RVs have a propane system that supplies heat to different appliances and keeps the water inside the RV warm. The propane tanks are the vital feature inside RV that must be inspected and certified by specified technicians.
How Often Do RV Propane Tanks Need To Be Certified? As a general rule, RV propane tanks must be certified every 9 to 12 years from their manufacturing date. After that, you need to recertify them 3 times with a gap of 4 to 5 years through specified technicians. The ASME tanks do not need a certificate, but they require a yearly inspection test on the tank’s relief valve and external body for safety concerns.
The propane tanks that supply heat energy for cooking and showering purposes are available in two different types, i-e, the movable DOT cylinders and permanently fixed ASME tanks.
These Cylinders are present in trailers, fifth-wheel campers, and small motorhomes certified by the department of transportation, located in the front and backside of the camper in the vertical position.
The large motorhome contains permanently installed ASME tanks present in the RV frame in the horizontal direction. Both of these need to be refill, repair, replace, and licensed with the help of certified professionals.
How Often Do RV Propane Tanks Need To Be Certified?
It is necessary to recertify RV propane tanks for safety concerns. However, there are different regulations associated with its certification that needs to be followed by every RV user.
The first step of recertifying the tank is finding the manufacture or last certification date stamped on its metal or the sticker pasted on the collar’s handle.
It will show the exact date of the last inspection test so you can calculate the new recertification date according to it.
After that, find the location of an authorized propane dealer by using good research in your area and then contact them.
Take your portable cylinder to the dealer that can perform the task of inspection, repairing, refilling, and recertification. Some states require the change of old valves after every recertification process.
After all the requalification processes, the professional put sticker or stamp the date on its exterior metal.
Therefore, the manufacturing date of these cylinders is present in month-to-year format.
The manufacturing stamp helps its user check the date of recertification; suppose if it has a manufacturing date of 2021, you need to recertify it in 2033 in the same month as mentioned.
After the first recertification, you need to perform a second or third certification with 5 years gap.
DOT Qualification test
There are different tests like the volumetric expansion test and the proof pressure test for the cylinder qualification.
For example, the time limit for the recertification of cylinders using the volumetric expansion test is 10 years, and for the proof pressure test, this time limit ranges from 7 to 10 years.
In the proof pressure test, the air is filled inside the tank twice with normal service pressure and then inspect for leakage.
The tank that qualifies in the proof pressure test will get an additional year of life, approximately 7 to 8 years.
There are various regulations for the recertification and proof pressure test in different states; you must check your state’s laws then perform these tests.
ASME qualification test
On the other hand, the ASME tanks have a thicker steel body and do not require a requalification test, but they need a regular check-up on the functioning of the relief valve.
The relief valve is like a safety feature that helps to control and limit the pressure build up inside the tank and prevent any accident. This valve needs to replace after every 10 years for safety concerns.
You need to change the flexible hose of the ASME tank every 12 to 15 years with the help of a specified technician. It will further prevent maintenance problems in the future.
How to read the manufacture date or recertification date on the Propane tank?
There are different marks on the top of the tanks that indicate the exact date of requalification. Therefore, it is essential to find the most recent date pasted on the collar of the tank.
For the first recertification, check the date with a letter that suggests the recertification must perform within 10 years.
The date with the S letter indicated that the requalification must perform in 7 years.
The E letter shows that your tank is good to use for the next 5 years, and you can recertify it after that time limit.
Suppose you purchase the propane cylinder that contains no date on its collar or the date of certification passed according to the preferred time limit.
In that case, you need to contact the provider for a new propane cylinder or a new recertification date. In addition, they a unique identification stamp for precise tracking and documentation.
From where can you certify your RV propane tanks?
It would be best to have an approved propane dealer for the recertification process. There are different methods to find an authorized propane dealer in your area.
You can find the dealer at home by searching on your local yellow pages or using an online website through mobile phones or computers. You can also contact the people in the offices of campgrounds.
While driving on the road, you can also check different gas stations selling propane because you can quickly recertify it in these stations.
You can also connect with different companies that perform its replacement and recertification tasks, find their local outlets, and make appointments with them.
Why would you certify your RV propane tank?
The professionals perform the recertification process of RV tanks by doing a complete inspection to test their functional and structural capability.
The steel body of these tanks precisely holds the pressure inside them and does not promote leakage of the propane.
Rusting can compromise the tank structure
The presence of large dents and rusting on its external body indicates that the tank’s structural integrity is deteriorating.
It would be best to refer these tanks to specified technicians who can inspect the level of rusting, the valve functionality and then assign a new recertification sticker or stamp on them.
The DOT cylinders in RV that are continuously removed, transported, and refill by specified technicians need periodic cleaning, inspection, and certification.
The large motorhome with ASME tanks does not require recertification because they are permanently attached to its rig.
How much does RV propane tank recertification cost?
The cost of recertification fluctuates in different states because of the prices fixed by the service providers. There is no law enforcement for the set prices of this process.
The expected cost of propane cylinder recertification ranges from as low to $5 and as high as $40, depending on the prices decides by propane retailers.
Its refilling cost fluctuates according to the size of the cylinder range from $3 to $5 per gallon.
It is vital to know the exact cost of recertification in your area before making appointments with the propane store.
How to safely take the RV propane tank to the Propane store?
It is essential to do some safety measurements before bringing your tank to the propane store for inspection or for discarding them in the waste facility. Some of them are as follow:
The upright position of the tank
It is essential to keep your portable tank in an upright position with the valve’s handle on the top. Keep it in a stable place to prevent it from falling.
The safety valve on the top of the cylinder only works correctly if the tank is present in an upright position.
There is also a risk of propane leakage if you placed your portable tanks in the horizontal direction that can cause damages to different components.
Strapped the tank with the RV
There are different locations in the RV for strapping the propane tank in place. The strapping will prevent them from rolling over while taking different turns on the road.
If you do not secure it properly, the hard bumps on the road can make them fall from their appropriate place and damage different areas.
Close the valve of the cylinder
It is essential to tighten the valve of the cylinder for safety issues. Propane is a highly contagious liquid that can turn the temperature of any material to -44 degrees within seconds.
The tightly closed valve will prevent the risk of tank explosion and reduce the chances of propane spilling on your skin that can cause severe frostbite within seconds.