"My current set up - still deciding whether to get 2 gas bottles or not now"
Whilst surfing the Freeview box (I’m not allowed to have Sky TV………… Don’t ask as it’s a sore subject!) I stumbled across the last ten minutes or so of “Practical Motor Home” and, since I have not long had my Elddis Accordo 120, I thought I would pause for a bit and see what it was all about.
I managed to catch the last few minutes of some boring bloke (I don’t recall his name – that’s how interested I was) reviewing some massive Rapido motor home costing about eighty grand. Fortunately, the review only had a couple more minutes left to run (any more than that and I would have lost the will to live) and after it was a piece about re-fillable gas systems, something I didn’t know even existed (I am totally new to this motor homing lark).
When I first picked up the motor home I (naively) thought that when the gas needed replenishing I simply took it to a Calor supplier who would stick a hose on it, fill it up and then give it back. I also (stupidly) thought that I could take the bottle whenever, i.e. empty or not, and simply get it topped up before going on a longer trip to ensure that I had a full gas bottle with me. I now know better, and know that this is not the case.
In the five years of owning our folding camper we never had to change the gas bottle, but then we did only use it for cooking and we had two on the go (one for the inside gas rings and the other for an outdoor BBQ) so our usage was exceptionally light. The kitchen of out motor home not only has 3 gas rings but also an oven. We are also planning to go “off grid” and get out in the wilderness more where we will be relying on gas not only for cooking but also running the fridge and heating the van (yep – we are going to brave the winter in it) so I expect our gas usage to significantly increase. Because of this I found the re-fillable gas section of the show very interesting indeed.
During this piece I was (obviously) made aware that there is a gas system you can re-fill yourself, a gas system that actually gives an accurate indication of how much gas in the bottle and a gas system that doesn’t cost a fortune to run. Okay, there is an initial outlay to get it installed, but once installed it seems pretty cheap. The other thing I liked about the re-fillable gas system is that there is the option to have the gas tank installed underneath the vehicle leaving the gas locker free to store other bits and pieces, such as the electric cable, water bits and pieces and my fishing gear. How good is that?
Whilst the Practical Motor Home show demonstrated the system and explained how it worked it didn’t actually say how much the system was to install, or where I could get it done. The bloke doing the demonstration said fitting a re-fillable gas system yourself was simple and all the most difficult part was drilling the hole (around 3 inches in diameter!) in to the habitation part of the motor home, although this was “pretty straight forward”. Hmmmmmm……….
If there is one thing I will never play around with it’s gas – growing up in the Norfolk Broads I have heard of and witnessed too many gas related explosions on the boats, to mess around with it. Gas is something you should treat with respect and get professional people who are trained in such things to work with. The other thing about a DIY install is that I would never EVER drill a hole in the side of my habitation. I haven’t got a clue where to put it, I haven’t got a clue what else I could potentially drill in to, and I haven’t got a clue how much it would cost to make good my inevitable mistake. I simply wouldn’t do it!
As soon as I could get to the internet I looked at re-fillable gas systems to see how much it is likely to cost and also where I can the system fitted. Getting the cost of the component parts wasn’t difficult, however getting the cost to get a re-fillable gas system fitted and also where I could get such a system fitted was. I spent ages searching but I couldn’t find anything remotely useful.
I found several forum posts and questions about re-fillable gas systems, and it appears to be a popular topic. The problem is, most people seem to fit the re-fillable gas systems themselves, which is something I am not going to do. The forums are full of people claiming they did it themselves and it was a “ten minute job” but reading in to what they did it is clear these people “bodged” a system together and simply changed their standard non-refillable gas bottle for a re-fillable gas bottle.
I have read there are many garages who don’t permit taking a “loose” re-fillable gas bottle and filling it up, and the bottle must be securely installed in the vehicle. The common work around this is to leave the re-fillable gas bottle in the gas locker and simply open the locker, connect the hose to the gas bottle and top up as necessary. Hmmmmmm………. This doesn’t seem too safe to me, and I can see why many of the people who have this self-install say “try and do this discreetly because some garages don’t like you doing this”. This is way too dodgy for me, and something I won’t be doing.
There are some people who have done a “proper” install themselves and drilled through their habitation unit and connected up an external filling point. This proper installation is a possibility but I don’t have the technical knowledge, skill or common sense to do this myself.
I have yet to find anyone placing their re-fillable gas bottle under the vehicle, leaving the gas locker free for other stuff. I assume this is a difficult installation, and one not many people are capable of doing themselves. This is the perfect solution, and the one I would prefer…………… if I can find somewhere to actually get the work done, and also get a price for it too. There must be somewhere, I’ll just keep searching and keep you posted.
About the author
A total motor home newbie with a six year camping background in a folding camper. A keen blogger sharing my experience of researching, choosing, buying and owning a motor home. and every thing that goes with it.
The Motor home