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 > Very slow propane leak: how to find it?

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profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 05/15/19 03:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is the problem: even with all appliances off, but the propane tank turned on, I am losing a quarter of a gallon of propane in a 24 hr. period. (I have weighed the tank -- it lost a pound a day, which is a quarter of a gallon.)

Obviously, I have applied a soapy solution everywhere -- no soap, so to speak. No bubbles.

I bought one of those cheap ($35) propane detection wands -- not a magic wand at all. It did not indicate that it had detected any gas. (I did test it by briefly turning on the stove without lighting it, and the detector lit up like a Christmas tree.)

My wife (who has a great sense of smell) does smell some propane, intermittently, but can't narrow it down, either. She obligingly sniffed every part of the propane system she could reach, without success.

So now what? This is not safe -- I can't ask her to wear nose plugs and then just ignore the leak. There are more expensive propane detection wands -- they cost a couple of hundred dollars. Are there repair facilities with even better equipment?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.


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MDKMDK

Canada

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Posted: 05/15/19 04:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can you take it to a propane dealer? They may have more sensitive equipment. Or, an RV dealer that does RV systems inspections? Or, look in the Yellow Pages for mobile RV repair near you.
I doubt anyone on an internet chat forum will be able to find your leak. You'll get a lot of guesses, and maybe similar suggestions to take it to a pro. I would start by shutting off the main valve until you decide what you're going to do.


Mike.
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wopachop

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Posted: 05/15/19 04:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had a similar issue. Took months to find it. Many friends told me it's probably the regulator or the supply hoses.

Did soapy water over and over. Finally found it. It was a leaking hose where the metal on metal swivel happens.

I think someone here said to wd40 that connection as part of normal maintenance.

mchero

Henniker, NH

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Posted: 05/15/19 04:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Soapy water over EVERY INCH of your propane lines.

If you cant find any leaks then you might have to plug the gas lines to stove, Water Heater, furnace(s), absorption fridge and such then pressure test the lines. If they are gas tight then it must be one of the appliances.
Don't forget the pressure regulator, they can sometimes leak as well as any rubber gas lines, e.g. lines from regulator to tanks and rubber gas hoses if you have a gas appliance in a slide.
Not fun but the only way your going to track down a leak.


Robert McHenry
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ksg5000

Oregon

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Posted: 05/15/19 04:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When I have a leak I take the rig to the commercial propane dealer that I normally use to fill the tank. They find/fix the leak very quickly and never charge me.


Kevin

philh

Belleville MI

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Posted: 05/15/19 05:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Even where the propane line attaches to the tank. It could be anywhere!

sayoung

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Posted: 05/15/19 05:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are near a HVAC supply store get a bottle of Big Blue .it reacts to refrigerant & propane so you get a foaming area at the leak.
I. Just had to replace a leaking regulator, leaking around the seam where the halves are pressed together.

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 05/15/19 07:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Like working on a car, start replacing the cheap things and work up to expensive thing.
Your rig is a 2012? ot that old, but could be regulator, esp since u dont smell the propane in the RV. You will not get soapy bubbles if the diaphragm is leaking out since it does not have a surface u can test. Replace it as it is 6 yrs old, so not a big loss $40 - $60.
Next thing is the valves on appliances - furnace, h2O heater etc. But you would smell propane inside probably with furnace, maybe not with water heater; another $40-$100 for the valve and maybe or maybe not replaceable.
Before replacing those get a plug and unhook furnace from gas supply and see what happens, or not. Then to the next appliance. If it is one of those valves or something on the appliance, then disconnecting it from gas will solve the problem. I currently have my furnace disconnected and waiting for a new valve.
Hope that your copper supply line is not cracked. You would either see something rubbing on it or it have a bad kink to have a leak usually. unlikely, but possible.
A stove or oven leak you would likely smell inside, I would save that for last.

pnichols

The Other California

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Posted: 05/15/19 07:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dan,

I had the same situation going on in our Class C for years after we had bought it new! Except probably my leak was less than yours, so our RV was usable other than for our propane use seeming to be a bit too much week after week from an 18 gallon tank.

I didn't feel there was any safety issue because the leak could only be smelled when outside, in the immediate vicinity of the tank.

I finally had it thoroughly looked into by a competent RV repair shop last year: The small leak was from the threads in the steel sleeve where the brass fill valve was screwed into the steel tank. The shop said that probably the threads in the tank had been slightly stripped during robotic machine assembly of the tank.

I had a new tank installed and the technician said that indeed the tank threads were dinged up. Now finally, we have no smell outside and a longer lasting propane supply.

Any propane leak into, or originating within, the interior of the RV is of course a different and dangerous situation. Keep after it till it's fixed!!


Phil, 2005 E450 Itasca Spirit 24V

LadyRVer

Florida

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Posted: 05/15/19 09:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had a LP leak, could smell it at times... turned out to be the gas valve in the water heater. When I shut the hot water heater off, the flame would not go out.
I was told by a few "just blow the flame out." No way. Just a thought. The intermitten LP smell was very hard to find. In my thoughts, LP problems need a professional to fix them. Costly, but safe.

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