When you’re out on the road, enjoying the beautiful scenery, it can be pretty easy to forget to refill your RV’s propane tanks. But, in order to keep everything working properly, it’s an absolute must.
Here, we’ll take a look at where you can fill an RV propane tank. Not only that, but we’ll also look at how to refill them safely.
Why Is It Important To Fill Your RV’s Propane Tanks?
Sometimes the most obvious questions are the ones that nobody wants to ask because they assume that everybody already knows the answer.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case and it’s that reluctance to step forward and ask what are often thought to blindingly obvious questions that have led to more than a few RV’ers having to wipe egg off their faces after they’ve been ensnared in, and fallen into a number of particularly difficult camping crises that could have been avoided had they simply opened their mouths and asked the right questions in the first place.
Why do you need to make sure that your RV’s propane tanks are full?
Because propane is the fuel that it uses to heat the water in your shower, power your stove, refrigerator, and the barbecues and grills that you’ll fire up when you get to wherever it is you’re going.
It’s the lifeblood of the dedicated camper, and without it, you won’t be able to use all the amenities in your RV or enjoy a delicious flame-grilled burger at the campsite you were going to call home for a couple of days.
If you want to enjoy and make the most of, the time that you’re going to spend in your RV, you need to keep an eye on the amount of propane that’s stored in our RV tanks, and if it drops too low, to ensure that you’ll always have enough to head out on your next adventure.
That’s why we decided to step into the propane breach and put together an everything you need to know guide to where you can fill up the propane tanks on your RV, and how to do it.
Are you ready to fully immerse yourself in all things propane? Good, then let’s get started…
How Can I Find Out Where To Refill My Propane Tanks?
That’s the easiest part of the whole process, as the internet has gathered all of the information that used to be handed out to every home in America in the Yellow Pages (which ceased publication in 2019) and pinned to the notice boards in every supermarket about propane stations that are local to you in one place, and it can be found with a quick Google search.
Or, failing that, the next time you’re filling up at your local gas station, just ask the attendant or the clerk where the nearest propane supplier is, and they should be able to tell you.
Personally, we’ve always found that if we need to know anything about RVing, the easiest thing to do is to ask one of our RV buddies and they’ll usually know the answer.
If however, your friends don’t share the same hobbies as you (and that’s okay, we’re all different and we all like and enjoy different things), then you might want to consider reaching out to or joining the RV Owners Club which is a one-stop resource for the answers to any and all RV questions that you might have now, or at any point in the future.
AmeriGas And U-Haul Propane Refill
Did we say the easiest part of finding out where to refill your propane tanks was with a quick Google search?
That was sort of true, as two of America’s largest propane sellers and suppliers, U-Haul and AmeriGas have their own online maps of every station in their networks.
All you need to do is surf on over to the U-Haul or AmeriGas sites, enter your zip code and they’ll tell you where the nearest propane refill station to you is. We know, it couldn’t be easier could it?
It kind of makes us long for the old days when everything was much more complex and far more difficult.
At least it does until we actually remember just how difficult trying to find anything out used to be.
As long as you remember that Google and the RV Owners Club are your one-stop guides to anything and everything you need to know about RVing, you can’t, and won’t, go far wrong.
How Much Does It Cost To Fill A Propane Tank?
That depends on where and when you fill your tanks up. The price of propane, just like the price of gas rises and falls, but not quite in the same eye-watering and pocketbook busting way that gasoline does.
The per-gallon cost of propane usually hovers between $2-60 and $3, which means that it should cost you no more than sixteen bucks to fill a standard twenty-pound tank ( a gallon of propane weighs approximately four point pounds per gallon) at your nearest filling station.
Some stations, mostly those in the AmeriGas network offer a trade-in scheme and will switch your old tanks for new ones, but in an age where we should value the idea of reusing and recycling whatever we can until something reaches the end of its usable lifespan, it makes more sense to refill your old tanks.
And you’ll also feel the benefit in your pocket, as it will cost you less to refill the tanks rather than trading them in. It’s just one of those RV lessons that you learn while you’re motoring down the road of life.
Making The Refill Call
The toughest part of refilling the propane tanks in your RV isn’t knowing how to do it, it’s knowing when to do it.
And as there aren’t any set guidelines or a chapter devoted to when to do it in the RV owners handbook, it’s a decision that you’ll have to make for yourself.
Having said that, there is a rule that one of our friends came up with that seems to work well for him (we don’t follow it, we tend to try and fill our tanks up when they’re two thirds empty and never let them fall below that level), and because it does, we’re going to share it with you.
He measured how much propane he used for a weekend and a week away after filling his propane tanks up before leaving for both, and then measured how much he had left in them when he returned.
That way he knew roughly how much propane he’d use per weekend and per week, and based on that, could estimate how much he’d need in his tanks in order to ensure that he’d always have enough propane for his trip, regardless of how long he was going to be away for.
