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Old 08-09-2020, 06:32 PM   #1
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Propane cylinders while storing RV in attached garage

Hi All,

Like many Aframe owners, I am storing mine in the garage (attached in my case). The guy I bought it from did the same (always stored it in the garage and ran the heater in winter to avoid winterizing). My question is about propane... Do you disconnect the propane cylinders and store them outside? If so, how do you make sure that no propane leaks from the pressurized system into the garage when you disconnect the bottles?

I have never stored propane bottles in a garage and do not really feel comfortable doing so. Looking for some practical tips on what to do while still having the benefit of inside heated storage in my garage for my trailer...

Thanks.
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:00 PM   #2
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If you turn off the valves before you disconnect the bottle, the amount of propane escaping into the atmosphere inside your garage is negligible. It has to be mixed with air/oxygen within a very small range of proportions in order to be flammable.

The little "whoosh" when you disconnect is effectively nothing, as a proportion to the volume of air inside your garage.
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:35 PM   #3
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Have you considered that when you pull your car(s) inside there’s a lot of gasoline in the fuel tanks? I don’t see a problem with propane.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:09 PM   #4
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Thanks both, definitely makes me more comfortable with having propane around. I am probably being too cautious. Still new to RV ownership and am not too knowledgeable about the properties of various types of fuel. It is not too much effort to take them off and there was an article here recently saying it is not Ok to store in a garage. I live in a higher density neighborhood so don't want to cause any issues for people here. I do think that most Aframe owners who store their trailers in garages keep the cylinders attached.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:44 PM   #5
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Shut them off , leave them hooked up ! No advantage to having them disconnected . An added containment if the valve leaks a little .
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:03 PM   #6
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Had popups from 84 to 2008 and always stored them in the garage during winter with Propane tanks attached. Never removed the lines, just closed the valves.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:49 AM   #7
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My A-frame stores in the garage with the propane tanks in place. Along with 2 cars, and a lawn mower and the lawn mower gas cans. Also, have several 1lb propane bottles stored in camper (for stove and BabyQ) and with tools (along with oxygenated propane for my soldering torch at altitude). Usually, there are a couple of bundles of firewood under the camper for our next trip - often can't have campfires in Colorado/Wyoming/New Mexico/Utah/Texas due to restrictions and/or winds so end up with wood left over.

I even run the fridge while in the garage to pre-cool; once in a while on propane to test my fridge mods. I don't run the fridge on propane in the garage for prolonged periods; just during hook-up (automatic switch over when I unplug the camper) and for testing. I do prefer to keep the garage door open when running on propane. There is a CO detector in the garage - can get that to alarm if DW starts/idles her car before opening the door. Camper also has a CO/propane alarm which has yet to go off in the garage, but is on whenever batteries are on.

A little care in keeping gas/propane from venting in the garage goes a long way in keeping things safe. This includes the A-frame - making sure the propane plumbing has no leaks. I do set the rare 1lb bottle outside that fails to stop venting when unscrewed from the appliance. I've actually had more gas leaks inside the house from the range (valve not shut off completely) than anything else (also have natural gas water heaters, furnaces, gas log fireplaces inside).

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Old 08-10-2020, 02:20 PM   #8
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There is nothing wrong with your plan to store them outside. It's a bit more caution than most use, but it's a fine option.

As others have said, the amount of propane in the lines is negligible, but you can burn off most of it simply by turning off the tank(s) and lighting the stove. When the flame burns out, the lines are effectively purged and de-pressurized. As you are aware, the same propane/natural gas combustion is fine in an enclosed space for a modest time, because many homes are equipped with gas stoves.

Many propane fill stations provide free caps for the valve on the tank. If your's don't have these caps, get some. They will keep out dirt and bugs. Store the tanks on blocks of wood or a concrete pad to prevent rusting. Paint as needed prior to storage. Store in the shade if possible. Intense sun can raise the temp and pressure inside the tank to the point it may "vent" a bit of fuel, and that may be unnerving if you smell it.

Note that, if you purge the lines, you must "recharge" the lines when you reconnect. Things like the propane fridge, propane hot water heater, and so on MAY NOT IGNITE properly if the lines aren't charged. They have tiny spark igniters with timers and thermocouples that verify ignition. After a few seconds they stop trying as a safety interlock. Then you often must reset and try again after a few minutes of waiting. If the fridge doesn't ignite on propane, it may sound an alarm to protect refrigerated food.

