RVs are homes-on-wheels... designed to provide us with the same comfortable environment we enjoy in our homes, to a limited degree. Power, heating and cooking are three of the things we consider necessary in an RV. Propane provides us with the ability to heat and cook.
In an RV, propane is stored in metal tanks, under pressure, in liquid form. When commonly sold as fuel, it is also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or LP-gas), and can be a mixture of propane with smaller amounts of propylene, butane, and butylene. The odorant ethanethiol is also added so that people can easily smell a leak.
Unlike natural gas, propane is heavier than air (1.5 times denser). In its raw state, propane sinks and pools at the floor. Liquid propane will flash to a vapor at atmospheric pressure and appears white due to moisture condensing from the air. If you have watched the service man fill your propane tanks, you have seen this white vapor. It is very flammable.
Propane combustion is much cleaner than gasoline, though not as clean as natural gas. This means you should provide a powered vent source, open door or window, when cooking inside your RV. Gas vapor from your propane heater is vented outside your RV.
LP-gas containers must not be filled over 80 percent of total capacity. Propane gas will expand approximately 1.5 percent for every 10 degrees of temperature rise. If overfilled, the relief valve will open, releasing excess pressure. This released gas is flammable.
LPG tanks in RVs must be installed properly, with two-stage regulators. The tanks should be clean of rust and excessive dirt, and painted in a light reflective color. Excessive dirt and dark-colored paint help raise the internal tank pressure. Tank covers that provide free air space between the cover and the tank should be used when RVs are exposed to high ambient temperatures. In extremely cold weather, propane tanks may need to be covered or heated to provide necessary pressure to operate properly.
Remember, never use a wrench or pliers to open or close the service valve or tank valve. These valves are designed to be opened or closed leak-tight by hand or screwdriver.
Enjoy the RV life, and be safe!
Final Touch Coach Works is located at 28532 Livingston Avenue in Valencia. For more information, please call 661-775-8375 and visit www.FinalTouchRV.com.
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