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So, you’re all set up at your campsite with gorgeous views and the smell of fresh air and pine trees. And then – it happens. First, the stove won’t light. Then the water heater won’t fire up. And then you realize your fridge is running on electricity rather than propane! What’s going on! You are sure you filled the propane tank before you left for your RV camping trip. But now the RV propane is not flowing!
Luckily, if your RV propane is not flowing, it’s easy to troubleshoot and resolve. Start by checking these four items and chances are you will solve your dilemma.
- Check to make sure the Propane Valve is On
- Check the Excess Flow Valve
- Check the Propane Pressure Regulator
- Ensure the Propane Detector Inside the Motorhome is On
It is very likely that one of these four things is causing low or no flow of propane to your RV appliances. However, there could be other causes as well. So, read on as we discover what to do when the RV propane is not flowing.
Check to Make Sure the Propane Valve is On
I’m sure you are reading this thinking, of course, the valve needs to be open for the propane to flow. And you are right! But sometimes you might think the valve is open and it’s not. Let me run a very typical scenario by you.
You are preparing to go on your RV road trip. And if you are like me, you turn on the RV fridge the night before to give the refrigerator and freezer ample time to get cold. So, the propane valve is open, and the batteries are on, and you turn on the fridge. And the next morning the fridge is nice and cold. Perfect! You load up all of your food and ice and the rest of your belongings, and off you go!
First stop, is to gas up and top off the propane tank. Well, guess what. For the attendant to fill your propane tank, the propane valve MUST be in the closed position. So, he closes the tank valve and fills your propane tank. Then he leaves the valve in the closed position, as he should. You take off and arrive at your campground and notice the fridge isn’t as cold as it should be. Then you begin to wonder what’s going on. So you try to see if propane comes out of a stovetop burner. And it doesn’t! Why? Because the attendant did the right thing and turned the propane valve off when he filled your propane tank.
It’s a little embarrassing, but I can’t think of an easier problem to solve. Just turn the propane valve on, and you are all set.
Check the Excess Flow Valve
What the heck is an excess flow valve? It’s a safety feature on propane tanks that is also called a flow limiting device. The excess flow valve is designed to stop or substantially reduce the flow of propane gas if there is a leak somewhere in the RV propane system. It’s basically a spring loaded valve or a small ball in the center of the gas fitting that detects propane leaving the tank too quickly. If this happens, the spring or ball engage and stop the flow of propane.
There are three main reasons that the excess flow valve could engage.
- If you have a leak anywhere in the propane system, the valve will engage. The only thing to do at this point is to turn off the propane, close all the stovetop burner knobs, put out your cigarette, extinguish the campfire and get your RV to a repair shop asap!
- If you open the propane tank valve too quickly the valve can sometimes be tricked into sensing there is a leak. It will then engage because it detects propane leaving the tank to fast. To troubleshoot this situation, turn off the propane tank valve, turn off the fridge and water heater, and be sure all of your stovetop knobs are fully closed. Wait five or ten minutes and turn the propane valve on exceptionally slowly. This will slowly pressurize the propane system without the valve engaging, and then you will have a full flow of propane. After you have a flow of propane, you MUST open the tank valve to the fully open position. It is never a good idea to operate the propane system with the tank valve partially opened.
- If you do not screw the propane hose fitting into the tank fitting properly, the valve will remain in the closed position, and no propane will be able to flow. Just unscrew it, line it up correctly and screw it in again. This is very unlikely to happen with the big plastic screw caps like the one in my hand in the picture below. You can’t really thread them incorrectly. But the older brass fittings that are screwed in counterclockwise could misthread.
Check the Propane Pressure Regulator
Your RV has what’s called a two-stage propane regulator. It regulates the pressure of the propane gas coming from the propane tank at high pressure and lowers it to the proper level for your propane appliances. The regulator is installed between the propane tank and the rest of the propane system. The first stage of the pressure regulator lowers the pressure form as high as 250 psi to approximately 10 to 15 psi. Then, the second stage lowers the pressure to around 11 water column inches, which is the proper amount for your RV appliances. If your RV has two propane tanks, then you will have a two-stage propane regulator with two pigtail hoses, but the concept is exactly the same.
