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Thread: What happens if you transport a propane cylinder laying down?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master in Heavens Range

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    Question What happens if you transport a propane cylinder laying down?

    I understand you aren't supposed to.

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    Boolit Master
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    Acetylene cylendars are not supposed to lie horizontally because they have a honeycomb like matrix and are filled with acetone. I have never heard that propane cylenders are position sensitive. The propane cylender in my moble home is horizontal.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master fishhawk's Avatar
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    the worry with a LP cylinder is if you break the valve off it becomes a rocket.
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    Boolit Master
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    Just secure from rolling or sliding, propane doesn't care if it's sideways.
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    Propane doesn't have enough pressure to rocket, too forcefully. Not like a compressed gas cylinder like O2, CO2, Argon, etc. It's a liquid that evaporates and has a certain vapor pressure.

    I suspect that the reason is the new tanks have a valve inside to shut them off if they get tipped over. Old style valves used to allow liquid propane to escape if it was turned over. The new valves will shut off the flow internally if you turn it on while it's on it's side. I don't believe there is a problem transporting them that way though.

    TH

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triggerhappy View Post
    Propane doesn't have enough pressure to rocket, too forcefully. Not like a compressed gas cylinder like O2, CO2, Argon, etc. It's a liquid that evaporates and has a certain vapor pressure.

    I suspect that the reason is the new tanks have a valve inside to shut them off if they get tipped over. Old style valves used to allow liquid propane to escape if it was turned over. The new valves will shut off the flow internally if you turn it on while it's on it's side. I don't believe there is a problem transporting them that way though.

    TH
    There isn't. With Blue Rino anyway. I went through 4 propane bottles over the course of the summer grilling. Only one was used up all the way by me. The other three were from my now 4 y/o "helping" as my wife calls it.

    He would go behind my back and open the valve then turn the burners on. Got lucky he never figgered' out the igniter. Whew.

    Anywho, all of them were on their side for transport to and from the filling station.
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    If you have access to empty plastic milk crates, they work great to keep the tank from rolling around.

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    Boolit Man handyman25's Avatar
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    Not a good idea. If the safety valve opens with the bottle standing up you get gas, bad. If you lay the bottle down and the valve opens you get liquid propane, VERY VERY BAD. Liquid propane gas expands a great deal. That is why you never transport a propane bottle inside a car. Bottles are made to be used standing up (most common) and laying down. Bottles used standing up should be filled standing up. Bottles used laying down should be filled laying down. Also bottles should be filled by weight not gallons. The common bottle is not a 5 gallon but a 20 pound. Bottles should be recertified after 8 years to be safe.

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    Boolit Master


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    There's a law here in California.....you cannot transport an LP (propane) bottle inside a closed vehicle, period. The poster at the local LP filling station shows a picture of a burned out station wagon....the woman and her little boy died in the fire. To this day no one knows what caused the bottle they were hauling to leak.

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    Boolit Master Pressman's Avatar
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    Propane bottles on a forklift are always mounted with the tank on its side.

    Ken

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    National Fire Code prohibits the storage or transport of LPG bottles/tanks/cylinders in an enclosed space.
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    Hmm.. I always transport them in the bed of the truck witha camper shell.. though I guess it's not totaly enclosed, I usually have the wing windows open just to make sure it gets vented.. I use the milk crate trick to keep them upright and usually bungee them to the tie downs in the truck bed..

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    It isn't the position of the tank that matters, it's the valve.

    Many gov. regulations specify not letting liquid LP get in the valve because blowing liquid out can damage pressure regulators. Bureaucrats being what they are, the regs are written so the dummist govies can unnerstand them, a blanket prohibition is something they can all understand. All it really takes - as some here have mentioned - is to put the tanks upright so any liquid in the valve can drain before use and all will be well.

    The pressure needed to maintain propane in the liquid state varies with the temp but it never rises above about 200 psi even in the summer, down to about half that in winter. That's not enough pressure to propel the tank like a rocket but blowing the liquid fuel out will really make whatever it hits very cold, very fast.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    +1 for Handyman. The liquid would produce a large volume of gas and if the container was over pressurized the rapidly escaping liquid could freeze the valve. Remember that LP gas is heavier than air and will stay in the lowest part of any vehicle or enclosure.

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    I guess I'm the odd-man-out here.
    My Bar-B-Que is hooked up to natural gas.
    I have yet to run out of gas.

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    We do have a tank in the old RV mounted on its side. But those are made to mount that way.
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    Yesterday I took (2) 100 lb. tanks in my pickup to the propane filling center some miles away from me. I needed my neighbor to re-load the loaded tanks back into my truck for the trip back to my barn. Each tank took about 23.5 gal. of propane to equal 100 lb. of weight making the tank weigh near 165 lbs full. A piece of 2 x 12 plank kept them from rolling around on my dirt road. My old back sure appreciated my neighbor being there to help load and unload those tanks. Worker at filling place said there is no problem with tanks being on their side and traveling that way. Must have been right cause my pickup tail gate is still on the bed and there aren`t any 3` holes thru the cab!Robert

  17. #17
    Boolit Master pistolman44's Avatar
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    I have been hauling mine laying on it's side for the last 20 some years and never had a problem.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by oneokie View Post
    National Fire Code prohibits the storage or transport of LPG bottles/tanks/cylinders in an enclosed space.
    The Fire Code might but the FMCSA (DOT) rules don't. Next time you're out and about and see the Blue Rhino truck go by, note it's a van style truck. Up, down, on it's side, it doesn't matter.

    Propane has a distinctive odor added to the juice. How anyone can miss a leaking valve is beyond me.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I work in the business and have for 27 years. The valve on a tank over 60 lbs is a vapor valve. When you lay a 100 lb tank on it's side you have liquid at the valve, The vapor release can't work. A 20lber has vaper valve also. It just has an overfill proctection built in. pressure on a 100 degree day is about 190 psi.
    That being said I like to have them upright and that's the law. Short trips into hunting camp I lay them down and strap them in an open bed truck. Make sure you have a neck collar in all cases. Mike

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