How to Switch Propane Tanks on RV- Complete Guide with Cautions

How to Switch Propane Tanks on RV is a crucial thing to learn. Recreational Vehicles or in short form RV is a well-known feature of the western world. It is used for various purposes.

For example, summer camping, bohemian caravans, temporary accommodation during a trip, and sometimes for people who love adventure select it as their permanent habitat.

The propane system connects you with the modern world while you travel here and there. It assures your comfort by supplying fuel for appliances. You can easily do the cooking; enjoy refrigeration, hot water for shower or heating while you are on travel.

Approximately every RV has a propane system due to its convenience. Indeed a propane tank functions as the nerve center of RV indifferently with its size and capacity.

The importance of propane tanks certainly implies being cautious with their usage. Therefore it is essential to learn how to switch propane tanks on RV.

How To Switch Propane Tanks On RV

How to Switch Propane tanks on RV requires a basic idea about the propane system. There are two types of RVs available in general. These are Motorized or self-operated and Non-motorized or towed by another vehicle.

In terms of size and purpose, there are campervans, caravans, motor homes, truck campers, fifth-wheel trailers, and so on. There are some RVs of modern days comes along a package of electricity facility with a generator. But mostly the propane system is the basic fuel supplier for RV’s.

There are two sorts of propane tanks used in RV’s. These are ASME tanks and DOT cylinders. ASME tanks are mostly utilized in motor homes. This is basically installed in the frame of the vehicle itself. Thus it is not portable. DOT cylinders are inevitable equipment for truck campers, fifth wheels, and travel trailers.

This cylinder is usually installed on external compartments like on the bumper or tongue of RV. Thus it is easily removable and handy for regular uses.

The switching of the propane system is dependent on these basic features. It is not a complicated process but flammability definitely implies us to take precautions before doing it. Let us describe how to switch the propane tanks on RV.

RV’s most often use one single tank or a dual automated propane system. Sometimes shifting of propane tank could be manual as well. The operator has to use indicators to check the fuel level of the propane tank. Nowadays almost every camper uses an automated propane system to avoid this haphazard.

Automatic switchover valve reduces their pain from coming out of their warm trailers in cold nights just to check the tank gauge. You may not need to frequently check the tank gauge if it’s automated but certainly, you have to observe it for refueling and reinstall.

Step1: Open up The Tank Cover

Pull up your tank cover. Make sure to disconnect any strap or knob that connects it with the holder. Be careful about suddenly popping out a fire or lose connections.

Step2: Switch off Tanks

Before doing anything switch off propane tanks and make sure any power supply line is not connected with it.

Step3: Remove The Bolt, Knob or Bracket

Generally, tanks are installed on the welded aluminum holder’s base plate. A heavy rod is situated in the center of these two tanks. The rod may contain a bracket along with a fishplate knob or spiral bolt placed on the aluminum hatch. Some may even be equipped with additional hoses or changeover switch.

You may need a wrench or sometimes just with a bare hand, you can remove the lock over the tank.

Step4: Observe The Regulator

Most of the propane system contains a pigtail hose added regulator between dual tanks. There is an indicating stick in the regulator points to the active tank. The switchover valve will show the actual status of propane on a glass fit on it. Red glass confirms that the active tank has become empty or nonfunctioning.

It’s time to switch on the reserve one. On the contrary, if it shows green one then your active tank is still providing fuel.

Step5: Switch The Reserve Tank

At this stage, an automated propane system should shift the pointing stick to the reserve tank automatically. Then the reserve tank becomes the active tank. Similarly, tank gauge will show the amount of reserve propane as well.

Step6: Fill up Your Empty Tank

If you want to refuel the empty tank during the switching process, you have to follow some steps. Disconnect the empty tank from the pigtail hose of regulator and nozzles that attach it with holder. You can just lift up your desired tank from the holder and refill it. Notably do not refill your tanks more than 80%.

During warm weather, this propane can raise vapor due to heat and this amount could be up to 95%.  Thus an accident may occur at any time.

Step7: Readjust The Tank

Rejoin the nozzles and hose lines of the regulator with a filled tank. Now you can select it as an active tank again or you can shift it into reserve mode. Preserving it would be a better option. Shift the pointing stick of the regulator towards the new one.

It is important to turn on both the valve of the propane tank. Some argue about turning off one to avoid any extra power loss. However, if you do so then you have to manually check and change between alternate cylinders always.

Basically turning on both assures automated switchover and there is no proven evidence of extra power loss. In case you have an exceptional technical problem it might happen. All you need to do is check it periodically.

Step8: Cover The Tanks

Properly adjust straps and bolts to cover the tank. Make sure you have fixed it properly.


How to Switch Propane tanks on  RV is inevitable if you want to enjoy the luxury of RV.  The propane system is the most essential feature of RV. Whether for summer camping, holiday tour, or simple deluxe travel, your priority is always having a comfortable one.

You can’t ignore the role of comfort, enjoyment, and hygiene that are facilitated by the propane system.

At the same time, it is also sensitive due to its high flammability. There is no alternative than learning how to switch Propane tanks on RV.

You would probably don’t want to ruin your excitement of camping by thinking of fuel supply all the time. It is better you learn this basic at an early stage and spend your leisure without anxiety.