How To Hook Up External Propane Tank To Rv

How to Hook Up External Propane Tank to RV

Are you ready for your next RV adventure? One important aspect of prepping your RV for the road is making sure you have enough propane to power your appliances and keep you comfortable. If you’re planning an extended trip or boondocking, you might need to consider hooking up an external propane tank to your RV. In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process to connect your RV to an external propane tank.

What You’ll Need

Before we get started, here’s a list of items you’ll need:

  • External propane tank
  • Propane tank regulator (if not included with the tank)
  • Propane hose with a connector (compatible with your RV’s propane system)
  • Propane tank gauge (optional, but recommended)
  • Adjustable wrench

Step 1: Prepare for Installation

Ensure the propane tank is turned off and disconnect your RV from any power sources. Locate the propane inlet on your RV, usually found near the front or side of the vehicle. Also, locate the propane tank’s valve outlet, which is typically at the top of the tank.

Step 2: Install the Propane Tank Regulator (if necessary)

If your propane tank did not come with a regulator, you’ll need to install one to control the propane flow. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to securely attach the regulator to the valve outlet on the tank. Use the adjustable wrench to tighten any necessary connections.

Step 3: Connect the Propane Hose

Attach one end of the propane hose to the propane tank’s regulator outlet or directly to the tank’s valve if a regulator is not required. Ensure the connection is tight and secure. Connect the other end of the hose to the propane inlet on your RV using the appropriate connector. Again, make sure the connection is tight and leak-free.

Step 4: Check for Leaks

Prior to turning on the propane, it’s crucial to check for any potential leaks. Apply a solution of soapy water to all the connections, including the hose connections and the regulator. If you notice any bubbles forming, you have a leak. In that case, immediately turn off the propane and rectify the issue before proceeding.

Step 5: Test the Propane System and Gauge

Turn on the propane tank’s valve slowly and ensure it’s open all the way. Next, check the propane gauge to verify that it indicates the correct amount of propane in the tank. If you installed a propane tank gauge, this step will help you monitor your propane levels throughout your journey.

Step 6: Use Your Appliances

Now that everything is connected and secured, you can start using your propane-powered appliances in your RV! Remember to turn off the propane valve on the tank when you’re finished using your appliances or when you’re not using the RV to prevent any potential leaks or accidents.

Safety Tips

While dealing with propane, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Always perform a leak test before each trip or initial installation.
  2. Ensure proper ventilation in your RV to prevent the buildup of propane gas.
  3. Regularly inspect the propane hose and connections for wear and tear.
  4. Never use propane-powered appliances while driving.
  5. If you suspect a leak or smell gas, turn off the propane immediately and consult a professional.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Hook Up External Propane Tank To Rv

How Do You Hook Up An External Propane Tank To An Rv?

To hook up an external propane tank to your RV, you’ll need a propane tank adaptor, a wrench, and a flexible propane hose. Follow these steps:
1. Turn off the propane supply valve on the RV’s onboard tank. 2. Attach the propane tank adaptor to the external tank. 3. Connect one end of the flexible propane hose to the adaptor and the other end to the RV’s propane inlet. 4. Use a wrench to tighten all the connections securely. 5. Open the valve on the external propane tank slowly to allow propane to flow into the RV’s system. 6. Check for any gas leaks using a soapy water solution on the connections. If bubbles appear, tighten the connections further.

Can I Use Any Size Propane Tank For My Rv?

Most RVs are designed to use either 20-pound or 30-pound propane tanks. Check your RV’s owner’s manual or consult with the manufacturer to determine the recommended tank size for your specific model.

Is It Safe To Leave An External Propane Tank Connected To The Rv?

It is generally safe to leave an external propane tank connected to your RV, as long as it is properly secured and the valve is turned off. However, it is recommended to disconnect the tank during long periods of storage or when the RV is not in use to prevent any potential leaks or accidents.

How Long Will An External Propane Tank Last In An Rv?

The length of time an external propane tank will last in an RV depends on various factors, such as the size of the tank, the propane consumption rate of your RV’s appliances, and the duration and frequency of use. On average, a 20-pound propane tank can last between 10 to 14 days with moderate usage.

Are There Any Safety Precautions I Should Take When Connecting An External Propane Tank To My Rv?

Yes, here are some safety precautions to consider when connecting an external propane tank to your RV:
1. Ensure the propane tank is in good condition and has no visible damage. 2. Use a propane tank adaptor and a flexible propane hose that are compatible with your RV’s system. 3. Make sure all connections are tightened securely to prevent gas leaks. 4. Never use an open flame to check for leaks; instead, use a soapy water solution. 5. Familiarize yourself with the location of your RV’s propane shutoff valve in case of an emergency. 6. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for your specific RV model.


Hooking up an external propane tank to your RV can provide you with an extended propane supply, allowing you to go further and explore more. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article, you’ll be able to safely and efficiently connect your RV to an external propane tank. Remember to prioritize safety and conduct regular checks to ensure your propane system is in proper working condition. Now, go ahead and enjoy your next RV adventure!

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