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

All American Man

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The kerosene would keep adding fuel, then the ignitor would fire intermittently causing the excess fuel to ignite violently.
Ahhh yes, I have been there bro. The points constantly arc as the kerosene flow is controlled by thermostat and water movement (flow switch). And if the arc doesnt happen , kerosene still moves into your coil housing and starts to build a bomb. Then when the points finally arc, you have black smoke ROLLING out of your truck and sometimes flames shooting out of your exhaust. When I turn my heat on , I know to listen for that arcing buzz before I even try to heat up.

But, it will heat......alot.
 
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He probably is referring to the fact that propane has no odor, like gasoline, or natural gas, and therefore is undetectable. Therefore, as a precaution, these substances get an odorant added so humans can detect them. If you don't do this, you can't detect it by smell, so wouldn't necessarily be aware there is a problem until it's too late, and has become catastrophic.
No odorant in propane. That's a new one to me and I've been around propane systems since 1981.

I know that in it's raw state, it's odorless, but there's no way it could get down the supply line, through the various carriers and not have "that smell".

Mebbie if you could bottle your own at the source or something of the sort, but listing lack of odorant as a concern is simply too far- fetched to be taken seriously.
 

rob allen

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Here is a nice propane tank to install. Very realistic you think?

 

steam king

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So how do you attach a propane tank to the bottom of a van? I wouldn't have thought that there was room to do that. I'm assuming we're talking about the long skinny tanks, but I don't think my van has that kind of clearance.

Is it necessary to cut the propane off at the tank, or can it be done inside the TM?
I have used propane tanks for over 6 years in both of my vans and I haven't had a problem yet(thankfully). To answer your question I have attached a picture of the LP tank mounted under my back up unit.
<a href="http://s59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/eljerezano_2006/Decorated%20images/?action=view&current=propanetank.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/eljerezano_2006/Decorated%20images/propanetank.jpg" border="0" alt="LP tank under van"></a>
 
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I had a belly tank similar to this.

The place I always used to fill it up refused to fill it any more.

They told me that the tank had to be separated from the vehicle and placed on the ground for insurance purposes.

It seems someone with a RV came in and wanted their tank filled, to do this you have to vent the top of the tank which spews flammable gas everywhere- while they were doing this the stove directly above the propane tank was being used and consequently caused an explosion.

Because of the hassle, I sold the belly tank and bought a 40# cylinder- I like it better.
 

rob allen

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campergerald

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I have a trailer with 2 , 20lb cly. mounted and secured in a rack on tounge of trailer. I have used propane for years (20 +) no problems but you have to use your head. Also have had 65k btu and 120k btu Little Giant heaters loved them both.
 

Jan Sullins

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Bob Savage already said it but I will say it again. By far the majority of fires
in truckmounts is the gasoline comming from a fuel pump inside the van pulling
gasoline from vehicles gas tank. If one uses anything but steel braided hose he
could develop and very small leak. A small leak will provide a mist or vapor to
fill truck . Then when heater turns on fire is beginning to burn your truck down!
Really with electric powered truckmounts we don't have as much problem with
fires. I have had a belly tank in the past and I agree that is the best way to go.
All of us who are using propane for heating our solutions should make a short
term goal of getting a belly tank. I installed mine myself which indicates most of
you can do the same.

Jan Sullins
American Kleen Pro
 

dgardner

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Anyone here ever had a neptune solution hose rupture and spew black death over everything? What do you do now? You inspect your hoses regularly and probably replace then once a year, right?

Well, here's a shocker - no matter what your fuel source is - propane, gasoline, diesel, whatever, you need to do the same thing. Tomorrow spend a half hour and go over your machine/heater. Fittings loose? hoses old and brittle? Fuel line chafed where it comes through the grommet or bulkhead? Do you even have a grommet where the line(s) come through the floor? Is your propane regulator outside the vehicle where it belongs?

Does everything look OK, but it's been a year (or five) since you replaced the fuel lines? Have you ever replaced the lines? Do it now! If you thought your custy was bent when the black death ruined her couch, imagine how she would react when you set her house on fire....

Are you in the habit of shutting off the propane driving between jobs? You should. Does your van look like a college dorm, littered with (flammable) trash that could come in contact with a hot exhaust pipe or HX or heater? Clean up your act!

Bottom line is - if you do regular maintenance, pay attention to what you're doing, make sure the installation is legal and done correctly, and have a tiny bit of common sense, all fuels are relatively safe. If you lack just one of the above - ALL fuels are dangerous, you will eventually hurt or kill someone and you should not be allowed to use any of them!

This is not rocket science.... Just common sense.
 
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Bob Savage

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<br>Hey Rob.

Since you have such a dislike/fear of propane, you'd better tell Masterblend to stop offering a propane heating system with the El Diablo truckmount. ...lol

Wayne's experience with his LP filling station refusing to fill his belly tank (isolated incident), was probably due to their insurance company wanting to jack their insurance rates up if they did not stop filling attached tanks, because of "that" incident.

I have no problems getting a belly tank filled, just as all the RV's in town that have one have no problem.

The LP filling station should ask if everything inside the vehicle that uses LP is turned OFF before filling a tank (common sense). ...including...

The outside belly tank valve also needs to be shut OFF, so no LP can leave the tank while it is being filled!!!

