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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2000
    Location
    Heaven - Rappahannock County, Virginia
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    1,826

    Default propane leak - dammit

    the heat in the house went cold (fan was still happily churning away) and i figured that before i decided to deal with it, i would take a hot shower. water heater tells me it's not getting any gas. trotted out and checked the tank and bingo. it's dry.

    early december that tank had 500 gallons in it, bc that's when the gas company topped off my tank for the winter. the call is in for them to come check for a leak and sell me some more gas.

    how quickly can 500 gallons of propane leak out?

    i only ask because i had the hv/ac serviced and i'm wondering if the leak could happened then.

    oh, and did i mention that there's a crack in the chimney flue? right, which means i can't heat the house with a fire in the woodstove...ugh!
    * trying hard to be the person that my horses think i am



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2009
    Posts
    158

    Default

    I would say your regulator is shot...500gal can very quickly leak out...
    If under warranty you should be ok, if not I know in the price in Canada a Reg is about $125-$150, not sure about the US. Most suppliers carry it so should be a quick fix should that be the problem.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2004
    Location
    Piedmont Triad, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,159

    Default

    500 gallons can go very quickly, but you'd likely smell it. It's been a cold & windy winter. A small air leak in you house can drain a lot of expensive heated air.



  4. #4
    gothedistance is offline AERC Decade Team - 2000-2010 Premium Member
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2004
    Location
    No. VA
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    2,204

    Default

    500 gallons shouldn't leak that quickly, and chances are excellent that you would have smelled the leak at the house. Depending upon where your tank is located, you can smell leaking gas there (actually you smell the additive put into the gas to make it smell) anywhere from 20-30 feet away.

    Keep in mind December and January have been super cold - we've already gone through half of our 250 gallon tank (!!!!) even with our Joule wood stove going 18/7 pumping out some sweat-worthy BTUs to warm our 2 story colonial to a toasty 70-74 degrees (enough for the elderly dog to seek out cooler places to sleep, poor dear). Thus our gas furnace only works during the wee hours - 1-6am. Even so, we've never used this much gas as I can recall. And we filled ours early December as well.

    BTW - if your gas company owns your tank, and they do find a leak at the tank, they will probably reimburse you for the amount of lost gas. That has been our experience in the past when our tank's regulator went kafooey.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
    Location
    Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
    Posts
    18,261

    Default

    My experience is different. Last year (or was it the year before) I filled up my 500 gallon propane tank in October. It had gone dry by the first of December. My setup was ancient--at least 60 years old--, and there was a leak in the underground piping to the house. It wasn't the regulator, although that was also ancient. I had to have all new outdoor gas pipes run and replaced the regulator just in case. Because of the distance from the tank to the house, the tank was moved. After the move, the tank itself had a leak. That leak I could smell. The underground leak in the yard was totally invisible until all the gas was gone.

    Since the first leak was underground, I had to swallow the almost 1k that was lost by the leak. Gas company covered the leak at the tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by gothedistance View Post
    500 gallons shouldn't leak that quickly, and chances are excellent that you would have smelled the leak at the house. Depending upon where your tank is located, you can smell leaking gas there (actually you smell the additive put into the gas to make it smell) anywhere from 20-30 feet away.

    Keep in mind December and January have been super cold - we've already gone through half of our 250 gallon tank (!!!!) even with our Joule wood stove going 18/7 pumping out some sweat-worthy BTUs to warm our 2 story colonial to a toasty 70-74 degrees (enough for the elderly dog to seek out cooler places to sleep, poor dear). Thus our gas furnace only works during the wee hours - 1-6am. Even so, we've never used this much gas as I can recall. And we filled ours early December as well.

    BTW - if your gas company owns your tank, and they do find a leak at the tank, they will probably reimburse you for the amount of lost gas. That has been our experience in the past when our tank's regulator went kafooey.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    11,672

    Default

    Curiously waiting for an update. What did you find out, OP?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2000
    Location
    Heaven - Rappahannock County, Virginia
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    Default

    the mystery continues. there was no leak at the tank and there's no leak in either of the buildings that have gas appliances. everything has been checked and double checked. the tank has now been refilled - $$$

    both my plumber, who installed the gas water heaters, and my HV/AC guy who installed and maintains my heating system say that there is NO way that we could have blown through the contents of the tank in 66 days.

    so i guess now i monitor the CRAP out of it to see if there's any chance of a leak in the underground line.

    i have spoken with several people who believe there's a strong possibility that the gas delivery i was billed for in December was never received... i am totally hating that idea, i really like to think that most people are honest and wouldn't do that, but i am afraid i have been duped before.
    * trying hard to be the person that my horses think i am



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2009
    Posts
    2,576

    Default

    We have propane heat downstairs a 4Ton, electric heat pump upstairs. It IS possible to run through 500gallons of propane. Not that we have. Maybe 375 gallons in 60 days. We keep the house at 65, and then 60 at night. Also the heat comes on only certain times of the day.

