Hooking up propane tanks to your camper is a relatively straightforward process.
Understanding Propane Hookup in a Camper
If you’re new to camping, you might be wondering how propane hookup works in a camper. Propane is a common fuel source for RVs, motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels. Propane tanks can be either built-in or removable, depending on the type of camper you have.
For motorhomes, built-in ASME propane tanks are usually used, while travel trailers and fifth wheels use removable DOT tanks. Smaller travel trailers and fifth wheels typically use one tank, while larger campers often have two.
Propane is used to power various appliances in your camper, such as the refrigerator, furnace, water heater, and stove. The propane tank is connected to the appliances through a propane system, which includes a regulator, hoses, and fittings.
To connect your propane tank to your camper, you’ll need to locate the propane tank and the propane hookup on your camper. On travel trailers, the propane tank is usually located on the front of the camper, resting on the frame between the trailer and the coupler.
You’ll also need to make sure that the propane system is turned off before connecting the tank. Once you’ve connected the tank, you can turn on the propane system and test each appliance to make sure it’s working properly.
It’s important to note that propane is a flammable gas, so it’s crucial to handle it with care. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions when handling propane tanks and systems.
In summary, understanding propane hookup in a camper is important for any camper owner. Knowing how to connect your propane tank to your camper and how to operate the propane system safely can help you enjoy your camping experience to the fullest.
Types of Propane Tanks for Campers
When it comes to propane tanks for campers, there are two main types: DOT cylinders and ASME tanks. Both types have their own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.
DOT cylinders are the most common type of propane tank found on campers. These are the removable tanks that you see on the tongue or back bumper of towable trailers. They are regulated by the Department of Transportation and come in various sizes, ranging from 5 to 40 pounds.
One of the advantages of DOT cylinders is that they are easy to replace. If your tank runs out of propane, you can simply disconnect it and take it to a propane filling station to get it refilled. However, since DOT cylinders are not permanently mounted to the camper, they can be more susceptible to theft.
ASME tanks, on the other hand, are permanently mounted to the frame or floor of motorhomes. They are regulated by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and are typically larger than DOT cylinders, ranging in size from 10 to 80 gallons.
One of the benefits of ASME tanks is that they can hold more propane, which means you won’t have to refill them as often. Additionally, since they are permanently mounted to the camper, they are less likely to be stolen. However, if your ASME tank runs out of propane, you’ll need to take your camper to a propane filling station to get it refilled.
When choosing a propane tank for your camper, it’s important to consider the size of the tank. The size of the tank you need will depend on how often you use propane and how many appliances you have that use propane.
For DOT cylinders, the most common sizes are 20 and 30 pounds. For ASME tanks, the most common sizes are 10 and 20 gallons. However, larger tanks are available if you need more propane.
ASME Propane Tank
If you have a motorhome, you will likely have an ASME propane tank. These tanks are designed to be permanently mounted to the frame or floor of your camper and are accessed through an exterior compartment door. ASME tanks are regulated by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and are available in various sizes.
In general, ASME tanks are a good choice for motorhomes because they can hold more propane and are less likely to be stolen. However, they can be more expensive than DOT cylinders and may require professional installation.
Overall, choosing the right propane tank for your camper is an important decision. Whether you choose a DOT cylinder or an ASME tank, make sure you select the right size and have it installed properly to ensure safe and efficient propane usage.
Propane Regulators and Their Role
Propane regulators are an essential component of any RV propane system. They are responsible for regulating the pressure of propane gas as it flows from the tank to the rest of the system. A regulator is necessary because propane gas is stored in tanks at high pressure, typically between 100 and 200 PSI. This high pressure is unsafe for most RV propane appliances, which require a much lower pressure to operate safely.
There are two types of propane regulators: single-stage and two-stage. Single-stage regulators are simpler and less expensive, but they are not as precise as two-stage regulators. Two-stage regulators are more precise and can handle a wider range of propane flow rates.
When selecting a propane regulator for your RV, it’s important to choose one that is compatible with your propane tank and appliances. Most RV propane tanks use either ASME or DOT regulations, and you’ll need a regulator that is designed to work with your specific type of tank.
It’s also important to choose a regulator that is properly sized for your propane system. A regulator that is too small may not be able to handle the propane flow rate required by your appliances, while a regulator that is too large may be inefficient and waste propane.
Overall, a propane regulator is a crucial component of any RV propane system. It ensures that propane gas is delivered to your appliances at a safe and consistent pressure, allowing you to enjoy all the comforts of home while on the road.
Propane Hoses and Fittings
When it comes to hooking up your camper’s propane system, having the right hoses and fittings is crucial. In this section, we’ll cover two types of fittings commonly used in camper propane systems: Inverted Flare and Acme Fitting.
