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Old 05-27-2016, 12:58 PM   #1
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propane question

Im a newbie to campers. I just bought a 2015 Forest River 246D. I've been out 2 weekends for 2 nights. Both nights were cold and we used the propane heat. Each weekend we also cooked with the propane external stove.

I ran out of propane the 2nd night of the second trip. The impression I had from the dealer and other friends was that the propane should last much longer than that. Also, my wife kept claiming she smelled propane and thought we had a leak. She's notoriously paranoid about that kind of thing, though, so I don't know how much sand to give it.

Just wondering if anyone thinks it's unusual to have run out of propane in that amount of time. I just have the one tank that comes off the lot with the camper.

Thanks
JON
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:07 PM   #2
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That pup probably carries 1-20# tanks and you are heating a tent with no insulating qualities. Do you carry an electric bathroom type heater, as most do. Run on low wattage setting only and let it stretch your lp. Even in this TT, if it's in the 40s, I can go through 1/2 tank in a couple nights and most TTs have 2-30# tanks. Answer to your ?... not really. Lp changes state at an accelerated rate in low temps to get the regulated 11" wc that your appliances require.
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:09 PM   #3
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I'll assume the one tank only is a 20 pounder?
If it was cold enough that the furnace ran a fair amount, and you used it for a few other things, in two weekends (4 nights) you could easily deplete a 20 pound tank. Add to that the possibility the dealer had not completely filled it. (Some places short fill but charge for a full fill)
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:12 PM   #4
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It all depends on usage. I can say we got our entire season last year (10 trips) on 1 20# tank. Maybe 10 nights with heat, 4-5 days refrigerator, and warming baby food on the stove 3x a day.
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:12 PM   #5
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I am assuming you have either a single or dual 20lb LP tanks?

If just a single tank that could be right depending on how much the heater was running to keep the trailer warm, canvas doesn't retain a whole lotta heat so the heater was probably running all night depending on setting?

Even a dual tank set up would be depleted quick in that scenario. Without knowing exactly how it was set and temp it is hard to guess but that doesn't seen out of the realm of possibilities.

As far as the suspected leak, was you CO and LP detector on and working? Did you smell LP too or just her?
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:40 PM   #6
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First, if anybody smells propane, chances are very high that you have a leak. An outside leak - like I had on my A-frame - does not set off the alarm, and cannot be smelled consistently due to wind. The leak turned out to be a bad brass casting where the rubber hose from the regulator joined the metal propane piping under the camper. Mine was found and fixed by the selling dealer after I smelled propane twice.


As others have pointed out, the heater in a PUP can use propane fairly quickly, even when you don't have a leak. We treated our PUP - 2000 Coleman Westlake - as a very nice tent that was off the ground. We used sleeping bags instead of sheets and blankets (we had been tent campers before). On cold nights (40s and below), I would set the heater to 50 - 55 degrees. Since we were dry camping, and I had dual 20lb bottles, battery usage by the heater was much more of a concern than propane. That said, I never used more than 1 full bottle in less than 10 days camping.


Based on that experience, when we bought our present A-frame, I installed dual batteries to run the heater for 4 nights in high 20 to 40 degree temps. Again, set the thermostat to 55 to reduce heater run time. The thermostat gets turned up to 70 for about 15 minutes when DW gets up.


However, the A-frame is much better insulated than a canvas pop-up, and there is about 1/3 the volume to heat/cool for the same size box. So I can safely plan on 5 hours heater run time, and still maintain 55 degrees inside on a 28 degree night.


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Old 05-27-2016, 01:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. It is a single 20lb tank and it was filled by the dealer so I suppose it may have been underfilled.

I'm going to fill it and take it out once more and troubleshoot it. If I smell propane, then I'll hit the dealer. My father in law was camping near us and sprayed the tank/hose with Windex and claimed it would "bubble" if there was a leak and there was no bubbling. But I'm not sure how scientific that all is.

I never thought of bringing along an electric heater. Good tip.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-27-2016, 02:30 PM   #8
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I tried the soap and bubble trick on my propane leak, but could not find it. But I have never done the soap and bubble well enough to find a known leak. Of course in this case, I wasn't checking a metal casting. I also went under the unit with a wrench, and checked to make sure all connections were tight. Again, this did not detect a bad casting that was leaking. The dealer did find the leak/bad casting with soap and bubbles, so I assume there is a little skill needed to do a good test that way.


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Old 05-27-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loschi View Post
Thanks for all the replies. It is a single 20lb tank and it was filled by the dealer so I suppose it may have been underfilled.

I'm going to fill it and take it out once more and troubleshoot it. If I smell propane, then I'll hit the dealer. My father in law was camping near us and sprayed the tank/hose with Windex and claimed it would "bubble" if there was a leak and there was no bubbling. But I'm not sure how scientific that all is.

I never thought of bringing along an electric heater. Good tip.

Thanks again.
You need to check out Popup Gizmos.
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Old 05-27-2016, 03:49 PM   #10
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Add to that the possibility the dealer had not completely filled it. (Some places short fill but charge for a full fill)
This possibility is at the top of my list.
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