How to Solve Common RV Propane Issues: RV Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting: Turning the Propane System On
Turn off all appliances that call for propane, including the cooktop and oven, refrigerator, water heater, and furnace.
If the service valve is already in the “open” position on your propane tanks or cylinders, close it. Arrows on the triangle-shaped handle indicate which way to turn the valves. Wait a few minutes, then return the service valve to the “open” position. This also resets the system if you experience a propane lockout.
Troubleshooting: The Cooktop Has a Flame, But the Furnace and Water Heater Won’t Light
This likely means that you’re experiencing a propane lockout and not that there is air in the lines. Your RV propane system has a safety feature called the excess flow valve. You can accidentally engage this safety feature, severely “limits” the amount of propane flowing through the system. This occurs when you already have one of the propane appliances turned on before opening the tank’s service valve. To reset the excess flow valve, turn off all appliances calling for propane, turn the service valve to the “closed” position, wait a few seconds, and turn the service valve back to the “open” position. A bad LP regulator or kinked or partially blocked LP line can also cause this problem.
Troubleshooting: Resetting the Propane System After a Lockout
You can also experience a propane lockout if you attempt to light an appliance three times unsuccessfully. To reset, turn off the appliance and turn it back on to allow the 12-volt DC-powered control board to start the process again. Also, confirm that the propane tank has propane and that the service valve is open. If the ignition process fails repeatedly, it’s time to troubleshoot the actual appliance itself.
Troubleshooting: Testing the Propane Regulator
It’s recommended to replace a propane regulator every five years. A rubber diaphragm inside deteriorates over time, and temperatures also take their toll on the device. If you don’t know the age of your regulator, assume it’s expired and have it replaced. There are tests that an RV inspector, RV technician, or propane-certified technician can perform to confirm the integrity of your regulator. Ask for an operating pressure test and a regulator lockout test.
Troubleshooting: The LP Detector Keeps Going Off
There are three reasons why your LP detector could sound an alarm. It could detect propane, butane, or methane, meaning it could detect a propane leak within your system, or it could also detect butane from aerosol sprays and even methane from other sources. Another reason is that the coach battery voltage might be low. Or, the detector might be nearing the end of its life expectancy or is expired. These troubleshooting tips can help you handle some common RV propane issues independently. However, there will be problems that require the expertise of an RV technician, like replacing the regulator, leaking propane lines, and performing an annual system check-up.