Questions about propane usage, inspection and problems.
Question: We just bought a travel trailer with two propane tanks. Typically, how many continuous days will they last on dry camping trip?
Answer: Since you did not give the size of the propane tanks, we assume two thirty-pound tanks. Your consumption rate will depend on the size of the tanks, what appliances us propane (hot water heater, furnace, refrigerator, stove, etc. ) and how frequently you run those appliances.
A guess is that two thirty-pound tanks will last approximately six weeks of regular use. You can economize by being frugal. Turn off appliances like the water heater and furnace when not in use. You can do this at night just before going to bed, then turn it back on one hour before needing hot water. If you are dry camping in cold weather, only use the furnace when you really need it and only when you are in the RV. Both these suggestions have the added benefit of conserving battery power while dry camping.
By the way, a pound of propane creates about 21500 BTU’s. You can estimate how much you will use by finding out what the BTU rating is for each of your propane appliances. Typically the rating will be something like 9000 BTU’s for a furnace and maybe 4000 BTU’s for a high capacity stove burner. The BTU’s for the appliances are in BTU’s per hour.
Other input welcome.
by Ron R. (Alberta, Canada)
Question: Propane won’t transfer from one tank to the RV. One tank works fine and with the other one I can’t get propane to transfer through. I have tried switching the tanks over and making sure the tanks are full. Could it be the short hose connector to what I might call the regulator or switch-over control? This unit has the line that connects onto the tank which is green in color. Thanks for any advice.
Answer: For what it’s worth, here are a few things you can try. This tests the flow-limiting device inherent in the lines connecting the propane bottles. Make sure that both propane tanks are off at the valves. Turn off all propane appliances for a couple of minutes (1- 2 min). Go to the regulator and select the tank that is giving you a problem and turn the valve on slowly to allow propane to flow out of this tank to the propane lines in the RV. Wait 15 to 30 seconds (or longer) to allow the pressure to equalize within the propane lines. Go into the RV and turn on the stove (keep a window open). If no flow then it might be the regulator or the switch itself that is stuck in one position.
I had a similar situation whenever I tried to use a propane stove and solved it by waiting for the flow-limiting device to equalize pressure. In my ignorance I replaced several hoses that were perfectly good. So perhaps you can benefit from my similar situation.
This is the extent of our experience in this subject. So if it doesn’t work, please seek some professional help for the problem. Other input welcome.
by Frank (Nanaimo B.C.)
Question: Do I need a propane inspection in order to sell my RV privately?
Answer: First, there is a differences between a DOT propane cylinder and an ASME horizontally mounted propane tank.
The DOT cylinder is removable and is subject to recertification 12 years after the manufactured date. DOT cylinders are portable and removable from the RV. When empty, you take them to a refilling station. DOT cylinders are found in travel trailers, 5th wheels, and backyard gas grills. With a DOT cylinder, you have the choice to recertify it (if you can find a recertification facility, which are not easy to find), or just replace it before the expiration date.
ASME tanks on the other hand, are permanently mounted horizontal tanks found in most motorhomes. To refill them you must take the motorhome to a propane filling station. The ASME tanks do not require recertification. They should still be inspected periodically for rust and dents. Eventually they may need to be replaced.
The general recommendation is that once a year you should have the entire propane system inspected for leaks, rust, and proper regulator pressure settings. The inspection should include all propane-powered appliances like a stove, refrigerator, furnace, hot water heater, and propane powered generator, etc. .
In selling your RV, we aren’t aware of any official requirement to have an inspection aside from what is stated above. In our view, both buyers and sellers should take steps to ensure that the propane system is in good condition and operating safely. In unsure, then call in a qualified professional to do an inspection, and definitely look at the expiration date on DOT tanks.