80 foot trench for propane line

racerboy

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B2601
May 10, 2021
55
27
18
NJ
So my first trench is basically done. Now I need to order sand.
12E6454E-5670-497E-BD77-6CF19931FDBF.jpeg
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
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Greensville,Ontario,Canada
hmmm.. hope that's NOT your weeping tile in the trench......!!!
I 'found' a 3" one last week..pretty sure it was for a gutter on the house. It was FULL of silt,so not 'mission critical'.
Take lots of pictures from 'fixed' reference points.
It'd be nice to see a 'sand slinger' fill the trench with 6" of sand....
hopefully you CAN get bucket loads of sand there and just easily shovel into the trench ?
 

racerboy

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B2601
May 10, 2021
55
27
18
NJ
hmmm.. hope that's NOT your weeping tile in the trench......!!!
I 'found' a 3" one last week..pretty sure it was for a gutter on the house. It was FULL of silt,so not 'mission critical'.
Take lots of pictures from 'fixed' reference points.
It'd be nice to see a 'sand slinger' fill the trench with 6" of sand....
hopefully you CAN get bucket loads of sand there and just easily shovel into the trench ?
That black tube is connected to the downspout coming off the corner of the shop. I didn’t realize it was there and may have damaged it. I’m going to inspect it a bit closer today and will replace it if it’s damaged. Not sure where it emptied out.
 

AndyM

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BX25DTLB
Sep 21, 2016
374
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Vancouver Island Canada
This has been a timely thread for me - very useful. I am concerned that my 50 year old oil boiler may be nearing its end of life and getting a new oil system is out of the question around here. Looking at options but lean to propane as the only real viable, reliable option.
 

DustyRusty

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BX23S
Nov 8, 2015
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If your oil burner is 50 years old, it has long outlived its useful life and is most likely very inefficient. I went with a tankless propane boiler and hot water-to-air heat exchangers when I upgraded about 5 years ago. Now I wish that I had considered installing heat pumps with the boiler as backup heat. Today there are so many options to choose from you will need to spend some time educating yourself. Most HVAC companies look for the easiest and fastest way to get a project done, and it isn't necessarily the best and most economical way to heat the home. Also, since you have a 50-year-old oil burner, you probably have insufficient insulation to keep the heat in. Have your local utility supplier do an energy audit on your home. Most will do this free of charge and make recommendations on how to upgrade in the least expensive way. I found that I was losing a lot of heat through the second-floor ceilings and the most economical way to stop that heat loss was to use spray foam insulation on the underside of the roof deck. This has made a big improvement in lowering our energy bills. Now, if I only could get my wife to turn off some lights when she leaves the room. In some places, I have converted normal switches to motion-detecting switches and twist timers.
 

AndyM

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BX25DTLB
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If your oil burner is 50 years old, it has long outlived its useful life and is most likely very inefficient. I went with a tankless propane boiler and hot water-to-air heat exchangers when I upgraded about 5 years ago....
Thanks for the input - advice arrives tomorrow to outline some options. I did read a little on the tankless heater but need to know more. The heat pump is what gets pushed (and subsidized) around here but I have only seen one that works with a boiler set up and they don't work when it gets cold (I'm told). So we will see what the expert says...
 

The Evil Twin

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L2501
Jul 19, 2022
587
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Virginia
I don’t have a dedicated standby-generator or Auto-Transfer-Switch… but have a large contractor-type gen and manual patch-cord (suicide cord)… But from time to time I’ve considered going Dedicated…
I didn’t lend too much consideration to the fact that ALL propane would have to be delivered ….and in case of long-term outage or bad weather …that the delivery truck would be the only source…
… BUT… I could probably always obtain diesel on-my-own….and I do already have a diesel storage tank out here which is transportable when I re-fill it.

