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Old 11-21-2017, 12:50 AM   #1
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Default Filling propane tank?

As an RV'er for the last 40 odd years, here is a question I am embarrassed to ask!

I have always had - and still have - travel trailers, (apart from a VW Westie many many years ago). Now thinking seriously about switching to a class "B" for our remaining RV years!

Usually, I have had 20# propane bottles very easily filled or exchanged. At present, our Airstream Classic 30 has 30# bottles that I cannot exchange (they are aluminum) but are still very easy to get filled.

But I know zip about filling propane tanks that are fixed in the RV. Can all? most? places that fill removable bottles also deal with these or do you need to find places with special equipment?

Is it a problem at all?


Thanks (sorry for the rather basic question!) ........... Brian.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:08 AM   #2
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.

Any propane stations can fill a fixed tank underneath a Class B.

The fittings are standard and universal.

But they don't always have a kid there who knows how to (or have experience in) climbing under the rig to attach the hose and open the vent.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:13 AM   #3
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.

Any propane stations can fill a fixed tank underneath a Class B.

The fittings are standard and universal.

But they don't always have a kid there who knows how to (or have experience in) climbing under the rig to attach the hose and open the vent.


Hi BBQ (appropriate "nickname" for this subject!)


Thanks for the quick reply! That is encouraging, I had no idea! I'm sure I should have no problem showing anyone where the hose connection and vent would be. I was just concerned that places able to fill "loose" bottles might not necessarily be able to deal with fixed tanks as they generally seem to fill using weigh scales!

Thanks again ............. Brian.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:32 AM   #4
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Usually, I have had 20# propane bottles very easily filled or exchanged. At present, our Airstream Classic 30 has 30# bottles that I cannot exchange (they are aluminum) but are still very easy to get filled.
If you go to a Propane dealer you might find that they can only fill your tank from their trucks and the trucks leave on their routes early. So you have to get there before they leave. Prices and taxes are all over the place

Flying J's can give you Propane on the road. Most U-Haul rental places can fill them also. Some gas stations have Propane.

If you fill during the summer you might be getting Butane rather than Propane and if you go to a cold place with Butane it will not boil and your heater will not work....

Propane is great stuff but I don't like it..... I think it is a pain in the A.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:39 AM   #5
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If you go to a Propane dealer you might find that they can only fill your tank from their trucks and the trucks leave on their routes early. So you have to get there before they leave. Prices and taxes are all over the place

Flying J's can give you Propane on the road. Most U-Haul rental places can fill them also. Some gas stations have Propane.

If you fill during the summer you might be getting Butane rather than Propane and if you go to a cold place with Butane it will not boil and your heater will not work....

Propane is great stuff but I don't like it..... I think it is a pain in the A.

Hey, Thanks DC!

We live in Canada but a good part of our traveling is in the US and I am a big fan of FJ, so that is good to know!

I had no idea about the butane / propane thing -I always assumed gas stations always sold propane.

Living in Canada, I know that our temperatures here get cold enough at times that in winter, we could just pour butane out of a cig.lighter and it would remain in liquid state!

Thx .... Brian

(PS -I rather like propane! Each to his own!)
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:58 AM   #6
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Tractors Supply stores have some of the best prices on propane refill.
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Old 11-21-2017, 03:07 AM   #7
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Tractors Supply stores have some of the best prices on propane refill.
I get a LOT of loose propane tanks refilled - mostly for my homebrew beer hobby!

We do have a TSC not far from where we live, but the best prices I have found is from a much closer COSTCO store - they will not fill our 30# US-made
alum. tanks for our Airstream trailer though.

Sometimes I can find a place that will fill them here in Canada (they are not supposed to as they are supposed to have a CSA stamp instead of, or in addition to a DOT stamp and ours are just DOT!)

Usually, I just get them filled when we travel south, as we do often, and so it is not a problem!

Brian.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:19 PM   #8
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Any propane stations can fill a fixed tank underneath a Class B. ...
It depends on the jurisdiction. If you are talking about America, maybe. But get into Canada and it partially depends on the prevailing rules in each province, and whether heavy-handed regulation has made fixed-tank filling economically unsupportable as a business activity.

This news article provides a good example. In Nova Scotia, nobody is going to install $15,000 worth of specialized equipment so that they can do ~$10 to $20 RV and camper van fill-ups - that's bat sh** crazy. So when the original grandfathered equipment eventually fails due to old age, each servicer simply drops out of the market.

Earlier this year I talked with an RV sales outfit in NS and confirmed that conditions have not yet changed. They were selling new trailers and motorhomes with integrated tanks, but they themselves could not fill those tanks. And when buyers would ask, "How do I get it filled, then?" the reply would be, "Well, you're on your own for that."
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:28 PM   #9
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It depends on the jurisdiction. If you are talking about America, maybe. But get into Canada and it partially depends on the prevailing rules in each province, and whether heavy-handed regulation has made fixed-tank filling economically unsupportable as a business activity.

This news article provides a good example. In Nova Scotia, nobody is going to install $15,000 worth of specialized equipment so that they can do ~$10 to $20 RV and camper van fill-ups - that's bat sh** crazy. So when the original grandfathered equipment eventually fails due to old age, each servicer simply drops out of the market.

Earlier this year I talked with an RV sales outfit in NS and confirmed that conditions have not yet changed. They were selling new trailers and motorhomes with integrated tanks, but they themselves could not fill those tanks. And when buyers would ask, "How do I get it filled, then?" the reply would be, "Well, you're on your own for that."

Thanks for the heads up.

