Propane, Your RV, and You
With every year RVs get better, they feature more and more premium features, residential style amenities, really anything you could want to keep you comfortable while you’re on the road. As we dive further into the digital age this means things like USB charging stations, higher quality media and entertainment systems, better control consoles, all features that demand one thing. Power. Thankfully, with the advent of propane and propane accessories, keeping your RV powered has never been easier! Modern Trailer Sales, serving Anderson, Indianapolis, and Noblesville, IN, wants your next travelling vacation to be as fun and feature filled as possible, which is why we’ve put together a guide on Propane!
Basic Properties of Propane
Propane is an amazing substance. When kept in a liquid form, propane is light, stable, and travels well, allowing you to bring a ready source of energy anywhere you travel. As a gas, propane burns clean, and allows for a great deal of control in terms of heat output, which makes it ideal for cooking. When you deal with propane in your daily RVing life, it’s stored under high pressure in specially designed tanks. The reason for this is basic science, since propane boils at -44° F, the high pressure keeps the liquid from reverting back to a gaseous form. Really it’s this low boiling point that makes propane so amazing, because at almost any temperature Propane will jump from a liquid to a burnable gas, in no time, with no carburetion required.
Types of Propane Containers
There are two types of propane containers that you’ll encounter when RVing. First, and most common, are the DOT cylinders that sit at the front of most travel trailers. These cylinders sit upright, and are designed to be removed for filling. If you’re travelling in a motorhome, then your vehicle is probably equipped with an ASME propane tank, which is designed to remain in the structure of your RV, so you’ll have to bring the whole rig into the fuel station if you want to refill your ASME Tank.
Propane tanks typically come in just one color: White. This isn’t because white makes a stylish choice, the white paint job is actually a form of safety feature, allowing the propane tank to reflect more heat from the environment, which helps the liquid inside from overheating and expanding when it should not be.
You should keep an eye on the health of your RVs propane tank. This means that you should be aware of any changes in the tank’s structure, like dents or dings, and watch for signs of corrosion or rust that might compromise the tank. Hoses and fittings can wear out as well, so make sure you’re aware of any degradation or cracking that’s occurring.
Propane on the Go
So propane is flammable, is it safe to travel with? As we mentioned above, propane travels very safely, however there are some precautions you can take to ensure that your propane and propane appliances are running properly. First, make sure you have your propane appliances checked and serviced regularly. Your water, for instance, should have a clean blue flame, however if the flame is flickering with yellow and orange, it means you’ve probably got some oil contamination, which our service department can get cleaned out for you. Your furnace is a closed system, so it’s not uncommon for problems to go unnoticed for a while, but watch for signs like your furnace kicking on seemingly at random or the fan running without any actual heat.
So what does this mean when you’re driving? Should you close off your tanks for safety? Well, yes and no. This is somewhat of a hot button issue among many RVers, but we recommend shutting off your propane and propane appliances when you travel. The reason that we recommend this is because fuel stations “prohibit open flame or ignition sources’. Well, you might not think about it, but the pilot light for your appliances is only one thin vented panel away from the open air, so in the interest of safety it’s best to shut off the fridge and furnace until you set up camp. If you’re concerned about food spoilage, invest in a small camp cooler for your perishables like meat and dairy.
Remember, check and service your propane tanks regularly, if you have doubts about the integrity of your propane tank, bring it in and get it serviced (or exchanged) as quickly as possible. And upgrading to appliances that run on propane can save on fuel costs later, as running everything from a generator is guaranteed to burn up your fuel reserves quickly! For all other questions, visit Modern Trailer Sales, near Fishers, Muncie, and Carmel, Indiana, and let our amazing staff put your mind at ease and help get you ready for your next on-the-road vacation!