propane tank valve stem leaking

Propane Tank Valve Stem Leaking – 3 Common Causes

Introduction

Have you been smelling a strong gas odor near your RV propane tank lately? Or can you hear a continuous hissing sound near it?

Well, both could be the result of a leaking propane tank. But that’s alright because we will help you figure it out.

So what to do if you find your propane tank valve stem leaking?

First of all, check if it’s actually a leak in the propane tank and move ahead according to the result. Maybe it’s a bleeder valve or a relief valve that’s open. Moreover, it could even be a damaged valve stem that’s causing the leak. Well, then you’ll need to change it.

That’s not all. There’s more. To know more in detail about a leaking propane tank valve stem, head over to our segment.

Propane tank leaks

Propane tanks are the cylinders that store propane fuel for heating and cooking. Handling it with care is necessary because it can be harmful otherwise. It is quite easy for a propane tank to be leaked or damaged. This in turn can lead to further accidents.

So it is necessary to check for leaks and get them fixed immediately to avoid the smallest accidents from happening. 

Check for leak in-tank valve

As soon as you sense a burning smell or a hissing noise, check for a leak near the propane tank valve. It’s vital to determine the leak and fix it right away for safety purposes. 

Here’s how to check for leaks-

Step 1: As soon as you smell the gas, turn off the main supply valve right away.

Step 2:  Add in 1 cup of liquid soap and 1 cup of warm water. Mix it and pour it into a spray bottle. Use this solution to spray onto the valve and gauge of the tank. Use quite a generous amount of the mixture on it.

Step 3: At this point, look for signs of leakage. Look for bubbles where you’ve sprayed the solution. If you see smaller bubbles, it indicates a small leak. But if you see larger bubbles of a good amount, you know the leak is pretty big. 

So you must take action immediately.

Causes of leaks- 3 Common Issues

Now there are a few causes behind a leaked propane tank valve stem leaking. Identifying the problem will be easier if you’re done checking for the leak. 

Cause 1 of 3: Open Bleeder Valve

The bleeder valve also known as the fixed level gauge is usually opened when the tank is filled with propane. An open bleeder valve can cause a leak in the propane tank.

Moreover, even if the bleeder valve isn’t open, its coil might be clogged with debris. This results in the propane tank leaking. Especially when the tank is overflowing with propane. 

Solution

This is not a big deal and can be fixed immediately. Just turn off the bleeder valve. You can do it by rotating the valve clockwise. This will close it and stop the flow of gas. 

Now your tank should be just as good as new!

Cause 2 of 3: Open Relief Valve

The relief valve in the propane tank is designed to relieve the pressure of the tank. This means, during hot and humid weather, the relief valve slightly opens up to allow excess pressure to vent. 

The slightly open relief valve often causes the gas to leak out of the tank. And it can be dangerous if the entire valve opens up.

Solution

Now the solution here is to not touch the valve. The valve opens on its own and will close too. But tapping the valve or touching it may help it open completely. And we don’t want that.

To fix the situation, let the tank cool down. You can cool it down by spraying water coming from the garden hose. Just spray it all over the surface of the tank. This will allow the relief valve to close gently on its own.

Cause 3 of 3: Faulty Valve Stem

Now the propane tank valve may be completely leaked or damaged. Hence releasing the propane gas. This can be seriously harmful because it can catch fire easily.

Solution

If you detect a leaking propane tank valve stem, you’ll need to replace the entire tank valve to prevent further damage. For replacing the valve, here’s what you’ll need-

  • New valve
  • Heat gun
  • Pipe wrench

To replace the tank valve, you’ll need to ensure that the cylinder is completely empty. Close the valve by turning the handle clockwise after your tank is emptied.

Now to take the leaked valve out, use a heat gun to soften the weld between the gas valve and the cylinder. At this point, open the tank nozzle to allow the tank regulator to style down to regular atmospheric pressure. Make sure to hold the tank still while you do this.

Now you can turn the valve clockwise using a pipe wrench to remove the valve from the tank. Then discard the valve.

Now you need to attach the new valve. Make sure to include an overfilling prevention device (OPD) within the valve. You can attach the valve by threading it to the cylinder’s bung. Now tighten the attachment using a pipe wrench.

By the way, here are our top choices of OPD valve for propane tanks-

Anyways, now you should have a perfectly working propane tank. So there’s no need to worry anymore.

FAQs

Question: Can a leaking propane tank explode?

Answer: Yes, a leaking propane tank can explode. If the tank is left open and the gas coming out is ignited, it can most likely explode.

Question: Should I exchange propane tank or refill it?

Answer: Refilling a propane tank is a wiser decision to make. It saves a lot of money and time as you don’t have to go through the hassle of replacing the entire tank.

Question: Is a small amount of leak in propane tank dangerous?

Answer: A small amount of leak in the propane tank isn’t a big deal. But if the leak builds up over time, it can badly affect your health.  As it can lead to hypoxia and carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Conclusion

A propane tank valve stem leaking can call for severe accidents if actions aren’t taken immediately. Hence,  it’s crucial to identify the leak’s location so you can fix it.

We hope we have helped you solve the issue with your leaking tank. Let us know if it worked.

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