Several events happened this quarter which have little or no bearing on our home building and repairs, but nonetheless are exciting to some of us.
This year, like last year, Kandy, Mandy, Jessy and I took the grandchildren to the Memorial Day parade in Aiken, South Carolina. As I understand it, there were only three such parades in the entire state.
Waiting for the parade to begin!
Jane’s first parade.
It was exciting!
We were able to park our truck along the parade route and use it for a viewing stand like last year.
The parade was relatively long. It took just over an hour for all of the participants to pass our “reviewing” stand. We saw marching bands, soldiers, firetrucks, politicians, old cars, motorcycles, floats and even a helicopter (on a truck).
As we were watching, a news reporter came by and started chatting with us. He wanted permission to do a story on us! Amazingly, we even made the front page of the Aiken Standard! The story was nice although all of the children are Willis and Debby’s (not Mandy’s as the caption states).
After the parade, we got a little lunch, did a little shopping and then drove back home.
The front page of the Aiken Standard on Sunday, May 24, 2015.
Another event this quarter was Florida finally saw fit to renew my Professional Engineering license. I moved it to retired status a few years ago and decided to reactivate it. After just a dozen or so emails and letters, phone calls spread over a year, I am again a government approved engineer!
Lastly, there is the Indian Roadmaster! Kandy and I got a new motorcycle this past quarter! I am standing behind our bike and in front of the oldest still operating state welcome station in the United States. It is on U. S. 301 on the Georgia side of the South Carolina – Georgia state line.
Bill & Kandy’s new Indian Roadmaster in front of the oldest still operational state Welcome Station in the United States!
The oldest state welcome station was on U. S. 17 just inside the Florida line. It closed when I-95 took the bulk of traffic off U. S. 17.
Although U. S. 301 does not have the traffic it did before Interstates, Georgia is keeping the Sylvania station open. Visit it if you have a chance. The host and hostess do a great job of welcoming everyone.
As always, if you need anything, call us. We can help.
Dielectric Unions … do you have one? You probably need one.
A dielectric union is a device that electrically isolates a propane tank from the lines going into a house (among other things).
It is needed (and now required) to prevent galvanic corrosion to the LP tank. Tank corrosion is minimized by a sacrificial bag or two of anode materials (usually magnesium). Any electrical currents are then diverted to the anode material and the tank is protected.
Anode bags under a propane tank. Notice the ground wires connecting the anode bags to the tank.
Typically, the standards call for one 17 pound anode bag for a 500 gallon tank and two for a 1000 tank. You can usually see a heavy green ground wire at the top of the tank near the regulator and shut off valve. This wire is the connection to the anode bags.
If there is no electrical isolation then the anode has to protect the tank and all of the lines going into the house. Magnesium is relatively expensive, so the installers use a guide to protect the tank. Dielectric unions have been recommended for a good while, but are now required by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).
Another issue that arises is if a copper line is run to the steel tank, the dissimilar metals (copper and steel) could cause the tank to corrode in spite of the anode protection. A dielectric union protects against dissimilar metals also.
Dielectric unions also offer additional protection against lightning strikes where CCST (corrugated Stainless steel tubing) is used. CCST (usually it has a yellow covering on it) is very commonly used here in the lowcountry.
What if you don’t have a dielectric union and don’t particularly want to have one installed? No inspector is going to come by and check on it.
The most likely risk is that you tank will develop corrosion much faster than it would normally. Keep in mind, the ground is very wet here in the low country and moisture also contributes to corrosion. Tanks are coated to “prevent” corrosion, but if the coating is scraped or cracked, that opens up an area for corrosion. Once the corrosion gets deep enough, you have a leak in your tank and lose your propane.
Losing a tank of propane and having a tank replaced is not an inexpensive proposition. Since corrosion can be prevented by verifying you have a dielectric union and anode protection you might consider an inexpensive test of your system.
How often should you have your system checked? If you do have a dielectric union then the other issue you need to check is to verify that your sacrificial anode is not exhausted. It begins being used as soon as your tank is buried. As long as it has some material left, your tank will have protection. When the anode bag is depleted, you have no protection and corrosion is likely to begin on your tank.
It would probably be a good idea to have your system checked soon to verify you do have a dielectric union. If you do, the annual checks (at least after a few years) would be in order. If the anode does get depleted, it can be replaced.
So, how do you know if you have a dielectric union? Call us (843 846 2500). We can arrange for a test and the installation of a Dielectric Union if you need one. They are not expensive nor is the test.
Willis Sinclair Homes is your full-service home builder. Call us. We can help.