Propane smell

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Reinigm

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May 12, 2021
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Westminster, CA
Being new to RVing, I'm discovering things as I go. This week, as my propane tank approached empty, I started getting a gas smell coming from outside the RV. I looked this up online, and saw some posts stating that this does happen as it goes empty. Now that it is completely empty, I'm still getting the odor. Just not quite as strong. Anyone know anything about this or could contribute to this discussion? Thanks for the help. 2002 Fleetwood Tioga 29V, 12 gallon propane tank. Thank you
 

DonTom

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IIRC, the smell is added to propane for obvious safety reasons. Otherwise there would be no smell at all, which could be very dangerous in some situations.

I have theories why the smell is stronger when the tank is low, but it's just guesswork on my part. But it is quite common and even happens on my Y2k when I am very low.

And my rig is also a Fleetwood Tioga. If I worry about it too much, the fix is easy. I just fill up the LPG tank and then I can forget about it as then there is no trace of that smell.:)

-Don- Reno, NV
 

Kirk

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Because the smell comes from an odorant that is added to the propane, it is not uncommon for some of that material to settle out of the propane and stay in the bottom of the tank when the propane is gone. As a result the odor does get stronger near the bottom of the tank until the last propane is gone, then because it doesn't change to vapor as easily as the propane it is less strong but still there. If you refill the bottle with propane and the problem is gone, you have nothing to be concerned about but if there is still odor there you need to find the source which is probably a leak.
 

Reinigm

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Westminster, CA
Okay, folks. Good news and bad news. The good news is I filled the tank and the odor stopped instantly. The bad news is that I discovered the on/off valve doesn't shut off the gas to the RV. All the appliances still ignite on demand. Is it possible to replace that valve?
 

Ray-IN

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Yes, by a professional. Did you allow a stove burner to operate for 5 minutes after turning off the LP valve? Residual pressure in the lines must be depleted for the flame to go out. One half of one pound of pressure is all that is in the lines when the valve is open.
 

DonTom

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. The bad news is that I discovered the on/off valve doesn't shut off the gas to the RV. All the appliances still ignite on demand. Is it possible to replace that valve?
Only ignite? That sounds normal to me. Try running the stove or whatever for ten minutes with the propane valve off and then see what happens.

BTW, expect the same issue when the propane is turned back on. It takes time to get places, the pressure is very low.

-Don- Reno, NV
 

Reinigm

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Westminster, CA
I did run a burner but not that long. I think I'll turn on the AC and then run the burner for a while. Kind of warm outside.
 

Kirk

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I think I'll turn on the AC and then run the burner for a while.
It should burn off in a very few minutes. If it does turn out that the valve is bad you can have the valve replaced but you will need to have the tank empty when you do so. Most propane suppliers have the ability to do the job.
 

Reinigm

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Westminster, CA
It should burn off in a very few minutes. If it does turn out that the valve is bad you can have the valve replaced but you will need to have the tank empty when you do so. Most propane suppliers have the ability to do the job.
Thank you
 

Reinigm

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May 12, 2021
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Westminster, CA
Well, folks. It took a while, but it has been determined the regulator worked itself loose and was also bad. Had it replaced, and now it seems to be holding pressure fine. If it turns out to be something else, I will let you know.
 
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