Feel free to call me an idiot as long as you have some ideas of how
to clean my torch so I can use it again (wiser for the moment). I
have some rather stupid mistakes under my belt, thank God I'm still
alive and "hacking" away :)
Liz, don’t feel like an idiot. From my point of view, this doesn’t
seem like the sort of situation everyone else here knows all about
and considers basic knowledge. I suspect many on this list would be
as puzzled as you are, and some have a lot more experience than you
do. So don’t feel foolish. While many of us, me included, are just
in the habit of relieving any pressure in the torch and hose after
shutting off tanks, it’s more habit, and to prevent things like
"popping" when you next light the torch. At least, that’s what I
think of. The notion that propane in a hose should cause the
formation of a gel, is something I’ve never heard of before. Propane
is a gas at normal room pressure and temperature. While it might
react with some things, that normally would not be expected to cause
the propane itself to form any sort of gel, or even liquid. Under
pressure, it liquifies, and in that form is sold as LPG in the tank.
But I wouldn’t expect you to see LPG liquid in the torch hose if the
torch is used correctly, and the tank upright. Forming a goo? I’ve
not heard of it doing that under normal conditions when used with
propane rated hoses.
However, not all hoses are compatible with propane. The types of
hoses normally used as the usual economical type in acetylene
torches, is not usable with propane, as the propane attacks it, and
could soften it. This might turn some of the rubber into something
like your goo, though as I said, I’ve not heard of that before.
Torches running propane need to use a different (more costly,
usually) type of hose that is rated for propane use, which won’t be
attacked. Even with the wrong hose, the risk I’ve heard of before
(which could be incorrect or incomplete) is that the propane can
attack those acetyelene rated hoses, causing cracking and leaks, and
possibly softening of the rubber. I don’t recall anyone ever
mentioning a resulting goo being formed, and with the right type of
hose, this really shouldn’t happen, so far as I’m aware.
My guess is that the hose on your torch is the wrong type for
propane. This seems odd, though, since that torch is sold as being
designed for propane use, and one would expect it to be compatible
and not react negatively with the propane. Apparently, something is
wrong with this expectation.
Without seeing the hose, I can’t tell you whether to trust it, but
I’d suggest two things. First, unless you get good solid accurate
info on this (better than what I know) from the list, you may wish to
ask about this at your local welding supply shop, where they probably
supply propane and other gasses, as well as varied types of torches
and hoses. Those folks should be well versed in potential problems,
and may know what’s going on.
Unless someone can tell you positively that this problem was unique
and won’t reoccur, I’d suggest changing the hose, being sure it’s the
type rated for propane use.