RV Safety – Propane

Let’s talk about propane and safety of it in your RV.

Propane is heavier than air.

Propane is explosive.



You probably have propane cylinder/tanks on your RV, there are two types, the easily removable kind(known as a propane cylinder)

The removable kind are like the kind you see on a propane grill, they come in various sizes but the most common ones are 20, 30 and 40 lb sizes.

On a TT they usually sit somewhere near the front on the tongue, you might have 1 or 2 cylinders, usually 20 or 30 lb ones.

Let’s take a look at “expiration dates” , this really only pertains to the portable cylinders, with portable being relative :).

I have a 30lb one

Its “born on date” is 05-02, May of 2002, normally recertification is 10 yrs after manufactured date, so in this case it would be 05-2012.  Do you need to do recertification?  Nope, not your problem, if we’re talking about 20lbs cylinders, they can easily be have be swapped out at most gas stations, etc that carry 20lb propane cylinders, 30 and 40 lb ones are normally refilled so if they are expired then see what it will cost you to get them re-certified.

The permanently mounted kind(like on a Class C) which are known as propane tanks(vs propane cylinders) look like this(like I have on my Class C):

These do not normally have an expiration date and you will either need to drive to a place to have it filled, or if there is portable propane trucks, they can come to you and fill it.

As was mentioned before,  since propane is heavier than air, there should ALWAYS be ventilation at bottom of tanks, so yes coverings on the top of the tanks is ok as long as there is ventilation below them, this is also why the propane detector is near the floor.


Let’s talk about propane leaks, when was the last time you check for a leak? Are you relying entirely on your propane detector?

Once a month or so, I go around with a handheld detector(it handles, propane, butane, natural gas, so those of you with stick and brick homes can use it in your house also) and check my appliances, lines/hosts for propane leaks.

Handheld detector I use:

Link to buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/32yPnL5

Look for video later this week on testing the handheld detector above, the one in my RV, a leaking supply line on one of my propane cylinders.

So a couple more things and this blog post will be wrapped up:

Q: Can I just use soap in water to detect a leak?  Sure use this formula below as an example of how to make some:

  • Fill a quart jar with clean water.
  • Measure and add 3 tablespoons of dish detergent.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of liquid glycerin to make the bubbles last longer, which makes them easier to detect.

Q: What about commercial stuff that I can just buy?

A:   Link: https://amzn.to/31pXzxP


Q: What is the lifetime of propane detector?

A: usually 3-5 yrs before it begins to beep incessantly.

Q: What are other reasons my propane detector might be beeping with nothing that shows it is detecting anything?

A: A low battery in your RV will cause it to beep also, check your battery voltage.

Will update this post later in week with link to video of my testing.


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