ANSWERS I have found on propane flow problems and lack of heat

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by lonestarmedic, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. lonestarmedic

    lonestarmedic Smoke Blower

    I see a lot of folks having various problems with low heat output on occasion. Here are several easily correctable situations.

    1) A very full tank. Usually happens when you take a tank to be filled, not from the exchange places. Shut the tank off and unhook regulator. Then take something like a PLASTIC cheap Bic pen and push in on the center of the tank connector. It is a spring-loaded safety valve. I have found an extreme pressure build-up that will actually trip the excess flow check in the regulator. It will give a small gas escape. Reconnect the regulator.

    2) Remember to turn on the tank slowly before the appliance. If you do the reverse, the excess flow check valve in the regulator can be triggered. Then you get almost no propane out.

    3) Regulator icing or frosting up. Rare but can happen. Warm, moist cloth wrapped on regulator will thaw it out.

    4)Also if you haven't used your burner in a while.... and especially in the spring, check your venturi for spider webs. Just run a pipe cleaner through the venturi to make sure it is clear. I would find a spider had nested in it over the winter and the spider silk would completely block the path.

    5) When lighting a burner open the tank first, only about an 1/8th of a turn. Turn on the burner next and light. Then open the tank valve a bit more. Most of these small burners take very little gas flow. Turning the tank on full can sometimes cause enough flow throw the regulator and empty fuel hose to trip the excess flow safety valve!! Especially with a brand new tank fill.

    I have found that the tank "burp" and making sure to open the tank before the appliance usually corrects the excess flow problem. My local propane source is proud of giving a full tank. They make sure you get your money's worth. And no, not unsafely. They do leave the correct safety margin. So sometimes the burp is needed. Most exchange tank places are actually a bit underfilled so they do not encounter problems. I have weighed them and find only 18-19 pounds on a supposed 20 pound fill.

    #4 Added to list - thanks JIRodriguez for reminding me.

    J. B.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  2. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great Tips, thanks for sharing.

    #3 we encountered often with our propane bottle on the fork lift, not the regulator but at the connection.
     
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also if you haven't used your burner in a while.... and especially in the spring, check your venturi for spider webs. Just run a pipe cleaner through the venturi to make sure it is clear. I would find a spider had nested in it over the winter and the spider silk would completely block the path.
     
  4. lonestarmedic

    lonestarmedic Smoke Blower

    Added this to my original post. Thanks for reminding me about "post storage" start-up problems.
     
  5. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    THANKS great advice all around!  [​IMG]
     
  6. lonestarmedic

    lonestarmedic Smoke Blower

    Added another tip based on recent findings with my Smoke Hollow PS4400 from Sam's. Had a problem with yellow flames and the burner going out repeatedly. And it had worked well when it was used a month prior. Found out that it is possible to trip the regulator excess flow valve by opening the tank valve all the way attached to an empty hose and manifold on the dual burner setup! Evidently there is enough valum capacity there to get a fast flow. So, I let the regulator/hose sit disconnected for about 4-5 minutes. This allowed a reset. I also opened the burner valves to bleed them off just in case. Re-hooked the system. Opened the tank about an 1/8th of a turn. Lit a burner and then opened the tank to about a half a turn. This is enough gas flow to run both burners on high. The PS4400 has two 11,000 BTU burners. Doing this I was able to adjust the air shutter on the burners and can run either burner on low without it going out.

    Notation: Ran PS4400 empty for 45 minutes. No water in pan, no meat load. One burner on low netted a stabilized internal temperature of 235 degrees halfway up the cabinet. So, with a meat load and/or water in the pan it will smoke low and slow on one burner.

    J.B.
     

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