An upright tank, as in a grill or larger separate tank, does not have as much LP gas available on the top inside the LP tank for a burner that uses LP gas, and not LP liquid, not to mention the belly tank (horizontal) IS safer than a loose upright tank (vertical).
 

JimmyN

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I agree with Bob Savage. Use a belly tank and don't do something stupid.You should see some of the stupid propane rig ups iv' seen.
 

tobeyo

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Bob I agree with you however the gas machine and propane heater can be a deadly mix as you know I have the same setup as you and I would have nothing else but as you said the gas engine is usually the culprit.So being said are there any other measures you can take to insure your fuel pump or gas line stays trouble free
 

rob allen

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<br>Hey Rob.

Since you have such a dislike/fear of propane, you'd better tell Masterblend to stop offering a propane heating system with the El Diablo truckmount. ...lol

Wayne's experience with his LP filling station refusing to fill his belly tank (isolated incident), was probably due to their insurance company wanting to jack their insurance rates up if they did not stop filling attached tanks, because of "that" incident.

I have no problems getting a belly tank filled, just as all the RV's in town that have one have no problem.

The LP filling station should ask if everything inside the vehicle that uses LP is turned OFF before filling a tank (common sense). ...including...

The outside belly tank valve also needs to be shut OFF, so no LP can leave the tank while it is being filled!!!

An upright tank, as in a grill or larger separate tank, does not have as much LP gas available on the top inside the LP tank for a burner that uses LP gas, and not LP liquid, not to mention the belly tank (horizontal) IS safer than a loose upright tank (vertical).
Actually Bob I don't have a problem especially when used by owner operators in conjunction with a belly tank. Employee's? Now that's a different story and why I don't use them. ;)
 

Bob Savage

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Rob said:
Employee's? Now that's a different story and why I don't use them.
I see your point there. That's why the LP heater we designed and have patented requires absolutely no employee intervention. You simply flick a switch to ON and the heater lights the pilot automatically, and will re-light itself if there is ever a gust of wind.

When the job is finished, you turn our heater OFF, and the pilot goes OFF, so there's no way to drive to the next job with the heater still on.
 

rob allen

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Sometimes it is O/O's like this one Bob. Any idea what may have happened in this situation? Not knocking propane just wondering how something like this can be prevented.

Carpet cleaning van explodes, burns down garage

A propane explosion that demolished a northeast garage has sent the homeowner's carpet-cleaning business up in smoke.


Marco Carbone parked his carpet-cleaning van inside his garage on Marwood Circle N.E. around 3 p.m. on Easter Friday after work.

He went grocery shopping with his wife, May, and was stunned to receive a call hours later about an explosion that gutted his detached garage and left his business van a piece of twisted and charred metal.

"When something like this happens, it's devastating," Carbone said yesterday as he surveyed his backyard, which is piled high with blackened debris.

Arson investigators were called to the scene Friday, but it's believed the explosion was likely caused by a leaking propane tank on the van.

"We have to look at it as a lesson learned -- not just for us but for the entire community," Carbone said.
"I've learned to stay away from propane-powered vehicles."

The van that ignited the blaze had been Carbone's livelihood as a carpet cleaner for the last seven years, and he doesn't know how long he'll be out of work.

"That's his bread and butter right there," said his father, Tony, pointing to the wreck.

Carbone said the van was last serviced about six months ago and had a full tank of propane when he parked it in the garage Friday.

The explosion also destroyed his work tools, a pressure washer and a compressor. But most important, said Carbone, is that no one was injured in the explosion.

The force of the explosion sent debris flying six blocks and rattled homes along the street.
The couple is staying with family and hopes the home will be liveable in a few days, adding their insurance should cover the damage costs.
 

aspenedelen

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That is tough! The article said he had insurance coverage and I hope his insurance company take cares of him like mine did to me. These are some of the risks you take being in any business or do anything for that matter. There is no way to foresee this but plz make sure you have all insurance coverage.

Next week or whenever the weather turns nice I will be pulling all my drying equipment from my house and get all my business equipment ready for my insurance agent to look over to make sure every possible aspect of loss is covered. In this business it is so easy to overlook insurance or not have enough. The plan is when disaster strikes you want to be up and running as fast as possible with little aggravation as possible.
 

Bob Savage

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Rob said:
Sometimes it is O/O's like this one Bob. Any idea what may have happened in this situation? Not knocking propane just wondering how something like this can be prevented.
No idea, but a garage is an enclosed area. I don't know what kind of tank he had - belly or grill tank?? He could have left the heater turned to ON, with the pilot ON.

If that is done, once the heater starts to cool down after a job, it will fire the burner and come back on. Without the pressure pump ON, the coil is NOT pressurized.

If there was an explosion, I would say there was a gas leak somewhere. If he had a water heater in his garage with a standing pilot, that would have caused an explosion, if his van system was leaking somewhere.

First, a CC van should have a belly tank, and that tank needs to be shut OFF after every job, at the tank. The shut off is right on the tank, before the regulator. If the valve is turned off, no LP gas can leave the tank.

If you don't use a belly tank (not a good idea), then if you park inside, remove the LP tank form the system and leave it outside. Free-standing LP tanks are not supposed to be stored inside a building, even if the valve of the tank is OFF.