Gas bottles in Campervans and Motorhomes

Choosing the best supplier of gas bottle for you can save you headaches when you do run out or need to refill.

Europe

Each country throughout Europe has its own supplier of gas bottles, each with its own adapter and regulator. People who regularly spend long periods of time in different countries often have a different gas bottle for each country. Campingaz is available throughout Europe, but only comes in small bottles, which is OK for single travelers or short trips, but not cost effective for others.

Tips

  1. Keep a small portable gas stove in the van.
    If you main gas bottle runs out you can use the stove to complete your cooking, boiling water etc. It’s also useful for cooking outside or down by the beach. The type that lie-flat are more stable than the old traditional stand-up type, although refills are harder to find for the former type.

The Law

UK

In the UK vehicles being used for work purposes have to show stickers indicating the vehicle is carrying compressed gas.  If the vehicle is not being used for work, i.e. a camper van, you do NOT have to show the stickers.

However, it is considered good practice to have the stickers if you are carrying compressed gas.  The fire brigade find great benefit in seeing the sticker if there should be a road accident, as it helps them contain the incident more quickly.  But, only show the sticker when you are carrying gas, otherwise the fire brigade will be miss lead.

Note:  If you are showing the gas sticker on your vehicle, expect to get stopped occasionally by the police when they check how you gas is stored.

In the UK:

  • a vehicle is permitted to carry a maximum of 2 x 10 liter bottles of compressed gas, unless the vehicle is ventilated with a rotating rooftop device, then the limit is higher.
  • Flammable gas MUST be carried upright at all times.
  • Warning diamonds must also be displayed, if for reward. Green for High Pressure, Red for Flammable.

BS EN 1949:2002 Installation of LPG Systems – Specification for the installation of LPG systems for habitation purposes in leisure accommodation vehicles and in other road vehicles

I have summarised some of the main bits of BS EN 1949 below:

2. Cylinder Compartment

2.1 Requirements for the construction of the compartment

With the exception of 2.3 below, cylinder compartments shall be sealed from the inside living accommodation part of the vehicle and shall be accessible from the outside of the vehicle only. 

LPG cylinder must be positioned away from heat sources (exhaust system) as described in 2.4 below.

The compartment must be designed so that cylinders can be secured rigidly (to prevent cylinder movement when the vehicle is in motion) and in the upright position with the valve uppermost (to ensure only gas [vapour] can be drawn from the cylinder and not liquid LPG). There must be means of securing cylinder/s at both high and low level.

Access to any connections, changeover valves and pressure regulators must not be obstructed.

Replacement of cylinders must be possible without disturbing any installations or ancillary equipment.

Devices to secure cylinders in position must be able to be opened and closed without the use of tools.

No appliances, components or fittings shall be installed in the cylinder compartment that can cause damage the LPG installation or ignite escaping gas. (E.g. batteries or uninsulated electrical components etc.)

2.2 Cylinder compartments accessible from outside the vehicle

Cylinder compartments must be permanently ventilated to the exterior of the vehicle.

If the ventilation is provided only at low level, the ventilated area must be 2% of the compartments floor area, with a minimum of 10,000mm2. (E.g.100mm X 100mm). If the ventilation is provided at both high and low level the ventilated area must be 1% of the floor area, with a minimum of 5,000 mm2 (50mm X 50mm).

It shall not be possible for the cylinder/s to obstruct the ventilation area.

2.3 Cylinder compartments accessible from inside the vehicle

For motor caravans where penetration of a type approved base vehicles bodywork would be required to provide external access, internal access to the cylinder compartment would be permitted providing the following conditions are meet:

The compartment can contain a maximum of two cylinders each having a capacity of not more than 16kg.

Access to the cylinder compartment from the inside living accommodation part of the vehicle is only provided via an attached sealed door or hatch. The bottom of such a door or hatch must be a minimum of 50mm above the floor level of the cylinder compartment.

If the cylinder compartment accessible only from inside of the vehicle cannot be ventilated similarly to that referred to in 2.2 above, the following alternative arrangements must be made:

Ventilation may be provided by a single duct providing the following measures are taken:

Only one cylinder may be installed with a maximum of 7 kg.

The duct shall have a minimum diameter of 20 mm.

The maximum length of the duct shall not exceed 5 times the internal diameter of the duct, but may be extended to 10 times the internal duct diameter to avoid interference with under-floor flue outlets.

The duct shall be at low level in the floor and resistant to LPG.

The duct shall fall throughout its entire length to the outside of the vehicle.

 

  1. BSEN 1949
    Please note that the new standard is BSEN 1949:2011+A1:2013

    Reply

  2. Tips
    Check for leaks by using some soapy water where the connections are. Turn the gas on and look for any bubbles. Even a tiny leak will produce bubbles.

    Reply

  3. BS EN 1949:2002
    Hi, I have just been reading the above information and noticed it is from 2002.
    Can anyone tell me if it is still current or if there have been any changes?

    Reply

  4. replacing our gas cylinder
    We are new to all this and are at the moment in France. One of our big red bottles has run out and we still have a month or so to go. How can we replace this? What do we have to do? What are the costs involved? One garage said we had the wrong connector, we are clueless….help!!

    Reply

  5. Gas Regulator
    I am a new campervan owner. The gas fitting in the van does not have a regulator on it. Does it need one? Thanks. Moya

    Reply

    1. Hi
      Hi

      You gas bottle should a regulator, this will be enough, you wont need another one.

      Reply

  6. Spare gas cylinder storage
    Hi,

    I’m unclear on what the definition of installed is. If I want to carry a spare (unconnected) cylinder can this be in the van living space or does it have to be in a “locker” with suitable ventilation?