The easiest way to recharge the lines is with the gas stove/cooktop. Get your stick lighter and light it. Hold it next to a burner. Turn on the gas and be patient. Your burning lighter will definitely ignite the gas when it gets there, but it may take several seconds. If you have an AUX port for a gas grill, and if it's reasonable to purge at that point, too, follow the same process. Then your other appliances will work as they should.
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:23 PM   #9
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P.S. Since you have an A-Frame, you may not wish to put in the effort to raise it to turn on the stove. In that case, just disconnect the tanks with the garage door open. You'll be fine.
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Old 08-10-2020, 05:26 PM   #10
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Storing In Garage

Hello:
I camped adjacent to a fellow camper last week. My first trip this year due to the Covid Pandemic. This gentlemen barely survived a camper fire previously due to a leak in the propane system ignited by a pilot light in the refrigerator.
If you have any pilot lights in your garage, I would be especially cautious about propane storage. Leaks can occur. I would error on the side of caution. Disconnect the tanks outdoors where no accumulation can occur. Then once dissipated, move the camper indoors. Store the tanks outdoors. If your cautious, no harm no foul. If your not cautious and disaster strikes, you will kick yourself.
I also know of a family that lost their loved two pets, and almost their lives this weekend due to a house fire that started by a window AC unit according to the Fire Department investigators. I've never heard of a window unit AC unit fire either, but anything can happen anytime. I prefer to error on the side of caution. I respect the other opinions here, and I will simply share my humble opinion and wish you the best. Take care.
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Old 08-10-2020, 06:15 PM   #11
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You are getting a lot of information here about storing propane in an enclosed structure. Before you listen to the online experts, call your local fire department and get the name of the fire inspector they use to assess fires. Then call your homeowners insurance carrier and get the name of the person they would send out to your house if you had a fire. Call them BOTH!!!! Ask them how they would assess a fire situation where they discovered propane tanks inside your house, or garage. Then ask them both if it makes any difference if the tanks contributed to a hypothetical fire or not.
I will give you a hint here: Where I live, you could have a fire start in a rear bedroom that is 100 feet away from a garage that has a propane tank it. Fire Inspector sees it, places a check mark on his inspection sheet, sends it to insurance company, no coverage. The ONLY propane tank you can store indoors is one of those 1 pound tanks that Coleman sells or one that is used for soldering.
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Old 08-10-2020, 06:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Villagerjjm View Post
You are getting a lot of information here about storing propane in an enclosed structure. Before you listen to the online experts, call your local fire department and get the name of the fire inspector they use to assess fires. Then call your homeowners insurance carrier and get the name of the person they would send out to your house if you had a fire. Call them BOTH!!!! Ask them how they would assess a fire situation where they discovered propane tanks inside your house, or garage. Then ask them both if it makes any difference if the tanks contributed to a hypothetical fire or not.
I will give you a hint here: Where I live, you could have a fire start in a rear bedroom that is 100 feet away from a garage that has a propane tank it. Fire Inspector sees it, places a check mark on his inspection sheet, sends it to insurance company, no coverage. The ONLY propane tank you can store indoors is one of those 1 pound tanks that Coleman sells or one that is used for soldering.
Urban legend. If your policy is current and paid the company will pay. Now, renewing is a different situation.

Where is this “rule” allowing one pound tank but not a five pounder?
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Old 08-10-2020, 08:09 PM   #13
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Have you considered that when you pull your car(s) inside there’s a lot of gasoline in the fuel tanks?
gasoline is not a problem by itself because it does not explode. Gasoline VAPOR is is another thing and does explode. That why we have carburator/injector that converts liquid gasoline into vapor. That's also why any modern car checks for leaks in the gasoline system and report any leaks with a CHECK-ENGINE light.

Propane is explosive by itself and is heavier than air so it accumulated, specifically in building.

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Urban legend. If your policy is current and paid the company will pay. Now, renewing is a different situation.
Application of the contract/law varies by juridiction, but from here (Québec) you have to tell all the risks to the insurance company when you ask for coverage. If you lie, you are not covered. If you did no tell the company you are going to store propane tank inside the garage, and that's a disclosable risk, you can be denied payment.

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Where is this “rule” allowing one pound tank but not a five pounder?
That is a VERY good question. AFAIK, it has to stay outside has much as possible.

Looking briefly, OSHA rules says something like 300 lbs of propane in industrial building not open to public. I found reference to CSA rules here: https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english...uide/gl_10.php . If you read the various cases, you'll see that propane tanks must always be outside the building, except 1-pound tank used to reheat food and no more than 3 spare cylinder.

