Ontario Propane Blog

How to Safely Use Propane in Your RV or Motorhome

Posted by James Callow on Fri, Sep 13, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

A campervan

The majority of motorhome and RV owners use propane to cook their food, power their refrigerators and supply them with hot water. Experienced motorhome owners generally develop a routine where they check the safety of their propane appliances regularly.

If you’re a new motorhome owner however, you may not quite have nailed down those routine checks just yet. That’s OK, propane is actually one of the safest alternative energy sources you can use.

Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s why in this blog Budget Propane Ontario takes a look at some of the key things you should do in your RV or motorhome to ensure you are using, storing and transporting your propane safely.

Propane safety inspections

In Canada, it is regulated by law that refillable propane cylinders must be either replaced or inspected and requalified by a Transport Canada requalifier every 10 years. It’s actually illegal to fill an expired or damaged propane cylinder.

Any damage - such as dents, rust, scrapes, gouges or weakened valve connectors - means your propane tank has a higher chance of leaking. That tank cannot be filled with anymore propane.

If you notice that your propane tank is either damaged or expired, then it’s highly important you contact your propane supplier for an inspection.

Place your propane tank carefully

Propane appliances need adequate space to breathe so even if your motorhome is on the smaller side, try not to clutter too many items around the tank or place it too close to the wall of your vehicle. You should be able to find more information on this from your propane supplier or the manufacturer's recommendations.

Install a propane leak detector

While propane has no natural odour, propane manufacturers add a chemical to propane that makes it smell like rotten eggs. This means that if your propane tank does leak then you’ll be able to detect it easier due to the distinct smell of rotten eggs or skunk spray.

More information about what propane smells like can be read on our blog - ‘Propane Safety: What Does Propane Smell Like?

Despite this, it’s still a good idea to be extra diligent and install a propane leak detector. Combustible gas detectors are designed to detect the presence of gases and can be used as an extra safety measure in your RV or motorhome.

Know what to do in the event of a leak

A propane leak happens very rarely, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan that prepares for the worst possible scenario. Everyone staying in your RV or motorhome should know exactly what to do in the event of a propane leak.

If you suspect a leak then it’s important that you take some precautions and act quickly. This includes; not igniting an open flame; turning of any electronics, lights and appliances that could create a spark; turning the propane tank off if it’s safe to do so; and calling either a propane professional or the emergency services once you have left your motorhome.

Check your propane tank connections

After exchanging propane cylinders it’s always a good idea to check connections for leaks, and it’s actually just a good idea to check these connections periodically.

You can use an approved leak detector solution or a mixture of 50 percent liquid soap and 50 percent water applied with a paint brush. If you see the mixture creating bubbles then it’s likely that your connectors aren’t working properly and a small amount of propane is leaking out.

Other propane motorhome safety tips include:

  • Don't use portable propane camping equipment in your RV.
  • Never use stove burners or oven for space heating.
  • When using a propane stove or oven, open a vent or window, or turn on the range hood to remove moisture and combustion products.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the manufacturer's written operating and maintenance instructions.

Are you looking for more information about safely using propane in your RV or motorhome? Contact Budget Propane Ontario today. Our team of experts would be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

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