A Primer On Propane For The Practical Prepper-Part II

Learn easy methods to reap the benefits of propane for cooking and different issues in a safe manner when the grid goes down.

RELATED: DIY Propane Torch

In this text:

  1. Propane for Survival
  2. Refilling One-Pound Canisters from 20-Pound Bulk Tanks
  3. Propane: It’s Both a Gas and a Liquid, within the Same Tank
  4. The One-Pound Canister Refilling Process
  5. The Fuel Transfer Process
  6. Achieving a Full Refill
  7. Handle with Care
  8. Watch Out for Leaks!

Integrating Propane into Your Prepping Strategy

Propane for Survival

Two weeks in the past, once I posted an article on prepper propane, I had no thought there was such a thirst for information on the subject. Nor did I anticipate my technical advisor, Chris Newman, to reply to every remark requested not solely right here but additionally on Before Its News.

Today I’m sharing Part Two within the collection “A Primer on Propane for Prepping and Survival.” If you haven’t learn it but, half one coated propane security and varied forms of tanks.

It additionally talks in regards to the cost-benefit of refilling empty tanks and easy methods to receive free (or low cost) old-style bulk tanks. What you discovered partly one was how, with some artistic scrounging and sensible buying, to amass sufficient tanks to supply not less than minimal cooking and evening lighting for a couple of 12 months, at a nominal value.

If you haven’t but learn Part One, you’ll discover it right here: A Primer on Propane for Prepping and Survival.

In this text, we are going to cowl the simple low-cost refilling of costly (when new) inexperienced one-pound canisters. We’ll additionally cowl a few of the most important low-usage home equipment for propane that can make life simpler and safer.

This is helpful in a grid-down state of affairs whereas transitioning to attainable new world order.

Refilling One-Pound Canisters from 20-Pound Bulk Tanks

With the correct of adapter, it’s a reasonably easy course of to switch liquid propane into small inexperienced canisters. There are a few important issues to remember, nevertheless:

Propane within the container is in two kinds: liquid and fuel. These are each pure propane properties.

At room temperatures, nevertheless, the liquid will rapidly develop in quantity to a fuel because the vapor stress reduces. There aren’t any sensible liquid propane makes use of apart from transferring it between containers.

There might be numerous potential issues, so that you need to keep away from releasing liquid propane, no matter it takes.

If you ship liquid type right into a small propane heater, for example, the liquid gasoline can do some actual injury. It will render the heater inoperable, with no straightforward restore.

A extra important instance can be if you happen to related a one-pound canister to a camp range. This occurs with the canister both over-filled or the wrong way up, in order that the output is liquid, as an alternative of fuel.

Liquid propane may jet out of the burners. It’ll rapidly develop to a big cloud of fuel simply while you’re making an attempt to mild it.

It could end in one thing going to go Boom! With any luck, the one factor that can get singed is your eyebrows.

Although, you might additionally destroy the tools and even endure painful eye accidents and take a very long time to heal.

There’s a hazard with an enormous cloud of flame and also you occurred to be sharply inhaling.

You’ll find yourself actually respiration within the flame into your lungs. They will begin oozing liquid to the purpose of filling up.

You will most likely die of pneumonia inside 15 minutes if you happen to’re fortunate. If you’re not fortunate, it’ll take even longer.

I can promise you that it is going to be essentially the most depressing 15 minutes of your life. In a barely totally different state of affairs, this truly occurred 5 years in the past to somebody for whom I cared an important deal, and Julie did die, alone on the ground of her kitchen, together with her traumatized canine mendacity by her aspect.

The reminiscence nonetheless makes me sick. So, I’m right here to let you know that such a lethal damage actually can occur.

Sorry to get so heavy, however this actually occurred in my life and my level in making this so private is to hammer dwelling the purpose that, while you play with propane, you’re actually enjoying with fireplace and a extra of it than you’ve most likely ever skilled.

Like a firearm, propane is a robust and priceless survival instrument, however it must be dealt with with the utmost of each understanding and respect. That’s why I hold hitting questions of safety so arduous and so often.

