The Next Thing

Regular readers know that last winter cranky old Uncle Joel spent his first reliably comfortable nights since moving to the boonies, thanks to the installation of a Genuine Thermostat-Controlled Propane Space Heater in the new bedroom. Oh, yes, don’t ever let anyone tell you the 20th century doesn’t have its charms.

There was just one little problem…

A simple regulator attached to a single propane bottle meant either waiting for the heater to flame out or preemptively swapping out not-yet-empty bottles – and re-lighting the heater pilot every time. It wasn’t a problem, exactly – I’d class it as no more than a pain in the ass. Had it been a truly cold winter it might have crept up into the “problem” class of annoyances.

After the porch build the heater bottle became more problematic by getting buried behind the stairs, but I knew all along that it would be moving out…

…when it was time to replace the on-site regulator with a diverter regulator like they use on RVs. Then I can attach two bottles to the heater, and it would take more sloth than I can muster to ever run out of heater fuel. During his April visit Big Brother short-circuited the acquisition process by bringing one along. Of course just like on RVs that whole thing needs to be mounted someplace more convenient than “under the bedroom.”

Now it’s time to put it together. I have the regulator and the solid pipe, all I need is a couple of fittings I’ll obtain locally and a couple of pigtail hoses I’m sending away for…

…and then fifteen minutes of crawling around under the addition and the plumbing will be done.

I do need to pour a little pad for the new bottle location…

…but that’s okay because I have the cash to buy the concrete for The Thing After That, which is pouring a pad behind the addition and making proper concrete block steps. A pad for the propane bottles is trivial compared to that.

Then I’ll build a little awning for the regulator and bottles, but that’s really just a filigree: RVs don’t cover them and they work fine indefinitely. It’s just for nice. 🙂

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to The Next Thing

  1. Mark Matis says:

    Would it not be more appropriate to wait and not do this until mid winter? At that point, you won’t need to worry about getting sunstroke or anything like that, and if it’s cold enough, you’ll REALLY have a good incentive to get it done…

  2. B says:

    I have a propane pressure gauge on my grille that is pretty accurate. It would tell you when you getting low, at least.

  3. Joel says:

    That looks handy for if your bottle is strapped down, otherwise it’s easy to check them by weight. Though I have to confess I swapped out “getting low” bottles a couple of times last winter that turned out to have days’ worth of propane still in them. I’d worry it’s another thing that can leak.

  4. Jack says:

    The stainless braid on those pigtails should at least slow down the rats. One more tank in backup and you’re set.

  5. Paul Joat says:

    I just picked up a few 100lb and a second 80lb tank, I now have 2 surplus 30lb tanks. We just need to find someone is driving from Minnesota to *redacted* to deliver them.

  6. Ben says:

    I suppose that you need a proper concrete pad for your stairs, but won’t patio stones do for your tanks? Besides already being mixed and poured for you, they have the advantage of being infinitively relocatable and repurposable. (My spell checker objects, but “repurposable” seems to be a real word.)

  7. Joel says:

    Oh, patio stones would work fine. Just don’t have any. Bought some in April but buried them under the porch supports. Anyway, a bag and a half of concrete is cheaper.

  8. Norman says:

    When pouring the propane bottle pad would it be worthwhile to insert a vertical pipe or length of angle iron from the old target stand (actually, 2 lengths of angle iron would work better with round objects, and if the angle was facing the right way it would “fit” well) to secure the tanks to with a strap? The probability of one or both tanks falling over is small, but not zero, and not falling over would certainly protect the tank plumbing.

  9. Joel says:

    That’s an interesting idea. I currently have access to probably a lifetime supply of angle iron. In actual practice the incidence of propane bottles getting knocked over in service is approximately zero so I doubt I’ll really do it but I’ll consider it.

  10. jon spencer says:

    A automatic change over LP gas regulator, is what you need.
    $30 to $50 on Amazon, or available from about any LP supplier.

  11. Joel says:

    Yeah, I have one. Now I’m getting ready to install it.

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