Because of its portability, safety and long shelf life, propane is an ideal energy source for RVs. It keeps your camper warm, water hot and drinks cold. Before you hit the open road this summer, prepare your RV’s propane tank with these tips.

Inspect your propane system regularly.

Inspect propane cylinders and holding mechanisms for any signs of rust, corrosion, fatigue, or wear and tear. For ASME tanks, check the brackets and mounting hardware, as well. Have a certified service technician check out any issues.  If you are bringing additional propane cylinders, make sure they are stored secure, upright, and in area where there is ventilation, such as in a dingy (towed car) with open windows or in the battery box. Have your RV propane system inspected yearly by a licensed propane gas supplier or service technician. They’ll check the system for leaks, inspect valves and fittings and certify that tanks are free from rust, dents and other potential hazards.

Inspect your propane-operated appliances.

You should also inspect your RV’s propane-operated appliances, such as the refrigerator, stove, furnace and other devices. Check that the supply lines running from appliances to the propane tank are in good condition and not rubbing against any sharp edges or corners. Inspect connections leading to your propane appliances for frays or damage.

Install and maintain detectors.

Make sure your RV has at least one Class BC fire extinguisher and operational propane, carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors. If you need to replace or install a new detector, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation, location and maintenance. Exit the vehicle immediately if any detector goes off.

Check for debris.

Check exterior vents and clear any debris, sticks, dust, twigs, insects, or other items that may restrict venting.

If you smell gas:

  1. Immediately put out all smoking materials, pilot lights, and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or fire.
  2. If you are able to, safely turn off the gas supply valve on your cylinder or container.
  3. Open all doors and other ventilating openings.
  4. Immediately leave the area and call 911 or the local fire department.
  5. Before you restart or use any of your propane appliances, have a qualified service technician inspect your entire system.

For more information on propane safety in general, contact your local propane dealer or visit the Cenex propane safety Web page. Need to refill or exchange your propane cylinder? Find a Cenex near you.

Image courtesy of faungg on Flickr.