OA tank storage in a garage?
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  1. #1
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    OA tank storage in a garage?

    Well, I searched around and couldn't find anything on this, so I figured I'd ask.

    I've seen what can happen when an oxygen or acetylene tank goes boom...didn't like seeing the effects at a distance and would like it even less up close.

    So my question is how would one store these tanks to meet the optimum level of safety? In my case the storage is actually in a shop/garage.

    I've dealt with some lower grade explosive in the past and the facility they were stored in had blast direction containers (1/4" plate steel closets bolted into the concrete with one weak side made of thinner sheet metal). The weak side faced out to a no-go zone which was well labeled. The intent was that in the event of a fire or other problem, the firemen and any employees new that they didn't want to be anywhere near the no-go zone since the blast would be directed out that way.

    Would this be an appropriate method to store OA tanks?

    I know the normal rules, secured tanks, regulators removed when not in use, valves closed, caps on, etc...

    I was just thinking about what would happen if for some reason there was a fire in my garage...figure my OA tanks would do a hell of a lot of damage.

    Any ideas? Opinions? Proven methods by which to store the tanks in a manner that will reduce overall damage to the area in the event of a fire?

    --Wintermute
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  2. #2
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    The valve of an oxygen cylinder has a bursting disc, that will allow the cylinder to release its contents before the tank explodes. the acetylene cylinder has fuseable plugs that are made of the same material as the safetys on a sprinkler system and will allow the gas to escape and burn rather than explode in case of a fire. The most likely scenario that will cause a cylinder to explode is a flash back, which can be prevented with the use of flash back arrestors or if some one strikes an arc on a cylinder.
    If you are concern about an explosion due to leaking gas due to a valve left open or defective hose etc, then store the cylinders outside in a open cage.

  3. #3
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    I didnt go as far as a blast shack, but I built a lean to on the side of shop and ran my hoses in through a bulkhead fitting, Saves a little room in the shop, looks cleaner, and at least if there is an issue due to a leaky cyl or the like, it's vented outside (wont buildup in the shop).
    Just another clown trying to be cool

  4. #4
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    When I ordered my utility body I had the option to go with bottle mounts in one of the tall compartments I was having done. The big difference was that vent louvers would need to be added if I planned to store the Acet. in the enclosed box. I did not need to be concerned with storage of O2 or any other HP gas from what the body rep was telling me in an enclosed box, only the acet. I would assume thats so if there is a leak, acet. fumes can vent.

    I do know that my Fire Marshal has issues with me storing my Acet cylinders in the garage, but then he has issues with me having any gas cylinders at the house, regardless of size, except O2, supposedly including propane for my grill outside!
    .



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  5. #5
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    So it should be fine to build a small attached structure with venting on the outside of my shop/garage and store the tanks in there? Should I separate the O from the A (in other words, two separate small attached structures, one for each type of gas)?

    Also, any recommendations on feeding the connections through into the garage:

    Should I just have holes through for the lines or should I put a bulkhead fitting in which will attach to the tanks on one side and allow my regulators to attach on the other (if so, anyone have a source available to get this kind of fitting)?

    In one of the other posts I saw that very cold temps can cause problems as well. Would it be an issue if the temp is below freezing or is it okay as long as it's above 0F?

    Thanks again guys. I appreciate it.

    --Wintermute
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  6. #6
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    I believe OSHA now wants a barier between the acet and O2. That said I don't see many guys with carts with divider plates.

    You shouldn't have that much of an issue storeing them in a shed if you want. You can always just leave them on a cart and roll them out when needed if you choose.

    Even though I mentioned above the Fire Marshal doesn't like my tanks, That doesn't really stop me from keeping them in the garage. They just wandered off for a few days when he had to do his inspection, and then the migrated back later. I do try and keep them so they aren't standing in the front of the shop however.

    As far as running the lines thru the wall, I'd just use a close nipple and plastic caps thats used for electrical instanlations. we use them all the time to do hose routings and electrical connections with medical work. The idea is to be sure there isn't a sharp edge that can cut the hose. If you want to get super fancy Western makes everything you can imagine to do manifolds for O2 and acet. The tech school has exterior O2 and acet banks with interior regs at the cutting stations and O/A booths. That cost then a good chunk of change I'll bet over having to roll in tanks on carts like they used to a few years ago.

