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Avoid Disaster With an RV Propane Detector

An RV propane detector is a non-negotiable safety feature for every RVer. Propane leaks can not only be damaging but deadly. Keep reading to find out how to avoid a disaster in your RV.

Propane RV Fire
Don’t let this happen to you!

What Is an RV Propane Detector?

An RV propane detector warns you of a propane leak as it detects the accumulation of propane in your RV. Other natural or explosive gases may also get picked up by the alarm.

RV LP Propane Gas Detector with CO Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Remember not to confuse a CO (carbon monoxide) detector with a propane detector. They’re not the same. CO alarms detect colorless and odorless gas.

How Does It Work?

Most models have a light that turns red and an alarm that sounds when it finds propane in the RV. Some have an LED screen to show you an all-clear or a warning.

Why You Need an RV Propane Detector

RV propane detectors can save lives. If you’re unaware of propane leaking in your RV, it could cause sickness or even death. Propane detectors are especially important at night when you’re sleeping and potentially unaware of the leak. A propane leak can even cause a fire if there’s an open flame in your RV.

Pro Tip: Propane detectors are especially important if you’re using a propane heater in your trailer or motorhome. Learn more here: Are RV Propane Heaters Safe?

What Are the Types of RV Propane Detectors?

There are several types of RV propane detectors on the market. Take a look at these four options to determine which is the best for your needs.

Single-Use Wall Mounted Units

The most common propane detector is a single-use wall-mounted unit. These can be easily mounted on any wall and need a 12-volt power supply. The Safe-T-Alert Surface Mount will set off an alarm at less than 25% LEL (lower explosive limit) of propane and methane.

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Plug-and-Play Gas Detector

A plug-and-play detector is a great option if you want to use a propane detector in multiple locations. You can find several models on the market, such as the GasKnight detector. Or the Self-Test, which has a regular power cord and a USB.

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Battery-Operated Propane Detector

A battery-operated RV propane detector is not hard-wired. These often attach to the wall or ceiling like a smoke detector. The OUCAXIA Natural Gas Detector alerts you of gas leaks with an LED display and voice notification.

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Bottle Bubble Gas Leak Locator

While not a detector per se, a bottle bubble gas leak locator can help you locate a propane leak. It has foam in it that you pour over propane pipes. If the foam begins to bubble, that means gas is leaking out. The Better Bubble Leak Locator can detect refrigerant gases, air, oxygen, and other gases, as well as propane.

Rectorseal 65554 8-Ounce Bottle Better Bubble Leak...
  • It is the newest and most advanced leak locator formula
  • It detects leaks of refrigerant gases, air, oxygen, and most...
  • Its thick formula can be used at various temperature and pressure...

Gas Stop Safety Valve

Again not a detector but a device we recommend and use ourselves is a automatic propane shutoff called the gastop. This device detects if a gas line is broken or ruptured and automatically shuts off the gas. In addition it can be used to pressure check the system for leaks. With it you can catch a leak even before the propane detector goes off.

GasStop - Propane Tank Gauge with Leak Detector &...
  • 100% PROTECTION - GasStop is a must-have safety device that...
  • CONVENIENT PRESSURE INDICATOR - Effortlessly monitor pressure...
  • SAFETY FIRST, ALWAYS - Protect your RVs, travel trailers, 5th...
GasStop with Pressure Gauge - Secure your Propane Gas System with GasStop - Why take the risk?

What Can Set Off a Propane Detector

Besides an actual propane leak, some other gases and substances can set off a propane detector. These include hair spray, cooking sprays, aerosol sunscreen, products such as Febreeze, and some carpet cleaning chemicals. And believe it or not, human and animal farts can set off a propane detector too! 

Whenever your RV propane detector sounds, you need to take it seriously. Don’t assume it went off because you just used hair spray. It’s important to investigate a propane leak every time.

RV Propane Detector

When You Should Replace Your Propane Detector

You should replace your propane detectors every five to seven years. If your alarm is going off a lot and you’ve ruled out any potential propane leaks, you likely need to replace the detector.

Don't Let This Happen To Your RV! Check Your Propane Detector!

Keep your RV and its passengers safe by having working propane detectors. These simple devices can literally save lives while you’re on the road. When was the last time you replaced your propane detector?

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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Friday 16th of June 2023

Why are we replacing our carbon Monoxide detector every two years .They are beeping all the time .So how do we close up for winter because that is when it seems to go off .When we go to storage in spring its beeping all the time ?Hubby takes batteries out of our motorhome for the winter .

Mortons on the Move

Monday 19th of June 2023

Personally I think the RV detectors are just not very good. We too had similar problems and finally just replaced them with household 10 year battery units that have been working much better. They also have a little screen to show the PPM.