Over on the Stained Glass forum, someone asked about keeping bulk tanks indoors and this led to an interesting discussion, with several posts made by the moderators of the forum.
And did you see where in the comment section, he says that there have been no incidents involving the bulk propane tanks and hothead torches? I’m inclined to think that he probably sells the dual fuel torches and doesn’t care much for the Hot Head anyway. I’m sure he is a very knowledgeable man, but thousands of lampworkers who use a hot head and bulk propane can’t ALL be brain dead, can they? Even some of the more famous lampworkers use/used Hot Heads with a bulk propane tank.
Actually Tillie, if you look at the Aura Lens website (www.auralens.net) you will see that I DO NOT sell torches of any kind. You are correct in stating that I wrote “there have been no incidents”, but left off the last bit “yet”. Just because it hasn’t happened YET, doesn’t mean it won’t happen EVER.
Next, by Eric:
It is my opinion (good word) that using a bulk tank and a Hot Head torch is the single most dangerous activity a glassworker can do. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
The Hot Head torch is designed to operate at full tank pressure, which averages around 120 PSI. One crack or one cut in your fuel line and your studio will be filled with an explosive level of fuel. The explosive limit on propane is somewhere around 3-4%,(actually the LEL is 2.1%)so in an average sized room, it would not take long for the room to reach that limit. “But I keep my tank inside right next to me” you might say. And keeping your tank right next to you MIGHT save you from blowing up with your house, but it is in violation of the NFPA codes and laws(those codes can not be enforced to homeowners), and if there were ever a fire in your building, most likely your insurance company would not pay for any damage and would probably cancel your insurance policy.
You might also say “But glass distributors sell these hoses all the time”. Yes they do. But once again, that doesn’t mean you should use them. The hoses being sold are for use in RV’s, construction work, and other non-code applications (not true, if it is a NFPA violation, they can’t sell them). Using a bulk tank and a Hot Head torch is flat out DANGEROUS (so is using the small tanks of MAPP gas). There is no safe way to use a bulk tank and a Hot Head torch.
“Can I plumb the fuel line for a Hot Head torch?” NO. NFPA and building codes around the US limit the maximum pressure for a through-the-wall connection to 20 PSI. The Hot Head torch cannot operate at 20 PSI. (again NFPA can not come in your home and tell you what you can and cant do, these rules are for new construction and public buildings and offices)The Hot Head torch is a good beginners torch. You can learn the basics of glassworking with it and build up your experience level. And then move on to a oxygen-fuel gas torch (which is even more dangerous because of the oxygen. It enriches the room with oxygen and makes things burn on a more rapid scale)You will find that using an oxygen-fuel gas torch will be hotter, more focused, and use far less fuel. (and are just as dangerous)And they are miles away more quieter (great English, I bet it more better too).
Eric’s comments are in parenthesis and red. Eric also seems to miss the point of the NFPA codes, which is interesting because he claims to be a fireman. The NFPA codes have been adopted by all 50 states in the US. He is correct that the NFPA is not an enforcement agency, but the local building inspector IS. To say that the NFPA codes cannot be enforced to homeowners is absolutely LUDICROUS! A house cannot be built in the US UNLESS it complies with the NFPA. And post construction, enforcement is additionally done by a building inspector if changes are made to the stucture, and if there is ever an “incident”, by the adjustors of the insurance company. Adjustors hate to have their employers have to pay out on claims, so it is in their best interest to find any reason not to pay a claim. “Oh, look, a 20# propane tank indoors!! With no regulator to control the pressure of the line!!! That’s a clear violation of NFPA!!!!!! So sorry, but because you have violated NFPA rules, we cannot pay for your losses.” The next phone call will be from your mortgage company wanting to be paid in full for a burned out structure.
The RV hoses can be sold for RV purposes. It is when they are used for purposes other than what they were specifically designed for that violates the NFPA codes.
The NFPA codes are not just for new construction, public buildings and offices, they are for ALL types of construction. A fireman should know this.
An oxygen/propane torch is actually safer because the propane is regulated to about 5 PSI. The chances of a hose cut or burn through with a 5 PSI line causing a fire are probably on the order of 1 to infinity against.
And when you stoop to making comments about English usage — well…
I’d like for “Eric the fireman” to fully identify himself, what department he works for in which state, and exactly what his credentials are for being a pundit about propane usage and the NFPA code regulations. I’m sure his captain (if he really is a fireman) would be interested to learn that he is giving incorrect and dangerous information to people and actually encouraging them to violate the NFPA code regulations.