If you’ve noticed that your motorhome smells of that distinctive propane odor and detected a leak in your RV propane tank system, it’s very important that you know how to first manage and fix the leak, then properly test the unit to see that it’s ready to be filled again. To teach you the proper method for checking an RV propane tank for leaks, Dave Solberg and a certified expert demonstrate an example of a water column test. This is the test that trained technicians will complete at a repair shop or filling station, and it is vital that you complete each step correctly.
Using a manometer to gauge the pressure in the water column of the RV propane tank, Dave and Steve turn the LP valve on and determine whether or not the sample RV propane tank is operating within the proper range required to run a fully functioning appliance such as a water heater or refrigerator. If your RV propane tank system did have a leak, you would notice a lower reading on the manometer or you can use special leak detector fluid that is painted onto the nozzle.
Once your RV propane tank system is determined to be leaking, experts at a filling station or repair shop will plug in component by component and check for the source of the leak. They will use that certified leak detector and the manometer to decide whether the leak is in the output side or the pressurized side of the RV propane tank line.
It’s recommended that you start by checking the simplest places in the system and generally the most obvious sources of a leak, working your way through each connection and pipe that run to your main appliances such as the furnace, water heater and refrigerator. Although the average RV owner won’t be completing these tests and making the repairs, you should at least know how to check for any leaks.