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Old 05-20-2009, 04:11 AM   #1
ramz7887
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Default Help! Exhaust fans for my indoor propane brewing (problems with CO) and other ideas

Hi

I just started building my all grain system and I've run into a couple problems. please take a look at my pics Flickr: ramz7887's Photostream pictures are on the right side in a smaller box. Also some new pictures. Also have a CO/GAS (http://www.shopping.com/xPO-Nighthaw...as_co_Detector) detector and a fire extinguisher.

Well I put in a 3000cfm box fan in the window and another near the door pointed at the system. I had no problems with ventilation while having the top burner on for about 50 mins on full blast with a blue flame only. So the ventilation problems looks solved. The CO/GAS moniter read 0.

Everyones concern is the propane tanks inside and the use of turkey fryers. Most of the problems I've heard about them are people heating oil not water. When the oil spills or combusts it melts the hose and cause the tank to burst in flames. Another concern is the pooling of the propane if the tanks leask since they are stored inside. I leave the CO/GAS detector right next to the tanks during use and after. Of course the area will be clear of cluter and the flame would not be left un attended, but do you have any ideas on how to improve saftey then?

Thanks

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Old 05-20-2009, 06:38 PM   #2
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For starters, I think you have your priorities mixed up. I would care a lot more about me getting enough O2 than the burner. I would try to mount a fan in that broken window(maybe halfway up) that would pull air out of the room. I'm lucky enough to be able to use my garage and just roll my brewery outside. Good luck!

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Old 05-20-2009, 07:27 PM   #3
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Search around a bit, BierMuncher had a video of his basement brewing set up. Basicly a good size box fan in the window blowing exhaust out, and also another box fan set in a doorway bringing fresh air in.

Some consider this dangerous btw, and this might be one of those things that, "if ya gotta ask, maybe you should reconsider."

Anyways, You want to make it pretty breezy down there!!...before even considering lighting the burner! be safe!

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Old 05-20-2009, 07:29 PM   #4
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You should also be sure that the breeze actually blows past the brewing area. The best case would be to have some kind of hood/duct pulling the air directly from above the brewing area.

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Old 05-20-2009, 08:18 PM   #5
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You would really some kind of commercial hood like you see in Chinese restaurants kitchen a little hood from HD isnt going to cut it.

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Old 05-20-2009, 09:45 PM   #6
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Sorry to be the nay sayer but what you are attempting to do is just plain dangerous and could be deadly. It just doesn't make sense to risk your life to homebrew some beer. I love brewing as much as the next guy but large propane burners used inside the home is an explosion, fire and carbon monoxide hazard that is not worth the risk. Flame me if you must but I used to be a firefighter and have seen first hand how dangerous propane really is if not used properly.

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Old 05-21-2009, 12:07 AM   #7
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Yeah the more I think about it I hink dualing box fans is gonna be the best bet because of the cfm they move. I'm gonna find the highest cfm one they make and get a couple of those.

Thanks for the warnings though. Any ideas on how to increase safety with current setup?

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Old 05-21-2009, 05:48 AM   #8
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I'm another naysayer. I'm a plumber in Austin, TX. Read/watch this:

Attempts to fix gas problem may have led to Hyde Park explosion | Austin | Texas News | Texas Cable News | TXCN.com | News for Texas

Like the fireman said, it's not worth the risk.

A few notes to go with the story:

An "unlicensed plumber" is not a plumber at all. Texas has very strict standards and licensing procedures.

The Railroad Commission is the governing body for propane work. A licensed plumber may not be certified to work with propane. They may levy a fine.

The Texas Board of Plumbing Examiners will definitely levy a fine against the handyman who did the work. If he doesn't pay, it will be taken as a wage garnishment. They even conduct sting operations in which they call out a handyman and ask them to do plumbing work.

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Old 05-21-2009, 07:45 AM   #9
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I've watched the video. I'm not trying to tie anything into the main system of the house and mess with the natural gas lines. I understand the point you are trying to make though about propane and indoors. Any ideas on improving safety? The main problems with using turkey fryers I've seen is people using oil and the overspill destroying the lines or tipping it over. None of these are a concern with brewing though.

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Old 05-21-2009, 09:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramz7887 View Post
I've watched the video. I'm not trying to tie anything into the main system of the house and mess with the natural gas lines. I understand the point you are trying to make though about propane and indoors. Any ideas on improving safety? The main problems with using turkey fryers I've seen is people using oil and the overspill destroying the lines or tipping it over. None of these are a concern with brewing though.
You don't know very much about propane, do you?


Key Facts About Propane

▪ Propane (liquid petroleum gas) has no odor, taste or color in its natural state. A distinctive odorant — ethyl mercaptan — is added to propane.

▪ Propane is heavier than air, flowing like water and collecting in low areas, such as a basement or cellar.

▪ Propane can lose its odor on a variety of circumstances. Mercaptan reacts with rust inside tanks and lines, and can be stripped from the gas by soil if a buried line leaks. Mercaptan can also be adsorbed by concrete, masonary, drywall and other porous building materials. Tests show that propane can be deodorized very rapidly.

▪ Propane has 25 times more energy than natural gas. Propane incidents tend to be explosive, with extensive structural damage and multiple fatalities.

