Your Marine Toilet Distributors at Raritan Discuss Some of the Best Way to Maintain Safety While Using Propane
Raritan Engineering your marine toilet systems manufacturers would like to share with you this week some great information regarding great tips for preventing propane leaks.
Simply stated: We are not fans of portable LPG systems on boats. Even fixed propane heating (and cooking) systems that employ all the safety precautions recommended by the American Boat and Yacht Council or comparable advisory bodies can be dangerous, if they are neglected.
In the first part of our upcoming series of tests of propane system equipment, marine surveyor Capt. Frank Lanier outlines the basics of marine propane systems.
Because propane is heavier than air, it can slip into the bilge undetected, where a spark can set the boat ablaze. Propane locker explosions have also occurred. Here are some of his observations on propane safety:
Every LPG system in the United States is required to have a pressure regulator designed for use with LPG. These pressure regulators have relief valves that can vent gas, so it is critical that this gas cannot make its way onboard.
Your Marine Toilet Systems Suppliers Continue Discussion About Maintaining Propane Safety At All Times
Your marine toilet systems experts talk about how leaks typically occur at fittings and connections, although they can occur anywhere in the system due to chafe or physical damage to supply lines or other system components. Use leak-detection fluid or a detergent solution to locate leaks.
A word on leak prevention at fittings. Typical marine LPG system connectors include 1/4-inch or 3/8-inch NPT (National Pipe Thread) and/or 45-degree SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) flare connections.
Check your LPG system regularly for leaks or anytime you fire up that stove or grill. Installation of a marine-grade, LPG “sniffer” or fume detector is also highly recommended. If you have one installed, ensure the gas sensor is mounted as low as possible and near the range (where leaking gas is likely to accumulate), and test sensor operation on a regular basis.
After cooking, leave one burner ignited and turn off the solenoid or tank valve. When the burner goes out, close the burner valve – this empties the line of gas and prevents leaking should a burner valve fail to seal.
Propane Safety for Boats
Relatively speaking, propane is a fairly new fuel aboard boats. As recently as the 1970s, the majority of recreational boats relied on denatured alcohol, kerosene, or diesel for cooking and heating tasks. The downsides to those fuels included fussy pressure tanks and cantankerous burners that often wouldn’t work.
Propane is a great fuel for cooking and heating aboard, but it also deserves a healthy amount of respect.
Also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), clean-burning propane changed all of that — no more hand-pumped pressure tanks or fiddling with clog-prone burners. But propane does have a couple of downsides.
Shut it Off
The best way to prevent trouble between the tank locker and the stove is simply to close the propane tank valve when you’re not cooking or heating. If you tend to forget such things, you can install an electric solenoid valve after the regulator in the tank locker to give you a way to shut off gas flow remotely.
Sniff it Out
Any boat equipped with a propane system should have a propane fume detector installed. Often referred to as “sniffers,” these devices use a sensor installed in the lowest possible part of the boat near possible leak sources, such as a stove or heater, to sniff out LPG fumes.
Line it Up
The supply lines (generally made of rubber hose) that carry pressurized propane gas from the tank to the appliances in your boat obviously need to be in tip-top shape, so make sure they are not cracked or worn, and are secured with cushioned stainless-steel hose clamps at regular intervals.
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