The Inverted Flare is a type of flare fitting with a male and female end that uses a compression nut and sleeve to make a tight seal. This type of fitting is commonly used in older camper propane systems and can still be found in some newer models.
When using an Inverted Flare fitting, it’s important to ensure that the nut and sleeve are tightened properly to prevent leaks. It’s also recommended to use Teflon tape or pipe dope on the threads to ensure a tight seal.
The Acme Fitting is a newer type of fitting that has become the standard in most modern camper propane systems. This fitting has a male and female end that uses a threaded collar to make a tight seal.
One of the benefits of using an Acme Fitting is that it’s much easier to connect and disconnect than an Inverted Flare fitting. It also requires less torque to make a tight seal, making it more user-friendly.
When using an Acme Fitting, it’s important to ensure that the threaded collar is tightened properly to prevent leaks. It’s also recommended to use Teflon tape or pipe dope on the threads to ensure a tight seal.
Overall, when selecting hoses and fittings for your camper’s propane system, it’s important to choose high-quality components that are designed for use in propane systems. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use, and regularly inspect your system for leaks or other issues.
Propane Appliances in a Camper
When it comes to propane appliances in a camper, there are a few key items to keep in mind. Here are some of the most common propane appliances found in campers and how they work.
The stove in a camper is typically fueled by propane gas. It works just like a regular stove, but it is designed to be compact and efficient for use in a camper. Many campers have a two-burner stove, while others may have a three-burner stove. To use the stove, simply turn on the propane and light the burners with a match or lighter.
A propane heater is a great way to keep warm on chilly nights. These heaters work by burning propane gas to create heat. They are typically vented to the outside of the camper to prevent carbon monoxide buildup. Some campers may have built-in heaters, while others may require a separate portable heater.
A furnace is another option for heating your camper. These systems work by burning propane gas to heat the air, which is then circulated throughout the camper via ducts. They are typically more expensive than portable heaters, but they can be more efficient and effective at heating larger spaces.
Many campers have a propane-powered fridge. These fridges work by burning propane gas to create heat, which is then used to cool the fridge. They are typically more efficient than electric fridges and can be a great option for off-grid camping. However, they do require regular maintenance to ensure they are working properly.
A propane water heater is another common appliance found in campers. These systems work by burning propane gas to heat the water, which is then circulated throughout the camper via pipes. They are typically more efficient than electric water heaters and can provide hot water quickly and easily.
Overall, propane appliances can be a great option for campers who want to be self-sufficient and off-grid. However, it is important to make sure that these appliances are installed and maintained properly to ensure they are safe and effective.
Safety Measures for Propane Hookup
When it comes to propane hookup for your camper, safety should always be a top priority. Here are some safety measures you should take to ensure that your propane hookup is safe:
- Use a propane leak counter: It’s a good idea to invest in a propane leak counter, which can detect any propane leaks in your camper. This device will give you an early warning if there is a leak, so you can take action before it becomes a dangerous situation.
- Check for leaks regularly: Even if you have a propane leak counter, it’s still important to check for leaks regularly. You can do this by applying soapy water to the propane connections and looking for bubbles. If you see bubbles, there is a leak and you should turn off the propane immediately.
- Install a shutoff valve: Installing a shutoff valve is an important safety measure. This valve will allow you to turn off the propane supply to your camper in case of an emergency.
- Properly store propane tanks: When storing propane tanks, make sure they are stored in a well-ventilated area away from any heat sources. Never store propane tanks indoors or in a confined space.
- Follow manufacturer instructions: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to propane hookup. This will ensure that you are using the equipment properly and safely.
By taking these safety measures, you can ensure that your propane hookup is safe and secure. Remember, propane can be dangerous if not handled properly, so it’s important to take safety seriously.
Extend-a-Stay Kits and Propane Tank Adapters
If you’re planning on taking your RV out for an extended stay, you’ll want to make sure you have enough propane to keep all of your appliances running. One way to do this is by using an Extend-a-Stay kit. These kits allow you to connect an external propane tank to your RV’s propane system, so you can run your appliances for longer without having to refill your onboard propane tank.
To install an Extend-a-Stay kit, you’ll need a propane-T fitting that connects to your RV’s onboard propane regulator and an external propane tank. You’ll also need a set of hoses to connect the propane-T to the external tank and your RV’s propane system. Some kits come with everything you need, while others require you to purchase the hoses separately.
Another option for extending your propane supply is to use a propane tank adapter. These adapters allow you to upgrade older propane tanks with a leak-tight connection, so you can use them with your RV’s propane system. Some adapters even feature a fuel indicator and leak detector, so you can monitor your propane levels and ensure that everything is working properly.
