Wet leg propane

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Nimrod, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Nimrod

    Nimrod Well-Known Member

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    Something I just found out and some of you might be interested in.

    You can refill 20 pound, 30 pound, and 100 pound propane tanks from the big bulk tank you have for heating a lot cheaper than taking them into the station and having them filled.

    Bulk propane tanks come in 250 gallon, 500 gallon, and 1000 gallon sizes and there are some even bigger. These are the big cylinder that sit outside the house, usually for the gas furnace.

    They have a connection with a valve and a tube that extends almost all the way to the bottom of the tank. This is so the propane company can pump out the liquid propane if they have to empty the tank to move it. The propane in the tank is liquid on the bottom and gas above. When you pull off the top it's gas and you use it for the stove and furnace. When you pull off the bottom it's the liquid.

    The connection is known as a wet leg and it has a built in valve that works something like the Schrader valve on your tire. If you push on it, it opens (don't do this without the apparatus securely screwed in because the valve may not close all the way).

    You can buy an apparatus consisting of several valves, a hose, and a connection to fit your small tamks. If you hook it up to both tanks and open all the valves the liquid propane flows from the big tank to the empty small tank. Viola, it's filled. Shut down the valves and carefully remove the small tank.

    Do this outdoors only in case some propane escapes. Wear heavily insulated gloves for this because any liquid propane that escapes will immediatly boil away and turn whatever it is touching very very cold. Of course no smoking or sources of ignition anywhere around. Propane is heavier than air so it sinks to the ground and spreads out. If you go into low earth orbit be sure and wave as you go overhead.

    Why do this? The answer is cost. If I take a 20 pound tank into town and have it filled they charge me $17 or over $4.00 a gallon for the 4 gallons of propane it holds. If I call the propane company and they come out and fill my bulk tank they charge $1.40 a gallon last I checked. So, to fill a 20 pounder off the bulk tank costs $5.60 vs. taking it in at $17.00.

    I asked the guy at the propane place and he can order the apperatus for about $100. I use the 20 pounders for the gas grill, the camper, and the ice fishing house. I will have paid for the apperatus after filling a dozen small tanks.

    There are 1950s vintage tractors that run on propane, have built in tanks, and fill the same way, so it isn't that unusual. Some propane companies refuse to fill bulk tanks with the apperatus attached. If you own your own bulk tank you can shop around to find the best price and one that will fill it with the apperatus attached. If the propane company owns the tank you may have to remove the apperatus every time they come to fill it. If the valve built into the tank sticks, it can often be closed by gently tapping on the fitting with a 2X4.

    The best thing about this is the gooberment and the EPA have not found out about it yet and closed it down, shuuuush. Get your apperatus before they figure it out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  2. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Would like to see more info on this gizzmo................
     

  3. oreo

    oreo Active Member

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    My gas company will fill all the small tanks placed by the big tank for me in addition to the big one. I don't ask them to make a special trip for the small ones. We have enough of a stash of cans that we rarely run out. Dh asked about it when he saw our gas man filling up a big can at the place that dh took our small ones to to get refilled. He said he didn't mind filling small ones. The set up would come in handy if we had a hurricane or something and went through our small tanks quicker than normal.
     
  4. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    I have heard (not confirmed) that some of the setups to fill the small from the big can be dangerous to use. So please be careful and informed!
     
  5. buffalocreek

    buffalocreek Well-Known Member

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    My propane guy helped install a liquid leg on my tank and even showed me how to fill my 20 pounders.
     
    oreo likes this.
  6. Seth

    Seth Well-Known Member

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    Used these numerous time filling 20 lb tanks for torches from a large tank. They work great, however, I was taught to unhook the apparatus each time to prevent dirt and dust from fouling it.
     
  7. Nimrod

    Nimrod Well-Known Member

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    Jim-mi, I couldn't find much on the web. Maybe a liability thing. Ask the guy at your propane company for info.

    Oreo, Nice that they will do that for you. I only use the big tank for the gas stove and backup to the wood heat. I figured I have close to a 6 year supply on hand. I use the 20s for the camper, grill, and ice fishing house. I fill about 15 a year so I can pay for the apperatus in less than a year.

    Sisterpine, Yes, there is some risk involved but if you follow the procedure it's not much more dangerous than filling your truck with gasoline. They do not reccomend filling the little camping bottles.

    Seth, Thanks for the input. I had not heard this. Have to check into it.
     
  8. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Wonder if Buffalo or Seth would / could do a picture and discription of the hardware . .??
     
  9. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    I used to know a man who had his pickup set up for propane.
    Fuel didn't cost him anything.
    There was always someone away from home so he could fill up at their propane tank.
     
  10. wharton

    wharton Well-Known Member

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    These setups are real common in Amish country, here in PA. They appear to have some type of scale built in. Since the only source of light in their homes is often powered by 20lb cylinders, I bet being able to refill them in your own yard makes life a lot easier.
     
  11. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This has been around forever.

    Your name is "Nimrod"?
     
  12. Nimrod

    Nimrod Well-Known Member

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    Suitcase Sally,

    The small town near me is Nimrod. In the current vernacular nimrod is kind of a doofus but in the bible Nimrod was a king and a mighty hunter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimrod so why not use it for my HT name?

    Since you want to poke fun at HT names, yours sounds like a woman of easy virtue. LOL :nanner:
     
  13. OkieDavid

    OkieDavid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We've got one. It will just fill until the internal pressures are the same in both tanks. Often times you won't get a "full" 80% in the small tank but that's OK, you just fill more often. I do recommend gloves because you need to "purge" the air out of the line before you open both valves. In doing so, the connections can get frosty and the mercaptain (sp) doesn't wash off easily from your hands.
     
  14. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, I wasn't 'poking fun". "Suitcase Sally" is a name given to someone who travels alot. In my youth I wanted to see the world, but only made it to about half the states. It was a good education. :happy: