RVing can be a great way to travel the country, but there are some things you need to know before setting off into the wild blue yonder.
In this article, we will cover all that you should know about using Propane in your RV.
We’ll show you how to operate your RV when running on Propane safely, what appliances use Propane, and how much of it is for each appliance.
We’ll also give you an idea of how much Propane you might need while traveling around in your RV.
WHAT RV APPLIANCES RUN ON PROPANE
The most common appliance used by RVer’s is their stove or oven. The amount of Propane needed depends on the size of the stove as well as its power consumption.
If you have a small kitchenette, then you may only require 1/2 gallon per day. For larger kitchens, you could easily go up to 3 gallons per day, depending on the type of cooking you do.
Another popular appliance found in many RVs is the microwave. Microwaves usually take between 2 – 4 quarts of gas per hour.
This means if you plan on doing any serious cooking during your trip, you would want at least 6 quarts of Propane.
Most microwaves come equipped with a timer that allows you to set when they turn themselves off automatically after being idle for a certain period.
A few other appliances that people often use include refrigerators, air conditioners, water heaters, etc.These appliances don’t really burn Propane so much as they make hot water from it. They typically use anywhere from 5 – 10 pounds of Propane per month.
IS IT SAFE TO USE PROPANE IN AN RV
The short answer is yes! However, Propane may be flammable. It has, however, been proven not to pose a risk to humans unless exposed to high concentrations over long periods.
There are several precautions you must follow to ensure your health and safety:
- Never leave your stove unattended. Always keep someone nearby who knows where the stove is located.
- Always ventilate the area surrounding the stove.
- Check the pressure gauge regularly.
- Store extra fuel away from children and pets.
- Remember not to smoke near the tank because it can cause damage to the valve assembly.
- Always keep your tank filled above 50% full.
- Never leave your tank unattended.
- Ventilate your vehicle properly whenever you fill it.
HOW MUCH PROPANE ONE NEEDS ON AVERAGE FOR RV CAMPING
If you’re planning on staying somewhere longer than two weeks, you probably won’t need Propane very much.
But if you’re going to be gone for months at a time, then you definitely need enough Propane to last until you return home.
There are different ways to calculate how much Propane you need based on your usage patterns.
One method is to multiply the number of hours you spend cooking by the cost of Propane per hour. So let’s say you cook every night for 8 hours. That equals 160 hours of cooking per week.
Multiplying that times $0.50 per hour gives us 320 dollars worth of Propane per week. Now divide that figure by 52 to get our total monthly requirement.
Here’s another example: Let’s say you cook once a day for 12 hours. That comes out to 240 hours per week. Divide that by 7 days, and you end up with 32 hours of cooking per week or 384 dollars worth of Propane. Again, divide that by 52 weeks, and you get 6.8 gallons of Propane per month or 72.4 gallons per year.
On average, if you’re going to be RVing, you’ll only have to buy around 3/4ths of a gallon of Propane per week. To calculate how many gallons of Propane you need per day for an RV trip, multiply the number of days you plan to travel times 3.7 gallons/day.
So if you’re planning a 2-week vacation, you’ll need 7 x.37 26.6 gallons of Propane. If you’re going to be traveling through areas without access to electricity, this will help reduce the amount of money spent on batteries. However, there are still some things you should consider before buying Propane.
IS IT OKAY TO DRIVE AN RV WITH PROPANE ON?
Yes, but remember always to check the pressure first. Also, never put gas into an empty tank. This could result in a fire.
It’s also important to know which way the valves face when filling your tank. For instance, if the valves face towards the front of the tank, then you want to turn off the pump after filling so that air doesn’t enter the system.
On the other hand, if the valves face backward, then you don’t want to shut off the pump yet. You want to wait until all the bubbles disappear. Once the bubbles stop coming out, you can start pumping again.
The correct orientation prevents siphoning. You want to avoid having any liquid flow back towards the pump. So, make sure you read the instructions carefully.
SAFETY TIPS FOR USING PROPANE IN YOUR RV
As with any other flammable substance, handling propane in an RV calls for a high degree of care and caution. Always read all instructions carefully before starting anything.
Ensure you understand everything about the product, including its purpose, proper operation, storage requirements, hazards associated with improper handling, and other information necessary to operate the equipment safely.
Keep these things in mind when using the Propane in RV:
• Never allow anyone else to start or work on your appliance. Only do this yourself.
• Keep all containers containing gasoline locked securely. Store them outside and far remote from buildings, vehicles, and people.
• Do not light cigarettes or cigars inside your house or car. Do not smoke near flammable materials such as curtains, rugs, furniture, etc.
• Make sure children cannot play where fuel vapors may accumulate. Never store fuels next to foodstuffs.
• Store fuel away from heat sources like stoves, ovens, space heaters, water heaters, furnaces, hot pipes, radiators, wood-burning devices, candles, lamps, pilot lights, electric motors, welding torches, etc.
• Be careful when working around engines and electrical systems. Use extreme caution when moving heavy objects. Wear protective clothing and eye protection.
• Before fueling, inspect the engine compartment thoroughly. Check fuses, wires, hoses, belts, spark plugs, oil level, coolant temperature, battery condition, etc. If there are problems, have them repaired immediately.
• Before fueling, disconnect the power source to ensure no short circuits exist. Disconnect ground wire too.
• Check fluid levels prior to fueling. Fill only up to manufacturer recommendations.
• Dispose of used fuel responsibly by following local regulations.
• Inspect the area surrounding the RV periodically during daylight hours. Be alert for leaks, spills, fires, sparks, explosions, odors, etc.
HOW TO SWITCH PROPANE TANKS ON RV
If you need to change from one type of tank to another, here’s how to do it safely.
1) Open the regulator valve fully before switching tanks. This allows air to flow through the system and purges out any remaining gas inside the old tank.
2) Remove the hose clamp at the end of the new tank’s connector fitting.
3) Connect the two fittings. Make sure they fit snugly.
4) Tighten the hose clamps around both connections.
5) Start the motor and let the unit idle for about five seconds.
6) After five seconds, release the brake handle.
7) Slowly pull away from the tank as far as possible without damaging anything.
8) Let the unit sit still for several more moments.
9) Release the brake handle, then gently push down on the tank. It may take some effort, but eventually, the tank will move forward.
10) Once the tank has moved forward enough to clear the rear bumper, stop pushing.
11) Repeat step 9 until the tank clears the front bumper.
12) Continue pulling the tank toward the next connection point.
13) Stop when the tank reaches its final destination.
14) Reattach the hose clamps and tighten them securely.
15) Test the operation of the tank by running the motor briefly.
If everything works correctly, shut off the engine and disconnect the fuel lines.
16) Disconnect the hoses from the connectors.
17) Unscrew the tank caps and replace them with their respective lids.
18) Replace the tank caps and tighten them firmly.
19) Run the engine for 10–20 seconds to ensure there are no leaks.
20) Check the level of liquid propane in the tank. A good rule of thumb is 1/2 inch per gallon.
21) Reconnect the fuel lines and test the system.
Propane is a great alternative energy source for RVs because it burns cleanly and efficiently. However, it does have certain risks associated with it. If used improperly or carelessly, these risks could cause serious injury or even death.
The amount of Propane used for RVing varies depending on your lifestyle and preferences. Most people find that between 2 gallons and 4 gallons is sufficient for most trips. Switching propane tanks is easy but be sure to follow the right criteria.