No matter which option you choose, it’s important to make sure that you have a secure and leak-tight connection between your external propane tank and your RV’s propane system. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the appropriate fittings and hoses for your setup.
Overall, Extend-a-Stay kits and propane tank adapters are great options for anyone looking to extend their propane supply while on the road. With the right setup, you can stay comfortable and run all of your appliances without having to worry about running out of propane.
Propane Fill and Purge
When it comes to using propane in your camper, it’s important to understand the process of filling and purging your propane tank. This ensures that your propane system is working properly and safely.
To fill your propane tank, you’ll need to take it to a propane filling station. Make sure to check the tank’s expiration date before filling it up. Most tanks need to be re-certified every 10 years.
When filling your tank, make sure to follow these steps:
- Turn off all propane appliances and the propane tank valve.
- Remove the tank from your camper and take it to the filling station.
- Make sure the filling station attendant knows the tank’s capacity and the type of valve it has (usually a P.O.L. valve).
- The attendant will fill the tank to about 80% capacity, leaving room for the propane to expand.
- Once the tank is filled, the attendant will close the valve and give you the tank back.
Before using your newly filled propane tank, it’s important to purge it to remove any air or moisture that may have entered the tank during the filling process. Here’s how to do it:
- Connect the tank to your camper’s propane system.
- Turn on all propane appliances and light them.
- Wait for all the appliances to burn out and the flames to go out.
- Turn off all propane appliances and the propane tank valve.
- Disconnect the tank from your camper’s propane system.
- Open the bleeder valve (usually located near the P.O.L. valve) to release any remaining propane.
- Close the bleeder valve and the propane tank valve.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your propane system is working safely and efficiently.
Real Experts’ Advice and Customers’ Questions
When it comes to propane hookup for campers, it’s always best to seek advice from real experts. Here are some frequently asked questions from customers and advice from experts in the field.
Q: Can I connect my camper propane tank to an external propane tank?
A: Yes, you can. You will need an extend-a-stay hose to connect your camper’s propane tank to an external propane tank. However, make sure to check the length of the hose to ensure that it reaches the external propane tank.
Q: What is an RV propane detector, and do I need one?
A: An RV propane detector is a device that detects propane gas leaks in your RV. It emits a loud alarm or beeping noise to alert everyone inside the rig to the fact that there’s an LP gas leak. It is highly recommended to have one installed in your RV for safety purposes.
Q: Can I use an electric heater instead of an RV propane heater?
A: Yes, you can. An electric heater is a good alternative to an RV propane heater if you are camping in a campground with electricity. However, keep in mind that electric heaters only work in temperatures above 40°F.
Real Experts’ Advice
Tip #1: Always turn off all propane appliances before connecting or disconnecting propane tanks.
Tip #2: When connecting an external propane tank to your camper, turn the valve on slowly to allow propane to flow out of the tank to the propane lines in the RV.
Tip #3: Make sure to check the propane system for leaks before using it. You can do this by using a propane leak detector or a mixture of soap and water.
Tip #4: If you are unsure about your propane system, seek advice from a certified RV technician. They can inspect your propane system and provide recommendations for repairs or upgrades.
In summary, propane hookup for campers can be a bit tricky, but with the right advice and precautions, you can enjoy a safe and comfortable camping experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I hook up an external propane tank to my camper?
Yes, you can hook up an external propane tank to your camper. You will need to install a T-fitting and run a hose from the T-fitting to your auxiliary tank. This will allow you to connect an extra tank and increase your propane supply.
What is an Extend-a-Stay propane kit and how does it work?
An Extend-a-Stay propane kit is a device that allows you to connect an external propane tank to your RV. It works by splicing into your propane setup and allowing you to connect an extra tank. This kit is useful for those who want to extend their propane supply and avoid running out of propane while on the road.
How do I hook up a large propane tank to my camper?
To hook up a large propane tank to your camper, you will need to install a regulator and a hose between the tank and your RV’s propane system. It’s important to have a professional install the tank and regulator to ensure safety and proper installation.
Can I use a portable propane tank to fuel my RV?
Yes, you can use a portable propane tank to fuel your RV. However, it’s important to make sure that the tank is compatible with your RV’s propane system and that you have the proper fittings and hoses to connect the tank to your RV.
How do I turn on the propane in my RV?
To turn on the propane in your RV, you will need to locate the propane tank and turn the valve to the on position. Then, you will need to light the pilot light on your appliances. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for lighting your appliances.
What are some tips for maintaining my RV propane system?
Some tips for maintaining your RV propane system include checking for leaks regularly, keeping the tank valve closed when not in use, and having a professional inspect and service your system annually. It’s also important to make sure that your propane appliances are properly maintained and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.