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How to Switch Propane Tanks on RV: 6 Easy Steps

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

how to switch propane tanks on rv

When boondocking or camping, it’s crucial that you know how to switch propane tanks on RV. Propane serves as the main fuel for many RV appliances for kitchen, so losing even one tank can limit your enjoyment of many amenities. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy if you take safety precautions.

Wear protective gear and simply disconnect the empty tank from the regulator. Refuel or replace the empty tank and reconnect it back to the propane system.

For more detailed steps, continue reading below.

Table of Contents

What to Prepare


  • Face mask and gloves
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Propane tank
  • Gas leak detector or soapy water

Step-By-Step Instructions


Step 1: Take necessary precautions

Before you switch propane tanks, make careful precautions. You want to protect yourself and prevent any mishaps.

  • Determine what type of cylinder tank you have, whether it’s ASME or DOT. If you have a portable tank, it’s probably a DOT type. An ASME tank is slightly thicker and installed horizontally.
  • Wear protective gear like a good pair of gloves and a face mask to protect yourself from a potential gas leak.

Step 2: Check Whether Gas Is Off


Another precautionary measure when switching paralleling propane tanks is to ensure whether the propane tank is empty.

  • Observe the regulator built in the propane system. An indicator stick will point to the full tank. If you’re in doubt, read your dual tank propane regulator instructions.
  • Another surefire way to tell for an empty propane tank is to pour hot water on the propane tank and see if the body of the tank feels hot.
  • You can also check the gas status on the switchover valve. Red means that the propane tank is empty and needs to be switched to the reserve tank.

Step 3: Remove RV Propane Tank Cover

A dual propane tank setup usually has a cover for dust protection. To make an easy propane tank switch, we’ll be removing this cover.

  • Open up the lid, then pull it up.
  • If you feel like there’s something holding the cover down, look for a strap underneath and detach it.
  • If there’s a wing nut in the tank cover, remove that with a flat-head screwdriver.
  • Set the cover aside in a safe place.

Step 4: Replace Or Refill The Empty Propane Tank


At this point, you want the selector valve pointing to the full or reserve tank. As for the empty tank, you’ll need to refill it or change it with a new full tank.

  • Look for the large screw that holds the two tanks together in a pole. Undo that screw until it pulls out of the vertical pole, then remove the horizontal pole.
  • Disconnect the hose that connects the empty tank to the line.
  • Remove the empty tank from the setup and refill it at your nearest gas station. If you like to get a new tank, purchase one from reliable dealers.

Step 5: Put All The Connections Back

Now that you have the empty tank refueled or replaced with a new one, it’s time to reconnect it back to the propane system.

  • Reconnect the newly filled tank to the regulator’s hose lines and nozzles. Make sure that the connection is nice and tight.
  • Turn on the valves of both propane tanks. This way, the automatic switchover will occur and reduce the need for constant checkups.
  • Point the regulator selector switch to your preferred tank. You can point it to the new refueled tank or continue using the other one.

Watch this video to know the vital connections of the propane tank.

Step 6: Check For Gas Leaks

For safety, check for any gas leaks using a detector device. This should be done each time you connect a propane tank to your regulator.

  • Your nose can be a good detector for gas leaks. If you smell something like rotten eggs, then probably there’s a leak.
  • Spray a special gas leak detector to the propane tank’s cylinder.
  • Apply soapy water or spray a special gas leak detector to the propane tank connections. Open the cylinder valve, and if you see any bubbles, there’s a leak.
  • If there’s a leak, turn off the main gas supply and tighten the connections. If not, return the cover and adjust the bolts carefully.


Surely, you know how to switch propane tanks on RV now after reading this article. It only takes a few tools and several careful measures to prevent injuries. Make sure that you’re familiar with the connections of the propane tank to the regulator.

Have you experienced switching propane tanks on RV? Let us know below, and please share this article with your friends if you find it helpful.

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