Connecting an RV to External Propane

TheRVgeeks Installation, Miscellaneous, Propane, Winter RVing 8 Comments

As a follow-up to our recent video on wintering in an RV, we found that connecting our rig to a large external propane tank was a little bit more involved than we expected.

If you’re planning to spend the winter in a cold climate, or simply want to avoid running out of propane while parked in one place for an extended period, we offer some useful information based on our recent experience.

We’re using our Extend-a-Stay (also known as a Stay-a-While or an Extend-a-Flow) to connect to a large external propane tank. There’s a fair amount to know about propane, and we are certainly not experts. But we do know more about it today than we did yesterday!

“Inch water column” (also referred to as ” WC or “inches of water”) is a unit of pressure measurement, commonly used for propane and other gases. RV appliances require about 11″ WC, which equals only about 0.4 PSI!

We’ve been RV snowbirds for 8 winters in a row, mostly in the Desert Southwest. This year, for the very first time, we’ll be spending the winter in the RV in a northern location.

Granted, the Lower Mainland of British Columbia isn’t exactly Manitoba when it comes to winter, but we’re far enough up in the mountains to get some freezing temperatures and snow here.

Luckily, Birgit & Greg, whose site we’re using, were nice enough to let us tap into their super-size external propane tank (we’ll be paying for the propane we use, of course).

There are lots of RVers who know way more than we do about RVing in REAL winter deep freeze conditions, but even here in the relatively moderate Fraser Valley, it’s plenty cold enough to use quite a bit of propane.


Products Shown In This Video (available on Amazon):



We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

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Comments 8

  1. Pingback: RV Snowbird Fail! Managing Short RV Trips To Cold Climates - RVgeeks

  2. Hi RVGeeks! New RV’er…just picking up a great condition 1999 37s Pace Arrow next week. Love your videos! Extremely helpful.
    So I saw your video on “Connecting an RV to External Propane”….and thought…”Wow that’s a lot of work!”
    Being that I always look for simplified systems I noted another possible solution but then thought…”I must be missing a piece of information”. Would be interested in whether the below would have worked for you? If so it might be a more elegant solution.

    Could you have put the extend-a-stay on the other side (right side) of your RV’s regulator and then just removed the regulator on your gas grill?”
    I do understand that would limit you to using the gas grill only when connected to your RV…and that may have been the deciding factor for your extend-a-stay connection preference. However wouldn’t that have solved all the other issues you brought up in this video?

    Namely couldn’t you then have left the original, low pressure regulator on the outboard park tank in place?….being that it was already low pressure (9.5-13 WC) there wouldn’t be the oil build up in your long line. Also having the “extend-a-stay” connected to the right side of the regulator of your RV, the pressure wouldn’t be double regulated….therefore correct for your internal systems? At least I think it would be correct…possibly the length of your hose would drop the pressure too far.

    Also, I’m not so sure why you had to do all those additional coupler size transfer fittings after the first run of hose off the extend-a-stay….couldn’t you just have tossed that short 3 foot hose that came with the extend-a-stay and used just the longer, after-market hoses running from the outboard tank? From the video it looks like the standard male fitting on the aftermarket hoses would directly connect to the extend-a-stay’s port.

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      Author

      Hi Nick! The reason we went the route we did (removing the old 11″ water column regulator from the big tank and replacing it with a higher flow (15 PSI) unit) is because our extend-a-stay was already mounted on the RV and we didn’t want to move it. Part of the reason for leaving it where we have it (upstream of the RVs whole-house regulator) is that it allows us to connect to ANY external tank… even a little portable tank… in a pinch, with no additional regulation.

      Regarding the 3-foot hose that comes on the extend-a-stay… it may look like a standard fitting, but it’s not. So we’d still have to use an adapter even if we chucked it.

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      Author

      Awesome question! That would indeed be optimal, eliminating the long hose and therefore the need for the extra regulator on the big external tank. Unfortunately, the tank in this case was enormous and very heavy, so we had no space for it or the ability to place it next to the RV’s on-board tank.

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