If the propane tank on your RV is leaking after a refill, then you have a serious problem on your hands. Of course, leaking propane can be extremely dangerous. So, why is your propane tank leaking after a refill?
The common reasons for a propane tank leaking are due to an open bleeder valve, an open relief valve, or a faulty valve system. We are also going to address the issue of a cracked propane tank. Although very unlikely, they can sometimes suffer serious physical damage.
Is A leaking Propane Tank Dangerous?
Yes, absolutely is a leaking propane tank dangerous, and extremely so. Propane is flammable, which is why it is used for heating and cooking. If propane is leaking out of the tank, and it comes in contact with an open flame or spark, it’s going to cause a serious explosion.
It’s going to ignite the gas that is leaking out, and this flame will travel all the way back into the tank, and either just catch fire, or explode. There is also the fact that if it is in an enclosed space, inhaling propane is also very dangerous.
Although propane in itself is technically not toxic, it will displace the oxygen in the air. This means that if you breathe in too much propane, you won’t get enough oxygen, and can effectively suffocate to death.
3 Reasons Why Your Propane Tank is Leaking After Refilling
Here are the 3 most common reasons for the leaking, and most importantly the solution to each scenario;
1. An Open Bleeder Valve
One of the most common causes of a propane tank leaking after refilling is if the bleeder valve is open. Bleed valves are a special type of manually operated valve designed for bleeding liquids or gases out of a system.
It could also be the case that even if the bleeder valve is not open, the coil that it uses can be clogged with debris. This can then result in your propane tank leaking, specifically if the tank has too much propane in it. A good thing is that this is a very easy problem to solve.
The solution to a bleeder valve being open is simply to close it. All you have to do is to close the bleeder valve. You simply have to rotate the valve clockwise. Generally speaking, you are going to need to use a screwdriver, and you will need to turn the valve in a clockwise direction to close it.
2. An Open Relief Valve
The next reason why your propane tank might leak after a refill is if the relief valve is open. As the name implies, the relief valve is designed to help relieve pressure in the tank if there is too much of it.
For example, if it is very hot out, gas is going to expand, and take up much more space than if the air around it is cold.
Therefore, if it is hot outside, this relief valve may open up to allow pressure to get out of the tank. If the relief valve is slightly open, it will cause propane to leak out of the tank. Moreover, if the whole valve opens up, this can actually be quite dangerous.
the solution to a relief valve being open is actually quite simple, but you don’t actually want to touch the valve. This valve opens up all on its own in order to relieve pressure, and it should close on its own too.
If you tap or touch the valve in any way, or try to manipulate it, you may actually cause it to open up more, which is of course the opposite of what you are looking to achieve.
To solve this problem, you actually want to cool the tank down, which you can do by spraying it with some cool water or submerging it in a cold bath. This will relieve pressure on the tank and will cause the valve to close on its own.
However, if this does not work, then either this is not the issue or the relief valve is damaged to the point where you will just need to replace the propane tank.
3. A Faulty Valve System
The valve stem, or in other words the area where you connect the inlet tube to refill it with propane might be completely damaged or leaking. This is a huge problem because propane leaking out of the main stem can easily catch fire.
The solution to this issue is a little more complex because you will need to replace the entire tank valve stem system to prevent further damage and to prevent explosions from occurring. You are going to need to replace that valve system, in which case you are going to need a pipe wrench, heat gun, and a new valve.
Before you try to replace the valve, however, you need to ensure that the propane tank is 100% empty. Once the tank is 100% empty, you want to close the valve by turning the handle clockwise. You now need to take out the leaking valve. You’re going to use a heat gun to soften up the weld that is holding together the cylinder and the gas valve.
Once this has been done, you want to open the nozzle of the tank to allow the regulator to come down to regular atmospheric pressure. You want to hold the tank very tightly while doing this. Then, using your pipe wrench, you’re going to turn the valve in a clockwise direction to remove it. You want to now throw that old valve away.
You now need to attach the new valve and make sure that it comes complete with an overfilling prevention device inside of it. You’re going to attach the valve by threading it into the bung of the cylinder, and then tighten it using your pipe wrench.
What About a Cracked Propane Tank?
If the actual propane cylinder itself is cracked or damaged in any way, and this is what’s causing the leak, then your only option is going to be to get a new propane tank. A cracked tank cannot be repaired. Once a propane tank is damaged in this manner, it is irreparable.
How To Drain A Leaking Propane Tank
If you need to replace the valve system on your propane tank, you do need to empty it first. To empty a leaking propane tank, you first want to disconnect it, and then take it to an open area.
Of course, you never want to do this inside. Turn the propane tank onto its side. The tank will not drain if it’s not on its side. You now want to turn the knob all the way, so the valve is completely open. This should allow the propane to drain out.
Why Is My New Propane Tank Hissing?
If you hear a hissing sound coming from your propane tank, it is likely being caused by the safety relief valve not being closed all the way.
The propane that is escaping is causing the hissing sound. Moreover, if the pressure within the propane cylinder gets to the same amount of pressure as the spring that is used to keep the relief valve shut, then the safety relief valve will open.
In other words, if your new propane tank is hissing, it is an issue with the safety relief valve. Refer to the above sections in order to fix a propane tank with an open relief valve.
Will A Propane Tank Leak If Overfilled?
Yes, a propane tank will leak if overfilled, as it should. An overfilled propane tank is dangerous due to high amounts of pressure.
When there is too much pressure inside a propane tank, the safety relief valve will open up to allow that extra pressure to escape. This is completely normal.
Can A Leaking Propane Tank Explode?
Propane is an extremely flammable gas, and yes, it can explode. If there is any kind of open flame or spark that the leaking propane comes into contact with, the result will be a massive explosion.
As you can see, there are a few reasons why a propane tank might leak after a refill. However, all of these issues are pretty serious, because you obviously don’t want propane leaking out.
Therefore, you want to take all of the necessary steps to remedy the issue as quickly as possible. If the propane tank cannot be fixed, you have to get a new one. Propane is just way too dangerous to take any chances with.