Using LPG in your motorhome
Author: Kirstie Bedford Date Posted: 1 November 2018
Using LPG in your motorhome
Most modern motorhomes use a combination of mains electricity, battery power and LPG gas to run all the various appliances within. LPG is usually supplied to operate the interior stove and the hot water system (absolutely essential to wash the barbecue sausage grease off your plates and to wash off a long day of travelling!)
Some vehicles also use LPG for the heating system and the external barbecue, which is usually found in an external locker and slides out for use, al fresco style. Here, we explain where your gas bottle is kept, and how to safely operate those appliances which use LPG.
Getting started with LPG
If you rent a motorhome from RV Sales Centre, the LPG bottle will already be full and connected to the vehicle via the connector hose. If you own your own RV, it’s a great idea to regularly check the levels of your bottle, especially before you set off for an extended journey.
The LPG gas bottle is usually stored in a rear external compartment of your motorhome, which is locked with a key for safety.
To start the flow of gas, ensure the connector hose is tightly fastened, then twist the knob at the top of the gas bottle anti-clockwise all the way, and then turn it back a fraction. This way you will always know when the gas supply is on, and not in the off position.
There are two LPG shut-off valves located in a smaller compartment below that of the LPG gas bottle locker. When you open this, you will see two pipes and two handles, most likely a yellow colour. These must be in the ‘open’ position to allow gas to flow to the appliances that use it. The ‘open position means the handles are turned so that they are parallel with their pipes. In an emergency, turn both the valves and the bottle to their respective ‘off’ positions.
Using the LPG stove in your motorhome
If your motorhome has a stove that is gas-powered you will need to make sure the correct switch is on before the stove will work. If your vehicle has a stove ignition switch or a rangehood switch, ensure this is turned on – this is when the switch is pointing towards the ground, not the roof.
The location and design of this switch varies between models of motorhomes. It is most likely to be a simple flick switch arranged in a dark grey panel alongside others that operate the fridge or water pump.
Before you ignite your stove, lift the glass lid. Select the burner you require then turn the knob – press downwards as you do so. Light the burner by pressing the small black ignition switch on the side of the stove, or by using a match on the burner.
How can I get hot water?
Many vehicles have an LPG-powered hot water system, and the control panels for these are usually easy to find. The main switch is most likely to be a single large white panel with the words ‘water heater’ at the top with a white ‘on’ switch underneath and a red light adjacent to that. The other controls you will need to locate is a dark grey rectangular panel with a number of switches, one of which will be for the LPG.
To get hot water, ensure the LPG system is operating, that the water pump switch is on and that there is water in the tank – you can check the exact levels via the water tank display monitor which should be wall-mounted above the switches.
Flick the white switch to ‘on’ and wait for the red light next to it to go out - this indicates that the gas has ignited and is heating the water in the tank.
Wait a minimum of 20 minutes for the water to heat. If the red light next to the hot water switch comes back on, this indicates ignition has failed. In this case, turn the water heater switch off and find the LPG gas bottle in your motorhome. Check the connections are secure and that the bottle is open. Then try the water heater switch again.
When stored and maintained correctly, LPG is an efficient and safe component of your motorhome. Hooray for stovetop meals and hot showers while on the road! Before you hit the road, remember to securely turn the gas bottle to the ‘off’ position before driving.
Note: If you are ever unsure about the safety or functionality of your gas appliances or fittings within your motorhome, get an expert to take a look. The team at RV Sales centre service team would be happy to assist.