Carpet Cleaning Truck Fires - Do's and Don'ts

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rob allen

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#1
Ok we all have seen the fires and explosians caused by propane heated truck mounts. So I thought it would be helpful if we started a thread on the do's and don'ts of propane heaters. OK propane users and gurus. tell us the do's and don'ts so others won't have happen whet we see in these pictures :eek::eek::eek:


Do;

Make sure you have insurance!
Have fire extinguishers in each van.
Keep clutter down
Service propane systems regularly
Opt with safer belly tanks
Have professional installs done
Call 911 as soon as possible


Don't;

Become part of this thread because you avoided the do's.












 
May 6, 2008
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#2
DON'T put the LP tank in the van...

That's the most common cause of LP related fires, from what I've seen.
 
May 6, 2008
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#7
Basically, the only place to put the tank is outside, under the van. Keep in mind that the tank is pressurized- up to 300 PSI, as I recall. So you don't want that in the van. After the regulator (which is located on the tank), the pressure is 1/2 PSI.

A common cause of fire when the tank is located in the van is if the tank falls over and the regulator breaks off as a result, venting pressurized propane into the van. This is virtually impossible if the tank is belly- mounted outside, because the regulator is shielded by the guard on the tank and the lower body of the van.

Propane tanks are built to such standards, that even when shot with a 30-06 for demonstration purposes, they do not puncture and rupture. So the real problem is if the regulator breaks off, which is virtually impossible in an outside mount.
 

Dave Y

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#8
I have my heater mounted on a platform and I leave a door open so if there are any fumes they will be vented out. (propane is heavier than air)

I have heard many times that gasoline is actually responsible for far more fires than propane.

I think Bane must have a vast collection of fires from gasoline powered units.

Dave Yoakum-

www.royalcarpetlincoln.com
 

Dave Y

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#11
Propane

Propane heat is just as safe as a water heater or furnace in your home if installed and used properly.

They have 3 shut offs. On the tank, on the heater and thermocouple.

Of course having having a live tank rolling around in your van or flammables too close to the heater is not recommended as may have been the case in the photos.
 

SCrosby

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#14
I had a real close call one time with my Steamway Mastermatic. For those of you that aren't familiar with this machine, it uses kerosene as the burner fuel source. I was cleaning a model home for a builder several years ago, when all a sudden the agent on duty came running into the house I was cleaning, screaming that my truck was on fire. When I got to the truck, the headliner and the back of the passenger seat were on fire. Luckily I had a fire extinguisher mounted in the back door that I used to put out the fire. If the agent had not been there to alert me, it would have been a total loss. The problem was a faulty ignitor pack(imagine that on a Steam Way machine). The kerosene would keep adding fuel, then the ignitor would fire intermittently causing the excess fuel to ignite violently.

I currently have a propane unit, and yes it has a belly tank.
 

Ryno

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#15
Thanks for the post rob the last week or so I've been reading everything I can find on propane heat you must of known what was on my mind lol. I also want to say I never fully appreciated TMF until I ventured onto all the other forums to look for info.
 

Bob Savage

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#16
Hey Rob,

If you look closely at the inside picture of that van fire, you will see the square Little Giant heater.

I don't think LP was the cause of that particular fire, because as you look at the inside van picture, the LP heater looks untouched.

The majority of those van fires you see in print are caused by gasoline, a fuel pump inside the van leaking, or a loose or cracked gas line, or a loose clamp, or a leaking fuel filter, etc. — NOT PROPANE.

I have been using LP exclusively for 26 years of cleaning, and I can say that it is very safe, and HOT when you need it. It doesn't give off any odor when it is running, and it is very clean burning.

You're not related to Bill Bane, are you Rob? ...LOL

Hear's the deal - there is propane (LP) everywhere, and you do not read about constant problems and fires.

Do you have a backyard propane grill? If so, are you concerned about it's safety?

Do you have one of the thousands of RV's, or campers, that use propane?

Do you heat your house with NG (Natural Gas - Propane's cousin)?

Do you heat your house water with NG or LP?

See, LP and NG are everywhere. They are extremely clean burning, so clean that here in Ohio, vehicles that run on LP are exempt form state mandated emissions checks!

The sky is not falling on LP truckmounts, and with the advent of the more automatic LP heaters, technicians don't ever have to touch anything about the LP heaters, except to turn the temperature dial UP or DOWN.
 

Frank DiGi

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#17
This may be off the subject a little but has anyone heard of a portable ever catching fire and if so what brand and what was the outcome?
Had a newer Ninja 500 back vac motor go . Let off a lot of smoke and burnt the wires to it. Cheap China motors they started to use few years ago... Not a fire but look like one...
 

tgene

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#18
Interesting post Rob, one thing that was stress by one of the IICRC instructor in a recent class is "always carry a Fire Extinguisher and a First Aid Kit" By the way, in some states Fire Extinguisher are required by law. This is a reminder to go ahead and buy one, safety first.
 
Mar 28, 2009
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#19
Propane

I used to have a propane fired unit and I'm so glad I don't have one anymore. I have an EL DIABLO now and I couldn't be happier with it. I think propane is the most dangerous heating source for truckmounts. Someone had mentioned that propane heat was consistent - I couldn't disagree more - I used one for 7 years with a LG 3HT and I always had a ton of surges of heat - constantly going up and down. The biggest thing about propane to me was it was just a pain in the ass to deal with - constantly taking the tanks off and finding a place to refill - not to mention my kerosene/diesel unit is much more economical.
 
May 6, 2008
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#20
Someone had mentioned that propane heat was consistent - I couldn't disagree more - I used one for 7 years with a LG 3HT and I always had a ton of surges of heat - constantly going up and down.
That's why. You had a Little Giant. They can't keep up, so they "surge" when the wand isn't keyed.


The biggest thing about propane to me was it was just a pain in the ass to deal with - constantly taking the tanks off and finding a place to refill.
"Take the tanks off..."

Huh...?

Once you've "found a place to refill", why not make that a regular stop? When I cleaned, I filled at one of two places (a U-Haul and a gas company), depending upon which part of town I was in. I didn't "look" for a place. I knew after the first time I went, where it was.... Thought I did "look" for lower prices from time to time.