In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Do you need a gas locker in a campervan? We will also explain how the gas system in a campervan works and help you decide between butane and propane for your motorhome.
Do you need a gas locker in a campervan?
Yes, you need a gas locker in a campervan, just like in any other motorhome. A gas locker is an additional storage compartment for the gas bottle, which has a vent near the floor.
The gas locker is provided with a seal for the construction of the motorhome as it is for safety. Since gas weighs more than air, if the gas cylinder leaks, the gas would escape through the vent instead of into the motorhome.
In most RVs, there is space for two 11 kg bottles in the gas locker. Often, only one gas bottle can be stored in a campervan.
Gas lockers are essential for campervan safety
Besides gas lockers, there are a few things you must know about if you plan on installing a gas system in your campervan:
- We strongly advise you to call in an approved professional in the event of a problem with your gas circuit.
- Consider installing a carbon monoxide (CO) detector inside your motorhome. It will alert you if there is a build-up of potentially fatal carbon monoxide, a side effect of burning gas. Normal ventilation will dissipate the carbon monoxide, of course.
- Your motorhome must be fitted with individual isolation valves for each gas appliance installed. Ideally, these are easy to access and it is a good habit to shut off the gas supply to each device before setting off.
- Do not block the gas vents. Gas is heavier than air, so there is an immediate escape route in the event of a leak.
- If it is not already installed on your vehicle, also consider a suitable extinguisher and fire blanket. If you already have them, remember to have them checked on the dates indicated
- Always transport gas cylinders, whether plugged in or not, in an upright position. If necessary, strap them so that they do not move or make noise.
- The gas hoses, pipes connecting the bottle to the device, must be changed according to the date indicated on the pipe. This should be done every 5 or 10 years. If the data is erased, do not go beyond 8 years
- Always close the main gas control valve before boarding a ferry.
Campervan gas system: the complete guide
Gas is the primary source of fuel for cooking and heating in your motorhome and overall it is a loyal, hassle-free servant. In particular, it supplies energy to the refrigerator and the heating, which is practical and inexpensive.
However, gas has the defects of its qualities. The correct operation of the gas circuit must be checked regularly by an authorized technician. And gas itself is a consumable product that needs to be renewed.
But, there are a lot of things you can do to make sure everything is working properly: from checking for leaks to making sure you don’t run out of gas at the wrong time.
The gas (LPG) you use in your mobile home is actually liquid. This is the meaning of the acronym LPG: liquefied petroleum gas. So it is a liquid when in its bottle and it does not turn into a gas until it is released into the atmosphere.
LPG is found on the market under two names: butane and propane. Both have the same use, however they differ mainly in their resistance to cold and frost.
For use with the cylinder outdoors, it is recommended to use propane gas as it retains its efficiency down to -44 ° C. However, in the cell of the motorhome, it is recommended to use butane gas as it cannot be stored at a temperature below 5 ° C.
Propane or butane for campervans
So here are the two types of gas available to RV users, named propane and butane.
Butane is more suited to milder weather conditions, so it is often the preferred gas in motorhomes. Indeed, it is not recommended to store butane gas at a temperature below 5 ° C.
Likewise, the flow rate of a butane cylinder is less than a propane cylinder. This means that when you cook in a cellar, you have excellent control over the gas flow, and therefore over the cooking temperature.
However, many RVers prefer to use propane year-round for its capabilities, although some people switch from propane to butane more efficiently during the summer months.
You can heat your motorhome with propane regardless of the weather conditions, even if it is very cold outside. However, many people travel throughout the year or even live in a motor home.
What gas cylinder to use for a campervan?
There’s no point carrying around two large cylinders if your gas consumption is minimal. A gas cylinder weighs heavy, up to 35 kilograms for a full propane cylinder.
Likewise, some prefer to carry a large and a small bottle, the second only being used in the event of the first running out of fuel.
A lot of people get tricked when they travel to certain foreign countries. You cannot exchange your bottle in the UK for example. That’s okay if you’re travelling a few days, 2 weeks at most. Beyond that, you really have to anticipate your gas consumption.
Not to mention the impact on vehicle weight: Remember that the payload of a motorhome is really low and the weight of an extra gas cylinder can contribute to overloading.
Safety in the campervan should be your first concern, and gas lockers are a main part of the gas system. And as you read in the article, butane is preferred by many motorhome users, mainly because they travel during periods when the climate is mild. After that, nothing prevents you from having a propane cylinder if you want to cook outside.
Some refillable cylinders or tanks even allow filling with a mixture of propane and butane which has the trade name LPG and is less expensive.
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FAQ on Do you need a gas locker in a campervan?
How does a gas regulator for campervans work?
Gas pressure is reduced with a gas regulator because gas from the gas cylinder passes through a small opening through the gas regulator. A rubber ring ensures that the pressure remains constant. As the gas pressure increases or decreases, the ring moves with it, so that the flow rate and therefore the gas pressure of the cylinder remains the same.
How do I know how many mbar of gas regulator I need?
It depends on the device to which you connect the gas cylinder. In almost all cases, the product or product packaging says how much mbar you need. It is important to pay attention to this. If you do not use the correct gas regulator on a cylinder, you may create flames or the appliance may not work. Are you buying the product online? On our website, you can see the mbar count in the product specifications.
When should a gas regulator be replaced?
Legally, there is no agreement on this. The lifespan of a gas regulator is on average between 5 and 10 years. As soon as it stops working you should change it, but it is also safer to change it on time.