source of warmth. Covering the regulator will also prevent moisture from entering the regulator from rain or snow.

Don't forget that these devices have bleed holes on the non-pressurized side of the regulator and this is where most of your moisture is going to enter.
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  #18  
Old 2007-02-25, 8:40pm
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it does only freeze here a couples time a yr.

As for the tip........ i got it from my local regulator repair guy, so im gonna assume that its sound advice. So far I havent had to put him to work doing any repairs so it cant be all bad.
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  #19  
Old 2010-11-24, 1:57pm
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Default propane tank regulator frozen

So mine is also frozen and my husband usually thaws it out but he is out of the country for the week. I was wondering about installing a water pipe heat cable - if the electric plug is a long ways from the regulator (the cable is 20' long), would that be safe to install, wrapping it on the gas line that is exposed above ground and right up against the regulator - does anyone think that would keep it unfrozen or not? I'm not sure how I could wrap the cable around the regulator itself. The instructions say to use for water pipe only but I never believe those, they're just trying to cover their butts. There is nothing in the instructions about propane or gas lines at all. Thoughts?

Last edited by Gramma Tink; 2010-11-24 at 1:58pm. Reason: clarifying I meant the gas line
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  #20  
Old 2010-11-26, 11:25pm
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There are some industrial suppliers that sell heating tape that comes in various lengths and can be cut to length. They are sold to produce various temps and are regulated/calibrated to do so. McMaster-Carr, MSC, Grainger, etc. come to mind.

I would get a container, garbage can, plastic tool box, whatever that will contain your tank and regulator and wrap the heat tape in the container. That way the container stays warm and nothing is directly wrapped on your regulator.

Here is my 'tool box' container. It usually has 2 tanks in it.
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Last edited by cheng076; 2010-11-26 at 11:29pm.
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  #21  
Old 2010-12-03, 5:27pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheng076 View Post
There are some industrial suppliers that sell heating tape that comes in various lengths and can be cut to length. They are sold to produce various temps and are regulated/calibrated to do so. McMaster-Carr, MSC, Grainger, etc. come to mind.

I would get a container, garbage can, plastic tool box, whatever that will contain your tank and regulator and wrap the heat tape in the container. That way the container stays warm and nothing is directly wrapped on your regulator.

Here is my 'tool box' container. It usually has 2 tanks in it.
Can you tell me more about your 'tool box' as to the name and dimensions. I hadn't thought of that and do need to do something to store my tank and that looks like it will work great in my location. Did you add any air holes to the box?
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  #22  
Old 2010-12-03, 10:37pm
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Terry,
PM'd you.
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