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My Pleasant Hearth liquid propane fireplace (it's either 20k or 30k BTUs) is only a year old. I am using a 100 lb tank attached to a copper line (with a regulator, of course). I live in Maine, so the copper line is wrapped in foam insulation.

The fireplace worked perfectly last winter, but this year it occasionally shuts down entirely--meaning both the burner and the pilot shut off. The pilot comes on again when I re-light it and will continue to stay lit, but if I turn it up high enough for the burner to come on, it runs for less than five minutes and then the whole shebang shuts down again.

I've done most of the troubleshooting--checking air flow, making sure the tank's not empty, all the obvious stuff. Could it be that I need a new regulator? The one I'm using is several years old.

I will be eternally grateful for any and all input!

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  • Was it very cold outside when this happened? Or in the morning after a very cold night? Propane is delivered as a liquid and needs to evaporate (inside the tank) to a gas that gets piped to your home. It takes energy (heat) to do that. Your problem sounds like a supply problem caused by low outdoor temps. You'll probably need to get a "gas guy" to test your pressure while trying to run the fireplace. Sorry, that's the best I can offer. Jan 10 at 15:34
  • Also meant to ask: Are there any other gas appliances in the home? Like a gas range or gas water heater? If so, are they operating normally? Jan 10 at 15:36
  • It was quite cold, and I didn't have the tank covered. No other gas appliances. Thank you very much for your respone! Jan 12 at 17:32
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A 100lb tank? In Winter? In Maine? You are almost certainly overdrawing the tank.

Liquified Propane has to boil to provide you with gas, and it takes heat to do that. The pressure in a propane tank is a direct reflection of the temperature of the propane tank, and they will cool to well below ambient temperatures when boiling hard to meet a high gas demand. Perhaps you've seen frost on a propane tank in the summer at a barbecue? Same idea, but in winter tank temperature can fall low enough that there is inadequate pressure in the tank to supply gas. Figure frost in summer is 50 degrees °F below air temperature, reset the ambient temperature to 10 or 20 °F and the tank is down into the -30 °F and below area where there's very little (or no) pressure.

You need a larger tank, and if trying to use it for winter heat in Maine, a larger buried tank is the best bet, since a buried tank is considerably warmer in winter than an aboveground tank. But simply larger will work, if it's large enough.

There is also a reduction in available BTU/Hr vaporization rate as the fill level in the tank drops (on top of the drop in rate with ambient temperature) so it's possible that it may work better if it's filled more, but a larger tank is the surer cure.

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  • You should also consider replacing the fireplace. Many are NOT rated for heating an waste a large amount of energy creating pretty flames. Often they will have a large plaque on the back stating that they are not intended for heating. An indoor propane space heater is likely a more efficient choice. You also may be able to contact a propane company and sign a rental agreement on a large tank so you don't have to buy it. Jan 10 at 17:51
  • Thank you for the info! Jan 12 at 17:30

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