Question About Pressurized Gas Tank Security
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:23 PM   #1
flc
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Question About Pressurized Gas Tank Security


One thing I've never seen in the discussions about pressurized C02 setups is what people do to keep them from getting knocked over and breaking off their regulators or fracturing the tank itself. Is that because the pressure and volume of homebrew CO2 tanks is much less than what you see in welding gasses? The tanks are made of something more resilient than cast iron? Falling smaller tanks don't hit with as much force as a much taller and heavier welding gas tank? Something more simple, like people just haven't considered it?

Here's why I wonder: I've worked with some fairly exotic organisms over the years that utilize fun stuff like acetylene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and hydrogen sulfide. As a result, I've had to deal with more tanks and tank leaks than I want to remember. Welding supply sized tanks are frequently made out of cast iron and can be several decades old (making them very brittle and prone to fracturing). Ignoring the toxic effects of any contents, just the gas escaping alone is enough to have the tank take off like a rocket- which is more than enough to level a house. I can't imagine a five pound tank taking off wouldn't at least punch through a few walls, especially in a wooden frame house.

Last edited by flc; 12-10-2012 at 06:29 PM.. Reason: punctuation
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:20 PM   #2
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DOT3AL Aluminum Cylinders or
DOT3A Steel Cylinders are Pretty Fricken Safe

If you have a Cast Iron Cylinder it is illegal and should be destroyed.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
One thing I've never seen in the discussions about pressurized C02 setups is what people do to keep them from getting knocked over and breaking off their regulators or fracturing the tank itself.
There are few thread about securing CO2 cylinder tank.

I use a wide velcro strap designed for earthquake. I screw it on the wall with nuts and washer. pretty simple and quick to do.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:47 PM   #4
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I have a wall mount with a tie down strap. Put a block of wood beneath the cylinder to level it out.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:26 PM   #5
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Thick rope ties my cyl to a stand leg, and another to my workbench. And we wouldn't be able to refill or swap a cylinder that hasn't been hydrotested in the last 5 years, so a cast iron tank isn't a possibility.

I've seen many reg pics that have cylinders secured in a variety of ways. Furthermore, our cylinders are usually under the tank, in an enclosed space, which makes accidentally knocking a cylinder over less likely (which is not a reason to *not* secure a cylinder).

I appreciate your concern, however. Though I believe you've overlooked a number of threads on it and many many individual posts, as well as pics of properly secured cylinders. Then again, there are still probably plenty of people who don't bother, so this particular thread is still useful
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:48 PM   #6
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Chain it to the wall with hook/eye screwed into studs.

or chain it up inside the tank cabinet. the main thing is to have it out of the way where it cant get knocked over.

Ive seen them get knocked over however, where the 20lb co2 was hooked up to a keg of beer. all that happened was the gauge on the regulator busted open but it didnt blast off or anything. I think the possibility of that happening is over exaggerated. these things are pretty tough
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:35 PM   #7
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I used to work in sales for a large national gas supplier. Tanks are either aluminum or steel. The aluminum has the advantage of light weight but its lifespan of service cannot compare to steel. Steel tanks are not cast iron, tanks are made by taking a solid billet of steel or aluminum heating them up and using a die are formed . All gas cylinders in the United States are regulated by a governing body called CGA /containerized gas association. They stipulate valve connections on all tanks, regulators and working and fill pressures. They set rules for service and filling of gases so you cannot take your Co2 regulator and hook it up to grandpas oxygen tank. Tanks whether aluminum or steel are hydro tested after so many years of service. It means that a gas company will not fill the tank without the tank passing. It is a metal ductility test that measures displacement under pressure. Every tank will have its last hydro test date stamped on it just below the valve on the cylinders collar. Hydro test dates vary depending on the type of gas and cylinder. Co2 will not cause an explosion, it is a liquid state in your cylinder and it is actually used in many fire suppression systems. Each cylinder valve also has a safety valve built into it. That means if the gas in the cylinder exceeds safety valves pressure rating it will release the contents of the cylinder. Even you're propane tank for your grill has a safety valve release. DOT regulates how gasses are shipped. This means that they have many redundant safety items in place. Accidents will always happen. Use common sense and you will be fine. Keep your full gas cylinders upright. Chain or strap your cylinder if it will be in a place that it could be knocked over. Leave your car window slightly open when you have cylinders in your car. Co2 is an odor less color less gas. It is an asphyxiant. Leak check your connections every time you connect. When you open the cylinder valve on any tank, turn the valve slowly and look away. Is your regulator missing gauge covers? Not reading correctly or rusting? Don't use it. Ask your gas supplier if they do repairs, they can often give you an estimate free of charge. Or check the forum, several members build regulators and setups. If the cylinder falls, it's fine, as long as the valve has not been damaged. If the stem cracks/sheared off, just get out of the way. Let the cylinder release its contents before taking a look at.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:12 PM   #8
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I learned during commercial shipping days that when you open the valve on a pressurized cylinder, you should open it all the way then back it off half a turn. That way, if you need to close the valve, accidentally screwing it the wrong way will not jam it into the upper valve housing and lock it in place.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:24 PM   #9
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Yowza! I never really thought of securing my tank. It is, as mentioned above - under my tank in an enclosed space. It's also kind of packed tight in there with supplies and canister filter that would make it difficult for it to actually fall.

So... I hate to ask but are there horror stories of people from here who have had their tank fall, regulator knock off, and then have an explosion?
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etgregoire View Post
Yowza! I never really thought of securing my tank. It is, as mentioned above - under my tank in an enclosed space. It's also kind of packed tight in there with supplies and canister filter that would make it difficult for it to actually fall.

So... I hate to ask but are there horror stories of people from here who have had their tank fall, regulator knock off, and then have an explosion?
It can happen, albeit that's rare.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejEJGNLTo84

Secure that tank. It's easy and gives you peace of mind.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:34 PM   #11
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!!!
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:44 PM   #12
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They are pretty easy to strap down. I never did with my 20lb as it was tucked into a tight space and it really had no where to go. Now with a 5lb, it's much more "tipsy" as the tank is way lighter (both the obvious size difference and my 20lb was steal, my 5lb is aluminum) so the regulator makes it more top heavy.

I would just use a metal strap, similar to what you find with a water heater, just thinner. You can find actual brackets as they are used both commercially, and many people use them in off road vehicles to fill tires. Brackets look better but are expensive.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:44 PM   #13
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Thanks for the responses.

If I read them correctly, it's a combination of:
1) Commercially available tanks are made of more resilient materials than cast iron.
2) Securing tanks is still important, although it's not something people always consider.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:51 PM   #14
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One thing to remember that the smaller CO2 tanks may be perfectly stable on their own, even with a regulator attached, when the tank is full. But when the tank begins to empty out they can easily become top heavy and tip over. The chance for a catastrophic release of gas is minimal. The chance for it to damage the regulator or solenoid is pretty fair.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:21 PM   #15
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i have a metal stand and my tank is secured via very heavy duty zip ties. i think they are 3/4" width. i do a LOT of welding at my job and we go through tanks left and right. we have had tank fall and crash but never lost a valve. in fact, we needed to remove a valve on an empty tank that was getting scrapped, and you would not believe the amount of force it took to remove it. of course, the oddities do happen. watch a few episodes of mythbusters like texas posted, they do all kinds of stuff to them and always end up using explosives to get a detonation.
oh, and another note, while they used to be constructed using heat and dies, most tank manufacturers now use and extrusion process which results in a much stronger tank
i have had a paintball tank blow out on me. scared the crap out of my wife, but i never flinched. it wasn't my first rodeo
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