Monday, October 08, 2007

Propane and propane accessories

Well, heater stopped working last week after sitting all summer. After taking the gas valve out, it was full of black goo. I had to order a valve and replace the generator a bi-metal strip. In ordering the valve I found the the propane dealers didn't know much about their products. One dealer said propane comes from the ground and the refinery puts it in tanks. When I questioned what the refinery does he really didn't know. Then it was the question about the difference between LP Gas and Propane, as far as they were concerned they were the same. Looking up the heater I found that the LP Gas model was more expensive. Dealing with a supplier of heater products they couldn't tell me what the difference was between the valves just that it was a different serial number. I use propane but a LP Gas unit was installed here. He won't sell me a propane valve or even look it up but he will replace the LP Gas valve. I looked up the difference between the gases and it's a big difference. Propane a distillate from crude oil. So it butane which is added to propane to make up LP Gas. The ratio is 60% propane and 40% butane to make up LP Gas. Natural gas is totally different as far as the chemical make up. Natural gas has a lot of goodies in it to make it what it is; methane , which make up most of the gas, 70 to 90%, then ethane, butane, propane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, helium and hydrogen sulfide. What gets me is how so called professionals don't know their products and why they work like they do. I could see the LP Gas need a product that is more resistant to alkaline gas. It just amazes me that these people like the ones at Suburban Propane here in Placerville just think gas comes right from the ground and it put in tanks. They were the original people that put the heater in in 1985. Why they would use a LP Gas unit instead of a Propane Gas unit, I can only surmise they sold it because it was listed at $100 dollars more then the Propane and Natural Gas units.


Anonymous said...

Propane and butane are both LP Gases. In the US, propane and LP gas are used to mean the same thing. Technically, the propane that is sold around the country has to have at least 95% propane and the other 5% is made up of the other LP Gases you mentioned.Heaters are made for either natural or propane gas. If it says LP Gas you hook it up to propane. Some propane comes from the ground. It is found in "wet" natural gas and is stripped from the natural gas at the refinery. Propane also comes from crude oil. It is stripped from the crude just like gasoline, jet fuel, etc. are stripped. The 60-40 propane butane ratio that you mentioned is not something you would find unless it would be specially manufactured for certain applications. In a nutshell All Propane is LP Gas, but not all LP gases are propane, but if someone is talking about LP Gas, you can be pretty sure they are talking about propane. The reason employees don't know the differences is that like many other businesses they employ bean counters, not gas people. They don't need to know where it came from to sell it any more than a car salesman needs to know how to repair a car.

Out at Bob's said...

If you look up the gases on Wikipedia you will find out the facts on gases and gas ratios and there compositions. If you also look up heaters from a manufacture they will have Natural Gas heater, Propane heaters and LP Gas heaters. The LP Gas heater is about $100 dollars more then the other two. Mainly as I can see it LP Gas puts out more water vapor and carbon monoxide and soot. They make parts for all three gas mixtures also. Butane seems to be more alkaline those corrosive. Coming from an engineering back ground everyone I've ever dealt with would have an answer why a part is used, not that this part number is what is used and I don't know anything else about it. My comments from looking into Suburban Propane and their comments just amazed me as far as how little they know about where propane comes from. All they could do is say it comes from the refinery and the refinery puts it in tanks. The thought that propane comes naturally from the ground is partly right since it's crude oil but propane doesn't come from the ground as Suburban Propane said. Dealing with these country bumpkins with a high school education just gets me where they thing they know what they are doing just because they sell a product. When they installed the heater here many years ago they forgot to read the instructions and put in all the parts including safety shut off switch. In fact every thing I see being done around the county by so called contractors don't know and can't pass a inspections with modern standards. There's houses built in El Dorado Hills that lean in the wind because they went engineered right and short cuts were made. Over night the million dollar homes where cut in price to the worth of the land. I see the world is becoming very apathetic and don't care about quality work any more. Cheap is in anything for higher profits even if it kills people. A good example is Bostons Big Dig where the ceiling fell on a car killing a woman. I've never believed in taking advantage of anyone. People that do such as the financial market today where it is a detractor to society and in the long term detrimental to society. Short term gains without long term goals is very detrimental to any society. We only have to look at past civilizations such as the Aztecs or Easter Island to understand what happens when people cut that last tree down or use there agricultural lands to make plaster to cover their monuments. It's like global warming and where people like Bush is worried about financial gains verses life on the planet. Sure you in the future you'll be dead and rich but in your gains you killed off the earth to get those gains.