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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our old but still serviceable propane tank has begun leaking slightly around the plate where the guage is screwed on. The screws are painted on too heavily to tighten the screws without risking breaking them, so wondered if there is a quick acting sealant that might be used around the base of the mounting plate. Any experience or thoughts? We did talk to the propane supplier, but he didn't know, and was going to check with someone and get back to us, but so far, hasn't. Unfortunately, we weren't able to stop the guy who came and filled it before he did so. Thanks for any advice!
 

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I don't know of anything that will seal it while it's still leaking and under pressure.

If you think there is some sort of gasket under the plate, you might be able to use a paint remover to get access to the screws.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very small bubbles, so not a huge leak, and readings aren't showing that we're using or losing a ton of propane. We heat primarily with wood, just use the furnace when we're gone from home or at night so my 90 year old Mom won't freeze. We just had the tank filled, so won't empty the darn thing until next year, probably. Can't tell if there is a gasket, but most likely there would be one. Hubby just figures if we got two or three sides sealed with something, it would increase the pressure on the unsealed side or sides, and we'd never get anything to seal up. Still no word from the propane folks, either. Possibly they don't have an answer, either. Thanks, Jan
 

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if you have one bad gasket you will likely have more in the near future. you may want to get the tank pumped out, replace the valves and safties, and pump it back in. might be cheeper than losing a whole tank of propane in a blizzard.
 

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I am thinking on the side of safety. This is virtually a bomb with any type leak. You want be able to grind or weld on the tank unless it is empty and full of water. I was thinking of JB WELD or an epoxy type sealant, but you would still need to sand it. I would get it pump out and repaired or replaced. Just my two cents.
 

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Just how bad is the leak anyway. Slow bubbling of soap check, fast bubbling, etc.?

Will you have the tank emptied by using before warmer weather? As the days warm the pressure will get higher within and the leak will get worse.

How close to buildings, paths used by people, vehicles driving by, etc. Does your area nearly always have a little breeze to dissipate the escaped gas quickly?

If it is a small leak I wouldn't panic about getting the tank pumped out, especially if the gas dissipates quickly into the air and you will use most of the contents before warmer weather arrives. If not, then you might as well go ahead and empty it and get it fixed properly. No patching that I know of.
 

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Can you post a picture and show exactly where it's leaking?
There may be some way to do a temporary fix
 

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If you are leasing the tank it's their responsibility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll try to get a picture and post it tomorrow during daylight. A former firechief and propane class teacher suggested using an O ring first, then sealant around that, OR plumbers' rope I think a type of rope putty, and sealant over that. Thanks for the suggestions, I'm figuring we're going to have to end up having someone pump it all out and replace the gauge.

There is usually a breeze here, and the leaking gas is smelled clear back to our barn area, a good 200 to 300 feet. That's where I first noticed it.

Thanks
 

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I wouldn't wait get it fixed or replaced.
 

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Had similar problem years ago. What was done was the screws were cleaned best as possible, then a spray penetrating oil was applied and allowed to soak for a few minutes. Then a screwdriver was placed in the screw slot and struck with a hammer several times to jar the threads. Then by carefully turning the screws, they were tightned enough to stop the leak. YMMV
 

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The exact same problem with my tank ,lost about 90-100 gal propane over a years time. Ran tank empty then took screws out and redid gasket, simple repair saving me about 150-200$ a year...Now I test my tank for leaks more often...only use propane for cooking and water heating so only need about 200-240 gallon a year...
 

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Just had something similar on our rented tank. Watched the fix, found it interesting.

The manager of the propane place (MANY years experience) came out, sized up the situation and informed me that first - the little screws on the gauge have nothing to do with any leak. The gauge is in two parts, with one part (sensor arm) sealed within the tank, and the other part (visible gauge) resting on top of a sealed cap. The gauge movement is via a magnet that has enough force to act through the cap. Gas cannot leak through the actual gauge.

The outside of the cap has a large hex head above the screw thread that holds it into the tank. He used a big wrench with a long cheater bar made of pipe, and twisted the cap in exactly one complete turn. According to what he said, any more or less than that will cause the sensor arm to hang up on the sides of the tank and give false readings.

He related that the problem was fairly common, and that the actual amount of gas being lost in a few days is minimal, due to the expansion factor of the gas. (270/1? I think that was what he said)

I asked if something like this was a danger, and he responded that because of the placement of the tanks, no, and explosion or fire were highly unlikely. I asked if he had ever had a cap strip on him and all the gas come out, and he said yes. He did allow me to be quite close to where he was working, so I gathered that personal danger was low.

Would I have attempted the task myself? No. He was a strapping big guy and he was doing some serious work, even with the cheater bar. He also obviously had something of better quality than a Harbor Freight wrench.

All in all, it was a good learning experience.
 
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