Caravan Gas - how to choose the right type

Which gas do I use for my caravan?

At Calor Gas we’ve supported the caravan industry since we began trading in 1935. We’re passionate about caravans and camping, and we continue to invest in new products specifically for caravanners throughout the UK. As experts in everything LPG, we’re able to offer advice on choosing the right gas for your caravan.

LPG cylinders are ideal for caravans because they power your heating, lighting and cooking too. Some caravans can even use it to run the fridge.

Petroleum gas is created as part of the process of refining crude oil – it’s collected and compressed into a liquid before being bottled. The LPG will remain in its liquid form for as long as it is held under sufficient pressure. If that pressure is lowered (i.e. some gas is drawn off) an amount of the liquid will boil into gas until the pressure is restored. For caravan gas appliances it’s allowed to boil and then used in its gaseous state.

Types of LPG

There are two different types of LPG – Propane and Butane.

Propane has a lower boiling point than Butane and is stored at a higher pressure so it is more suited for storage outside. Propane has a boiling point of -42.1°C, so it will always produce a flammable gas supply. You may have noticed that our propane gas comes in a red cylinder and is often used for leisure applications such as barbecues or patio heaters. There are also specially designed lightweight propane cylinders available on the market, especially for caravanning, and are designed to reduce the nose weight of your caravan.

Butane gas bottles are predominately used for portable gas heaters and leisure applications through the warmer months. Butane’s boiling point (conversion from liquid to gas) is around 0˚C. Most British winters (and the occasional summer) can see temperatures around or below 0°C; this usually means that butane can only be used during the warmer months or indoors. Butane is less toxic, so you can legally store it indoors.

For this reason, Propane is often the best choice for caravanners, especially for those who use their caravan throughout the year, and is also useful to power the all-important barbecue. When it comes to replacing your gas cylinder, plenty of campsites and caravan parks stock gas cylinders, so it’s easy to replenish your supply. 

How much LPG have I got left in my cylinder?

Cylinders are normally described by the weight of gas they contain when full. There are a few ways to determine the amount of gas remaining in a cylinder.

The simplest method is to pick up the cylinder and swirl it around listening for the sound of liquid. Obviously this isn’t accurate - and the cylinders can be very heavy. Some of Calor’s gas cylinders come readily fitted with a gas indicator, so that you can clearly see the amount of gas remaining in the cylinder. This avoids the situation of running out and gives you time to buy a replacement, so you won’t become a cold caravanner!

Safety first

Make sure you carefully consider where you store your gas cylinders. Gas cylinders should always be stored upright in a safe location. Lying them down may cause LPG to escape through the valve and become a large volume of combustible gas. At Calor Gas we recommend that you disconnect them from any of your caravan’s appliances while you’re in transit. Make sure that there’s adequate ventilation in the area they’re stored in.

Don’t forget – your caravan’s gas installation should be serviced annually by a qualified engineer. Stay safe, and enjoy your travels!

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