Torch Problems - LPG

Hi All,

I am after some advice on my LPG torch related to various problems
I’ve had with it in recent times.

When I first got my torch I set it up under my house which is a very
dusty environment. I kept finding that if I forgot to cover the
torch tip after use the tip would very quickly become clogged and
require replacement. I also found that partially blocked tips could
still be used even though they didn’t give a very good flame.

Then, at the end of last year I moved all of my equipment to a new
(clean) location. As my budget was once again very tight I
persevered with my old partially blocked tips. Then, a couple of
weeks ago when I was soldering my torch cut out. I relit it and it
cut out again. This continued until I gave up. I picked up my gass
bottle and shook it - it seemed like I had about a quarter of a tank
left. I took my bottle with the torch still attached to my father
to have a look at. When he lit the torch there was no problem - in
fact, he got a better, finer flame than I had ever had on my torch.
He decided that the shaking the bottle had recieved in transit
probably mixed elements in the LPG that had separated into different

When I got the torch back to my studio the flame was bad again and
the cutting out continuous. Finally I decided I would just go get
the bottle filled to see if that solved the problem. When I
unscrewed the torch from the tank something liquidous came squirting
out of the tank - there was probably about a metric cup of liquid on
the floor before it subsided. I don’t know what the substance was
but I had to mop it up - it certainly wasn’t anything that was
behaving like gas. Then my father took the bottle and drained it -
he told me no more of the substance came out.

So, assuming my problems must have been stemming from this
contaminant in the bottle, which was now gone, I went and got the
bottle refilled. However, when I got it back to my studio and
reattached it to the torch I found that the old problems hadn’t gone
away. The flame was still poor and though less frequent, it was
still cutting out. Also, I had a new problem - the torch was really
hard to light.

So, I went and bought a new tip - only to find that it has a poor
flame too. Like I said earlier in this post - I had assumed that the
poor flame meant a blocked tip. As my tip was behaving like the old
tips it set me wondering - maybe the tips were getting blocked from
the inside - from a contaminant in the gas. Or, maybe there is a
blockage in the hose or handpiece that is stopping enough gas from
getting through to the tip in the first place.

Up until yesterday I just kept persevering because I can’t afford to
replace the torch and I can’t think of anything I can do about it.
However, yesterday I went through a whole box of matches whilst
trying to light a new tip on the torch… this was after I’d had no
luck with the gas gun.

I am really hoping someone here might be able to identify my
problem. Also, perhaps, there might be a way to clean the hose and
handpiece? Should I ditch the gas bottle all together and get a new
one? Or, is it too late and time to save up and buy everything

R.R. Jackson

I’ve had a similar problem with my shark type set-up. I use the
small camping gas cannisters. I get the flame cutting out,
difficulty in firing up with the striker and sputtering. When I take
the handpiece apart I find a crumbly beige substance that looks a
little like very fine couscous. I asked the Frei and Borel rep about
it, since it came from them, and they had no idea what was going on.
I regularly clean out the tips and the handpiece and it works

Donna in VA

While I’ve never cracked open the valve on an LP tank with no hose
and torch attached, I believe the LP stands for Liquid Propane, and
that was what spurted out when you opened it. You could verify that
easily by trying it again, but that would be a waste. It could be
anything between the bottle and your tip, though. If you’re certain
the valve seal on the torch is okay, the problem may be in the hose
or regulator. You don’t mention which torch you have, so it’s hard
to troubleshoot. You should consider bringing the entire setup to a
local welding supply to be checked out.

James in SoFl


RR, the joy of LPG… here in Aust. ( and maybe everywhere else)
there is an additive in the LPG which clogs the small air inlets in
the burner heads that jewellers use, and also accumulates in the
hose. When you finish using the torch each day, let the gas in the
hose burn out -e.g. turn off the bottle, but leave the flame going
until it stops -it takes a while with pinpoint burners. Hopefully
this will stop the ongoing problem. To fix your current problem, try
burning the torch heads -no guarantees, but it sometimes works. Just
to make things fun, be aware that the torch heads don’t seem to be
of very high standard, so if you can check one before you buy, that
will help also. Specialist gas shops will do this, not hardware
shops usually.

good luck,
Christine in SA

 LP stands for Liquid Propane, and that was what spurted out when
you opened it. 

She stated that she had to mop it up. If it were propane, I feel
pretty sure it would have vaporized promptly, don’t you think?

I have an idea, but just a small one. Some LPG suppliers add a
desiccating agent to bind any water that gets into the cylinder,
because internal rust is sometimes a problem with LPG tanks due to
water contamination. I have been down that route and only found out
about it when discussing it with Superior propane here in Quebec.
It’s a very fine powder that will pass trough normal orifice burners.

I would suggest changing suppliers, good quality LPG doesn't need

that additive.


    She stated that she had to mop it up. If it were propane, I
feel pretty sure it would have vaporized promptly, don't you think? 

I would have thought so too, but take a look at this link from HSE
(Health and Safety Executive, UK Gov website) if you have Adobe

It mentions the effects of liquid propane.

Another New Zealand site lists effects and first aid for LPG spills
as a liquid, on skin, eyes, etc.

However they do describe an LP spill as boiling and quickly
evaporating (or vaporizing promptly, as you mentioned), which
doesn’t sound like the stuff that she had to mop up. I hope she
posts again to let us know how this problem was solved.

James in SoFl