If you have noticed a strong gas-like odor around your RV propane tank, or if you can hear a hissing sound when near it, that could be because you have a leaking propane tank. If that is the case, you will need to take care of the problem as soon as possible.
What To Do When You Notice Your Propane Tank Valve Stem is Leaking
When you suspect your tank valve stem is leaking, you should first check to see if the leak is coming from the propane tank. Other possible causes for the hissing sound or smell could be an open bleeder valve or relief valve. You could also have a damaged valve stem that is causing the leak as well. If that is the case, you will need to change it.
What You Should Know About Propane Tank Leaks
Here are some more essential details about propane tank leaks that you should take into consideration.
Propane tanks are cylinders that store propane fuel that is used for heating and cooking inside your RV. You must handle these tanks carefully because it can be easy for a propane tank to become damaged or start leaking. That could lead to serious accidents or injuries if not taken care of in time. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of any issues with leaks immediately to prevent even the slightest accidents from occurring.
How to Check for Propane Tank Leaks
As soon as you notice the signs of a propane tank leak, you should check to confirm it by looking near the tank valve.
When you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, you should turn off the main supply valve immediately. Then you will need to create a mixture of 1 cup of liquid soap with 1 cup of warm water. Pour that into a spray bottle and use the solution to spray a generous amount onto the valve and gauge of the tank.
After using the spray, you should look for any signs of leakage. If there is a leak, bubbles will start to form where you sprayed the solution. If you see small bubbles, it is a good indication that you only have a small leak. But if larger bubbles start to form, it is clear that there is a larger leak, and you will need to take immediate action.
What are the Most Common Causes of Propane Tank Valve Leaks?
Several things can cause a propane tank valve stem to leak, let’s have a look at what it might be.
Open Bleeder Valve
The bleeder valve also referred to as the fixed level gauge, is usually opened whenever the tank is filled with propane. An open bleeder valve will cause a leak in the propane tank to occur. However, even if the bleeder valve is not open, the coil could be clogged with debris. That will also cause the propane tank to leak, especially when the tank is too full of propane.
What is the Solution for an Open Bleeder Valve?
An open bleeder valve is usually not a big deal and can easily be fixed. All you have to do is turn off the bleeder valve to stop the flow of gas. That can be done by turning the valve clockwise. And that’s it. The problem is solved.
Open Relief Valve
The relief valve on a propane tank is there to help relieve the pressure of the tank. If you use your RV during hot and humid weather, your relief valve will open slightly and allow any excess pressure to release. While this is necessary, the valve opening slightly can also cause gas to leak out of the tank at times as well. If the entire valve somehow opens up, it can be a hazardous situation.
How to Fix or Avoid Issues with an Open Relief Valve
The solution to this problem is to not touch the valve. The valve is designed to open on its own and will close that way too. But touching or tapping the valve will sometimes cause it to open completely all on its own. And that is something you do not want to happen.
To fix this problem, you should first allow the tank to cool down. You can help cool it down by spraying cool water all over the surface of the tank. That will help the relief valve to close back on its own.
Faulty Valve Stem
The propane tank valve may be completely damaged or leaked. If that occurs, it will release propane gas, which can be extremely dangerous because it can cause a fire very quickly.
How to Fix a Faulty Valve Stem
If you notice your propane tank valve stem is leaking, you will need to replace your entire tank valve to stop the problem and prevent future leaks from occurring. To replace the valve, you will need a heat gun, a pipe wrench, and a new replacement valve.
When replacing your tank valve, you will need to make sure the cylinder is empty. Close the valve by turning the handle clockwise once the tank is empty. Then, take the leaked valve out and use a heat gun to soften the weld between the cylinder and the gas valve. At this time, you should also open the tank nozzle to allow the tank’s regulator to come back down to normal atmospheric pressure. Be sure to hold the tank completely still while doing this.
Next, turn the valve clockwise using a pipe wrench and remove the valve from the tank. Then you will need to discard the valve. Once that is completed, it is time to attach the new valve. Be sure to include an overfilling prevention device (OPD) within the valve. Attach the valve by threading it to the cylinder and tightening it with a pipe wrench. Your propane tank should now be working usually once again.
Frequently Asked Questions About Propane Tank Valve Stem Leaks
Some of the most common questions around propane tank valve stem leaks are listed below, please let us know if you want to see any others added to the list.
Can a Leaking Propane Tank Explode?
Yes, leaking propane tanks may explode. Anytime the tank is left open, and there is gas coming out, there is always a risk that the gas will ignite.
Is it Best to Exchange a Propane Tank or Refill It When it is Empty?
Refilling a propane tank is recommended because it can save you money and time since you do not have to replace the entire tank.
Is a Small Leak from a Propane Tank Dangerous?
A small leak from your propane tank is usually not a big deal, but if that leak builds up over time, it can be harmful to your health. Dangers associated with breathing even small amounts of propane include hypoxia and carbon monoxide poisoning.
A leaking propane tank valve stem can cause severe accidents if you fail to act promptly to resolve the issue. That is why it is so important to identify the leak’s location so that you can fix it and go back to using your propane tank safely once again.