    .
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

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  7. #7
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    The requirement for a barrier between tanks is when they are not connected ( regulators and hoses attached. A 20 minute fire wall is OSHA requirements, local code may require more. A 3/16" thick mild steel wide enogh and tall enough so that there is no line of sight between the cylinders has been used in the past to comply with OSHA. REMEMBER: Local codes can be different and take priority over OSHA if they are more restrictive than OSHA.

  8. #8
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    The only thing you didn't mention is testing your set up with soapy water. Do you park a car in the garage? Does the garage have a roof vent and/or water heater? Usually propane is the more dangerous of the two.

  9. #9
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    i currently store my oa bottles in the garage, on a cart(very heavy, very stable),with regs on. i always roll it outside to cut or weld. am planning to relocate them to outside storage just in case something leaks on the acet. i bought a plastic gardentool storage shed to keep the equipment sheltered, but want to add a vent in case the acet does leak. is acet lighter than air or heavier(should i put the vent at bottom or top?hope op doesnt see this as a hijack..
    on another note, osha does not apply everywhere.i think there are some dollar limits on the work ongoing below which no osha, also osha cant touch hobbyists .

  10. #10
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    Nope, not a highjack at all.

    Honestly, the way I see it, the guys on here who do this for a living have a heck of a lot more experience then those of us who work on things for ourselves. I started the thread so that I could get a good idea of what the best way to store my tanks was that would leave my property and my butt intact in the event of a fire or other catastrophe.

    More safety information for more people is always good...if it comes from a thread I started, I'll just be happy that the information was delivered and helped to protect some life and property.

    --Wintermute
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  11. #11
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    Quote Originally Posted by weldbead View Post
    is acet lighter than air or heavier(should i put the vent at bottom or top?

    on another note, osha does not apply everywhere.i think there are some dollar limits on the work ongoing below which no osha, also osha cant touch hobbyists .
    [EDIT]Acetylene is lighter than Oxygen (Acetylene has a molar mass of 26.04 while Oxygen is 15.9994 times 2 =~ 32).[/EDIT]

    As for whether or not OSHA applies...the way I see it is that OSHA regulations are meant to protect your butt when at work...I don't see any reason that I would not want to protect my butt all on my own at home, and if they have already done the study, analysis and defined the safety requirements, I might as well use theirs at home.

    --Wintermute
    Last edited by wintermute; 01-27-2010 at 04:50 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    Acetylene is slightly lighter than air. Natural gas is quite a bit lighter than air.
    Neither tend to float up quite like hydrogen or helium (they're not light enough), and can still mix pretty easily with air. Vent location won't matter too much with these.
    [edit] I just saw the post above this one, after I posted this . . . Oxygen has an atomic weight of 16, however, its molecular weight (which is what is used to approximate its density) is 32, since it is diatomic (O2) in nature.[end edit]

    Propane is much heavier than air, and will pool (but can mix, it all depends on how much air flow there is). Butane, is even heavier still, and is more likely to pool. These should probably be vented at the bottom, however more importantly, they should not be stored near a basement/crawlspace window, or in a building that has a basement.

    Soapy water is good for testing for fuel gas leaks, but probably isn't oxygen safe. I look for oxygen-safe bubble liquid. It does exist, but not all leak detection liquids are O2 safe.

    I have a hook on my torch cart, and a short length of chain screwed into the wall. When I park the cart near the wall, I hook the chain, and now its impossible to tip.
    Last edited by rlitman; 01-27-2010 at 04:46 PM.

  13. #13
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    Quote Originally Posted by rlitman View Post
    [edit] I just saw the post above this one, after I posted this . . . Oxygen has an atomic weight of 16, however, its molecular weight (which is what is used to approximate its density) is 32, since it is diatomic (O2) in nature.[end edit]
    Damn good point I forgot to take that fact into account. I'll edit my post so that it's accurate. Thanks for the correction.

    --Wintermute
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  14. #14
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    ...Your propane shop heater or the gallon of gasoline for your lawn-mower is likely more dangerous than the A/C tanks...
    Dougspair

  15. #15
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    ...Windex spray is great for finding any kind of gas/air leak....safe for 02 and acet....
    Dougspair

  16. #16
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    I would highly question whether or not Windex is o2 safe. It contains Isopropanol which can react with oxygen to produce unstable peroxides (explosive compounds) and it contains ammonia which when reacted with oxygen can produce nitrogen dioxide (poisonous). Nitrogen dioxide can react with the h2o in windex to produce nitric acid.

