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Mystery of the Secret Stench

For most of us, the scent of something rotting is simply repulsive.

But for others, such as carrion-feeding vultures, hyenas and house flies, it’s a scent that means meal time!

One evening, having arrived home from a long and tiring day at the office, I was greeted at my front door by a strong but unfamiliar odour. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it…

Saying it was over powering would be putting it mildly. And, YES, I used deodorant that morning.  And, NO, I don’t eat carrion.

The wife immediately approaches and demands that I get to the root of the problem – and quickly! 

I might add here that we are in the process of selling our home, so the reek of rotting rodent could pose a problem for a petulant purchaser.

The Great Search

From where was that sickly stench stemming?

The Roof?... Under the house?... My shoes?... The Dog?

It became a real Sherlock Holmes affair, as we attempted to locate what we then thought to be a reeking rotting rodent.

Applying my keen olfactory skills – I fumbled over furniture, behind cupboards and, YES, I even ventured into the laundry (there is a first time for everything).

No luck and it was getting late.

The wife to the rescue, at least temporarily.  She ensured the house was well “aired”, purging the pungent problem. 

Problem solved?  Not at all.

We awoke the next morning greeted by the acrid aroma of our presumed new found friend still hanging about.

We were stumped!

Finally Found It

At our wits ends, and resorting to the process of elimination, we decided check our gas appliances and… Bingo!

We found the culprit!

The bayonet fitting, where we connect our very much loved portable gas heater, was emitting gas – be it ever so slowly.

I discovered that the internal bayonet stopper hadn’t sealed correctly after disconnecting the heater hose, for storage purposes.

Kudos were in order for my successful sleuthing (still waiting on them from the better half). 

Fixing the Problem

I had to settle for a chat with my friendly gas fitter. I was tempted to try and fix it myself, but then sanity set in and the gas fitter was on his way.

Left to my own devices, I probably would have jammed a screwdriver inside, trying to re-align it.  But screwdrivers are steel and steel can create sparks – not a good thing with leaking gas.

Apparently, the spring behind the stopper can sometimes misalign itself which pushes the stopper off centre and creates an opening (ever so small) for a gas leak.

The experience alerted me to the possible problem, when we disconnect our gas appliances during future spring cleanings.  Ensuring that the stopper (inside the bayonet) completely covers the opening is definitely on my checklist.  

All it took was a careful twitch of the spring loaded stopper for it to re-seat itself, creating a tight and proper seal. 

Success!

Lesson Learned

A looming divorce was adverted and our open house went through smelling like nirvana!

So, our malodorous experience wasn’t the misfortune of a poor rodent after all. 

It was a chemical called Ethyl Mercaptan, an odourant added to LPG for safety. 

LPG is naturally odourless.  So, without adding that smell of rotten cabbage (or dead rodent based on my experienced nose) we might never have known we had a leak.

Sooooo… be aware when connecting and disconnecting your gas appliances or you just might find yourself mistakenly forking out moola for a pest control visit.

 

 

 

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The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.

LPG Gas Blog

Does LPG (Propane) Go Bad?

LPG vs Diesel vs Petrol Shelf Life?

Unlike gasoline and diesel fuel, LPG does not degrade with time.

Storing LPG for 10 to 30 years or more would not be an unreasonable expectation, with the limiting factor being the container.

Assuming that the cylinder and valve are in good shape, you shouldn't have a problem.

This makes LPG the near perfect choice for emergency generators and similar off-grid survival equipment.

Does LPG – Propane Go Bad or Have a Shelf Life?

Does LPG (Propane) Go Bad?  Shelf life of LPG - Propane

LPG – propane – never goes bad. 

It has an indefinite shelf life.

LPG does not degrade through any natural process.

The only limitation on using LPG is the durability of the container – gas bottles, cylinders or tanks.

That and cobwebs!

Durability of LPG Gas Bottles – Propane Tanks

High quality galvanised LPG gas bottles or cylinders (propane tanks) can last 30 years or more.