Thanks for the responses… makes me reconsider the fuel choice.
If you are without power the gas stations probably are too. So you would need to manage diesel just like you would have to manage propane. With a 500 gallon tank of propane you have several days worth a fuel. If you could keep your power consumption down then a week plus is not out of the question.
Thanks for the input - advice arrives tomorrow to outline some options. I did read a little on the tankless heater but need to know more. The heat pump is what gets pushed (and subsidized) around here but I have only seen one that works with a boiler set up and they don't work when it gets cold (I'm told). So we will see what the expert says...
Heat pumps shine above 35°f. The btu per $ is high in mild climates. When you go south of that they lose efficiency proportional to temp. Mostly because they go into defrost mode more often. I don't recall it getting bitter cold in Vancouver. So if your weather is rarely below 20° then a HP should suffice. Humidity is another consideration. If it's more humid then frost will form faster and require more defrost cycles.
If you can swing a HP + gas furnace, I would. I've done that in two homes. First one paid for itself in a few years. I also like having a 2nd source of heat should one fail. Granted, they use the same fan but I can get one of those in a couple hours if needed.
If you have questions about what they tell you let me know. I've worked for Trane for the last 20 years.
 

AndyM

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BX25DTLB
Sep 21, 2016
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Evil, thanks - I will take you up on that offer!

We are on the Vancouver Island - it's rarely down to 20 F but does get there on occasion. We are VERY humid. Natural gas is not available to us or it would be my choice as I had it for years and liked it.

I don't see how heat pumps work with water baseboards so that may be a limitation. I also like having a non electric heat source so we don't have to rely on hydro - we do get a lot of tree fall outages in our area. Wood burning as a supplement is a problem (Lisa has trouble with it).

So, we shall see what he says...
 
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The Evil Twin

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L2501
Jul 19, 2022
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Virginia
Evil, thanks - I will take you up on that offer!

We are on the Vancouver Island - it's rarely down to 20 F but does get there on occasion. We are VERY humid. Natural gas is not available to us or it would be my choice as I had it for years and liked it.

I don't see how heat pumps work with water baseboards so that may be a limitation. I also like having a non electric heat source so we don't have to rely on hydro - we do get a lot of tree fall outages in our area. Wood burning as a supplement is a problem (Lisa has trouble with it).

So, we shall see what he says...
They make air to water heat pumps. Not sure how efficient they are. LP backup is an option. That's what we have now. Less than 35 and the propane runs.
Let me know what they say. Happy to help if I can.
 

DustyRusty

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BX23S
Nov 8, 2015
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You hadn't mentioned that you have baseboard heat. I would get a propane boiler that will handle your home. You can also break it into different zones depending on how it was originally piped. With PEX piping, it is quite easy to zone the home if your contractor is talented and can get creative in plumbing.
 
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GeoHorn

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If you are without power the gas stations probably are too. So you would need to manage diesel just like you would have to manage propane. With a 500 gallon tank of propane you have several days worth a fuel. If you could keep your power consumption down then a week plus is not out of the question.

Heat pumps shine above 35°f. The btu per $ is high in mild climates. When you go south of that they lose efficiency proportional to temp. Mostly because they go into defrost mode more often. I don't recall it getting bitter cold in Vancouver. So if your weather is rarely below 20° then a HP should suffice. Humidity is another consideration. If it's more humid then frost will form faster and require more defrost cycles.
If you can swing a HP + gas furnace, I would. I've done that in two homes. First one paid for itself in a few years. I also like having a 2nd source of heat should one fail. Granted, they use the same fan but I can get one of those in a couple hours if needed.
If you have questions about what they tell you let me know. I've worked for Trane for the last 20 years.
Quite right….that a “wide-area” outage would subject one to similar acquisition/delivery-problems… but the types of outages I’ve experienced in the past have not been area-wide or state-wide… they’ve been localized to only a portion of the county…. so diesel appears to me to have the advantage of being less dependent upon a delivery-service in those situations.
This quickly becomes a moot point in my view…. spending Ten-Large for a permanent standby generator to maintain for years….to deal with the hypothetical mere inconvenience of a two day or even a two-week outage is silly.
I’ll probably just stick with my contractor-generator and suicide cord to keep the refrigerators/freezers and lights/fans on. (Besides…if things really go “nuclear” … I can throw that portable generator in the back of the truck along with the “bug-out-bag” of food/ammo when I head for the hills.)
 

