NiKi our lovely motorhome
Has gas central heating, it works really well allowing for both hot water and a snug home. The gas also operates the fridge when we are not connected to the mains and lastly we have a gas hob and oven. So gas is vital for a happy home.
So gas is vital for a happy motorhoming experience.
What are the options?
If you are going to travel only in the UK or short trips abroad, you can use Calor gas, have a specific light weight Propane 5kg gas cylinder two of these will cover most short trips. They can only be sourced in in the UK. So if you go abroad make sure you have full ones.
If you are heading abroad for more than two weeks you have a problem. You can’t get refills of Calor gas outside the UK. So what do you do? You could buy cylinders in the country you are going to, or get yourself a LPG system (A gas tank strapped under your van) or refillable cylinders for you van.
So what did we do?
We went for a refillable cylinder, there are many suppliers of these including GasIT, Alugas, Gaslow and the one we chose Safefill. Some such as Gaslow can be installed as a external fill system and I think GasIT can as well. We went for the Safefill refillable as it was very light and the we met the owner of the company at the Campervan show last October and he was gent in explaining his product.
We did speak to GasIT and Gaslow people as well but they were not so helpful. So we ordered the smallest Safefill bottle and as were going to Spain a Spanish refill adaptor, this was delivered the next day. We have had no issues here in Spain refilling the cylinder and think what ever version you have here wolud not be a problem.
So what is it like in daily use?
Now we have been on the road for two months, we wish we had bought the midsized one and two of them. Why? The difference between LPG and propane that is why?
Let me explain, the cylinder takes only 8 litres of gas and when you get down to the last litre or so the central heating system does not like it. You see LPG is a mix of butane and propane, essentially when it is cold butane does not burn well, and so though the cooker and the fridge are happy, near the end of the bottle if it is below 12 degrees C, the central heating says gas failure and stops working after a few minutes. That said amazingly it still heats the whole van in that time.
So that is why is the small cylinder a problem plus the minimum sale is 5 litres, and empty the cylinder takes 8 litres maximum, so it has to be very empty to refill.
So but simply if you are traveling around Europe for longer than a couple of weeks, get a LPG system. Buy a as large a cylinder as will fit in your van and get two of them. Be aware of the Propane / Butane issue.
Where do you find LPG stations?
We use mylpg.eu they map virtually every LPG filling station in Europe. It is free to use as well. plus they have smartphone apps as well. a great site.
LASTLY don’t be as stupid as was when attempting to refill yesterday.
The procedure to refill a cylinder is as follows:
Turn off Gas
Disconnect cylinder from van
Attach Spanish connector
Connect gas filling hose
Turn the gas back on to fill. (I did not do this which caused the system to lock up) The attendant was only mildly amused as I had put 5c of gas into the converter! Remember the 5 litre minimum sale.
Turn off Gas
Remove Spanish adaptor. (There will be a release of a small amount of ice cold gas when you do this so wear gloves!)
Reconnect cylinder to van
Turn on gas.
So you can check online how much a refill Calor gas is we paid £0.59 per litre in the UK and €0.59 in Spain. A 5kg Cylinder @ 80% holds 8 litres.
So you can see it is so much cheaper to use LPG
We hope this helps you on your tour, any questions ask us.
David and Karen