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Propane System Training and Certification?

Question asked by lrj-1 on Feb 18, 2019

Hello, does anyone know if any training is required for technicians to work on gas pressure regulators that are attached to a propane line for residential use?  I have a pretty big generator at my home in PA (38 kW) that uses propane to fuel it.  The generator has a Maxitrol regulator attached to the fuel source line which is outside right next to the generator, at ground level.  It converts pressure from 2 psi on the inlet to about 5-11 inches of water column for the generator.  In 2014, the regulator was installed with a copper pipe on the vent in the shape of a candy cane by a technician who said he uses copper pipe all the time on new regulator installs that are outside because the copper pipe is strong vs. using a plastic vent cap which sometimes break, usually by landscapers with power equipment.  A year later in 2015, an electrician was hired to inspect the generator for routine maintenance.  During the inspection, he ended up changing the copper pipe out and replacing it with a plastic vent cap because he felt the copper pipe was inadequate.  The electrician also adjusted the spring setting on the regulator to 9-13 inches of water column where the 13 was outside the manufacturer's prescribed range of 7-11 inches of water column.  We ended up having a "gas pressure fault" condition on the generator causing it to fail to start and eventually the regulator failed and leaked 220 gallons of propane to the air surrounding our house.  This was likely caused by water damage probably from water getting inside the regulator because the plastic cap broke.  It may have also been caused by the spring setting being set too high at 13.  I feel as if the electrician is negligent for his actions and should not have touched the regulator or replaced the copper pipe on the vent, but instead a rep from our propane service company should have been called in to investigate the electrician's concerns about the copper pipe on the vent.  And to make any adjustments to the spring setting.  The copper pipe replacement happened before we bought the house so I was not there to question any of this.  But we were in the house when the regulator failed and we lost 220 gallons of propane.  My concern is if the electrician should have even touched that regulator because he may not have been aware or properly trained on the different types of vents that are used on regulators, or how to adjust the spring setting.  So my question is does anyone know of any training or certification requirements people must first obtain before working on propane systems and equipment like the regulator described here?  And do technicians who work on propane systems have to be licensed?  Does NFPA 54 address this anywhere?  I just can't see how an electrician can be qualified to work on a propane system that involves gas and sensitive equipment like regulators.  Thanks, Lee

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