It was chilly around a recent campfire, but the conversation heated up rather quickly as folks shared their thoughts about propane safety.
Chet began. “I just got a dressing down,” he said. “I took my 30 lb. propane tank to fill it up and was told I needed to transport my filled tank upright. That’s impossible in my small vehicle. I put it in the backseat and as you can see—I survived.”
Rob smiled, “As long as you kept your car window open, you won’t asphyxiate yourself.”
“You should always keep your full propane tank upright!” Rick admonished. “You want to keep the relief valve above the liquid propane. The valve is on the top of the tank to vent gaseous propane. If laid on its side, the valve may vent liquid propane—a potentially explosive situation. Not to mention the possibility of damaging the relief valve.”
Joan added, “I’ve always used a milk crate and some bungee cords to safely transport our propane tank in our pickup truck. You can purchase tank stabilizers or holders, too.”
Other propane safety tips
Here are some propane tips and tricks other RVers shared:
- Tip to find a gas leak. Use dish soap and water to help locate a gas leak. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle or use a rag to apply the mixture to joints, connectors, or pipes. Bubbles will appear where you have a leak.
- Blue is the best color. Propane burners typically produce a blue-colored flame. If you notice a yellow or orange flame, you may have a carbon monoxide or other problem. Ask a qualified technician to come for an inspection.
- Bitter temperatures. It doesn’t take long to run low on propane when temps drop and stay low. Supplement your RV’s propane furnace with space heaters and the RV fireplace (if present). Also, consider insulating windows with foam board and put sofa pillows or RV vent covers over ceiling vents to hold heat inside your rig.
- Don’t run out of propane. Check your propane gauge regularly, especially during heavy usage. If your tank runs dry your pilot light will go out. Also, a propane tank that remains connected to an open gas line can allow moisture or air to seep inside. This may corrode the tank and form rust, which can eventually cause tank leaks. Even if no rust forms, the corrosion can reduce the propane odor (rotten eggs or skunk spray smell).
- Match usage to tank size. If you plan to RV in colder weather, consider purchasing a larger capacity tank for winter months. Many RVers upgrade the propane tank that came with their rig to a larger size. Just measure your RV’s propane storage area carefully to make sure a larger tank will fit.
Know what to do
When used properly, propane is one of the safest fuels available. Still, things can happen. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and those who RV with you:
The smell test. If you detect a rotten egg smell or the smell resembling a skunk’s spray, you may have a propane leak.
If you smell propane. AmeriGas recommends:
- Put out candles, smoking materials, or any open flames.
- Get everyone outside immediately.
- Contact emergency services.
- Do not operate appliances, lights, or cell phones (all these things may cause a spark which can be dangerous).
- If it’s safe to do so, turn off the supply valve to your propane tank by turning the valve clockwise (to the right).
- Return to your RV only after professionals have checked out your propane system and advised that it’s safe for you to use your propane appliances once again.
Can you add tips or tricks to the propane safety list? Please do so in the comments below.