Because gas at high pressure is unsuitable for use in appliances like stoves and refrigerators, a regulator is necessary to lower the pressure. Never attempt to use gas from a cylinder which is not fitted with a regulator. To prevent damage by water it is advisable to place a cover over the top. Due to the need to have the regulator vented to the atmosphere it is possible for water to enter the unit and cause corrosion. If this occurs with older type regulators, it is possible to have gas delivered to the appliances at full cylinder pressure. This could cause an explosion if an attempt was made to light the appliance. Never attempt to dismantle or adjust a regulator. If in doubt have the regulator tested or replace it with a new one. Newer caravans use regulators wth over-pressure protection.

LPG Cylinders

These must be stored upright and securely fastened. All cylinders normally used on caravan and camper trailers are fitted with a safety relief valve. This is designed to release gas to the atmosphere should a high pressure build-up occur in the cylinder usually as the result of very high temperatures. Always make sure that this relief valve is pointing away from both the caravan and towing vehicle.

For cylinders not stored under cover a coat of paint once a year will prevent rust formation. Every ten years, from date of manufacture, all cylinders must be inspected and retested.

LPG Safety

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (L.P.G), is convenient, clean, relatively inexpensive and for most caravanners or campers readily available. However, it is also flammable. Below are some hints which will help keep your system operating safely and efficiently.

L.P.G consists basically of propane which is a by-product of petroleum processing. Existing in a vapour form at atmospheric pressure it changes to a liquid when stored under pressure. Inside a cylinder the pressure varies from 350kPa (50psi) at 0°C to 1400kPa (200psi) at 45°C. This means that it is possible for a large quantity of gas to escape rather quickly if handled carelessly.

Because L.PG. is heavier than air it will always find the lowest place or stay close to the ground or floor. Ventilation therefore is very important, particularly in confined spaces like caravans. The practice of blocking off air vents to keep out draughts is a dangerous one and is not recommended. As most gas facilities and installations are covered by regulations, a little care by the user can prevent any accidents.

The gas system should be inspected regularly and any service work carried out by a licensed gas fitter. A “Certificate of Compliance” has to be issued on the completion of any work carried out on a L.P gas system.

Electrical Safety

The electrical system in a caravan should be checked regularly. Because a caravan is constantly on the move it is possible for connections to come loose due to vibrations. If the van or camper trailer is a pre-owned unit it should be inspected to ensure that fittings are of the type approved for caravan use.

All light switches and power points must be a ‘double pole’ type. Extension leads that connect the van to the outside supply must have a 15amp rating. These leads can be identified by an earth pin that is wider than the other two.

When fitting accessories like shelves or towel rails, always consult a caravan repair specialist to prevent drilling into hidden electrical cables.

Should it be necessary to replace the three pin plug or socket, it is essential that the cable fits neatly through the plug top to give maximum cable anchorage and prevent the entry of moisture. It is recommended that the earth wire (your lifeline) is about 10mm longer than the other two conductors. This ensures that the active or neutral conductor will break first if any tension is imposed on the cable.

Additional safeguards are available to protect you from electrical faults. These are in the form of circuit breakers and earth leakage relays to disconnect the power when a circuit is overloaded as well as trip when a small current leakage to earth occurs.
All electrical work should be carried out by a licensed electrician.