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Old 04-24-2013, 05:56 PM   #1
krackeer
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Propane tank question

I was camping back in early February. It was cold so we had the furnace on. Woke up about 4 in the morning freezing. The propane in the one tank had run out. I went out, and turned on the other tank and we had heat. My question is, should both tanks be open all the time so that when one empties, it will use the second one? Seems like I read somewhere here, that if you have both open, it uses both at the same time. Thus you never really have a full tank backup. Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
LongIslandCamper
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We have an auto changeover on ours. If we are camping in the cooler months and are going to need the heat then we will open both tanks. When one tank is empty, it automatically switches to the second tank so we will have constant heat.

In the summer when we DON'T need heat then we only open one tank at a time. If we run out of gas then the automatic switch will still flip to the second tank but it won't pull any gas since the valve is closed. Since we're not using the heat, the worst that can happen is we run out of gas while using the stove or BBQ or we'll run out of hot water. The fridge could also stop working but at least it has a light on it alerting us if it's not getting gas.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:18 PM   #3
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If you have an automatic change over gas valve, then you have two choices:

1) Leave one tank closed, one tank open, and run off the open tank --- until it empties and then there is no propane supply.
2) Leave both tanks open, one tank will be the primary (where the switchover valve handle is pointing, usually) and the other one backup. When the primary tank empties, the backup tank will supply propane without interruption.

Some people believe 1) is better because you will definitely know when a tank is empty. Some people think 2) is better as your propane supply will be continuous, but you must remember to check the indicator on the changeover valve which will tell you when you are running on the backup supply. Note: either tank can be backup, it just depends on which direction the changeover valve is pointing. A properly working changeover valve will not draw from both tanks at the same time.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:25 PM   #4
Power247
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Re: Propane tank question

I had wondered this myself. I have always kept both tanks open, hoping that the T would switch between tanks automatically. Our pop-up had a setup like this but it appears that my 267BHS does not. We usually only camp when it is warm but we needed to run our heat on our trip to the beach on Spring Break. Thankfully i had an extra tank for the fire pit that got us by until the propane truck made the rounds. I would like to find a smart T if the still make them.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:30 PM   #5
Crabman
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Many of the Jayflights did not have the autochangeover, mine does not. But I have never run out yet, if I think one is getting low I open up the other one then get the low one filled ASAP.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:36 PM   #6
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Some regulators are setup for automatic change over. Personally, if I do not need heat I only open one tank, I always use the street side tank as my primary tank. If that tank runs dry I switch over to the spare tank. When I refill the empty tank, I switch the tank locations, so the one that was my spare is now my primary (street side) and the one that is now full is my spare (curb side).

If I think my primary tank is running low, or if it is cold and know we will be using a lot of gas for heat, then I open both valves, and check periodically to see if it has switched over. This way I never run out, and I do not wake up in the middle of the night, frozen.

You can get into trouble if you make a habit of having both valves open and not paying attention to your fuel level as you can run out completely, and/or alternate what tank is your primary tank, as you can have two tanks that are very low.

Consistency is key.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:31 AM   #7
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Biggest problem with using the auto changeover or leaving both tanks open is unless you are watching the tanks every day you will not know they are empty till you run out and that always happens at 4 in the morning when you cannot get a refill.

So for me I just open one up and when it goes empty I go out and manually change over.. I would rather have 2 min of inconvenience than to freeze on a cold morning.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:07 AM   #8
Diesel Donnie
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We have always opened both tanks so we do not run out of propane at any time- I do check the switchover indicator at least once a week [ we are fulltimers ] to ensure I can get the empty tank refilled and back online before we run out of propane- I also log when a tank is refilled to alert me if we have a problem with a possible leak, which we just had last week- One of the pigtails had a piece of the interior seal break off [ yes it was a plastic part ] and the tank emptied in several days- Fortunately, we are experiencing a cold snap and I check the switchover daily whenever propane useage is going to be higher than normal- Our normal useage is approx. a tank every 6 weeks during warm weather but is higher during colder weather- We do what we do because I do not want to get out of bed in the middle of the night for any reason that can be handled proactively- JMHO- DD
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:52 AM   #9
tnchuck100
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If you do not have an automatic changeover valve you should only have one tank valve open at a time. That way you know when you have an empty tank.

If you have an automatic changeover valve having only one tank open defeats the purpose of having automatic changeover. I always keep both tanks open.

Upon returning from any camping trip I always check the changeover indicator to see if it has switched tanks. If it has then I switch the changeover valve to the other tank which now becomes the primary supply. I then remove and refill the empty tank and place it in the rack and open its valve. It is now the backup.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:22 PM   #10
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I'm in the run one tank empty then open the second camp. I would rather wake up in the middle of the night cold and switch the tank vs wake up in the middle of the night cold only find both tanks are empty.

Sure would be nice if there was a reliable propane tank guage -- I have tried a couple but never found a reliable one. When I question the level of the tank in use now I simply poor hot water on the tank to guage by feel where to hot/cold line is indicating propane level. Not super accurate but good guess if I can make it though a night.
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