Liquid Propane (LP) is found in almost every Recreational Vehicle (RV), unless of course you prefer another option then you might have an electric only RV. LP-Gas typically fuels your cooktop, stove, refrigerator, and/or water heater. Whether you're setting up a new propane system or troubleshooting your current one, we recommend knowing a thing or two about how it's laid out. Below is BASIC information on an RV propane system.
This is where it all starts, the propane tank. Basically there are two different styles, refillable or disposable. RV propane systems are typically set up with a refillable tank, so we are going to go over that system in this article (disposable cylinder system article coming soon). Refillable tanks are typically classified by the pound or gallons (ex. 30 lb. / 7.1 gal.). You might also see that they are DOT or ASME compliant, this means they are suitable for RV use. Refillable tanks are typically equipped with QCC valves that are fitted with a 1-1/2" ACME fitting. One thing to keep in mind is that propane tanks have a variable pressure, this means the pressure inside the tank can change based on weather conditions outside (we will get to why this matters later).
Start Shopping DOT LP Tanks
Type 1 Pigtail Propane Hose
Next in line is the propane hose. The Type 1 Pigtail will fit tanks equipped with a 1-1/2" ACME fitting (this is a common fitting found on LP tanks.) This hose is going to send that variable pressure propane to your Low-Pressure Regulator. These hoses should be changed every 7 years for safety.
Start Shopping Type 1 Hoses
The biggest mistake van converters make is that they hook appliances directly to that variable pressure propane tank (refillable or disposable) and the appliance can't handle it and locks up. This is where the regulator comes in, but keep in mind not every regulator is the same. Most people are familiar with the single-stage regulator used for barbecues, this regulator is not meant for RV appliances. A single-stage regulator converts the variable pressure from the tank to 10-15" Water Column (W.C.). Because barbecues are less sensitive, this is acceptable for backyard parties, but not for an RV appliance. A dual-stage regulator adds in a second-stage that takes that 10-15" W.C. and converts it to 11" W.C. (this is considered low pressure propane), this is the sweet spot for your typical RV appliance.
Note: If you're going to use the Marshall MEGR291 or the MEGR298 Regulator, you'll need some adapter fittings. The ME2132 Adapter connects the Type 1 Hose to the Regulator. The 704048-0606 Adapter connects the Regulator to the supply line (we'll explain this next).
Now it's time to connect the regulator that's producing 11" W.C. to your RV appliance. If you're using the Marshall regulator with the specified adapters above, you just need a Marshall Supply Hose, this will connect the regulator to a standard U.S. RV appliance (standard appliances are equipped with a 3/8" Flared Male Fitting). After connecting your supply line you're ready to fire up your cooktop. *Manufacturers: Keep in mind a supply hose is not acceptable in the interior of an RV. If you want to follow the rules, you'll want to install a copper line with 3/8" Flared Female Fittings on each end.*
You may see a small regulator on your appliance when installing the supply line. You'll think to yourself, why do I need two regulators? The smaller regulator fine tunes the propane flow for the appliance, it is not a low pressure regulator. If you hook high pressure up to to that regulator, it will lock up.
Finally, please keep in mind the information in this article is not guaranteed by Panther RV Products. We expect all of our customers to do their own research before making any major decisions while performing installations. For detailed installation information we recommend contacting the manufacturer of the product or system your installing.
Thank you for reading this article, Happy Travels!