By Russ and Tiña De Maris
“RVer run over at Tractor Supply!” OK, not literally. But an RVtravel.com reader had her day ruined by overzealous gas-passers at a Tractor Supply outlet in Fort Myers, Florida. Linda W. rolled into the lot with her 2007 Class C motorhome, in need of LP. The outfit’s propane guy told Linda the motorhome’s tank was too old and needed to be recertified. While he did fill the tank anyway, it still left Linda in the lurch. Worried about her tank, she hasn’t been able to find anyone to recertify her motorhome LP tank.
We appreciate it when LP refillers are cautious, and observe applicable laws and regulations. It makes the world just a wee bit safer when somebody takes the time to look out for us. But in this case, the refusal looks to be beyond the law. The reason? There is no requirement to recertify motorhome LP tanks.
Motorhome tanks versus “DOT cylinders”
The misunderstanding may have come from regulations that apply to removable “DOT cylinders.” If you have a towable unit, when it’s time to fill up with propane you can either tow your RV to an LP station, or take the cylinder off the rig and haul it in. Federal regulations require that removable LP cylinders be inspected and recertified once they’ve reached their 12th “birthday.” Depending on how they were last inspected and recertified, you may need to have it done again in as little as five years.
But motorhome LP tanks are an entirely different animal. These guys are more rugged, and are permanently mounted on the chassis. The certification of motorhome tanks is through the ASME – the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. They DO NOT need to be recertified, and will probably outlive the motorhome they’re mounted on.
No need for recertification – but good to inspect
While there’s no need for a recertification, it’s still not a bad idea to give your motorhome tank an annual inspection. Look it over for rust, cracks, scratches, or a potentially leaking valve. But recertify motorhome LP tanks? Nope. We contacted the Fort Myers Tractor Supply to ask them about this incident. The manager we talked with professed no knowledge of the incident. At the same time, she also told us she was too leery of the LP refill process to undertake the job herself. She left it to other employees, whom she says are trained and presumably familiar with the regulations.
How about you? Have you ever had trouble with an overzealous LP pump jockey? We’d love hear about it. Please drop us a line using the form below, and put “LP pumper problems” on the subject line.