    I really wouldn't recommend utilizing Windex to test for leaks in oxygen lines unless someone can work out all of the chemistry involved and the testing necessary to actually approve it as an o2 safe compound.

    As for the danger of acetylene, I've seen what happens when a structure is filled with acetylene from a leaking cylinder...once a spark was initiated it was quite impressive and terrifying. I don't think a gallon of gasoline would send most of my shop out in high velocity chunks all over the neighborhood...but I know that the acetylene can.

    --Wintermute
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  17. #17
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    The gallon of gasoline you're less afraid of, has a lower Lower Explosive Limit than acetylene, which means that its vapors can explode starting at a lower concentration, although acetylene has a significantly higher UEL, so acetylene can explode, with only small amounts of air available. The gasoline is probably more dangerous (and if it were to get atomized, its certainly FAR more dangerous).
    Actually, butane is a large constituent of gasoline, especially in winter blends.

    Totally agreed in the windex. The alcohol is NOT oxygen safe, and proper leak solutions also make much bigger and better bubbles.

    BTW, Wintermute, I'm not sniping at you here.
    Nothing personal. Just that the gasoline scares me much more. Have a look at:
    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ex...its-d_423.html
    I keep my gasoline and oil based paints in a flammable liquids cabinet, outside of my garage.
    I keep several acetylene bottles inside, although once I can come up with a way to store them dry, secure, and out of the sun, outside, I'll probably only keep the one bottle on the cart inside. By my math, in my poorly ventilated 2 car garage, if a single B tank fully emptied, it would not have enough gas volume released (from the maximum of 40CF inside), to reach the LEL, after it has fully dissipated throughout the garage.
    That would take roughly 100CF of acetylene.
    Last edited by rlitman; 02-07-2010 at 12:56 PM.

  18. #18
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    Quote Originally Posted by rlitman View Post
    The gallon of gasoline you're less afraid of, has a lower Lower Explosive Limit than acetylene, which means that its vapors can explode starting at a lower concentration, although acetylene has a significantly higher UEL, so acetylene can explode, with only small amounts of air available. The gasoline is probably more dangerous (and if it were to get atomized, its certainly FAR more dangerous).
    Actually, butane is a large constituent of gasoline, especially in winter blends.
    I would still say the acetylene is more dangerous from an unintended explosion standpoint. Stored in a flamable liquids storage container in the garage, the gasoline is in all likelihood much safer than even a smaller tank of acetylene (for one, the gasoline would have to have some intervention to be atomized into the air all at once...in otherwords, don't store it in your paintsprayer ).

    The LEL of the acetylene in relation to the total cubic feet of your workspace will only matter if it has enough time to disperse throughout the entire space prior to any ignition source being provided.

    I would agree that gasoline is just as (if not more) dangerous than acetylene *if the gasoline is atomized into the air*. However, the chances of the gasoline being atomized into the air (unless you or someone else does it with intent) are probably really really really slim.

    --Wintermute
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  19. #19
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    Wintermute, if you think gasoline has to be atomized to ignite, try sprinkling some on bare ground some calm, cool day. Wait about 2-3 minutes then throw a lighted match near the area the gas is on.That's what vaporization does.
    Mike
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  20. #20
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    Quote Originally Posted by mla2ofus View Post
    Wintermute, if you think gasoline has to be atomized to ignite, try sprinkling some on bare ground some calm, cool day. Wait about 2-3 minutes then throw a lighted match near the area the gas is on.That's what vaporization does.
    Mike
    Ohh, I agree...I've done that (well, something pretty close to it). I don't disagree that gasoline is dangerous...just that it's probably not as dramatically dangerous to the rest of the neighborhood and my house (detached from my shop by about 20') as a leaking Acetylene canister is in an enclosed space with ample ignition sources

    --Wintermute
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  21. #21
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    Re: OA tank storage in a garage?

    I'm also thinking of storing my tanks outside to make more room in the garage. However, being in Vegas I'm concerned about the heat in the summers, up to 115 degrees some days. I wanted to store my O/A tanks and Argon/Co2 mix in a shed I plan to construct. Anybody know of temperature limitations of the tanks? I'm taking some classes at the local community college and they store their tanks in a shaded area outside. Any ideas are welcome, thanks.
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