Remember the old catchphrase “now you’re cooking with gas”? Well, if you are an RV’er, you are likely heating, refrigerating, getting hot water AND cooking with gas! In the RV world, gas is a main source of energy to power generators and fuel the appliances necessary for everyday life. While modern RV gas systems are safe compared to the models of the past, there is always some risk involved. Let’s look at some ways to stay safe in the rig.
LPG versus Propane
Essentially, LPG and propane are the same things. LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is also used to describe the hydrocarbons propane and butane, or a mixture of the two. The compounds are similar, but propane is a better performing fuel source at lower temperatures, making it an ideal choice for RV’ers in colder climates. Propane is also likely to contain small amounts of other hydrocarbons such as butane, propylene and butylene. Not only is propane versatile, portable, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly, it’s also a relatively safe energy source for your rig.
Maintenance and Safety
Monitoring and maintaining your rig’s LP-gas system should be at the top of your safety checklist. All fuelling systems have an element of risk, including the possibility of flammable gas leakage. Be sure to inspect all tanks, connectors and hoses regularly for leaks. Read and follow all warning decals and manuals pertaining to your LPG system.
Driving with your propane supply turned off may seem to be a no-brainer, but forgetting to turn your propane tanks off before travelling is one mistake that is easy to make. When filling your tow vehicle with fuel, all pilot lights and appliances with electronic ignition should be shut off because the spark from an electronic ignitor could cause fuel vapours to ignite. Most RV’ers have heard horror stories about vehicles bursting into flames at gas stations. Let’s do everything we can to keep these stories as cautionary tales and not hard lessons learned … or worse.
Propane Detectors and Alarms
While many travel trailers are already equipped with carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, a CO detector can't detect a leak in a propane tank. In addition to other essential safety equipment like fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, you will also need to install a propane or LP gas detector.
Propane gas can leak from stoves, heaters, refrigerators or water heaters. It can leak from any connector on the propane system and can leak from any break in the lines feeding these appliances. If you smell propane, or if your propane leak detector alarms, get out of the RV immediately. Propane gas contains an odorant that smells like rotten eggs or boiling cabbage to assist with early leak detection, often before the alarm sounds.
Propane detectors should be installed and mounted at floor level because propane vapours are heavier than air and will settle to the floor. Propane detectors will sound an alarm when they sense leakage and, if connected to a shut-off valve at the tank, will stop the flow.
Be sure to maintain and check your detectors regularly. LPG detectors will have an expiration date stamped on them by the manufacturer and generally have a life expectancy of five to seven years.
Additional Safety Features
All modern RV propane appliances come equipped with a thermocouple that will shut off the gas if no heat from the burner is detected when the gas valve is open. Other mandatory safety features such as overfill-prevention valves, thermal shut-offs, excess-flow valves and step-down regulators can help prevent serious injury or worse.
Be sure to inspect your tanks regularly for any cracks, dents or signs of rust. Be especially vigilant with tanks and gas lines under the vehicle which are more susceptible to damage from stones, debris and road wear.
When it comes to LPG repairs and installations in the TT, leave it to the pros! Always be sure to hire a licensed professional for peace of mind and everyone’s safety.
With our current climate, many medical professionals and families are self-isolating in their RV’s. It is so important that we help keep them warm, fed and sheltered with everything they need for a safe and secure environment.
RV Part Shop is doing our very best to help our customers navigate these tough times by staying open 24/7 and employing best practices in our warehouses, shipping locations and offices. We are committed to getting you what you need for repairs, maintenance, renovations and more with our fast, free shipping* option to your home or directly to your RV site. Our website is regularly updated with any delays or updates to our standard shipping times. Need help navigating our massive catalogue of items? Contact us today! We have a vast selection of LP Gas Accessories, Parts, Hoses, Fittings, Adapters, Regulators and so much more! Stay safe with our Leak Detectors and Gas Alarms/Detectors.