we heard from one of the service techs that these appliances sometimes refuse to light if you are over 9000 feet or so. He said that this was because the pressure from the propane tanks can be low, especially when it is cold. He recommended that we insulate the regulator and the lines, since we do a lot of high-altitude, cold weather camping.
So here is my question -- would it help the performance of my propane appliances if I were to insulate the tanks, the regulator, and the lines?
Thanks in advance for your advice -- I have no experience with these automatic ignition systems.
There are 2 problems- altitude and temperature. Altitude has nothing to do with the rate of vaporization, and problems at high altitude have to do with the lack of oxygen, not the freezing of regulators, lines and cylinders. Automatic ignition systems have nothing to do with either of these problems, either.
So- the problems -
Vaporizing enough LP- keep the cylinders full. Do *not* insulate them- as long as the temperature is above 40 degrees below zero, they will gain heat from the surrounding air/ The regulator will not freeze up unless you have moisture in the propane- but again, you do not want to insulate them.
Keep the cylinders full, keep both valves open, if you suspect moisture contamination (which can happen if the tanks were not purged correctly), find a good LP supplier and have them inject anhydrous methanol in to the tanks.
Altitude is harder to compensate for. The biggest problems are usually refrigerators. There are supposedly high altitude orifices available- I've never dealt with them though.
Never had a problem here. Just got back from a 10 day hunting trip in the high country at about 9500'. Have a couple places we go that are higher than that with no problems. All electronic ignition except for the oven, still have a pilot in there.
As Chris stated! But one thing you posted that baffles me (The OP). IF you have NEVER had a problem lighting manual LP appliances at Altitude, I fail to see WHY an AUTO IGNITION system would not light at Altitude. ALL you are doing is swapping a Manual ignition source for a Auto Piezo source. Have your "Supposed Tech" explain his reasoning to you. Doug
From everything I can find on the subject it has more to do with lack of oxygen. Would make sense that it would make it a little more difficult to get lit. Would seem to me that an appliance with a pilot light could have some problems keeping the pilot lit. I know some appliances are either made specifically for these conditions or have kits available to retro-fit them for the higher altitude. From what I can tell they change out the orifices and regulator so as to reduce gas flow to compensate for the lack of oxygen.
As far as the temperature. I can't really see where that is going to have much effect. I know I lived for a few years at a little above 5000' in an area that had temps regularly at or below zero. Our only gas source was propane and not once did we have a problem. Only issues I ever saw with the propane tank was snow pack. Need to keep them clear of it for ventilation purposes. Every now and then there would be an explosion fron one. Generally they were at vacation homes left unattended for the winter.
Well, I am greatly reassured by your advice -- it makes no sense to insulate the tanks if the boiling point of propane is far below zero. So pressure in the lines will not be an issue.
I am also glad to hear that folks with electronic ignition on the water heater and the fridge have not had problems at altitude. We have had trouble in the past with the electric ignition on our pilotless gas range in our house, but I have been able to use a lighter in those instances. The service tech told us that we can't do that with the appliances on the new trailer. Not sure if I should believe his advice, but I would like to have the option of manually lighting the flames if necessary.
We HAVE NEVER had a problem at over 9300 feet, and we stay for over 3 months.
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What about painting the LPG Tanks/regulator,Black colored, the Black will absorbe heat quicker than any other color, in my experience.
I don't know if this would cause high pressure problems in the summer time?
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