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RVer asks: Do we have to recertify motorhome LP tanks?

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.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Related

Propane safety made simple – Part 1
More stories from Russ and Tiña De Maris

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Bud nave
1 month ago

The state of okla you have to have a license to fill a tank you are trained to inspect a tank for date and conditions they try to catch you filling one out of date so can fine you and suspend your license I been there they have spies they don’t care how cold you are or how hungry you are

Sally Harnish
1 month ago

This recert deal is a joke if you look at the whole enchilada. Motorhome tanks don’t need to be recertified but look at where they are mounted. Just above road level, just an excellent location for calcium, or any other snow removal chemicals. Running thru, and not realizing a chemical spill, running over an unseen piece of metal, etc. The portable tanks are now only good for ten years and then a five year recert. Problem is our neighbors to the north (Canada) will not accept a US recert. Next screwy situation is the 100 pounders as we call them don’t need to have an OPD valve on them. Go figure.

rvgrandma
1 month ago

Not run into someone saying it needs to be recertified but we have run into places that refuse to fill them because they are not trained or they don’t like that they are attached. No problem – would rather not have someone untrained or unsure than have them do it and something happen.

ChiefW78
1 month ago

Any fueling supervisor/owner/etc worth their “salt” should know/has been trained about LP federal & state DOT regulations and have taught employees or provided training on-site to their employees by the regulators. It is their livelihood at stake as well as everyone’s safety. As far as inspection of your RV, common sense should prevail every time you do anything with your RV, after all how hard is it to walk around, open a tank door, etc.. Have a great trip safely!

BILLY Bob Thronton
1 month ago

Laws (in this area) are made for two reasons; one to “protect” the public, after some gomer…kills a bunch of people, because of a “hold my beer watch this” moment, or because we live in a society that loves government regulations. The article that the on board permanent tanks are “ASME – the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. They DO NOT need to be recertified, and will probably outlive the motorhome they’re mounted on”, is well laughable. Ever look at the tank? You really think it made better than your typical 20 pounder, be serious. The reason those don’t need recertifying is because, who would do it, Your local tractor supply. It’s always hilarious on the reasons. It’s simple, they are too cumbersome, to costly to “recertify”, so, until a sufficient number of RV light up the night sky, your safe to be an idiot and let it denigrate till it fails.

Now, on the serious side, INSPECT the tank, your going to be surprised how rusted it is if your in a northern climate.

Dick and Sandy near Buffalo, NY
1 month ago

I have never been denied filling my Class A LP tank at any Flying J I have been to. However, If I did, I would consult the Manager of the facility and explain that the LP tank in my Class A is not a old removable DOT type propane tank type that does need recertification. It is a permanently installed LP tank that does not require recertification. If the Management still refuses me service to fill my tank I will explain that I will report them to the Interstate Commerce Commission for interfering with Interstate Travel. Have not had to do that but it sounds good. Don’t know if it would work but I would not hesitate to try. I would also call the Pilot/Flying J Corporate Office and make a formal complaint. If you have a legitimate problem on anything for any legitimate reason, speak up without being confrontational and work it out as best you can. If it can not be worked out and you still believe you are in the right, keep finding a way to make it right and report problems.

Sandra Neary
1 month ago

I don’t know about rv lp tanks that cannot be removed; our 5er has 2 tanks, both of which can be removed and taken out of the rig. Additionally, our large lp tank at our home also needs to be “recertified” (valve and pressure gauge replaced) every so many years. Our lp supplier takes care of both things and will replace the valve or whole tank (if needed) on our recreational tanks for a nominal charge. They also inspect the larger home tank at every fill and, since it’s leased, will upgrade it when needed at no charge to us. This is Oregon state, rules may be different elsewhere.

wanderer
1 month ago

Bookmarking this right now in case I get out where there is only 1 tank filler for miles around and they tell me this!

Andy
1 month ago

Although it’s true that on-board tanks do not have to be recertified, I think it would be a good idea to require periodic inspections to ensure continued tank integrity. Such tanks are usually unshielded from road debris and are prone to getting wet and rusting through. I know of one incident in which an apparently well-maintained Class A nevertheless sprang a leak from its propane tank, creating a major problem for the local fire department–and for the campground and its other RVers. Once was plenty enough!

Ron Sifford
1 month ago

Yes you do for everyone’s safety.

robert
1 month ago

Had that happen to me at Flying J in St Augustine. They refused to fill my tank until it was recertified. Was in Ft Pierce at Flying J after that and no problem at all. These employers need to train there people better on the rules and laws. My unit is a class A.