RV Propane Safety

As RV season kicks off, many RVers look forward to the smells, sights, and sounds of their destination campsite.

Turn off propane at the tank whenever it is not in use.

But did you know that what you can’t smell, see, or hear might kill you?

Most folks know that leaking propane smells like rotten eggs but what does carbon monoxide (CO) smell like?

Nothing—and that’s the problem!

A recreational vehicle can be thought of as having an extension of your home in the great outdoors.

But before your next adventure begins, the BC Safety Authority (BCSA) would like to remind you of some basic LP gas (propane) safety precautions.

Propane Safety

Check your propane system:

  • Connections at propane cylinders should be checked with soapy water; bubbles or froth indicate a leak
  • Cylinders must be secured in their mounting brackets, and capped or plugged if not connected to the propane system
  • An annual safety check of the propane system by a licensed RV shop is recommended
  • Ensure that your propane cylinders are inspected and recertified every 10 years

Propane smells like rotten eggs. If you detect the odor of propane in your RV:

  • Get everyone out of the RV immediately
  • Don’t smoke, light matches, operate electrical switches, use cell or land-base telephones, or create any other source of ignition
  • Turn your gas off at the main cylinder, if safe to do so and you know how
  • Call the area fire department emergency number or 911 from the nearest phone

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and potentially deadly toxic gas.

Never use portable fuel burning appliances inside your RV (e.g. camp stoves, barbecues, and lanterns, catalytic or radiant heaters). Leave these outside.

When using your RV’s propane stove top or oven, open a vent or window and turn on the range hood fan to let out any possible carbon monoxide.

Use appliances for their intended use only: Never use stove burners or ovens for space heating.

Immediately seek medical attention if anyone shows physical symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Lack of physical coordination

If your propane cylinder is dented or has visible rust, be sure to have it inspected by a professional.

“Ensure your RV has a well-maintained propane system and properly installed CO alarm. A few basic safety checks makes for a worry free trip,” says Eric Skehor, provincial gas safety manager for the BC Safety Authority.

“We want families to stay safe this summer.”


British Columbia Safety Authority (BCSA)
The British Columbia Safety Authority (BCSA), a not-for-profit organization, promotes the safe installation and use of technical equipment.

As the Province’s delegated authority, BCSA administers safety standards, enforce compliance, issue permits and licenses, educate, and conduct assessments and onsite inspections—particularly in high-risk situations.

BCSA continuously advances the standard of safe practices in the Province of British Columbia.

Phone: (866) 566-7233 (toll free)

Website: safetyauthority.ca

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Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Safety is No Accident!

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