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Old 03-10-2014, 10:26 AM   #1
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Locking propane

I recall a discussion in a Sabre (I think) thread where someone wanted the ability to lock their propane tanks to ward off theft. As I was in my camper the other day pulling both tanks to fill them - I realized that the metal "seat belts" that go around the tanks are lockable. (In an - to keep the honest honest kind of way; the seat belt itself is awfully thin).

Anyway, I took a picture and was curious how common this is for those with propane in compartments? And, is there any fire-related danger to locking these?

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Old 03-10-2014, 12:31 PM   #2
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We're on a seasonal site and I do put a padlock on both for the winter. With the LP shortage I figure any way to slow down a potential thief was good. I do take the locks off during the season.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:45 PM   #3
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Supposedly it's against some regulation, but I put the barrel key locks on the doors.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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I have padlocks on both tanks and never unlock until it's time to refill...



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Old 03-10-2014, 12:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
I recall a discussion in a Sabre (I think) thread where someone wanted the ability to lock their propane tanks to ward off theft. As I was in my camper the other day pulling both tanks to fill them - I realized that the metal "seat belts" that go around the tanks are lockable. (In an - to keep the honest honest kind of way; the seat belt itself is awfully thin).

Anyway, I took a picture and was curious how common this is for those with propane in compartments? And, is there any fire-related danger to locking these?

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If some a-- wants your tank that strap will not help, they will just cut the ban. If your in an area like that I would worry more about some one opening my storage area or popping my lock to get inside. what is the cost of a new tank $45.00 bucks or so. Your not going to stop a thief maybe a kid but not a thief. If I had to worry about that I would find a new park.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:59 PM   #6
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In our present 5er, the tanks aren't held in with the "belt". They have the threaded post between the tanks and a handle tightens the cross piece down onto the top of the tanks. The regulator is also on that post. I'd have to use a chain and lock to keep them theft proof. As for fire risk, I am a retired Firefighter, and if they catch fire and you don't have an extinguisher, maybe 2 or 3 (because you don't take a knife to a gun fight) when and if there was a fire and I mean immediately, more than likely you aren't going to do anything but get everybody out of the trailer and get far away, call 911 and call your insurance company after the fire is out. Let the people trained to put the wet stuff on the hot stuff do their job. JMHO and stay safe.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:04 PM   #7
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Pipeman, you're right- I also have the threaded post holding the top of the propane tank securely. The picture is too dark to see it and I failed to mention it above. I was more just thinking about the seat belt and lock when I took the pics.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:10 PM   #8
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Supposedly it's against some regulation, but I put the barrel key locks on the doors.
I can't quote the regulation that says you can't lock the propane compartment doors (if there is one), but I have never seen locks on propane compartment doors. I'm guessing having quick access to the bottles if there's an emergency would be the reason for not locking them.

YMMV
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:24 PM   #9
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If you have ever had to fight a propane fire then you know that there are a miriad of things that can happen. Having the compartment door locked will just add to the problem and probably make the people whose job it is to extinguish fires very mad at you and could lead to a fine because there is a DOT regulation saying no locks on propane tank compartments. "Propane tanks and the shut off valves for them must be in an unlocked compartment or accessible at all times. That is why all RVs with chassis mount tanks have them in an unlocked compartment or at least the shut off valve is accessible without a key. And RV's with 20 or 30 lb propane bottles must be in an unlockable compartment. Tongue mounted propane bottles must also have easy access to the shut out valves." Your insurance company will probably negate your coverage.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:31 PM   #10
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Pipeman, is it acceptable to lock the propane bottles themselves in the manner shown in my first post (so long as the compartment itself is unlocked)?
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:49 PM   #11
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Yes, according to what I read in the regulation. Like I said I would have to chain mine onto something on the inside of the compartment. I live in Ontario, Canada but I'm pretty sure the regs are the same in both our countries. That quote I copied was on a RV page from the U.S. I've been using trailers from a hard top camper to 2 TTs, to a 36ft TH 5er and now a 35 ft 5er over a 36 year period and have never seen propane compartments locked.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:03 PM   #12
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If you have ever had to fight a propane fire then you know that there are a miriad of things that can happen. Having the compartment door locked will just add to the problem and probably make the people whose job it is to extinguish fires very mad at you and could lead to a fine because there is a DOT regulation saying no locks on propane tank compartments. "Propane tanks and the shut off valves for them must be in an unlocked compartment or accessible at all times. That is why all RVs with chassis mount tanks have them in an unlocked compartment or at least the shut off valve is accessible without a key. And RV's with 20 or 30 lb propane bottles must be in an unlockable compartment. Tongue mounted propane bottles must also have easy access to the shut out valves." Your insurance company will probably negate your coverage.
Understand the reasoning, but realistically, if there's a fire, it's all going to be up in flames within 15 minutes, long before any fire dept can get there. The doors are fiberglas and very easy to pry open. Turning them off in a fire will not keep them from exploding anyway. A tongue trailer with the tanks on the tongue might be another story at least as far as the fire will no doubt be back farther. No so in any 5er or MH.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:23 PM   #13
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Understand the reasoning, but realistically, if there's a fire, it's all going to be up in flames within 15 minutes, long before any fire dept can get there. The doors are fiberglas and very easy to pry open. Turning them off in a fire will not keep them from exploding anyway. A tongue trailer with the tanks on the tongue might be another story at least as far as the fire will no doubt be back farther. No so in any 5er or MH.
Possible - but if you or a neighbor are close by and have a fire extinguisher (s),you might not need to wait 15 or more minutes for any fire department to arrive.

The rest of your scenario is possible,but if there's a fire in the compartment or close by,the fire extinguisher might come in handy.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:25 PM   #14
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Old Coot you're right. That's why you run away as fast as possible. The tanks will probably vent as they heat up, releasing an under pressure flame that you don't want to extinguish until the propane runs out. You bathe the tank sides, with a fire hose, in cold water but don't put the fire out because the escaping vapors could reignite causing an explosion. Like I said a myriad of different things may happen. The trailer will more than likely be a pile of rubble. Then you would have to deal with your insurance company who more than likely will investigate. If the tanks for some odd reason don't vent then a bleve( A boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion is an explosion caused by the rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid above its boiling point) could happen making the tanks rockets. Very dangerous.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:44 PM   #15
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Possible - but if you or a neighbor are close by and have a fire extinguisher (s),you might not need to wait 15 or more minutes for any fire department to arrive.

The rest of your scenario is possible,but if there's a fire in the compartment or close by,the fire extinguisher might come in handy.
If I'm around, I have the key in my pocket.
With the attitude of 90% of the folks now, they would just run away and let her burn.
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:52 PM   #16
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Why are you all locking your tanks to start with?
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:56 PM   #17
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Why are you all locking your tanks to start with?
Because unfortunately not all people are as honest as we are here plus the recent cold spells have raised the price of propane to extreme levels,making it sought after.
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:56 PM   #18
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Why are you all locking your tanks to start with?
Same reason we lock the camper, house, car & truck. To keep honest people honest. The thieves will find a way regardless.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:36 PM   #19
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same reason we lock the camper, house, car & truck. To keep honest people honest. The thieves will find a way regardless.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:52 PM   #20
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Why are you all locking your tanks to start with?
Because what we pay for is OURS, and sometimes locks are the only shot at keeping it that way.

If idiots will steal Freon (to get high and destroy brain cells in the process) they'll steal propane, especially since it's already neatly packaged in "carry cans".

People buy locking gasoline caps for their vehicles for the same reason. When gasoline hit $4.00/gallon around here last year the gasoline thieves went on a rampage.
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