All RVers know, (or should know), that LP is one of the most volatile of all products carried in our RVs. Its adaptability to the RVing form of travel is most significant. It can be compressed tightly into a relatively small container and yet it holds within enough energy to truly allow us to be “self-contained.” However, one must not view the LP system with a cavalier attitude. Conversely, respect for and the acceptance of certain LP related realities make the LP system a valuable asset. Ignore them and…well, let’s not even go there.
Okay, you agree, the LP system should be kept safe. But just what can I do to ensure my safety and that of my recreational investment? Well, for starters, realize that preventive maintenance can be a good thing - an inexpensive insurance policy, if you will. Each appliance within your LP system requires seasonal maintenance as mandated by the appliance manufacturer. Read through that literature you tossed into that bottom drawer. In most cases, maintenance items are not covered by that new coach warranty or any extended warranty for that matter. I know that sounds like somewhat of a downer and certainly your RV Dealer glossed over it if he even mentioned it at all. Preventive maintenance is simply the responsibility of the RV owner. But as alluded to earlier, view it as a basic insurance policy.
The primary aspect of a preventive maintenance program for your LP system is simply this; it is a safety issue. Now, go back and re-read the first paragraph. Back so soon? Read on. This article will list a few important items in the LP system we should all consider. They are presented in no specific order of importance. Keep in mind, they do not represent the sum total of everything that needs to be addressed. Many coach owners perform these tasks themselves, however, if you do not feel 100% comfortable doing so, please call your local RV service facility. They will be more than happy to accommodate you.
- First on this list, check for LP leaks often. In my seminars, I recommend three different intervals for having your entire RV tested for leaks. Before each and every trip, as necessary, (for instance, if you smell the odorant added to the LP), or at least twice a year.
- Always use a dual stage regulator and always carry a spare regulator. The regulator is the heart of the entire LP system. If it is rendered faulty, your complete LP system will be useless. If you dry camp often, that means no heat, no hot water, no cooking, and, dare I say, no cold adult beverages. LP regulators come pre-set (close enough), from the manufacturer and are simple to install while on the road.
- Never allow your LP container(s) to be overfilled. All are manufactured to be filled to 80% capacity only. We store LP as a liquid, but utilize it as a vapor or gas. If liquid fuel enters the regulator and piping system, serious (read costly), damage can occur.
- Inspect your containers often. Look for rust, dents, dings or other obvious damage to the container, hoses and other devices attached to them. Have a professional technician inspect them if you find something questionable.
- Be sure your safety related detectors are operable and always carry fresh batteries for each. Regularly test the effectiveness of the LP leak detector, the carbon monoxide detector and any smoke alarms you may have in your RV. Don’t overlook the fire extinguisher as well. Be sure it is charged and ready to go should you need it.