How Propane Can Fuel Your RV Excursion
With Spring on the way, many people are dreaming of hitting the open road in their RV’s. In fact, “roughly 40 million people in the United States go RV camping,” according to www.thewanderingrv.com. There may not be a better way to see the country, take in nature, and relax in a “home” away from home. With RV season coming upon us, here’s what you need to know about using propane in your RV to make your trip more comfortable and affordable!
What Can Propane Power in Your RV?
The answer is just about anything! From running the furnace and central air, to fueling appliances and the hot water heater, propane is essential when it comes to staying comfortable during your RV trip. Propane is widely used in RV’s because it is so versatile. It can power your fridge to keep food fresh and your oven to make cooking a breeze. Propane also can be used to fire up the outdoor grill or fuel portable patio heaters for outdoor comfort. With all these uses, it’s no surprise most RVer’s use propane on their travels (RV Maintenance – Propane – Go RVing Canada).
Why Propane Should Be Your RV Energy Source
With a wide array of uses in your RV, propane is mostly used because its affordable, widely available, and environmentally friendly. Usually cheaper than gas, propane can be found nearly everywhere you travel, from refill stations at RV parks, to truck stops and some gas stations and home improvement centers.
Additionally, propane is a clean energy source, meaning that long cross-country trip will have less negative effects on the environment. So, while propane saves you money, it also reduces your carbon footprint! That’s a win-win!
What You Need to Know About Using Propane in Your RV
First, there are two ways to use propane in your RV, either by a direct RV hook up to propane or by converting a generator to use propane. According to www.tripsavvy.com, most RV’s and campers today provide a propane hook up. (RVing 101 Guide: Propane (tripsavvy.com)).
Second, you need to know if your RV has a permanently mounted ASME tank for propane or a DOT cylinder. ASME tanks are larger than DOT cylinders, and therefore can hold more propane. Why is this important to know? Because if you have a permanently mounted ASME tank, you will need to know locations of propane refilling stations. If you have a smaller, DOT cylinder, you will need to know the locations of propane exchange stations so you can swap out your empty tank for a full one.
How To Tell When Your Propane Tank Is Low
No one wants to wait until the fridge is full of warm food or the water in the shower is freezing cold to learn their propane tank is empty! There are better ways to monitor your propane usage! The easiest way to gauge the amount of propane in your tank is by using a tank monitor. Tank monitors let you know how much propane is left and some even detect leaks!
Of course, if you don’t have a propane tank monitor, you can try the old-fashioned hot water method. This is simply done by pouring hot water on the outside of your propane tank, and then feeling the tank with your hand. The parts of the tank that feel hot are empty. (Note, if you’re camping in a cold environment, the parts of the tank that become covered in frost are the empty parts).
One more way you can predict being low on propane before running out, is to have a general idea of how much propane you are using in your RV. The furnace generally uses the most, with a typical RV furnace using one gallon of propane to run for three hours. This varies depending on the climate you are in and how high you set your thermostat. A general rule of thumb is that an RV furnace will likely use an entire 20 pound propane tank in about 14 hours.
If you are also using propane to run your hot water heater, you should know that the amount of propane will vary widely depending on how much hot water you use per day. A good solution for saving on propane usage is to install a tankless hot water heater in your RV. They typically use 50% less propane than traditional water heaters!
Lastly, if your fridge is powered by propane, it uses very little. The average RV fridge only uses about one pound of propane per day! That’s less than 1/5 of a gallon!
Keeping Your Propane Powered RV Safe
Of course, with all these uses for propane in your RV, its crucial to know how to use propane safely while on the road. We recommend turning your propane off and keeping it off while driving. Why? Although it doesn’t happen frequently, it is possible that driving your RV with your propane on can cause an explosion in the event of an accident! The best way to avoid this is to play it safe and turn the propane off.
There are some definite situations in which RVer’s will be required to turn the propane off, as well, such as:
-when refilling the tank
-while at the gas station (turn off the propane and all appliances, too)
-where state or local law requires it.
There are some additional ways to make safety a priority when it comes to using propane in your RV. First, you should visually check your system regularly (a couple of times per year) for leaks or anything that could be getting in the way of the system working properly (debris, anything that could be messing up the propane lines, or anything that simply looks out of place). If you suspect a leak or see something unusual, get your system checked out by a professional as soon as possible.
The second way to safely use propane in your RV is to make sure you have operational detectors for fire, carbon monoxide and propane. These detectors save lives in the event of an emergency and are crucial for every RV owner to have. If your propane detector goes off, turn off all heat and fire sources and exit the RV immediately while leaving the door open for ventilation! Do not look for the leak yourself! Leave that to the emergency response pros. For more propane safety tips check out How to Use Propane for Your RV – RVshare.com.
Now You Know, Hit the Open Road!
With all this information and Spring upon us, it’s time for you to check your RV’s propane system and get your RV fired up for that cross-country road trip! Superior Plus Propane can accommodate all your RV propane needs. For more information visit www.superiorpluspropane.com today!
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