    The propane trucks have a ticker on them, and it is measured out. If you were billed it, you would have to have had a ticket that showed it was pumped out of the truck. Maybe they delivered to somebody else's and got your account mixed up? That is alot of money, I would be ON IT. Also our propane company leaves a receipt that the tank was filled. Usually on the door it is taped. Also 500gallons is alot for the truck to carry. Our tank is a 500, but we have never been on zero,and then had it pumped to 500. It can't HOLD that much, maybe 450-475, also if it got to 10% you could tell by the lesser amounts of heat coming out in the house or fixtures.

    Also, for the future, check your tank frequently for the amount which it has, that it doesn't leak/smell. Know your tank. I would very much so consider telling the propane company to NEVER fill your tank unless you call them, or are there to receive it. There is a way to lock the tank. Get a pad lock.

    We have a very good company, very small town. We do live close to the company. We pre-book ours in the summer. Which means I have to estimate how much we will use for the winter, and then pay for it right then. That way we save money. The gas now is quite a bit more expensive than it was in the summer time.

    Your company needs to PROVE the gas went into the tank. That is alot of money to be poofed and gone. I am really sorry for you.



  9. #9
    gothedistance is offline AERC Decade Team - 2000-2010 Premium Member
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2004
    Location
    No. VA
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    2,204

    Default

    jacksmom - That really sucks. I hope you find a leak - it would be miserable if you didn't get a delivery for which you were billed. However, if that is the case, you can have the company do a check of their delivery records. Those errors do happen. Way back in the dark ages when gas was cheap ($1 gallon) and I had a 500 gallon tank, I realized at one point (after several deliveries) that...I hadn't seen any bills in the mail for a LONG time. When I called the gas company to ask where my bills were, they found their error - I was getting my gas, but they were billing some other client's account. The other client was paying the bills, too! Granted, it wasn't fun to finally get a $1.5K bill to bring my account current, but I'll bet that other client was happy to not have to pay my bills any longer.

    So, again, you might want to give your gas supplier a call, and have them check back through their records.

    Excellent suggestion to do as others (and I) do - remove your account from automatic deliveries, and put yourself instead on a "Will Call" list so that you call your supplier when you want a delivery (when the gas in your tank reads between 30-20% left). That way you have better control over when you have your tank filled, and there is less opportunity for errors.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    723

    Default

    Our LP truck puts a GPS locationon every ticket.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2000
    Location
    Heaven - Rappahannock County, Virginia
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    Default

    thanks for everyone's input. we are going to monitor this tank and see if we can't get to the bottom of this. taking myself off of an auto-refill is the first step to knowing when the deliveries are made.

    i ran into my HV/AC guy this morning (think micro-small town) and he is still completely perplexed, said that he couldn't do a calculation with my system and the weather that would justify the burning of that much gas. our house is well insulated and is only 1000sq feet, i have an 18 month old state of the art appliance.

    the last gas delivery was NOT accompanied by a hang tag ticket. which is one reason that i questioned the gas company as to whether a delivery had been made. a bill just showed up in the mail. they said that does sometimes happen. that seems a little fishy to me. i'm not sure how i would go about having the gas company 'prove' they made a delivery...
    * trying hard to be the person that my horses think i am



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2003
    Location
    Iowa, USA
    Posts
    2,232

    Default

    I'd *totally* escalate the issue that perhaps they did not deliver. Based on replies you've gotten here, you have some documents you can demand from them. Or just say "Prove it" and see what they come up with. Make a huge stink about this-- sounds like you've ruled out everything else it could have been.
    Try to break down crushing defeats into smaller, more manageable failures. It’s also helpful every now and then to stop, take stock of your situation, and really beat yourself up about it.The Onion



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,469

    Default

    We had a leak with our tank. We did notice the smell. The connectors to the tank were loose, so we tightened them up. When we went with a different company they brought in a new tank and had to do a leak test. Found out the line underground was leaking too.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2002
    Location
    Henrico, NC 36 30'50.49" N 77 50'17.47" W
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2000
    Location
    Heaven - Rappahannock County, Virginia
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    Default

    TK - well, that certainly would explain it. but the likelihood of that is really slim.

    so the mystery continues...
    * trying hard to be the person that my horses think i am



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,123

    Default

    I suspect as everyone else does, that they missed a delivery, and won't admit it.

    With the price of propane today, I wouldn't discount the theft possibility either if you prove there was a delivery (and I bet there wasn't). I remember when I lived where a lot of people had oil heat that they started delivering only to established accounts, and getting a check or credit card on the spot, because people would call for a delivery, then after the tank was filled, and they left the bill, would pump the tank dry. Yes, it wasn't their house, and they made a bundle doing the scam too.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



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