Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
A Safe LPG System
By Gary Bunzer
Safety, safety, safety! Is it really such an issue with recreation vehicles? Yes, yes and yes! If I were to pick just one “Golden Rule” to encompass the entire RV spectrum it would be “Never Compromise the Safety Factor.” And in no system is that maxim more important than in the Propane System.
All RVers should know that LPG is one of the most volatile of all products carried in our RVs. Its adaptability to the RVing form of travel is most significant. It can be compressed tightly into a relatively small container and yet it holds within enough energy to truly allow us to be “self-contained.” However, one must not view the LPG system with a cavalier attitude. Conversely, respect for and the acceptance of certain LPG related realities make the system a valuable asset. Ignore them and…well, let’s not even go there.
Okay, we all agree, the LPG system should be kept safe. But just what can be done to ensure my safety and that of my recreational investment? Well, for starters, realize that preventive maintenance can be a good thing, an inexpensive insurance policy, if you will. Each appliance within your LPG system requires seasonal maintenance as mandated by the appliance manufacturer. Read through that literature you probably tossed into that bottom drawer. In most cases, maintenance items are not covered by that new coach warranty. But as alluded to earlier, view maintenance as a basic insurance policy.
The primary aspect of a preventive maintenance program for your LPG system is simply this; it is a safety issue. This article will list a few important items in the system we should all consider. They are presented in no specific order of importance. Keep in mind; they do not represent the sum total of everything that needs to be addressed. Many coach owners perform these tasks; however, if you do not feel comfortable doing so, please call your local RV service facility. They will be more than happy to accommodate you.
First on this list, check for leaks often. In my seminars, I recommend three different intervals for having your entire RV tested for leaks. Before each and every trip, as necessary, (for instance, if you smell the odorant added to the LPG), or at least twice a year.
Always use a dual stage regulator and always carry a spare regulator. The regulator is the heart of the entire system. If it is rendered faulty, your complete system will be useless. If you dry camp often, that means no heat, no hot water, no cooking, and, dare I say, no cold adult beverages, (heaven forbid!). Regulators come pre-set from the manufacturer and are simple to install while on the road.
Never allow your LPG container(s) to be overfilled. All are to be filled to 80-percent capacity only. We store LPG as a liquid, but utilize it as a vapor or gas. If liquid fuel enters the regulator and piping system, serious (read costly), damage can occur.
Inspect your containers often. Look for rust, dents, dings or other obvious damage to the container, hoses and other devices attached to them. Have a professional technician inspect them if you find something questionable.
Be sure your safety related detectors are operable and always carry fresh batteries for each. Regularly test the effectiveness of the LPG leak detector, the carbon monoxide detector and any smoke alarms you may have in your RV. Don’t overlook the fire extinguisher as well. Be sure it is charged and ready to go should you need it.
Once again, the above list should not be considered all-inclusive. It is intended, however, to indeed be key reminders for us all to never compromise the safety factor. For those interested in advanced preventive maintenance tasks regarding the LPG system, simply send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
PO Box 19562
Seattle, WA 98109
Again, please be sure your return envelope is pre-stamped and return-addressed, or I will not be able to reply to your request!