Pressure regulators typically last for 10 to 15 years, but inevitably they will fail. So, if your pressure regulator is about 8 to 10 years old, it’s probably best to just go ahead and replace it before it fails in the middle of a camping trip. The good news is they are very easy to install yourself, and they are pretty inexpensive.
How To Tell if an RV Propane Regulator is Bad
If your propane gas regulator is working correctly the flame color should be blue and the flame height will be even around your cooktop burner. All you need to do to troubleshoot your RV propane regulator is to look for some common signs of trouble. Some signs of possible problems with a propane gas regulator are yellow or orange flames; a popping noise when turning a stovetop burner on or off, a roaring noise from the stovetop burners, or an accumulation of soot on the burners. If you have any of these issues, you can try to reset your pressure regulator and see if it resolves the issue.
How to Reset an RV Pressure Regulator
Before you reset the regulator, it is important to understand that it has the same type of safety feature that a propane tank has. Inside the regulator, there is a little valve that will detect propane gas moving through the system too quickly. If it senses this, it will stop or slow the flow of propane. If the pressure regulator is restricting the flow of propane, you will see the symptoms mentioned above.
To reset a pressure regulator just turn off the propane tank, and make sure all of your propane appliances are off inside your RV. Wait a few minutes, and the pressure regulator will reset itself. Then turn the propane tank valve on extremely slowly to allow the lines to become appropriately pressurized. Once this is done, you can ignite a propane appliance, and it should work properly. If not, it may be time to get an RV propane regulator replacement.
Ensure the Propane Detector Inside the Motorhome is On
Many motor homes have an electric solenoid valve which is connected to a Propane Detector inside the motorhome. A solenoid is just a valve that is operated electronically. If there is no power to the solenoid or the propane detector, the solenoid will not open and allow the propane to flow. The most common cause for this is no power to the solenoid or propane detector due to a dead battery or a disconnected or broken wire. You can certainly replace or recharge a battery but if you have a wiring problem you may consider letting a pro fix it for you.
The propane system is such an essential part of your RV that it is important to take the time to learn about it and all of your propane appliances too. The more you know, the better your chances for fixing a problem and staying safe at the same time.
- How Long Does an RV Propane Tank Last (Heat, Fridge, Water)
- RV Water Heater Not Getting Hot Enough?
- RV Propane Not Flowing – How to Troubleshoot and Resolve
- Is It Ok to Drive an RV with the Propane On?
- Do RVs Have Ovens?
You might also want to check out our articles for much more information about propane tanks and how long propane will last.
I hope you enjoyed the article. To see a list of all of our articles check out our Blog Archive!
41 thoughts on “RV Propane Not Flowing? How To Troubleshoot and Solve”
My propane stove or fridge both will only work if my key is turned on half way for accessories…??? how do i make it so i do not need to do that and it will work manually?? Class A winnebego 1997
That’s a tough one but it sounds like your appliances aren’t working off of the 12-volt house battery and are therefore running off of your battery that starts the RV engine…
Are you house batteries charged?
You could also go on iRV2.com and search for similar problems. There are some good threads there that could help.
I’m sure I wasn’t much help but please let me know what you find.
Symtom : No propane flow from stove all buners.
1. If Engaged propane bottel valve , then have study flow propane
2. If Disconnected the ouput of 2 stage regulator, then have study flow of propane.
Is this propane system troubleshooting indicating propane flow good to output of propane regulator and that system failure is down stream such as leakage or defective stove.
Should the propane water heater and or propane refrigerator then be checked for operation?
Thanks for sharing Malcom
My stove or burners won’t light also above my fridge the light said to check it. What could be wrong
Hmmm…you could be out of propane or you might need to turn off the propane at the tank – wait a minute – and then turn the propane back on very slowly.
Let me know how you make out.
Thanks so much for the great advise! I’m a full-timer in an RV Trailer and the propane has been out for months. I’ve been able to plug-in and run space heaters, but I thought I was in for a big expense. The slow twist method on the valve solved the problem and the stove lights now. Oddly, something not quite right with the heater now. Runs, heated briefly, then stopped. Also, yellow flames here and there on the stove so I may have a faulty regulator. Or perhaps a detector is bad supplying the heater. Any ideas where to find it on a Jayco Hummingbird?
