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how to clear propane supply line?

Posted by chrsvic (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 2, 11 at 12:32


I have a dilemna. I prepaid for a tank of propane gas to be delivered, but the gas company won't hook up the line to the house. The existing supply line from the tank to the house (flexible copper tubing) was left uncapped by previous gas supplier. The new guy says there could be water in the lines (which now would be frozen underground.)

The plumbers in my area dont work on this, and the propane company says they dont work on the lines either. I have electric baseboard heat which i am currently using, but would like to hook the propane back up to my furnace.

Any ideas on how i can verify the line is clean? I blew compressed air, but it just knocked some insect debris down in the line, nothing came out other side. The copper tubing is maybe 12 feet long, goes underground by the tank for a short distance, then emerges above ground a few feet away by the house. Both ends are uncapped.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: how to clear propane supply line?

"I blew compressed air, but it just knocked some insect debris down in the line, nothing came out other side."

That would indicate it is blocked.

You can either install a new line, or try getting some methanol into the line to thaw it out, then blow it clean.

70-80% methanol and water actually has a lower freezing point than pure methanol.

Denatured alcohol can also work if the ground temperature is not to low.

RE: how to clear propane supply line?

Thanks. Maybe i will try that this weekend. its been so cold i havent been motivated to work on it - tonight is supposed to get -3 F, but warming up on the weekend.

RE: how to clear propane supply line?

Pour the methanol in now and let it work on thawing the line until the weekend. Then pour some more in. Pour it in from both ends.

RE: how to clear propane supply line?

You could flush the line with methanol, then blow the methanol out with high pressure air and finally seal the line on one end and attach a vacuum pump on the other, then pull a deep vacuum to dehydrate the line,,

But lets be real here:

The line is only 12 feet long and we don't have clue as to what type of debris may be in that line, or for that matter, the age & physical condition of the existing line.

You could install a new line for a mere fraction of what the labor cost would be to do all that messing around.

If the ground is frozen rig it as a temporary line and as soon as the ground thaws you could bury it.

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