Opening the LP Valve on an RV Propane Tank

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Duration: 1:00

As with all procedures dealing with RV propane tanks on your motor home, it is essential when opening the LP valve that you take care not to rush the process or damage any of the components. If you open the valve on your RV propane tank too quickly, you risk tripping the excess flow valve and having to fight to go back and forth with the system to get it to cooperate.

The excess flow valve is a spring-loaded needle valve designed into the POL or connection valve and is rated to a specific flow or pressure. During normal operation, the valve stays open to allow the LP to flow to the appliances. If there is a leak in the system at an appliance or an LP line, the excess flow or pressure is detected by the spring and needle seat and is pushed to the closed position to prevent filling the rig with propane. To help walk you through the method, Dave Solberg teaches you a simple tip to avoid any problems when reconnecting your DOT cylinder after getting it filled. Often times owners simply connect the POL valve and crank it open and the initial “burst” of air and LP is greater than normal operation pressure and the valve will close. It will take several minutes for the system to backflow to the appliances and the valve to readjust to normal operation. Dave shows a cutaway section of the excess flow valve and how to open the LP cylinder valve slow enough to eliminate this issue.

If you run into any further trouble when opening the LP valve and disconnecting your RV propane tank from the main line, you should consider driving your vehicle into a certified filling station to have a trained technician take a look. An expert can help show you the correct way to open the valve and even explain other techniques for dealing with and maintaining your RV propane cylinder. Also, you can refer to your model’s user manual or online discussion boards if you encounter issues.

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5 Responses to “Opening the LP Valve on an RV Propane Tank”

  1. Murray Fourney

    As a life around Propane Forklifts and soldering tourches BBQs etc. I was taught when opening a propane tank valve at any time, it was wise to only crack them open slightly as to in case of any occasion of a problem, it was a lot quicker to have less valve travel to get it closed. Most anything I ever used never needed tha extra flow for normal operation anyway. This is just a couple of quick safety precautions. Always turn off the tank valve and let the pressure burn off the lines in all outdoor applications as with BBQs, tourches etc. Have a great summer. MAF

  2. Joe Hickerson

    Hi Dave, I was confused by this video, then read the comments and realized it was 3 years old. A corrupt and incorrect video like this needs to be pulled from the “cart” so as not to confuse us old guys!

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  3. JOHN

    Ticket#17682 I had trouble understanding this video. Maybe I am confused about the meaning of “opening” and “closing” the gas valve. I know that when we talk about electricity, “opening” a switch means turning off the electricity source, is that same terminology being used here? It seems like opening a gas valve turns the gas supply on. Also, I did not understand the part about the small flame. I have been working with propane most of my adult life, either residential or in RVs, and I have never had a flame of any size that I did not expect when opening or closing a valve or connecting or disconnecting appliances. Could you provide a little more info on when you might get that unexpected flame?

    • Customer Service

      Dear John,

      Thank you for your patience. In regards to your question-

      When talking about the gas valve, I compare it to a water faucet. When you open the valve or faucet, you allow water or LP to flow through the faucet or to the appliance. When referring to electrical components, you are correct… an “open” circuit means the wire or relay has opened or separated and no electricity will flow to the component.

      As for the open flame, this is incorrect and the description will be completely changed. I believe the description got corrupted with a couple different video descriptions as this deals with connecting the DOT cylinder after filling it and not opening the valve to fast. This description talks about disconnecting, running appliances, and removing the tank which will be changed. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

      You are correct, there should not be an open flame anywhere near the DOT Cylinder! I believe that reference came from a description of the refrigerator and the small flame contained in the burner assembly but has nothing to do with opening the DOT cylinder.

      I hope this helps!


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