I’m glad the slow twist method worked for you! I’m always happy when I can provide some useful info for my readers.
I checked the Jayco Hummingbird Manual and although it has a whole section about the CO2 sensor it doesn’t say where it is. But since Carbon Monoxide is heavier than air the sensor should be no higher than one foot off the floor. Sometimes they are located under the dinette.
Hope this helps!
Hello Mike, I have a 2004 Forest River georgetown 325SE, the furnace, water heater or the stove does not work. I have replaced the LP Detector, the solenoid, the regulator and the main hose. The fridge is working on battery power but nothing else is working. Any suggestions
Had the person at the propane filling station recommend me the above troubleshooting methods.
Can half of a dual regulator go bad? Right side acts like tank is empty. Left side will run off of either tank, so the tank is good. Can the pigtail get clogged or one side of the regulator go bad? Flames on the stove look as they should
Hmmm… I’m not really sure about that. But I think it is possible. I’ve never encountered that problem before.
Thanks for reading the article.
This would be a good question to ask on the RV Forum called iRV2.com
I bet someone somewhere has had the same problem too.
I’ve encountered the same problem. Try a little oil at the inlet of check valve it may be stuck. If that doesn’t work……Replace the pigtail . The check valve is bad.
Lots of help. I did the regular stuff. Now I have propane to my stove and oven. The only thing I use my propane for. But flame on stove Low and oven won’t come All the way on.
My guess is to change my regulator.
Am I right??
Please help if you can. I have no one else to ask. I’m a 62 yrs old woman and I live in small old fifth wheel
Had a really bad storm that extinguished the pilot on my hot water heater. I woke up to a really strong gas odor and realized what had happened. I relit the pilot and didn’t think much about it. Later realized the hot water heater wasn’t flaming up like it should when I used hot water. I shut everything off for about 10 minutes and relit the pilot. It then flamed up like it should and everything is fine. Thanks for the info, saved me a service call.
You made my day! Glad I could help!
We have a 2019 coachman clipper. The stove was working fine and so was the furnace. Before spending our second night in the camper we were making sure we would have hot water. Stove won’t light and furnace fan comes on but doesn’t heat up and then turns off. Soooo frustrating! We tried a new propane bottle, no luck. I feel certain there is something simple that we are missing. Help please:)
You are awesome! Appreciate the info on resetting pressure regulator!
Thanks very much for the kind words!!!
I am always so happy when someone finds one of my articles helpful!
We started a new Facebook group that we are launching today called RV Camping for Newbies!
It’s a great place to ask questions and get great answers from your fellow RVers in the group!
We hope you’ll check it out!
Hope you are well.
We have a 2020 grand design, imagine series.
Only used 5 times.
Both tanks are full. Both tanks are on. Regulator still showing red (empty) both sides.
Did everything in your list.
Bought new regulator. Same problem!
No gas coming out. Still shows red.
What are we doing wrong?
We used the rv last month. No problems.
Again both tanks are full. We are slowing turning on. We are following instructions to a tee.
Since it is practically new I would guess the regulator isn’t bad…You might have to disconnect the hoses to depressurize completely then reconnect and turn the propane valve on slowly. Hopefully, that will do the trick!
let me know if it works or not.
I turned on my stove while propane tanks were off (I forgot), It turned on for a few seconds then turned off. I opened the propane tanks and my stove wont turn on anymore. The regulator is on red.
Purchased a used RV. At first the furnace worked then would just blow cold air and stop. The previous owner noted in the manual that heating the elbow on the line entering the furnace removes condensation restricting gas flow. Sure enough that works …. temporarily… dont want to do this continually …. is there a solution?
Greetings from Spain! I have an American RV and I don’t think I have the famous excess flow valve. At the outlet of my propane tank is the opening valve of the same, then the two-stage pressure regulator and finally, the solenoid valve that I open cuts the gas flow controlled by the interior gas detector.
