RV Propane Tank Recertification
You may be wondering if you need to get your RV’s propane tank recertified; to a degree, that depends on whether or not we’re talking about a motorhome’s onboard propane tank, or the 5-7 gallon portable propane cylinders used on a travel trailer. So what’s the difference?
Propane Tanks for Trailers
You’ll find removable DOT propane tanks on travel trailers, truck campers, and fifth wheels. These typically hold 5 gallons or 7 gallons. DOT tanks are often mounted on the propane tank holders on the bumper or tongue of the trailer, they’re mounted inside of an exterior compartment.
DOT stands for the Department of Transportation. This agency regulates the rules concerning portable propane tanks. The current regulations are:
- DOT cylinders expire 10 years from the date of manufacture.
- Requalification for cylinders using a volumetric expansion test is 10 years.
- Requalification for cylinders using a proof pressure test is 10 years.
- Visually inspected cylinders are 5 years.
DOT propane tanks have an expiration date stamped into the metal. Look on your tank for the date code if you’re concerned the tank may need to be retired. This expiration date is 10 years from the date of manufacture. Once the 10 years are up, you can trade them in for a replacement, or get the tank inspected for recertification.
While a 7-gallon tank of propane will last longer, many trailer owners choose to replace the 7-gallon tanks that came with their trailer for 5-gallon tanks; this is because the 5-gallon tanks can easily be traded in at many groceries, hardware, and dollar stores, as well as gas stations and Walmart. By trading in the tanks when they’re empty, you can avoid having to have them recertified. This is because the empty tanks are inspected before they’re refilled, and automatically retired after 10 years.
Another advantage of using the 5-gallon trade-in tanks is, some small towns may not have a place that can refill tanks. But as long as there is a gas station or a dollar store, you’ll be able to trade your empty tank in for a full tank.
Motorhome Onboard Propane Tanks
Motorhomes have what are called ASME tanks (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) not DOT tanks. The good news is, ASME tanks do not need to be recertified since they’re permanently installed. However, once a year, you should have the propane system inspected for leaks and rust, as well as the settings on the pressure regulator.
Any propane tank should only be filled by a professional technician at a certified propane filling station. It’s interesting to note, propane tanks will only fill up to 80% of their total capacity, to allow for expansion.