How To Stay Safe Using Propane In Your RV

If you own an RV, propane is going to be a big part of your experience. We all take propane for granted and for the most part, it is completely safe and does what it is supposed to do. Your RV uses tanks that are similar to what you might use on your outdoor grill only larger. Propane is used for many appliances in your coach including cooking and hot water. In some cases, it might also power your generator. Like the cylinders you use for your grill, propane tanks on your RV are filled by weight. They are filled to 80% of their capacity as this is required by law. If the tank is overfilled, it may dispense propane through the vent valve if the gas is expanded by heat to prevent damage to the cylinder. It is important to remember that propane is heavier than air so it will always collect at the lowest point which is why a leak can be very dangerous in some instances. In most cases, propane is a very safe fuel to use in your RV.

Propane does not actually have an odor so the smell you get when you have a leak is an added ingredient so you can detect leaks early. One of the main issues with propane on the road is vibrations. When the vehicle is in motion, road bumps can cause fittings to come loose or in some cases even break. This is a major cause of most propane leaks. One thing you can do on your own is the soap test. Apply some dish soap around the joints of your propane fittings and look for any bubbling. Do not always trust your nose as very small leaks may not be noticed by smell alone! Be sure to soap test every single fitting while the Propane appliances are in use. Absolutely under no circumstances should you test for leaks with an open flame! Doing this could cause an explosion.

As I mentioned earlier, LP gas (Propane) is safe when used properly. The gas is actually stored in a liquid state within the gas cylinder. During the manufacturing process, propane is compressed from a gas into a liquid state for storage. The liquefied mixture turns to a gas as it decompresses outside of the cylinder. As with all flammable substances, care must be taken when handling LP gas. Most RV’s should come with an LP gas detector to help sniff out leaks early. If you do not have one, be sure to purchase one. If you do have one, be sure it is working and the batteries are fresh.

If you suspect problems with your propane system and you are not comfortable doing it yourself, get an RV repair shop to check it for you just to be safe. Remember, LP gas can be your best friend and almost always do what it is designed to do safely but you must also respect it.