So, earlier than you begin down this propane street, particularly if you happen to’re going to paint outdoors of the strains, you’d higher have a really clear thought of what you’re doing. That’s the entire goal of this lengthy article, which is meant to carry the typical reader in control from a standing begin.

But, if you happen to hold a couple of possibly-new primary principals in thoughts and punctiliously learn all the directions that include each propane equipment, propane may also save your life, or not less than make it much more nice in a grid-down scenario.

Propane: It’s Both a Gas and a Liquid, within the Same Tank

Again, propane contained in the tank is in each a fuel and a liquid type that may rapidly develop right into a surprisingly massive cloud of fuel and that may spark off into a big explosion with the slightest spark.

Fortunately, it’s straightforward to decide on which type, fuel or liquid, that you just need to dispense out of the container, relying upon whether or not you’re transferring gasoline between containers or utilizing it for sensible functions:

When the container is standing upright with the outlet on the high, the liquid propane is on the backside of the tank, so what is going to come out is the gaseous type, which will likely be rapidly replenished from the liquid type as inside tank stress goes down. When you’re utilizing propane for sensible functions, this fuel is what you need.

But, when the tanks are the wrong way up or attainable on their sides, what is going to come out is liquid propane. Generally, the one time that you really want this liquid is while you’re transferring gasoline from one container to a different.

Just take into account, for consumer-level propane {hardware}: “Upright gets you gas and upside-down gets you liquid.”

The One-Pound Canister Refilling Process

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The key part that it’s essential refill small one-pound propane canisters is an adapter that prices about $15 and is known as a MacCoupler Adapter.

In the photograph above, on the fitting aspect, you’ll be able to see the black rubber O-ring that seals it to the majority tank.

Here are pictures displaying it mounted onto a bulk tank.

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Don’t neglect, this can be a reverse thread, so flip it *counter-clockwise” (lefty-tighty).

You can begin threading this in by hand. Tighten evenly, however nonetheless with a wrench.

The pictures under present correct container orientation throughout varied operations.

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Above: The correct place to switch gasoline from the majority tank into the canister. (The plastic tank wrapper has since been eliminated.)

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Above: The correct orientation to switch gasoline from a canister again into the majority tank. If you need to fully refill the majority tank, you’ll should undergo this operation not less than 20 instances.

But, if you happen to’re throwing an enormous barbecue and run out of fuel, this might save the day. Ditto, if it’s essential run one thing that’s arrange for bulk tanks, however all of yours are empty.

RELATED: Off The Grid Cooking Gear and Tips

The Fuel Transfer Process

Transferring gasoline from one tank to a different is comparatively easy:

1. *With the tank valve closed,* set up the reverse-thread adapter onto the majority tank. Tighten it with a wrench till it’s reasonably comfortable.

Don’t neglect that it’s a reverse thread course than regular. The precise sealing mechanism is a rubber O-ring on the adapter and these don’t require big torque pressures to seal.

“Just snug” is good. You’ll discover particular instructions on tightening somewhat additional under.

2. If refilling a small canister, flip the majority tank the wrong way up and place it on a flat sturdy floor. Remember, you need to switch the liquid type from the underside, so the outlet must be on the backside. Keep the majority tank valve closed.

3. Attach the canister to be refilled into the opposite aspect of the adapter. This time, nevertheless, the threads run within the regular “righty-tighty” course. Again, the seal mechanism is a rubber ring, so simply comfortable it in place.

Important Note: If the adapter related to the tank is just too unfastened and also you screw within the canister on the opposite aspect with an excessive amount of power, you’ll truly begin unscrewing the adapter from the tank, probably releasing fuel into the airspace that you just’re at the moment occupying. Again, “no bueno.” This is why it’s essential hold the majority tank valve closed always, besides if you find yourself making the gasoline switch.

4. Once every little thing is correctly related, it’s time to open the tank valve and let the transferring begin. Keep an eye fixed and ear peeled for fuel leaks, within the type of a cloud of white fuel. It could take a minute or so to finish the switch.

