When we were at the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa this past January (2019), we came across this amazingly simple, yet enormously important safety device! My initial thought was: “Our RV already has something like this, doesn't it?” No! No, it does not!
Standard LP Safety Items
A basic RV Propane system does already have a couple of safety items typically in place: First is the OPD (Overfill Protection Device) that's built into all 4-40 lb. DOT certified propane tanks. This device is designed to do just what it says: prevent overfill. In addition to preventing overfill, it will also prevent a leak. But, ONLY when the tank is not connected to your propane system (via ACME or POL connector). That connector pushes the OPD out of the way so the propane can be used, which means it is completely a non factor for propane safety when connected.
Second is an EFV (Excess Flow Valve), which is (typically) built into the male POL / ACME fitting that connects to the propane tank from the RV. This valve, when “checked” (enabled), restricts flow by about 90-95%, but does not completely shut off gas flow.
The information in the previous two paragraphs, I got from DPS (the exclusive US distributor of GasStop) and verified with some basic online research (a.k.a. Google ). Being the skeptical person that I am, however, I decided to conduct my own experiment in this video:
Sure enough! Everything went just as GasStop (and Google) said it would! I'm a believer!
There are any number of things that might cause a gas leak, but here are a few:
- A tire blowout rupturing an adjacent line (more about that below)
- A loose fitting falling out somewhere in the system (there are numerous fittings in the RV, all being shaken violently when traveling)
- Forrest critters chewing through lines
- Fire melting through a line (particularly horrible, literally adding fuel to the fire!)
Let's delve a little bit into the first item (tire blowout). By our own (very non-scientific) research, a majority of RVers travel with the propane on to run the refrigerator. While we now have an inverter and bluetooth battery monitor to run our fridge on electric (regular 110v AC) while traveling, we spent our first year playing the odds and traveling with propane on. There are no statistics (that we are aware of) that can be quoted on the odds of a propane fire while traveling (tire blowout or otherwise). If there were, my guess would be they are very, very low. We chose to make them zero, but that takes time and money. If you do have the need to travel with your propane on, a GasStop can at least improve your odds by shutting off your propane in the event of a catastrophic leak.
In addition to automatically shutting off a propane leak, there are a couple of other uses:
The pressure indicator can also double as an LP level indicator. While not 100% indicative of LP levels, it can at least give you a clue.
Note: We use AP Products Tank Level Indicators to monitor our LP levels and love them!
GasStop can also be used for minor leak testing. With no propane being used, simply press the gauge to reset it, make note of the indicator and check back 2-3 minutes later. A slow leak will be indicated by a significant drop in the pressure reading.
GasStop is an incredibly easy to use device that should really be standard equipment. We've had one on each of our 30lb. bottles since the RV show, and it's a great peace of mind!
Note: We purchased ours, they were not given to us.