Van Living & Propane

December 28, 2020 –

Residence in a van can be a fun, exciting and unique way of living for many; and budget-friendly for sure. Van lifestyle can be simple nuts-and-bolts to almost “luxury” fashion. Whether it’s your plan to be a van lifer or a small adventure chapter in your book of life, propane is a great companion. Commonly a cooking and heating solution for tiny spaces and portability demands, propane packs in much more than a battery can. A battery will need to be recharged several times a day while a propane tank can conveniently provide cooking, heat and hot showers for up to several weeks depending on climate, how many and how often your propane appliances are in demand.

Under-van and/or portable cylinders can be used. Portable cylinders come in various sizes and can either be refilled or traded in for a new one. Paraco has hundreds of refill centers including The Home Depot, 7-Eleven, Global Gas stations, nurseries and more. Just remember you’ll want to designate a specific area to house your tank. Under-van tanks don’t take up any space in your main living quarters since they are installed under the van. Just know that portables are the cheaper way to go if you’re aiming to maximize your savings. 5-gallon and 20-gallon cylinders are widely used, often to power grills, but also for cooking and heating needs. Visit Propane Tank Exchange Program to learn more about Paraco’s cylinder exchange programs.

Cooking. A one- or two-burner propane stove offers space savings and convenience while bringing you instant, responsive heat and reliable temperature control. Sink/stove combos are specifically designed for small spaces on the move and fueled by propane.

Heat. Yes, you can be comfy warm even during frigid winter months with propane as your fuel source. A propane heating unit can be installed on the wall so it’s out of the way, or a floor stand model which offer mobility inside or outside your van. Either type has heating controls so you determine how much heat is generated. You’ll be happy to know most propane heaters don’t need any electrical input so you don’t have to rely on batteries. Consider an automatic, low-oxygen shut-off system, and if you’re residing at high altitudes, check the manufacturer’s elevation specifications before purchasing. Also, these heaters will use oxygen that’s inside your van, and you will have increased moisture in the van, so some type of air ventilation should be considered. If choosing a floor model, look for one with an auto shut-off mode to help avoid any potential safety incident in the event your heater is accidentally tipped over. Lastly, reliable heat temperature controls can be part of your van home easily and relatively inexpensively.

Hot Water. On-demand, tankless water heater systems are now rather advanced, offering high capacity flow control and instant hot water for three to four people at a time. With many to choose from, there’s one to fit your budget and lifestyle needs.

On Safety. Propane cylinders have an overfill protection to prevent overfilling and ensure there is always a gas space above the liquid propane limiting the pressure inside the tank if the tank is in a warmer environment. A safety control in the tank valve will turn off the flow of propane if the flow exceeds a certain value. In any event, all propane tanks should be treated with respect. We strongly recommend, as with any dwelling type, to purchase a propane and carbon monoxide monitor and test it regularly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

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