Of course they also say that propane tanks must be carried by a pick-up, not an enclosed vehicle which is very difficult for me to obey since I only own closed vehicle...
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Old 08-10-2020, 08:27 PM   #14
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Jflaurin...you’re in French Canada. Totally irrelevant to U.S.A. rules.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:05 PM   #15
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Jflaurin...you’re in French Canada. Totally irrelevant to U.S.A. rules.
Good Evening,

A) It's Larin, not Laurin. I've been mixed with Laurin quite often to my disadvantage at school, but that's a long time ago...

B) Yes I know CSA is canadian rule. Note that I FIRST quoted OSHA which happens to be from USA. USA is not the center of the universe. Also note that, maybe related to the fact that USA and Canada share the longuest ungarded border, we share a LOT of standard. When we test product for EMC, we get canadian and american compliance in the same test. The same cannot be said for Europe, Korea, Australia, etc.

C) I am very interested in reading the US insurance regulation that mentions that you may lie to your insurance and will still be covered. Or that you may disregard safety standard and still be covered. The general rule that insurance company do their best not to pay is pretty universal ...

Best Regards,
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:16 PM   #16
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Auto-correct strikes again.

Regarding insurance regs I’ve never been asked by an insurance company if I’m storing flammable substances in my house or garage.

I certainly hope the USA is not the center of the universe but I’m not concerned with any other country’s laws.

As far as insurance pay outs I guarantee you that if someone has valid insurance and then hits someone while driving drunk, high, texting, take your pick the insurance will pay. Been there, done that but I wasn’t the drunk. Insurance paid very well but their client was dropped after the fact.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:53 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ElenaBee View Post
I have never stored propane bottles in a garage and do not really feel comfortable doing so. Looking for some practical tips on what to do while still having the benefit of inside heated storage in my garage for my trailer...
.
If it makes you uncomfortable to store propane in your garage, then don't do it. We stored the propane tanks from our travel trailer outside away from anything combustible. It just made it easier to sleep at night.
You don't need heated storage if you winterize the water lines and the heat in the garage will probably be enough to keep the lines from freezing.... depending on how cold that garage gets in winter.
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Old 08-10-2020, 11:05 PM   #18
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Propane in any tank from 5 lbs and above are illegal to be stored inside. That is printed right on the tank itself. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the tank. I do not think the gentleman from Georgia has ever carried an empty tank into the store for a refill and has gotten “shoo’ed” out because it is a safety code violation and is actually illegal in many areas. I guess the gentleman from Georgia does not see all the propane exchange cages outside the businesses that provide the exchange process. I wonder if the gentleman from Georgia has ever noticed that propane tanks that are used to fill smaller tanks and the tanks that supply RV’s, houses and businesses with propane for heating and cooking are always located OUTSIDE? Nah... can’t be a reason for that.. right?
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Old 08-10-2020, 11:20 PM   #19
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Propane in any tank from 5 lbs and above are illegal to be stored inside. That is printed right on the tank itself. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the tank. I do not think the gentleman from Georgia has ever carried an empty tank into the store for a refill and has gotten “shoo’ed” out because it is a safety code violation and is actually illegal in many areas. I guess the gentleman from Georgia does not see all the propane exchange cages outside the businesses that provide the exchange process. I wonder if the gentleman from Georgia has ever noticed that propane tanks that are used to fill smaller tanks and the tanks that supply RV’s, houses and businesses with propane for heating and cooking are always located OUTSIDE? Nah... can’t be a reason for that.. right?
Have noticed all of that. Have also noticed indoor RV storage buildings with 50+ motor homes parked inside, and all of them have propane bottles that are not empty.

Have also noticed thousands of units driving down the road with passengers inside sitting three feet away from propane tanks.
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Old 08-12-2020, 12:54 PM   #20
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Thanks all. As I expected it is a bit controversial but I am taking them off. I have built a little platform on the open edge of a covered patio/deck. It only has a roof and no wall. This qualifies as outside I would say. I agree that there is a lot of propane that is stored where it would likely not really qualify as "outside". Even large tanks inside larger RVs that are mounted inside the vehicle itself. They probably vent somewhere, I don't know. Maybe there is no floor where they mount... Also a good point about inside RV storage.

Near here, there was recently a large explosion at a campground that was due to that small 1 lb tank that was stored inside the camper. It blew off pretty much the entire back wall and most of the side walls. Nobody died but it certainly did not look pleasant. I don't know why their alarm did not sound, etc.

https://globalnews.ca/video/7043921/...ar-slave-lake/

I feel much better with this plan... Nothing is a guarantee but I just feel safer.
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