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Cold weather propane capacity

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Since some Oliver users evidently use their rig in extreme conditions, I got to wondering what the limits were for propane use in cold temps. It seems that 30# propane cylinders have a "gas production surface" limit which gets pretty iffy under about 10 degrees F. Using the furnace and fridge and hot water will tend to starve a generator that is trying to run off the same tank. An answer is to use two tanks at the same time (twice the gas producing surface area).  That brings us to the problem with "auto switching" RV propane gas regulators. When a regulator lever is pointing to a tank, the BTU capacity of that tank is at it's max rated capacity. However, if that tank is at it's lowest level, and has auto switched to the other tank, the BTU capacity is at some significantly lower level. For some regulators, as much as 50% lower. There is a huge range of "full" BTU capacity among RV regulators! Some as low as 150,000 BTU. I picked two of the units with the largest capacity, and asked the companies what their regulators were rated at if the lever was placed in the middle position. The only one which answered was the "Fairview Fittings" company. Their Fairview GR-9984 regular  is rated at 345,000 BTU. They state that the reserve capacity (middle lever position, or auto switched) is 260,000 BTU, which is actually more than some of the other brand's full rated capacity.

There you have it. If you intend to camp in REALLY cold weather and want to use a generator, you might consider changing your propane regulator to a very high capacity unit.

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You could also look at a propane tank heater.  They will take some of your electricity away (~150 watts) but your gas performance will be much better.  If it's really cold, you might also look at insulating your propane lines.


2019 LE2 #529 expected Sep/Oct 2019


 

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The regulator on the Oliver is rated at 175,000btu. You can add up the btu on all of your propane appliances to see how much you need. Fridge - 1500btu, Heater - 30,000btu, stove - 10,000btu... And that's it. 55,000btu plus or minus. These are all aproximates obviously and if you add another 55,000btu for a fire pit, then the 175,000btu regulator that the Oliver comes with is more then enough with lots of extra room. The life expendency of auto switching propane regulators is mayby 2 years and they can be found locally for under $40.00

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Happy Camping,


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Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


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On 12/1/2019 at 8:54 AM, WhatDa said:

You could also look at a propane tank heater.  They will take some of your electricity away (~150 watts) but your gas performance will be much better.  If it's really cold, you might also look at insulating your propane lines.

Did not know they made such a thing! Will see if I can find one.

The lines are not an issue. The issue is "production of propane vapor." Cold temperatures reduce production. Production in and of itself further cools the tanks and propane liquid... For any given tank size there is a minimum temperature beyond which no more "useable volume" of propane vapor occurs. That is why I wanted a valve system which could select "both" tanks, AND still have a usable BTU rating.

Thanks!

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