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Friday, January 30, 2009


Once again, Howard, you have educated us all about things we have had trouble with in this RV life and didn't know why we were struggling so. The classic middle of the night, out to change the tank to the full one, and nothing will light right. Now we know to turn everything off before turning on the full tank's valve. So simple, but how do you know?

Question Howard, are you saying that you turn off both your propane tanks when traveling?? Doesn't your frig switch over to propane when traveling? We dont turn ours off when traveling.

This once again proves that the older we get teh smarter we get. We learn by doing. Chalk this lesson up for the chapter in your book on Propane 101. I can't wait.

Yes, upon the advice of Mac the Fire Guy and others, we turn off propane completely when we travel. This is simply a safety issue in case we were to be in an accident and the propane connections or hoses would be severed.

We turn off the fridge as well. It will keep its coolness for several hours. We also have a battery operated fridge fan to assist on really warm days of travel.

Thanks for Propane 101, Howard, really enlightening!

Seems to me if the propane is left on while traveling, and there is an accident, the excess flow valve in the tank valve will shut things off. Even if the lines are severed somehow the leak of propane is the least of worries.
In a perfect world, the safest thing is to shut off the gas, but I submit the gasoline tanks in cars are far more likely to cause fire damage than the off chance the excess flow valves fail, in the off chance the propane serice lines are cut..

The "propane off/on while traveling" debate gets lots of print on the RV forums - probably much more that it deserves.

I agree that the risk is limited, but turning the propane off while traveling just isn't that big a deal for us. We certainly haven't had any food spoil. We may have had some ice cream get a little soft on occasion, but that's not crucial. So, we turn off the propane 'cause fire experts tell us it's safer. :)

Great job on the Propane Primer Howard. All that activity right on my doorstep and I missed it all. Thanks for digging to get the right answers. If we ever experience that condition we are forewarned.

We wish a safe journey to Linda as she makes her way back to Benson. She will be missed here on Plomosa Road. We know she will have a great time there!

Knowing you and your research abilities...i'm certain you have the correct info. Last year we were having similar problems. It happened a few times where we thought a cylinder was empty but it wasn't. A neighbor where we were staying told me that when that happens i should take the cylinder out and "pound it on the ground" a few times. Well in my case this has turned out to be true. I has happened a couple of times since and each time when i pounded it on the ground it worked.
Al Viscardi

Thanks for the tips, Howard. This is one of those grey areas where similar symptoms can be caused by different reasons depending on the type and age of one's equipment.

Another couple of items to consider are that forgetting to switch the manual switchover lever to the full tank will sometimes allow a small leakage of gas back out of the pigtail of the empty cylinder. While not a problem as long as the empty is still properly hooked up, it can be a big risk if that tank has been pulled out and the pigtail is just hanging there. So, one should always double check to be sure that the manual switchover lever is pointing to the tank that is left hooked up before disconnecting any tank from the regulator.

The second item is more about convenience. There is a remote detector made for the typical Marshall regulator that just slips over the red/green indicator on the regulator T. It senses the position of the float and will turn on a flashing led on the remote box to let you know there is lower pressure coming from the main tank.

One place to see this remote sensor is: http://www.rvupgradestore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1674 but I have seen them elsewhere for less money.

Since this is just a slip on installation it is very simple to install (depending on just where one would like to place the remote indicator.)

It does have one characteristic to be aware of, though. The position of the red/green indicator varies depending on how much gas pressure may be coming from the main (manually switched to) tank. When lp guzzling appliances like furnaces turn on the pressure may cause the red/green indicator to float a bit lower. Also, when it is very cold it will ride lower when gas is being used and this causes it to flash while those appliances are in use.

Just be sure when it is flashing that nothing is on that is using gas and you can believe that it has switched tanks. In warmer weather this is seldom a problem but it has been worth it for me so I have some idea just when the tanks switched over automatically. That gives me a more accurate idea of how long it has been on the full tank and how long the empty one lasted without having to go out and check it every day.

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