▪ Propane should never be stored indoors. Any residence or business supplied with propane should have a propane detector.



According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, there are about 2,500 propane fires and explosions annually in the US, killing about 20 people and injuring about 330 others.

In many of these cases, survivors report that they never smelled gas.


The propane industry has known for at least 40 years that propane can lose its odor under a variety of circumstances.

“Everybody admits that odor fade exists, but the question is how much it occurs and how significant it is,” said Ron Medford of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), who led a task force studying the problem.

Propane, or LP gas, has no odor in its natural state. A strong-smelling substance called ethyl mercaptan is added to propane to warn consumers of a leak.

Experts say that the odor of propane can fade as it is stored in tanks. Ethyl mercaptan reacts with rust and metal surfaces inside steel tanks, causing the odorant to leech out of the gas.

Research done in the laboratories of the Arthur D. Little Co. for the CPSC found that the odor can significantly fade within five to seven days after a propane tank is filled.

Timothy Dunn, a chemical engineer in Atlanta who has investigated more than 300 propane fires, said that in nearly one-quarter of the cases the propane was found to have no mercaptan “in any significant amount.” Dunn conducted experiments showing “considerable depletion of odorant in as little as three weeks” after a tank is filled, he said.

When the odor of propane fades, the culprit tanks are usually either brand-new or old tanks that have not been in continuous use. Experts believe that after exposure to mercaptan for months or years, a steel tank will become seasoned and no longer promote the loss of odor.

If an empty propane tank is allowed to remain open to the air, a new layer of rust can form on the inside. When it is filled with propane, the problem of odor fade starts all over again.

“It’s true that if you leave [propane] tanks open to the air, you can get condensation of moisture and contaminants into the bottle, and that can be a problem,” said CPSC spokesman Ken Giles.

But the problem of odor fade is not limited to older, rusty tanks that have been left open to the air. Odor fade has also been observed in new tanks as well.

Esso Petroleum Canada conducted tests of new one-pound propane cylinders, the type used for camping stoves and hand-held torches. The cylinders were tested about six months after being filled by the manufacturer. In six of nine cylinders, no measurable ethyl mercaptan remained in the propane.

“Any fading that occurs does occur very quickly,” said Ian Campbell, the Esso scientist who ran the tests.

The mercaptan odor of propane can also be absorbed by soil and porous building materials. Tests done for the CPSC by three different independent laboratories found that mercaptan can be absorbed by mortar, concrete, drywall and other materials.

Arthur D. Little Co. did an experiment in which a concrete block was placed in a chamber, simulating the dimensions of a typical American basement, which was then filled with propane. Six hours later, no mercaptan could be detected in the gas.

Absorption by mortar and soil are particular concerns because propane acts much differently than natural gas when released into the air. Natural gas is lighter than air and tends to dissipate if leaked.

Propane, however, is heavier than air and tends to collect in low-lying places such as basements and cellars where soil, concrete and drywall are often found.


Absorption by soil is also a concern because large propane tanks are often buried underground at homes where the fuel is used for heating and cooking. “In the event of a leak, soil can strip the odorant out of the propane,” said Dunn.

Although propane odor fade has been studied for years by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and industry groups, little information about the hazard is provided to consumers. Propane-fueled appliances and tanks are required to have labels warning consumers what do if they smell leaking gas, but do not inform consumers that they may not smell the gas.

“These guys in the industry have known about [odor fade] problems since the 1950s,” said Kansas City attorney James Wirkin. “They are making so much money by selling propane, why on God’s green earth would they want to tell anybody about the problems of ethyl mercaptan?”

Industry officials say they are taking steps to address the hazards of propane. “The odor fade problem is being addressed very aggressively,” said Bruce Sweicicki, vice president of technical services of the National Propane Gas Association.

“We have pretty much identified with a good deal of certainty that odor fade can be attributed to the walls of some containers which forms various ferric oxides — rust and some other things — that react with the odorant in the propane,” he said.

Sweicicki disputes research showing that mercaptan is absorbed by concrete, soil and porous materials.

NLPA takes a low-key approach to the issue of odor fade. The association printed a pamphlet that mentions odor fade, but critics charge that the association does not do enough to bring the problem to the attention of consumers.

A consumer information web site sponsored by NLPA (Welcome to propanegas.com) does not include any information about odor fade. The web site does, however, claim that propane has “an enviable safety record” and is “the safest way to provide heat” to the home.

Other experts suggest that the safety record of propane is less than exemplary. “Accidents with [propane] gas are dramatically out of proportion” for the number of people who use the fuel, said chemical engineer Alan Bullerdiek of Buffalo, NY. “They represent ten times the number of accidents as natural gas.”

Bullerdiek was contracted by the CPSC to do an analysis of residential propane use that discovered serious problems with odor fade in tanks and absorption by soil and masonry. “Ethyl mercaptan is unreasonably dangerous and defective in the absence of a vapor detector,” he said.


You will most likely ignore the warnings but when you use propane indoors please make sure no one else is in the building so they do not fall victim to your carelessness.
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Last edited by Sawdustguy; 05-21-2009 at 10:08 AM.
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