The temperature and remaining contents within the provide tank impacts the provision stress. When the hissing stops, you’ve transferred as a lot as goes to maneuver proper now. This goes to offer you a couple of 50% fill of the canister.

(Transferring gasoline from a canister to a bulk tank is similar course of, however the canister must be the wrong way up and the majority tank on its aspect, as within the above photograph.)

Achieving a Full Refill

But, wait! We haven’t run out of surprises, but!

The most typical problem in refilling one-pound canisters is that it’s usually very tough to fully refill the canister.

This newest shock stems from the truth that, whereas the liquid gasoline temperature drops as the provision diminish, on the similar time, as gasoline enters into a brand new container, the interior stress will increase, the canister will get *hotter* in consequence and the stress resisting the switch into the canister rises practically exponentially.

At the identical time, throughout the switch course of, the provision tank stress drops and the dishing out stress decreases.

The backside line result’s {that a} one-pound receiving canister usually will solely change into about half-filled throughout the switch, to not point out changing into fairly heat.

So, it’ll solely final half as lengthy earlier than it runs dry. Assumed is that we would like a full fill-up, or practically so.

The most correct method to hold observe of the fill degree is to weigh the canister with a small scale when it’s empty (you’ll be able to’t hear any liquid sloshing round inside) after which weigh it once more after filling. With a full fill, it ought to weigh precisely 16 ounces greater than when empty.

Safety Note: You do NOT need to over-fill a receiving canister, and that is attainable by having the provision tank too sizzling. That dangers dishing out liquid gasoline into your equipment, even when the canister is correctly oriented, which may trigger flash clouds of flame and/or injury the equipment itself, as described above.

Conceivably, you might even danger bursting the canister by overfilling, explosively releasing a pound of vapor.

The package deal insert that comes with the adapter comprises a few dozen warnings and it’s best to learn and memorize all of them, in addition to the security warnings that include each equipment. This isn’t salad oil, right here.

The manufacturing unit that fills new canisters makes use of excessive stress pumps to beat this temperature resistance phenomenon. But, we don’t have that possibility, which might be simply as properly.

What you need for the very best fill is a heat (not sizzling) provide tank and a chilly receiving tank. The Net is stuffed with solutions on easy methods to obtain this, some good and a few very dangerous.

One of the worst concepts I’ve seen is heating up the majority tank. Not solely that, it’s left sitting beneath the solar for hours.

As we discovered within the scout tenting cautionary story above, once more, no bueno. Do NOT fill or high off a one-pound canister from a sizzling (greater than 85 levels F.) bulk tank.

If the ambient air temperature is increased than 85, it’s simply not an excellent time to refill canisters. If this is a matter in your scenario, the very first thing within the morning is the very best time.

Other solutions, together with within the MacCoupler adapter insert, recommend pre-cooling the receiving canister by both sticking it within the freezer or dunking it in ice water previous to filling.

These are pretty efficient at pre-compensating for “thermal resistance.” Though in a grid-down state of affairs, freezers and ice water could also be very arduous to come back by.

Here’s the simple method to get a full fill: Fill the canister twice.

Fill the canister as full as it’ll get with out particular temperature tips. Turn off the majority tank valve after which let the canister cool again down within the shade.

Then, as soon as it has cooled again down, high it off with a second switch. Generally, this can get you a couple of 90% fill.

It’s often ok and leaves somewhat further security cushion to keep away from an over-fill. It by no means hurts to go away in somewhat security cushion.

If you have got a scale, you will get a robust deal with in your fill charges by weighing the canister earlier than and after each steps. With somewhat apply, you’ll be capable to make a fairly good guess and not using a scale.

Examine the heft of the canister and the quantity of “slosh” that you just hear inside.

Handle with Care

While we’re as regards to utilizing propane adapters and so on., in a grid down scenario, these will likely be merely irreplaceable.

They are the important hyperlink within the canister refill system. There’s no method to simply cobble one collectively out of salvage.

