If you own an RV, you know how important propane is. It powers all your vehicle’s utilities, heating water, fueling your stove, and more. It’s easy to take this handy fuel for granted, only thinking about it when your tank runs low. But there’s a lot to know about propane, from safety to environmental impact. Today we’ll cover a few topics about RV propane and how to use it safely, so you can keep your mind on the road ahead.
Interesting Facts About Propane
It’s common knowledge that gas leaks smell like rotten eggs. However, on its own, propane is an odorless gas. Because of this, gas companies add an odor to it so that people can smell it when it leaks. Because it is also colorless, the added scent is the only way to detect when it is leaking. It’s also heavier than air, and so it settles close to the floor; this is why you shouldn’t stay low during a gas leak. Propane gas isn’t toxic to breathe, but because it displaces air, it is an asphyxiant. In short – you still don’t want to breathe it.
Propane has a boiling point of -44 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that it turns into vapor at temperatures higher than that. Even if you were to pour out some propane in an Antarctic December, it would still boil! This is why it doesn’t “spill” in a liquid form in typical conditions; if exposed to temperatures above -44, it immediately becomes a gas.
However, the propane in your tank is still a liquid. The tank itself isn’t refrigerated, so how does propane remain liquid inside the tank despite being above its boiling point? The answer is the immense pressure inside. You might think that the pressure inside a propane tank would make it likely to explode, but it’s actually difficult to make that happen. A properly-maintained propane tank won’t explode in typical conditions. The most significant rupture risk is from fires, but some propane tanks have even been known to survive that.
When camping with an RV that uses propane, ensure it stays at least 10 feet away from any campfires or other flames. While ignition is unlikely with a properly-installed tank, it’s still best to keep a distance.
Propane cylinders have pressure relief valves in place to prevent violent ruptures. If the pressure inside the tank grows too intense, the relief valve will vent the pressure until it’s back within an acceptable range. This is why it’s highly unlikely for your propane tank to outright explode – but explosions aren’t the only danger presented by a faulty propane tank.
Contact with propane in its gaseous form can result in frostbite, as the steam is extremely cold. It’s unlikely that you will sustain this type of injury unless you have prolonged exposure to the steam, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to touch. On top of that, any electrical spark could ignite that vapor and cause a fire. Because of that, it’s extremely important to stay put if you suspect your RV’s propane tank is leaking. If you suspect your propane tank is leaking, stay far away from it. Do not try to fix it yourself.
If your tank is rusted or dented, it’s more likely to fail. If your tank is damaged, do not refill it. The safest option is to call the number listed on your tank or your propane service for assistance. You might think you can save money by putting off a tank replacement, but the risk to your safety is never worth it.
Your propane tank can spring a leak, but it’s unlikely that the tank itself will leak unless it is old or damaged, and more likely that your RV hookup could leak. If you notice that your propane supply is running out quicker than it should, you might have a leak on your hands. This doesn’t just present a safety hazard – it also becomes expensive very quickly. Left untreated, a leak will quickly deplete your propane tank, forcing you to refill more often and costing you more in the long run.
Call on your propane service to have your system inspected when you suspect a leak; don’t try to fix it yourself. It’s always safer to leave it to the professionals.
Propane is a relatively clean energy source. It produces less greenhouse gas than gasoline and natural gas. Because of its extremely low boiling point, it will turn to vapor in the event of a spill – meaning that it won’t contaminate the soil or water. In contrast to the devastating environmental impact of oil spills, it’s not hard to see why this is important.
When burned, propane releases carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other pollutants into the atmosphere. However, it burns cleaner than other fossil fuels like coal and oil. While there is no such thing as a completely “clean” fuel, propane is one of the cleaner burning fossil fuels available. When compared to other options, its environmental impact is relatively low.
Get Your RV Propane from Dog Days!
You use propane for refrigeration, cooking, and more while you’re on the road, so it’s essential to find a propane business you can rely on. At Dog Days, we promise prompt delivery and other unrivaled services. Where other propane businesses would supply you with 15lbs of fuel, we provide 20lbs of fuel at the same price with delivery included. We offer two different size tanks – 20 and 30lbs – and can refill any tank size. So if you’re in Clark County, your search for RV propane service is over; call on Dog Days, and we’ll make sure your RV has all it needs to remain your home away from home.