Inspect your propane rubber hoses regularly or risk disaster

7

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
A walk-around of the RV awhile ago caused a “double take” when passing the LP cylinders on the A-frame. The high pressure rubber pigtail — the one that goes between the LP cylinder and the pressure regulator — was blasted apart at the fitting. The parts for the repair were cheap enough, a couple of bucks, but that freshly filled cylinder belched its contents into the atmosphere. Total cost at that time: about $25. Still, that was cheap when compared to “what could have happened.”

I got to head-scratching. How many of us have rubber gas lines with pressed fittings inside our rigs? They’re a popular aftermarket add-on when it comes to installing a catalytic or blue-flame style heater. Simply find a nearby copper gas line, pop open a fitting, screw on that new rubber line and run it out to the new heater. A quick, cheap fix.

I would have to guess that the likelihood of a gas line blasting apart inside your rig like my pigtail did is probably (and hopefully) fairly remote. After all, those gas lines inside the rig should be on the low-pressure side of your regulator and, hence, a whole lot less internal pressure to work against the security of your fittings. But nonetheless, those fittings are due for their fair share of road vibration and wiggling when you move the hose or the heater around. They wouldn’t necessarily have to blast apart like mine did – only develop a minor leak.

The gent that filled up my empty propane container remarked that he’d had the sad experience of watching an RV thrown up in the air like a ragdoll and blasted apart by a propane explosion, leaving two people dead in the aftermath. Some sort of internal LP gas leak had built up and when the unfortunate occupants had tried making breakfast, they unknowingly had already consumed their last meal.

The upshot of this story? Invest in a good LP leak-detecting tool or at least a bottle of soap bubbles. Then, twice a year, maybe when you “change your clocks,” walk through your RV and carefully check each and every gas line fitting, whether on a flexible rubber gas line or on the more solid, factory-equipped stuff. You may not find a leak, but you’ll sleep better knowing you protected yourself and your loved ones.

##RVDT1301
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Steve S.
8 months ago

“Blasted apart”, or just worn out? I would like to see a pic, but if I were in Vegas, I would bet that it was merely worn out. Not to diminish the importance of the situation, but there is a difference between catastrophic failure, and normal failure due to age, wear, and tear. I had a similar problem a few months ago, however, it was not the rubber hose itself, but the fitting where the hose connected to the screw-on connector. I noticed it when I did my monthly maintenance check. Unfortunately I did not have a spare, but since I have a dual regulated system, I was able to use the other tank. I went and bought 2 metal braided replacement hoses, as well as a spare, just in case. Yes, investing in a spray bottle for soapy water is a good idea, and checking fittings should be a part of regular maintenance.

Wandering Wolffs
8 months ago

Our 2019 trailer had a cracked fitting at the end of the main hose to the distribution point to other parts of the trailer. Not one rv place could replace a simple 17 ft LP hose. We ended up waiting until we arrived soccastee sc from Illinois where we were told by the camping world there that the ace hardware could make the hose for us. Go figure. Cudos Ace Hardware!

Tommy Molnar
8 months ago

As an aside here, the ad that showed up along with the story was this:

https://www.green-lp.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhriNhtKX6AIV9wOtBh1wzw8aEAEYASAAEgI_-PD_BwE

It’s an ad for ordering a propane delivery truck. I like having plenty of propane on hand, but not THIS much. 🙂

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
8 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

“Big Brother” is watching, Tommy. Whatever you’re reading or click on, it won’t take long for an “appropriate” ad to pop up from Google. Well, “appropriate” except for maybe the quantity. 😆 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Terry
8 months ago

Bought new TT in 2016 ,the hoses from tank to regulator last three years. They rotted out and were out of direct sunlight in the plastic tank cover . Went with SS Braided ones but think they still are rubber under braiding.

Kevin
8 months ago

Usually I check the hose when changing or filling up our tank.

WEB
8 months ago
Reply to  Kevin

The story is trying to also imply “…walk through your RV and carefully check each and every gas line fitting.”