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Thread: propane

  1. #1
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    May 2009
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    Huntsville, AL
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    propane

    So, if I do this, the location does not have natural gas. 7 bbl system. What should I expect with propane fired steam boiler?

  2. #2
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    Jan 2003
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    Palau
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    Not sure what you're looking for....

    Certainly you can use propane in lieu of natural gas. Just need your boiler to be jetted correctly, which is not a big deal. Most any boiler will come with two sets of jets for just this application. Make sure you get it right, although the boiler might work with wrong jets, it won't heat right and will clog with soot. As well as produce tons of CO. Don't ask how I know!
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  3. #3
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    Jun 2011
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    Richmond, VA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBred View Post
    So, if I do this, the location does not have natural gas. 7 bbl system. What should I expect with propane fired steam boiler?
    This would be a question for Hank Hill!!!

  4. #4
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    Nov 2009
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    Moab, Utah
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    Propane Considerations

    Quote Originally Posted by gitchegumee View Post
    Certainly you can use propane in lieu of natural gas. Just need your boiler to be jetted correctly, which is not a big deal. Most any boiler will come with two sets of jets for just this application. Make sure you get it right, although the boiler might work with wrong jets, it won't heat right and will clog with soot. As well as produce tons of CO. Don't ask how I know!
    Propane contains more BTUs/lb than natural gas. The burner orifice size will definitely be much smaller for the same BTU rated system, but there is more to the conversion than just this one thing. The gas valve and gas train proper have to be configured for L.P. Because you would be using " bottled " gas you have to calculate what size storage tank you need, and then how often you will need delivery based on your run time. Typical propane setup involve 2 stages of pressure regulation. One right at the tank, and one before the in building run.
    LP is a dangerous affair compared to NG because it is heaveir than air. I have had charge of entire properties that were remote and set up to run on LP. While it can work, I definitely do not care for it. The piping has to be rock solid, and your boiler room ventilation and combustion air have to be set up with all this in mind.
    Any leaks in the system can create a dangerous condition very quickly. Propane is more costly to run than NG, and the price can swing around quite a bit.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  5. #5
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    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
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    1,279
    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBred View Post
    So, if I do this, the location does not have natural gas. 7 bbl system. What should I expect with propane fired steam boiler?
    Hi BeerBred,
    I have been running on propane since 2002. My boiler was converted from NG. Running it on propane is, of course, completely doable. Make damn sure your make-up air is sized for your boiler. Mine kept sooting up until I had an atmospheric dampener installed on the exhaust stack. That cured the sooting. Some propane sellers have “winter price programs” where you can lock in your winter rates in the early fall to match cheaper, summer rates. Shop around.
    (Ditto what Warren and Phillip have said. Very good points.)

    Prost!
    Dave
    Glacier Brewing Company
    406-883-2595
    glacierbrewing@bresnan.net

    "who said what now?"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
    Posts
    586

    Flue Dampers

    Quote Originally Posted by GlacierBrewing View Post
    Hi BeerBred,
    I have been running on propane since 2002. My boiler was converted from NG. Running it on propane is, of course, completely doable. Make damn sure your make-up air is sized for your boiler. Mine kept sooting up until I had an atmospheric dampener installed on the exhaust stack. That cured the sooting. Some propane sellers have “winter price programs” where you can lock in your winter rates in the early fall to match cheaper, summer rates. Shop around.
    (Ditto what Warren and Phillip have said. Very good points.)

    Prost!
    Dave
    Boiler Ray gives a good explanation of Barometric Flue Dampers on his websight.
    The Combustion should be set out of the gate with an analyzer, and by someone who has experience with this procedure.
    Propane does burn more dirty than NG even when set up correctly.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Huntsville, AL
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    Good info. Doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies, but it has to beat electric. I don't see another alternative..

  8. #8
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    Jan 2003
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    Palau
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    All good!

    You should be fine. 17 years piped into a Midco burner and we've never cleaned out our firebox.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
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    1,967
    We've been using a propane-fired boiler for about 20 years. We've never had to have the burner serviced or clean out the firebox. I inspected the firebox last week and it's fine. No carbon build-up in the flue, either.

    We had the burner--specifically a propane burner--professionally installed and adjusted.

    Definitely look into a contract with your propane provider and be prepared to haggle. If you're using a thousand gallons or more a month, you should be able to negotiate a discount.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
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    Awesome. Feel better then... Might get a commercial grill which would be propane as well. Large tank to rent or buy. Will negotiate the annual contract or whatever. Is five grand enough to plumb this thing? the boiler I mean, not the grill.. Or am i gonna need ten.. Virginia

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
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    586

    Details

    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    We've been using a propane-fired boiler for about 20 years. We've never had to have the burner serviced or clean out the firebox. I inspected the firebox last week and it's fine. No carbon build-up in the flue, either.

    We had the burner--specifically a propane burner--professionally installed and adjusted.

    Definitely look into a contract with your propane provider and be prepared to haggle. If you're using a thousand gallons or more a month, you should be able to negotiate a discount.
    The matter is this gas not burning as clean as NG will be seen primarily at the pilot burner, and would generally only be noted by people who work on a lot of different systems day in and day out. It also depends on the Fire Control type and how it proves flame. These are service facts, stated for information purposes only.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,967
    Virginia: That's going to be between you and your gas supplier. I don't recall what it cost to have ours plumbed, but location will be a big part of the cost. Here in OR, any propane tank more than 500 gal. has to be at least 30' (IIRC) from a building, which meant putting our 3 1,000 gal tanks across the driveway from the brewery. we were able to save some significant $s by digging and back-filling the trench ourselves.

    For underground runs, the material for the piping is a flexible tube, which is much cheaper than having black pipe threaded, so run as much of your line underground as possible. Above-ground runs will generally be threaded black iron pipe, where the labor costs build up pretty fast.

    Warren--Just sayin'. We have our system inspected yearly, and the inspector has never had any complaints about dirty burners/pilots. Our kitchen appliances also run off propane, and I've yet to see any combustion problems or build-up there, either--just kitchen grease.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    14

    Propane concerns

    BeerBred
    As was stated earlier, propane is a heavier gas than natural gas and some municipalities are a bit nervous abut that. I have seen some inspectors request a combustible gas detector be installed at close to the floor level to alarm if propane is discovered. Most gas fired boilers can be converted to propane by swapping the orifices. If changing over to propane, be sure you have the air to fuel ratio tested with a combustion analyzer. If the boiler is overfilling, it could cause an unstable water level and the boiler could trip on the low water cutoff. Another concern is some municipalities will limit the size of the tank you can have indoors. Again they are afraid of a fire.
    Good luck
    Boiler Ray

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,967
    I'd guess that the potential for propane to pool would be why our code requires two MUA vents, one within 6" of the floor, the other higher up on the wall. We use motorized louvers driven by the boiler controls so the louvers are open whenever the boiler is running, with an option to leave them open--handy in hot weather.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    14

    Does get warm in the boiler room

    It does get warm inside the boiler room The two openings were to allow ventilation inside the boiler room without the use of fans.

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