There is no water or oxygen inside a full sealed gas bottle so they typically do not rust from the inside. 

If they are stored in a cool dry place, exterior rust would be slow to develop, particularly with a galvanised cylinder or tank.

There are also aluminium and the newer composite cylinders that simply cannot rust, as they do not contain steel.

Some composite cylinders are also translucent, meaning you can see the liquid LPG and very easily check the fill level.

Cylinder re-inspection requirements typically apply to the refilling of the cylinders but place no time restrictions on the use. 

These regulations can vary by country so it is best to check if this is the case for you, as well.

High quality valves and fittings are also a must.

Rubber hoses, that can perish, are best avoided in favour of copper tubing or piping.

Petrol – Gasoline – Shelf Life

Petrol (gasoline) has a very limited shelf life.

Quality petrol should be good for six months, when stored properly.

However, petrol (gasoline) will break down slowly over time due to the separation of the components, with gummy, sticky resin deposits and layers of varnish.

“Stale fuel” can cause corrosion of system components.

Petrol should be stored in an airtight container that does not allow the petrol to vent away the volatile components.

Petrol has many components with different properties.

When petrol is kept in an open container, eventually it will completely evaporate but the components will evaporate at different rates, affecting performance. 

Preventing water contamination and oxidation will extend the shelf life.

It also helps if the container is as full as possible, to decrease the exposure to air (oxygen).

Petrol containing ethanol is even more problematic, as ethanol is hygroscopic – attracting moisture from the atmosphere.

Ethanol is also harmful to rubber seals and components.

The addition of a fuel stabiliser can slow the oxidation process.

Fuel stabiliser can extend petrol shelf life to about 15 months.

The real problem is how do you dispose of the petrol after it goes off?

Diesel Fuel Shelf Life

Diesel Fuel Goes Bad

Diesel fuel can also go off, forming gummy deposits, varnish, sediment, microbial slime and sludge.

It also becomes dark and stratified (see above).

Exposure to water, air and heat are the three things that facilitate degradation.

This can block fuel filters, lead to carbon and soot deposits on injectors and other combustion surfaces, and increase the frequency and cost of filter changes.

Diesel that has gone off makes black smoke and may even prevent the engine from starting.

Ironically, the newer low sulphur diesel fuels are actually more prone to degradation problems.

Microbial growth – fungus, bacteria & algae – is part of the process that breaks down diesel fuel. 

Higher sulphur levels used to inhibit this growth, providing a much longer shelf life.

The new lower sulphur products lacks this natural preservative effect.

Microbes can now multiply more quickly in the fuel, allowing the creation of biomass formations and production of acids that degrade the fuel.

"Diesel fuel can be stored 6 months to 1 year without significant fuel degradation if you keep it clean, cool and dry." according to Exxon.

BP says that under normal storage conditions diesel fuel can be expected to stay in a useable condition for:

• 12 months or longer at an ambient of 20°C.

• 6-12 months at an ambient temperature higher than 30°C.

With the addition of fuel stabilisers – with antioxidant and biocide – diesel fuel can last for 3 years or more.

Once again, the real problem is how do you dispose of the diesel after it goes off?

Best Fuel for Emergency Generators & Off-Grid Survival - LPG

With an indefinite shelf life, LPG – propane – is the perfect fuel for emergency generators and survival in the events of catastrophic emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances.

LPG can be used to power generators, but is can also be used directly for cooking, heating, hot water, and most machinery that is powered by small internal combustion engines.

There are LPG versions of water pumps, small tractors, and an assortment of tools.

The list of LPG – propane – applications is almost endless.

A larger storage tank could also be used as autogas, if the vehicle has had a gas conversion.

You could literally provide your entire energy needs with just LPG and, with sufficient storage, you could do it for many years.

Nothing compares to LPG when it comes to shelf life of emergency fuel.

 

 

 

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Comments, questions or feedback?

Please Email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.

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