AndyM

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BX25DTLB
Sep 21, 2016
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Evil - the air to water is really the same as the Hydronic system? How does the propane figure in? As a separate back up somehow that is linked to the air to water system?

DustyRusty - yup, oil boiler feeding water baseboards. I didn't mention before I also have in-floor radiant heat in the shop so a boiler is a must.

GreensvilleJay - thanks for the lead - I did look at something like that but, at that time, it involved replacing the baseboards with small radiators. I will have another look.

My scheduled expert called to say they no longer do boiler work (a little surprise as I had indicated that right up front - welcome to Vancouver Island). She recommended "mini splits" as an alternative but was quick to point out the limitations.

So, I am back to square one. Oil is likely impossible to get approved here, propane has some in house resistance (danger zone) which leaves an electrical boiler (expensive to run I know). Maybe I will be lucky with the hydronic heat pump idea...

I did get a lead on someone that does boilers so we shall see.

racerboy - sorry - not trying to hijack your thread!
 
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ctfjr

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L3800HST
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fwiw I have some experience in hvac systems also.

Gas fired boilers are available with very high efficiencies ~95%. The downside? You need a competent mechanic who is trained on them AND a readily available parts supply. You might consider a simpler, less efficient unit for the tradeoff of reliability.

50 year old oil fired boiler? Really not much less efficient than what is sold for today's oil boilers. Probably in the range of 80-85% efficient.

Minisplit heat pumps? Ahh some interesting options here. There are some VERY efficient systems available by many manufacturers. As others have noted the efficiency drops as the outside temps drop. That said there are units available today that will operate well below 0 def F. One advantage of multiple minisplits is if one goes down, the others are unaffected. Of course it would mean abandoning your hydronic system.

Speaking of heat pumps. . . Perhaps you might take a look at heat pump water heaters.

A lot of choices :) In our state the utilities are offering significant rebates for installation of high efficiency equipment. Its worth looking into.

Good luck!
 

AndyM

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I did find some interesting info an heat pumps that can plug into and existing boiler systems so that is encouraging. And yes there are incentive programs available to convert here. The question is will it work - sounds like there are limits on how much heat is actually on tap.


Then, there the issue of finding a competent contractor willing to do the install.
 

fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
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It's illegal to use Galvanized pipe for Propane or natural gas.
The theory is that galvanization can flake off and plug valves and orifices'.

China black pipe is also illegal for use in any system in the US.

You also can not bury black or galvanized pipe for gas use buy code.
I was also always under the impression that galvanized pipe was illegal for propane, or natural gas.
Apparently not so in Canada, ...... where every government restrictive rule imaginable exists!
8 years ago, my Nova Scotia gas supplier used some galvanized fittings for the hookup.
Supplier/install company was also the inspector.
 

ctfjr

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I did find some interesting info an heat pumps that can plug into and existing boiler systems so that is encouraging. And yes there are incentive programs available to convert here. The question is will it work - sounds like there are limits on how much heat is actually on tap.


Then, there the issue of finding a competent contractor willing to do the install.
That wasn't what I was referring to :) This is a hot water heater that uses a heat pump to generate hot water for domestic use - potable water.
Heat Pump Water Heater

When my daughter moved into a condo several years ago it had an electric water heater and electric 'furnace' (an air handler with electric heating strips in it). We replaced that with a heat pump (not nearly as efficient as you can buy today) and her water heater with one of these heat pump water heaters. Her electric bill dropped in half.