Can someone tell me what the excess flow valve looks like? I cannot locate it on any website and I would like to install it, unless the regulator itself also cuts the propane in the event of a collision and rupture of a propane pipe.
Greetings and thank you!!
I’ve got a 2014 jayCo jayflight 32 rlds. I’m not getting propane to anything in camper . Replaced hoses and regulator and still nothing . Don’t even have propane at stove
I have a suburban 2 burner stove. i have gas past the regulator but stove will not light.
Thank you SO MUCH for the information on how to reset our “propane system” as I am calling it! Followed your advice to shut it all down, wait ten minutes and then SLOWLY reopen the tank valves…worked like a charm and now all burners and frig are operating on high. I am sending you a virtual hug, thanks again!
When I disconnect my tanks should the indicator turn red. Mine doesn’t and it used to make some noises but nothing now.
I have a Jayco Acadia pop up and had use the propane for the fridge and that was about it. I then tried to hook up to the outside propane port and no luck. I’ve tried many things but I will try these steps listed and hopefully it helps.
28 Fleetwood Storm- Propane seems to flow to fridge and water heater just fine but when we try to use the split which comes AFTER the regulator, to direct connect our Blackstone grill, we get no gas. there is a lever to lower which we have lowered after connecting but still no gas,odor or anything. Is it possible there is some other valve closed or clogged? or maybe a specific hose connection that i don;t have? All fittings connect well.
Hi, I have a ’90 Toyota Oddysey. trying to connect a gas canister to the propane tank I removed the cap from the propane regulator, now I put one on it and the gas does not work for me. do you think i have to replace the propane regulator?
Propane works fine as long as the outside temperature is above 35 degrees. But if gets colder the propane stops flowing. How do we fix this problem
We changed the propane tank on our 2010 Heartland Edge in the middle of a late season trip from Oregon to Ohio. We had driven all day to stay ahead of fierce winds across Wyoming. A cold front would follow that we were not prepared for. What could go wrong? The furnace, hot water heater and stove top had no propane supply. We faced cold meals and no heat for the near future. We did not know where to start finding a solution. It was 9 pm and we had few options. I found rvblogger.com. Your article on solutions for problems that could occur when changing propane tanks guided us to successfully restarting the propane feed to all the appliances. You communicated clearly all that we needed to know. We are grateful you have made the effort to share your knowledge with people like us who want to experience camping but really need help understanding the basics. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
My Rv the stove burners are working, but the oven is not getting gas to light. The gas works on all other appliances fine. It’s only the oven not getting gas. Bottles are full and I even shut them off waited. Opened them slowly in hopes that it was pressure locked. No luck on getting the oven gas.
Hmmm…sounds like you need to have a professional evaluate what is going on with your propane to the oven…But first turn on the oven and blled the air out of the line until you smell propane… then vent the area very well and then try again to light your oven…
Hope that helps!
On my Oven I have to light it with a lighter. There is also a gas valve for oven as well that needs to be turned on.
The stove top can be lit with the striker mechanism. But, the over need a match etc…
THANK YOU!!! My fridge is working again… *just* in time to save my groceries. After an unexpectedly challenging and looooong day, this was so crucial. Thanks again!
All gas devices work but furnace. Furnace will take gas occasionally. But doesn’t run long. New switch and thermostat. Still having problems lighting. Is it the board?
So my our propane detector/carbon monoxide detector kept beeping in my RV. So I opened it up looked inside saw the circuit board I saw a small little round deal in there that had a small Flathead in the center of it that could be adjusted one way or the other I just did it all the way clockwise at first and it didn’t do anything kept beeping and I adjusted it all the way counterclockwise shut it off and turn it back on and it beep for 2 seconds and shut off and my propane turned back on so there you go in case you can’t make it down to go get another one and you need to take a shower.
I have a 92 Layton. I can’t seem to get any gas to flow. I bought a new dual regulator and made sure the propane sensor is on inside. When I try to light the stove nothing happens. Any tips?
I have a jayco 32 ft 5th wh.i get propane flow on the right side,but switch to left side of trailer no flow ,saw a small reg.in line about 6 inches from tank ,could that be bad?