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Hi folks. I’m just about to connect my kitchen system - propane stove top, water pump/sink/drain, electric outlets, etc. I contacted a propane supplier to ask if they would be willing to do all the connections between my propane tank and my stove top, just to play it ‘safe’, and they said no, that I shouldn’t even have a propane tank inside the van and it’s against code and they wouldn’t be liable blah blah blah. They argued that in RVs, propane tanks are mounted outside, And I argued that it’s a matter of semantics where the door opens from (the outside or the inside), but they are often housed in the main body of the vehicle.

I know us van converters are a creative bunch, and I have seen many installations with propane tanks inside of kitchen cabinets and garages. But, now I am freaking out about if I can ever get insurance, or if I am actually being dangerous, and basically starting to second-guess everything that I’m doing.

Is having a propane tank in my sink cabinet something I should truly be worried about? Can I get some words of advice or support?

Thanks, Carrie
 

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I would be worried about it being in the van and not being in a propane locker with vents. There are many ideas on this forum about propane and lockers (just search propane+locker) and more on the web (faroutrides has a detail DIY locker web page).
 

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Ive thought of making a locker near the rear flow through vents .One might add a small exhaust fan .I use a 5# one inside but Ive also mounted a CO flamable gas detector next to it.There are DOT requirements too that are pretty specific on location plumbing ect to be on the safe side
 

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IIRC, propane in a sealed cabinet is pretty common in the EU. It must vent down and out so there is no chance of propane pooling anywhere.

Insurance is a whole other can of worms. Options vary by state. Anyone who gives advice and does not consider what state you are in is wasting your time.
 

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If you are only using propane for a stove top consider a butane stove top, less infrastructure needed.
60530
 

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Propane locker is significant work if you're doing it yourself (currently building mine).
I'd take a look at how involved you want to get and maybe even consider a temporary camp stove with 1lb propanes if you're not going for shorter trips.
Just keep it in a tote or whatever, bring it out for cooking, clean it, store it
 

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Hi,
A sealed propane locker that is vented to the outside is quite common.

Here is mine: https://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-conversion/promaster-camper-van-conversion-installing-the-propane-system/

It seems to me this is a safe system.
I don't understand how a stove that uses butane cylinders located right next to the stove itself (which is an ignition source and heat producer) is safer. Also don't understand how a bunch of lightly built butane cylinders rattling around in a cardboard box in the back of the van is safer than a heavily built propane tank in a sealed and vented to the outside locker? Not saying butane stoves are unsafe and I would use one without hesitation, but seems to me propane is probably safer.

There are literally millions of RVs running around with propane systems, so I don't see how insurance can be much of an issue? My insurer (State Farm) never asked about the propane system.

Gary
 

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It's just a lack of information. If the OP is installing a full blown LP system to cook 6 meals for weekend trips why not just use a simple stove top.
 

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Sure, you want your fuel system to be safe. There is much discussion about having the tank in a sealed compartment. Modern tanks have redundant safety devices in the valve and the tank is robust. Wouldn't the lines, fittings, & appliance valves be the most likely source of a leak? If propane line installation is foreign to the OP then you are smart to find a pro. Any good plumber can do this-they install/replace propane & natural gas water heaters every day. In people's houses.
 
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National Fire Protection Association sets forth codes and standards regarding Propane and vehicles . Sign up for free access . Read and learn . Codes I took note of are 6.26 on , 11 (propane powered vehicles , good reference) and 12.4.11.7 on . I spent hours and hours learning , and also goggle RV Propane .
I think fireballs are cool on TV but not around me !
 

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Hey Carrie

You are DIY a camper van ??

This comes with risks & liabilities. Go see your insurance company(s) now and see where you are. In the world of insurance (which is a form of gambling), what they want to do is collect the premium & deny the claim.

Everything we do on a DIY is at our risk; If I install aftermarket swivel mechanisms in my seats, or bolt non-factory seats into my cargo van I do not think Im covered by insurance. When we decide to take on DIY & there is no government certification process who is signing off on it all? No one, so we are liable, & that is the risk we take.

Best to put propane under the van, or in a vented propane locker if you are keeping it inside. Soap/water test your connections. Get sniffer alarms. Get educated. Do quality work. You will be fine.

Being Dangerous ,,, Well it is better to live a fulfilled life with a bit of danger then to cower in the corner in my books. Nobody gets outta here alive anyway...
 

