How to store gas cylinders
Caravan storage sites differ in their policy on storing gas cylinders. Some will allow you to leave them in your caravan, others may have designated storage cages while some may not allow them on site at all. If they don’t allow them on site this is usually for insurance or fire safety reasons.
You should consult the manager of the site or check the site’s policy to be sure.
Whether you’re storing your caravan gas cylinders on site or at home, they should always be kept upright and secure, with plenty of ventilation. It is vitally important to ensure they are disconnected and turned off. Likewise, all appliances when not in use should be turned off.
It’s important to keep in mind the differences between LPG gases when storing them. Butane will freeze below 4C whereas propane will not.
You may have seen secure gas cylinder storage lockers or units at caravan sites or storage sites. These can be pricey but if you can fit them into your budget and you have room for one, they can be a safe and secure method of storage at home. Otherwise, it’s inadvisable to store them indoors, including in garages or sheds. You should store them a safe distance away from your house.
It’s a good idea to check cylinders regularly when in storage to ensure they are still upright and there haven’t been any leaks or attempted thefts.
Some gas cylinder companies will offer an exchange service where they will take an empty bottle from you and replace it with a new one, for a price. Some may even offer to do this at your home, saving you the trouble of transporting a bottle. This is a convenient and safe method of replacing empty cylinders, though it does cost extra.
Transporting gas bottles
Carrying gas cylinders in your car is not recommended. There is often not enough ventilation in cars for leaking LPG to sufficiently dissipate. They should never be stored on their side. A gas cylinder stored like this can roll around freely and, in the case of an accident, can become lethal to the driver and passengers.
Storing gas cylinders on their side will often increase the chances of a leak as the liquid can cover the valve. If this valve is covered, pressure can build up resulting in a lot of damage. They should also never be in direct sunlight or left in a vehicle for more than a couple of hours.
If possible, gas cylinders should be transported in a properly secured storage unit aboard a well-ventilated vehicle such as a flat bed or pick up truck or on a secure trailer. Otherwise, storing them upright in your caravan’s gas storage unit and transporting them this way would be your best option.
It is important to remain conscious of your weight limits when transporting gas cylinders. Depending on the location of your caravan gas compartment, your noseweight may be affected. Many gas companies offer smaller lightweight cylinders which may be good if you need to watch the weight of your caravan. However, these may not be suitable if you’re going on a longer holiday.
You should also ensure that your gas compartment is well ventilated. Butane and propane are heavier than air so will sink to the ground. Good ground level ventilation will allow gas to flow out in the event of a leak. Regularly checking these vents for obstructions or blockages will help ensure your safety.
A responsible step to take would be to get some “compressed gas” warning stickers for your car or caravan when you’re carrying gas cylinders. These will alert the emergency services to the presence of gas should you be involved in an accident. They can then adjust their actions accordingly, aware of the dangers.
In the eventuality a cylinder should fall onto its side when transporting, you should stand it upright and leave it to settle for a few minutes before connecting it to anything.
Standard safety precautions apply when transporting LPG. For example, you should never smoke around gas cylinders. If you are unsure about the safety of transporting them, consult an expert.
When handled correctly LPG is a reliable and safe fuel but caution and common sense are vital. If you are in any doubt about storing or transporting gas cylinders, consult an expert.