For this cause alone, it could be smart to have a brand new spare adapter in inventory. If you don’t anticipate with the ability to simply exchange this adapter, and even if you happen to can, it’s essential deal with this stuff with some mild care.

These adapters are made out of comparatively smooth brass. So, it’s very straightforward to break and even put on out the threads from arduous repeated use, which may render the adapter ineffective, and make it not attainable to refill small canisters from bulk tanks.

If that occurs, you’ll be caught with all these helpful transportable propane home equipment, however with no straightforward method to gasoline them.

Here are a number of issues that can prolong the lifetime of the adapter threads:

1. The first, clearly, is to not drop the adapter onto a tough floor: Hitting a rock can completely mess up the threads.

You would possibly be capable to clear up the threads with a file or by gently beginning it into the majority tank threads and punctiliously utilizing a wrench to revive the place of the banged-up threads, although they received’t be as sturdy resisting pressures of as much as 200 PSI.

For positive, make sure that everytime you begin threading within the adapter, you begin it in straight, not “cross-threaded.” If you’ll be able to simply screw it in for a few turns with simply finger stress, you’re in fine condition.

2. Another life-extending technique is to lubricate the threads of the adapter earlier than screwing it in or screwing one thing into it.

A skinny coating of axle grease or Vaseline would work tremendous. But, you should definitely not let any get into the top opening or it’ll find yourself inside your smaller canister and ultimately into the equipment, which may clog it up and forestall it from working correctly.

In a pinch, pull the oil dipstick out of your car’s engine and let a drop or two drip off the underside of the stick onto the threads. Even a lightweight rubbing with a bar of cleaning soap will assist to increase the thread life. Just don’t use any extra lubrication than it takes to cut back the friction put on on the threads.

3. Another tip to reduce thread put on is to begin threading the adapter onto the tank by hand, as tight as you will get it, till it begins resisting. Only then, tighten it down with a 1 1/8″ wrench.

Over-tightening is what is going to put on out the threads the quickest and with a wrench this huge, that’s straightforward to do. The most important sealing mechanism isn’t friction or compression, as with different fittings, however a small rubber O-ring on the adapter that mates with one other O-ring inside the majority tank throat.

The new OPD sort tanks have a second spring-loaded inside valve that forestalls fuel from escaping when the valve is opened, however nothing is hooked to it. “Hand tight to first contact, plus about 2 to 2 1/2 turns more with a wrench” needs to be about proper.

And, in fact, while you’re eradicating the adapter, keep in mind the reverse thread and rotate the adapter on the clockwise course: Righty-Loosy. There’s no sooner method to strip out the threads then cranking it within the mistaken course with an enormous wrench throughout removing.

Watch Out for Leaks!

Finally, one thing to be very conscious while you refill one-pound propane canisters, that are actually meant to be a one-shot deal that you just throw away when it empties, is that the interior valve on the canister simply would possibly develop a gradual leak. This will not be unusual with a number of refills, and even only one.

At finest, you received’t have the gasoline while you want it. At worst, that pound of fuel can leak right into a closed setting, resembling a sizzling automobile trunk or closet and make a really satisfying explosion, except you occur to be in the midst of it.

For canister propane refill, all the time take a look at it by dropping in somewhat soapy water into the highest of the bottle. If you see bubbles forming, you’ve received a leaker that can slowly (or rapidly) empty out.

This can also be a great way to check all new propane connections. Rinse soapy water out of the canister outlet with somewhat clear water and let it dry earlier than utilizing it.

You can often scent a small leak, too. The refiners add a “smellorant” that may be very distinctive.

If you’ll be able to scent it, it’s essential act quick.

If the canister leaks badly sufficient to listen to the hissing and also you see a cloud of white vapor, it’s essential fastidiously transfer the canister to a protected and well-ventilated outside location, transfer away, let it empty out after which throw it away. You would possibly discover some use for it or else recycle the sheet steel to restore one thing else.

Remember, we’re speaking a couple of grid-down scenario that could be long run. It’s smart to not throw away something that may be recycled or repurposed.