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Being Dangerous ,,, Well it is better to live a fulfilled life with a bit of danger then to cower in the corner in my books. Nobody gets outta here alive anyway...
... also in my book lol... ~ S
 
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I was in a hurry when I installed my propane so spent money on a pre-made propane locker:

When people here say "sealed" what they mean is that you are creating a space inside the van that is air sealed to the OUTSIDE of the van (via a vent/opening between the "locker" and the outdoors). Not sure if that's obvious. Its not a sealed case inside the van. The idea is that if there were a high pressure propane leak, the propane will leak outdoors and not indoors. The only propane that enters the cabin is low pressure as a 2 stage regulator is located inside the locker. This way it would take a while for the interior of the van to fill the propane if there were a leak. If you just had high pressure propane in the van, the van could theoretically fill with flammable propane gas very quickly.

Also, note that those butane cookers and 1lb tanks stoves are sold for outdoor use only. There is no doubt that if you're using one of those in your van and there is an accident your insurance company will deny any claim related to its use. If you want to play "by the rules" only use RV appliances that are designed/sold/certified for use inside an RV. There are many many to choose from but they are obviously not as cheap as a $20 butane cooktop which is sold to be used for outdoor use only.
 

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Quick look w/giggle- Not all the butane stoves are outdoor only. From Iwatani website:

"What approvals does Iwatani have on their appliances?
Iwatani butane stoves are approved by CSA for indoor use in commercial restaurants and outdoor use. Iwatani butane fuel is UL Listed and conforms to DOT 2P packaging. Iwatani induction units are ETL listed for Commercial Use and NSF Certified."

Now I know my van is not a commercial kitchen but inside is inside. These stoves were developed for asian cooking at the table and are used as such everywhere. I have been in Hotel lobbies where many were set up for cooking demonstrations on carpeted floors and no special ventilation.

This company has a video where the demonstration is clearly inside and is certified for the same use:

My conclusion after using a super cheap one for 5 years? You are heating with a flame so don’t be stupid. This goes for my gas stoves in my house too. These things have safety features to eject the canister in high heat or pressure situations so they should not be a danger. Mine works great in the van closed up with the rooftop vent open, less well on the outside due to wind. I usually have the van door open if it is nice and if there are few bugs and that is great with the stove. The canisters are cheap and recyclable.
I would not use a portable propane 1lb. cylinder inside with a non certified stove unless I had to to feed myself in an emergency, and I have. I would not use any of my many backpacking stoves in the van, they are not ment for that. I am comfortable using one of these butane certified stoves that say for inside.
 

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OKay, i stand corrected as there are butane stoves approved for indoor use. I was more referring to the insurance liability aspect than the safety.
 

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Well, personally I would only cook inside my van when the weather was so bad there was no other option. Vans are just to small to do any real cooking inside without causing lots of future problems (moisture and odors come to mind right off). If I did plan on cooking inside a van on a regular basis I would most certainly go with an electric (induction) stovetop, never gas of any kind, and have a pretty powerful exaust fan over it.
 
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Just install an Ansul system and then you'll meet all the requirements for cooking indoors.
Then do what you want and don't worry about it.
If you blow yourself up, well, I think they call that Darwinism. And that means more stuffing for me at Thanksgiving.
 

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Fortunately for me and Mrs KOV we don’t go on vacations to cook so...
 

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We are in KOV's camp, except we do use induction and an Instant Pot in addition to the MW that he also uses. I use induction sparingly, and only for non-greasy things—no frying.

For me, the deciding factor against open flame is nasty build-up. Two experiences cemented that prejudice.

First, Mother hated the build-up on her cabinets from the butane stove. Although she never had a hood and cooked the same as before, the nasty went away when she got an electric stove. She got the electric stove when the butane stove sprung a leak and almost burned the house down, so there’s that, too.

Second, I visited a lady who cooked with propane in her trailer. The vent had so much brown gunk around it, it looked like a dirty ?-hole. My ceiling and upper walls are white…
 

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I cook in my van every time I camp in it. Most of the meals are not big greasy meals though. Every day i sleep in the van i make breakfast oatmeal and coffee. Most of the lunches and dinners are heating up something i brought from home. Occasionally i do fry something up, i dont do that often enough to gunk up the inside of the van.
 
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