Some RVers have reported difficulty in finding propane stations in certain areas of the USA. Maybe this is the reason too?



ps. (unrelated) in Canada it is illegal to transfer propane from vehicle to vehicle. Only from vehicle to stationary tanks, and vice versa. There was a big fire/explosion in Toronto a few years back because the worker was circumventing the rules and blew himself up.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:42 PM   #10
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It depends on the jurisdiction. If you are talking about America, maybe. But get into Canada and it partially depends on the prevailing rules in each province, "
Well, that is interesting - looks as though I should do a bit more checking around my home (just a few miles west of Toronto).

Any Ontario residents reading this that might be able to comment?

Thx ------ Brian
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:56 PM   #11
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Does Canada have Tractor Supply? As stated above, in the US they are among the most reliable, ubiquitous and easy to find sources.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:58 PM   #12
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Does Canada have Tractor Supply? As stated above, in the US they are among the most reliable, ubiquitous and easy to find sources.
Yes, we do - there is one not too many miles from my home and I will see if they are set up for filling mounted tanks.
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Old 11-21-2017, 03:15 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
I get a LOT of loose propane tanks refilled - mostly for my homebrew beer hobby!

We do have a TSC not far from where we live, but the best prices I have found is from a much closer COSTCO store - they will not fill our 30# US-made
alum. tanks for our Airstream trailer though.

Sometimes I can find a place that will fill them here in Canada (they are not supposed to as they are supposed to have a CSA stamp instead of, or in addition to a DOT stamp and ours are just DOT!)

Usually, I just get them filled when we travel south, as we do often, and so it is not a problem!

Brian.

Costco Canada sells 30 lb BBQ tanks. Maybe they want to sell you a new tank.
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Old 11-21-2017, 03:53 PM   #14
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Costco Canada sells 30 lb BBQ tanks. Maybe they want to sell you a new tank.

Yes, I noticed recently that they were selling 30lb bottles so I should ask again!

At the time I was refused, they were only selling 20Lb and the guy doing the filling said that was all he was permitted to fill.

Truth of the matter is though that my aluminum 30# bottles have only a US DOT stamp, not CSA, and according to the Can. Regs cannot be filled in Canada.

I'm not sure refilling stations get too worried about that - I have had them filled in Ontario one or twice.

I did get both bottles recertified for another five years when in Florida last winter.

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Old 11-21-2017, 04:42 PM   #15
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Incidentally, this propane scarcity was one of several reasons why we bit the bullet and installed a Vitrifrigo all-electric fridge after we upgraded to a lithium battery system. We knew we'd be going back and forth to Canada and our original 3-way fridge was a huge propane suck. I can now top off the propane tank in Bangor, cross into Canada, and stay there for weeks at a time without needing a refill.

I'm still working out the specific consumption details, but certainly we can run the remaining appliances (furnace, stove, and hot water heater) conservatively for quite some time without incurring a shortage. We have an old inefficient Atwood 6-gallon batch water heater (I'd prefer a small efficient in-line on-demand), but I figured out that I can manually run the Atwood for 15 minutes only, to get enough hot water for a set number of tasks (such as one batch of dishes and one short shower). Left unattended, the thing will run for 38 minutes before thermostatically shutting itself off, but I usually don't need that much water being that hot. Saving 23 minutes of propane feed with each firing makes a big difference in the consumption.
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Old 11-21-2017, 04:45 PM   #16
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Yes, I noticed recently that they were selling 30lb bottles so I should ask again!

At the time I was refused, they were only selling 20Lb and the guy doing the filling said that was all he was permitted to fill.

Truth of the matter is though that my aluminum 30# bottles have only a US DOT stamp, not CSA, and according to the Can. Regs cannot be filled in Canada.

I'm not sure refilling stations get too worried about that - I have had them filled in Ontario one or twice.

I did get both bottles recertified for another five years when in Florida last winter.

Brian

I wonder if you can get them certified in Canada.
If the inspection station approves it, they will give you a sticker.
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Old 11-21-2017, 04:48 PM   #17
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The European system have their merit -- all the RV pictures I have seen are with portable propane tanks. They keep them in a locker inside the cabin, but with a sealed door and vent to the outside.
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Old 11-21-2017, 06:42 PM   #18
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I wonder if you can get them certified in Canada.
If the inspection station approves it, they will give you a sticker.
Possibly, but I would doubt it.

Once I learned that it was not permitted to fill a tank without a CSA stamp on it, I just assumed I would therefore not be able to get it certified here in Canada so I took the opportunity to have it done in Florida.

Brian
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
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.

The European system have their merit -- all the RV pictures I have seen are with portable propane tanks. They keep them in a locker inside the cabin, but with a sealed door and vent to the outside.
Gala RV in Quebec uses DOT tanks also: Neuf 2017 Gala RV Montecarlo 2100 ņ Vendre | Terrebonne QC

also here: http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f7...arlo-3520.html
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:27 PM   #20
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Wingeezer - you can add an extend-a-stay type fitting to an installed ASME tank setup. That allows the appliances etc. to run off a portable tank if needed or when wanted.

That type of fitting is more common on larger RV's and they would have exterior storage compartments for the portable tank. A few Class B's have have exterior storage.

I've used that type of fitting on a Class C in below freezing temperatures. It took a fair bit of propane to keep the coach warm and it was easier to use the car to go get the portable tank refilled than to pack up and move the coach.

It would also typically be used for long stays in warmer climates if one doesn't want to move the coach.

With a B van, it would give some peace of mind that you could always switch to a portable tank when parked if ever needed.
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