It isn’t absolutely guaranteed, as you might use more on one trip than on another, but it should provide you with the information that you’ll need in order to decide whether you should or shouldn’t fill your tanks up before you leave.
However, a solid and safe way to approach the level of propane in your tanks and how much you’ll actually need, if like us you believe it’s better to be prepared for all eventualities, is never leave for a trip without filing them up first.
Filling A Propane Tank – How To Do It
Propane filling stations work like gas stations used to, which means that most of the time there’s an attendant on hand to fill our tanks for you.
But, just in case one doesn’t show up when you need them to, we’re going to guide you through what you need to know in order to fill your tanks yourself.
Check Your Settings – After you’ve located your nearest propane filling station, make sure that the valves and connectors that are on your tanks and at the filling station. And before you start filling your tanks, make sure you’ve read the relevant “How to…” section of your owner’s manual.
Valve Off, Hose On – Take a deep breath, relax and take your time. Turn the valve (or valves if you’re going to fill more than one tank) to the off position, take out the filler cap and connect the hose.
Start Filling – Slowly, but surely begin filling the tank, making sure that you always keep an eye on the gauge that shows you how full your tank is. As soon as it hits the full mark, take your hand off the pump, remove the hose, and put the filler cap back in.
Repeat As Needed – If you’re filling more than one tank, just repeat the process until all of the tanks that you need to fill are full.
It’s That Easy – It really is that easy. As soon as you’ve finished, pay for your propane and you’re ready to hit the road in your RV.
The Old Propane Switcheroo – Filing One Propane Tank From Another
We’ve all been there, we’ve run out of propane just when we need it the most and the nearest filling station is miles away.
The solution? Fill the tank that you’re using from another, or ask another RVer if they can help you out and spare some propane.
Either way, the outcome is the same, you’re going to need to transfer propane from one tank to another.
Attach one end of the hose you’re using to transfer the propane to the valve of the tank supplying the propane, and the other end of the hose to the filler cap of the tank that the propane is going into.
Make sure the connections are airtight, and the best way to do that is by making sure that there’s a rubber seal at each connection point.
Once you’re sure that there’s one in place at both ends, and that the connections are airtight, you’re ready to start transferring propane.
All you need to do is turn the valve on the transfer tank on, and the filler on the receiving tank will open automatically, allowing the propane to flow into it.
Again keep an eye on the volume gauge of the tank receiving the propane, and as soon as it hits seventy-five percent, turn the valve on the other tank off.
That’ll be more than enough to last you until you can refill your tanks again.
Disconnect the hose, replace the filler cap in the formerly empty tank, and you can get right back to doing what you were doing before the tank ran dry.
Simplicity is the key to filling propane tanks and as long as you do it carefully and slowly, you’ll be fine and won’t need to worry or panic that you might be doing something wrong, or that it might be dangerous.
It is, but as long as you don’t rush, you’ll be absolutely fine and nothing should go wrong.
Propane Delivery Right To Your RVs Door
Of course, if you don’t want to actually fill the tanks yourself and are happy to wait, you could always call the nearest propane filling station to wherever you are (you’ll be able to locate them via the sites that we told you about earlier) and ask them if they’ll actually come out and fill your tanks for you.
Almost every propane filling station offers this service, and the best things about it are that you don’t have to go anywhere, or do anything.
The technician will come to you, fill the tanks on your RV for you and leave as soon as he’s done and you’ve paid him.
It is, of course, a little more expensive than the transfer method, but it’s worth paying the extra for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the job has been done properly, and safely and that your propane tanks are full again.
It Won’t Fill And It Won’t Work – Tank Troubleshooting
There are odd moments in life when the stars don’t align and nothing seems to work the way it should, and sometimes propane tanks just won’t fill up when you want them to.
And there are usually two reasons why this happens –
The Cut-Off Switch – It might have triggered and tripped while you were attempting to fill up. Relax, take a deep breath, count back from ten and try again. After a brief pause, it should be okay, but if it keeps happening it means that there is something wrong with the switch and you’ll probably need to replace the tank. Stop trying to fill it, and use another tank instead.
The Over- Fill – If the overfill protector on your tank gets stuck, it’ll stop it from filling. The easiest fix is the Marine Corps solution. Give it a gentle tap, and it should start working again.
Human Error – But what do you do if your tank is full and it won’t work? If this does happen, it’s usually because after filling your tank(s), you forgot to turn the regulator back on. The human part of the equation is usually the weakest and most fallible. Switch the regulator on, and it should be fine, and all will be well in propane land again.
The Final Word On Propane Filling
It’s a simple, and straightforward art that anyone and everyone can master in a couple of hours, and as you’ve made it this far, we’ve got some good news for you.
You know as much about filling the propane tanks on your RV as we do. So get out there, grab the propane bull by the horns, get the tanks filled and have some fun…