Even tin cans and leaky gasoline canisters.

If you get a reasonable leaker, there are some issues that you are able to do about it:

1. Mark the canister, if solely marking an “L” within the paint on high of the shoulder, as a way to simply determine it later. They all look alike.

2. Attach one thing to the canister threads that can forestall additional leaking. This will not be a nasty thought, anyway, when storing and transporting canisters. This “something” will likely be both screw-on caps or some type of equipment that has a shut-off valve.

The least costly possibility that I’ve been capable of finding is the Mac Coupler Propane Bottle Cap aka MacCaps. Two of those heavy-duty brass caps will run you about $8, plus delivery.

They’re additionally pretty widespread in sporting items shops and departments for about the identical worth, however with out the delivery value.

These will definitely cease leaks, in addition to defending the canister threads, which are literally pretty sturdy. But, if in case you have dozens of irreplaceable canisters in your stock, this will get spendy.

Another possibility is to connect the leaky canister to a propane equipment. Use the management valve on that to cease the leak.

One of my preferences is a small and cheap propane torch. There are some plumbers use to solder copper pipes and which may thaw frozen locks, and so on.

These torches can even do an important job of beginning campfires even in windy conditions, not less than with pretty dry wooden.

For new torches, one good worth possibility is the Mag-Torch MT200C Propane Pencil Flame Burner Torch. One factor that I like about this one is the all-brass building, which needs to be sturdy beneath most circumstances.

Other manufacturers use loads of plastic and their sturdiness may be questionable. With one in every of these and a welder’s flint striker (described under), you’ll be able to nearly kindle a flame in a hurricane and it’s most unlikely to blow out.

In a pinch, you might even boil some consuming water in a small tin can with out having to construct a campfire.

A self-igniting small torch may additionally show very helpful as a sure-fire flame supply in nearly all circumstances, type of like a Bic lighter on steroids. But, these are going to are usually not as sturdy, so they need to be held in reserve when any torch use is required.

You may also often discover these torches, and different propane tenting gear, low cost at yard gross sales, too, and it doesn’t harm to have backups, particularly if you happen to want one thing to “cap” a small canister that has began leaking, to be able to hold it in service.

I’ve picked up used serviceable torches for lower than the price of a brand new cap. Of course, take a look at out any used propane gear as quickly as you’ll be able to, ideally earlier than you lay out any money.

But, it often tends to be pretty sturdy. If you’re going yard-saling, it couldn’t harm to carry alongside your individual gasoline canister for testing, correctly stoppered, in fact.

3. The third possibility with slow-leak canisters is the “just in time” technique: Just don’t refill them till you want them, then rapidly connect them to the equipment. Keep a few refilled standby canisters readily available with some type of capping machine and depart the majority provide tank set as much as rapidly refill them on demand.

The remainder of your stockpile of empty canisters is your reserve to interchange the inevitable dangerous leakers.

When working with gradual leak canisters, if you happen to should, do that open air away from ignition sources, for positive, and don’t dally about connecting it up or capping it. Again, if it’s a fast-leaking canister except there isn’t any different selection, take it out of the stock and discover one other use for it.

That’s it for refilling small inexperienced canisters from bulk tanks. With somewhat widespread sense and a few persistence ready for the canister to chill again down for a top-off filling, you’re good to go.

Watch this video by Iridium242 on easy methods to run your ISO butane camp range on propane:



Lighting and cooking supplies are essential in a survival scenario. You can study all of the outside expertise wanted to get you thru.

But what if it’s unsafe to go away your property? Make use of the propane info above and it’d simply save your life when SHTF!

Got some tips about easy methods to use propane in your prepping? Share your ideas with us within the feedback part under!

UP NEXT:

  • Sustainable Electric Power
  • 8 Ways To Generate Electricity At Home
  • 9 Famine Survival Tips: How To Survive Food Shortage

Editor’s Note: This put up was initially revealed on May 16, 2013, and has been up to date for high quality and relevancy.

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