RV Propane Tanks

One of the advantages of the recreational vehicle lifestyle is the ease by which we can make mobile any aspect of standard housing. RV propane tanks are one of the reasons this transition is so easy. Also known as LP tanks, the liquid petroleum is a relatively inexpensive fuel that meets a variety of uses from a heating fuel to running supplemental motors to provide electricity to your RV. It is easy to refill your tanks at ubiquitous filling stations on the road as well. There is some basic knowledge necessary to prepare you to safely handle your rv propane tanks though.

The most common sizes of LP tanks are twenty-pound and thirty-pound tanks. The twenty-pound tanks are what you commonly see attached to barbecue grills in the backyard. This twenty pounds works out to be a little over four and a half gallons of liquid petroleum. With safety being of utmost importance, be sure to inspect your tank for signs of wear, rust and damage before having it refilled. If there is any doubt as to it's safety or if the refill personnel feel it is an unsafe tank it should be exchanged. It is recommended that your RV propane tanks not be permanently attached to your vehicle. This is because the safest way to refill them is by weighing them, and not using a gauge as when you fill a regular gas tank.

Creative Commons License photo credit: dno1967b

For a quick review, there are a few key aspects that need to be checked regularly on your RV and it's LP system to keep it in safe working order:

  • Check the cylinder. The storage tank should be checked for wear, rust or leaks. If there is any question replace the cylinder.
  • Hoses. Check for dry and cracking hoses. There are minimum pressure requirements that the hoses must meet. Do not try to repair hoses; if a hose needs repair, it needs replacement.
  • Leaks. The entire vehicle should be checked for leaks using electronic leak detectors. These test for small amounts of propane that are being released from the system. This should be an annual test for your vehicle. Due to the safety hazard involved, an open flame should never be used to test for a leak. Something simple like using water on fittings to test for a leak is not recommended either as this could cause rusting of the fittings.
  • Purging the system. Atmospheric pressure builds up within the tank during the normal course of its use. At the end of your traveling season the system should be purged when the vehicle is put into storage for the winter. This will insure the efficiency of the system and help prevent wear during the off-season.

Remember, RV propane tanks are a small part of an overall system. If proper care and maintenance is practiced, then there should be no extreme problems that occur. Keep backup parts and hoses and any problems that do occur can be easily handled. Enjoy your RV experience.

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