    Thanks

    F

    Reply

  7. LPG
    Hello. Am I able to keep a 4.5 kg gas bottle attached to my flavvel Vanessa cooker in my van with only a Carbon monoxide monitor to detect it. But no ventilation other than open windows?

    Would very much appreciate any help on this.

    Regards

    Reply

    1. Hi. Yes this is fine. Be
      Hi. Yes this is fine. Be sure to turn off the gas when you are not using it. Keep windows open when using the gas.
      Ideally you would fit a drop out hole beside the gas bottle. If any gas leaks it sinks (as it’s heavy) then it will fall out of the hole.

      Reply

      1. reply
        Many thanks for your swift reply. 🙂 That is what I had been hoping. I do intend to cut a vent in when I have finalised where everything will go, but did hope the alarm would tide me over until then.

        Thanks again,

        Ben

        Reply

  8. gas cooker
    I am only including a 12 fridge and sink in my ldv cargo minibus conversion.
    I am carrying a portable cooker for ouside use as i dont want to have smell of cooking etc inside the vehicle.
    Is this ok for dvla as a camper conversion if there is no cooker
    Thanks

    Reply

  9. regulations
    Hi,
    Can we legally mount a 4.5 kg gas bottle on the exterior rear of a toyota troopy in a metal carrier?
    Thanks

    Reply

    1. Hmm, not sure. Seems a bit
      Hmm, not sure. Seems a bit dangerous. Is there no way of storing it inside?

      Reply

  10. Using autogas for heater
    I am going to fit a Propex heater to my camper van and it would make sense to use the gas from the autogas coversion.
    Is this acceptible or possible?

    Reply

    1. Do you mean to take gas from
      Do you mean to take gas from the tank that fuels the engine?
      As far as I know, you need a special tank to do that.
      The engine uses liquid gas which comes from the bottom of the tank. The heater will need gas vapour which comes from the top of the tank.
      Contact a specialist to be sure.

      Reply

  11. gas bottle enclosure
    When do you need a gas bottle enclosure? Is it law that any camper using lpg has to have the bottles in a sealed enclosure or is it a case that over 2 x 10kg bottles requires an enclosure?

    Reply

  12. DIY refilling of calor tanksl
    DIY refilling of calor tanksl is a safe practice ?

    Reply

    1. I don’t think so. i think you
      I don’t think so. i think you need to have professional refilling equipment.

      Reply

  13. gas cylinder storage
    hi, I have converted a ford transit into a campervan. I have a standard calor bottle for my hob. My qustion is, do you have to have outside access to the cylinder to make it legal? as in a cuboard door on the outside of my van so you can remove the cylinder from outside of your vehicle? someone told me this is the law?
    Thanks for your help.

    Reply

    1. Hi
      I have added the rules to

      Hi

      I have added the rules to the page above this comment. You can see in section 2.3, that it is suggested that internal access to the gas bottles is OK.
      This suggests that you do not need outside only access to the gas bottle.

      Many professional camper van and motorhome manufacturers make vehicles with gas bottles inside the vehicle.
      Many trades people, such as plumbers also carry gas bottles inside the van.

      Reply

      1. re gas regs
        further to your comment of gas bottle acess, it is required the gas bottle has to be externally fitted or a compartment sealed from inside, acess i have just converted my transit and had to make a sealed compartment only acessable from the rear doors due to if theres a leak from the bottle the gas will not enter the inside of the vehicle .

        Reply

  14. adapters
    What type of adapter do i need for refilling an irish propand bottle (47)in northern ireland

    Reply

  15. LPG
    I have had my vito van converted to LPG. Can i run a supply from the main tank to supply my cooker? This would save having to have 2 gas supplies on board.
    Michael.

    Reply

    1. Yes, I think this is
      Yes, I think this is possible. However you should talk to the people who fitted your gas tank. As I believe there are differences in the outlets for these tanks.

      Reply

  16. Gas Bottle re-filler
    Found the above post quite interesting and typed it into google. Looks like these refillers may be somewhat dangerous and are to be avoided. Have a look at the below link for evidence of this.

    http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftopic-43097.html

    Reply

  17. Is there a Legal limit on size of gass bottle
    Is there a legal limit on the size/quantity of probane gass you can carry in a campervan.

    Is there a legal limit to the size of the gass botle you can have connected in a camper van.

    Reply

    1. Post #10 in this thread says
      Post #10 in this thread says you can carry 2 x 10 ltr bottles in an enclosed vehicle. Unless you have ventilation.

      http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=5536

      Reply

  18. Gaslow gas sytems
    A company called Gaslow provide a solution to the gas problem when travelling europe extensively, the initial setup cost isn’t cheap but allows you to refill your gas at any lpg service station just the same as you would your car, almost all cookers, fridges etc can run from lpg, you can install the system yourself quite quickly and don’t even need to cut a hole in your van to fit the filler point if you don’t want, it can be placed on a bracket in the gas locker. The cheaper cost of the lpg will offset the initial cost somewhat and at the end of the journey I can remove the system very easily to put in another van or sell as a unit. I have just purchased a single cylinder setup with 11kg storage (you can also buy 6kg)it has cost me about 220 pound, but I think will pay for itself just knowing I can top up at any stage, it doesn’t have to be empty and I can top up almost anywhere without having to find different cylinders and regulators etc to purchase…peace of mind…I will report back to let you know how it gets on in a couple of months.

    Reply

    1. LPG
      can you post soe pics on one of the campervan forums please
      ths sounds like a great idea

      Reply

      1. trickydicky59 July 6, 2009 at 11:19 pm

        Converter
        Hi, As a cheaper alternative, you can buy a converter for your propane bottle, and fill it up with LPG from a service station, cost approx £50.

        Richard

        Reply

        1. I am interested in the
          I am interested in the converter you mentioned do you know if it will fit a standard calor bottle and where can I get one!

          Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *