Which gas?

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Gary217, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    After 7 or 8 years touring in our VW T5 we have traded up to a transit based PVC (which actually is nicer to drive than the VW). Our old van was fully fitted but quite 'bijou' so the gas only served the hob as even the fridge was only 2-way. Our new (to us) van has gas heating, gas water heating, gas hob, gas oven and a 3-way fridge so the demand on gas might be considerably higher.

    In our old van we used campingaz as we tour Europe a lot and this is readily available over there but the largest size canister of campingaz is quite small so wouldn't probably last very long in our new van. The new van has a large propane gas canister which makes sense but if we ran out of gas in Europe we'd be stuck as it is not available over there. If we left with a full can we'd probably be ok - but if the can is, say, only a third full it might not last the trip and I can't really ensure we always have a full can on board. The gas cabinet has space for a big and small gas can (only one connector though) so I can carry a small spare, but as we go for up to 8 weeks at a time even that might be tight.

    I'm not keen on using refillable due to initial cost and nervousness (possibly unreasonably but would like to avoid if possible). If I'm honest - I like campingaz but that's probably just familiarity but the C&CC sort of say it's best to use campingaz if touring in Europe but I could see me swapping quite frequently.

    I can't be the only one facing this dilemma, so what do other touring funsters do/use?

    Thanks
     
  2. mickyc

    mickyc Read Only Funster

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    If you don't want to use refillable and want to tour the continent, it is possible to buy local cylinders. You see them at most garages and pay extra for your "first" cylinder.

    We have refillable, and it really is nothing to be nervous about (y)
     
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  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    then refillable is a no-brainer.. absolutely nothing to be worried about.. and it will soon pay for itself..

    having to buy other makes of cylinders and regulators whilst abroad is a pain.. plus you would need to dump the Calor bottle to make space..
     
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  4. Badknee

    Badknee Funster

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    If your happy with Gaz then but two of the biggest cylinders you can buy in and change regularly or go for refillable ones like us, I'm afraid there are only a few choices. image.jpg
     
  5. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    Thanks - I accept the collective view so I need to consider refillable :(.

    How does refillable work and where do you get it from? Garages? Presumably you have to disconnect the cylinder to refill or is it filled through the side of the van (please see my quote from the C&CC website below)? Sorry for such basic questions.

    Can I also apologise here as I don't want to sound as if I'm going against your advice but the C&CC site is a bit adverse to refilling and what they say (on this link http://www.campingandcaravanningclu...alhelp/power/gas-for-caravans-and-motorhomes/ ) is
    "Refilling an existing cylinder rather than replacing it seems a good idea, but there are many practical and safety issues involved. Only authorised LPG depots are allowed to do this and you cannot do it yourself with conventional cylinders. There are some cylinders that are designed to be refilled by the user. For example, the Gaslow system allows refilling from the Autogas pump at fuel stations.

    In this system you purchase a special cylinder, which has a steel hose connected to an automotive-type filler. This is fitted into the bodywork of your unit and accepts the LPG delivery nozzle at fuel stations. As with LPG-powered cars, adapters are needed for filling in other European countries. Availability of Autogas varies considerably within Europe."

    Their site then goes on about gas pressure controls and the need to take care with pressurised gas. Hence my nervousness... Is this correct or are they out of date/mistaken? Thanks (again).

    Edited: - I've just clicked on the advert on the RH side of this page for autogasleisure and their PDF guidance notes about refilling also seem to match the C&CC words.
     
  6. The gasman

    The gasman Funster

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    Hi Gary, like you we changed from a camper to a moho , at first all was well, then at our first site without ECU, we burned a campingaz cylinder in a weekend. Now use calor as the main cyl and keep 1 campingaz cyl. as back up , I have fitted a quick disconnection plug/socket so can change the regulator very quickly. I kept the campingaz as I do go to Europe and wanted to be able to get a refill if needed. We have gas for hot water and the fridge if not on hookup but not for heating, if your heating is gas and you plan to go abroad in the winter buy local cylinders or the cost will be huge.
     
  7. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    Get a refillable system fitted. It is easy to refill and you will never regret it. You can fit yourself but if you are concerned get it fitted by a specialist. We used Autogas2000 who did a brilliant job and also put in an external BBQ point so we can use an outside stove from the van's gas supply. You also get Funster discount :)

    The joys of the system(s) are that you can fill up at any time - no need to wait until you are almost out of gas. Most fuel stations that sell LPG will allow you to fill up and sometimes they come and fill the tank / cylinder for you. I always ask before filling and take the certificate of conformity with me "just on case" and ask if they need to see it prior to filling. No one has ever asked to look at it - perhaps because I have it with me they are happy. I think the gas depots (the actual depot not the retail outlet) such as Calor, MacGas and Flogas will also let you fill at their premises and you will only pay 5% VAT as it's for domestic use. I haven't ever filled at a depot as there is an LPG fuel station not far from here. Autogas2000 gave us a leaflet with Shell(?) fuel stations that had LPG and also Calor depots if I remember. There is also a book you can buy but we've never been stuck - we just keep our eyes open and if we see an LPG garage and think we should / could top up we do!

    First time we filled up it was because we had been away for 3 weeks and Martin was concerned about the levels - it was a red face moment when I went to pay the huge bill ...... under £3!!! The most we have ever bought at a time was £6.50. We've probably spent about £50 on LPG but of we'd been exchanging cylinders we'd have bought at least 4 cylinders in that time - if not more.

    The other consideration is that you don't have to lug heavy cylinders in and out of gas lockers. Worth the money just for that.

    Don't worry about problems in refilling. If the system has been fitted correctly you will have no trouble and the instructions are on the LPG pump. Make sure the cylinder is switched off before you refill (you will probably have done that before you set off anyway but always check) and it's far easier to refill at the pump that to change a cylinder. A properly fitted refillable system is no more dangerous than a calor system. Oh, I also keep an old pair of gloves in the gas locker as the nozzle can get very cold in use.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
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  8. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    Thanks gasman - that sounds interesting. We won't be doing Europe in cold weather so won't do heating much over there and if on a site use electric heating (to save gas). The idea of having campingaz as a back up appeals, especially as we still have a cylinder, can you point me in the direction of the disconnection plug/socket you use please? Thanks
     
  9. mickyc

    mickyc Read Only Funster

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    Gary, no-one is suggesting that you go against the advice you linked too and attempt to refill standard cylinders.

    You should only refill specially adapted cylinders (gaslow, gas-it, or similar)

    Yes there are different filling adapters required throughout Europe (these are available in a kit for about a tenner)

    If you look at www.mylpg.eu you can see a map of retailers, I would advise a fixed filling point on the outside of the vehicle as this removes the suspicion of dodgy filling practices. But other users have managed just fine with an internal filling point.
     
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  10. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    Hi puddleduck - thanks for your reply - looking at websites it seems a single cylinder system would cost around £250 for the parts. I wouldn't want to install it myself so there would be installation costs on top but does that sound about right for the parts in your experience?
     
  11. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    Hi Mick - I didn't mean to say anyone was suggesting I went against the advice - it was just a bit surprising to me that while the C&CC site was not saying don't use refillable (as I read it) but they seemed less than positive about it and that had made me a bit nervous.
     
  12. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    if you can change a bottle you can fit a gas low if you want an exterior filler this can go under the bumper rather than cutting the side of the van
     
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  13. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    I think our system cost around £400 (maybe a bit more) including all parts and fitting including the external BBQ point and super light aluminium single cylinder. Because it was fitted professionally we got the CoC for both cylinders and fitting.

    When we get our new van the first thing to add will be an alarm and then the refillable gas system. Autogas might not be the cheapest but I was so impressed with their work I'll be going back :)

    It's a pity @eddievanbitz and Autogas2000 are so far apart!
     
  14. Stealaway

    Stealaway Funster

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    Call in at Super U in France and get a free Butane bottle contract -you only pay for the gas.
    Buy a French bottle connector at the nearest Brickomat or some such
    Use the French bottle in France and the UK bottle in the UK, keep the other as a spare for when you run out of one.
    You can buy a lot of gas refills for £400. About £15 for 13Kg
     
  15. The gasman

    The gasman Funster

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    If you go to Amazon and search quick release gas connector, you will find lots
     
  16. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    Thanks gas man - found them. However as I'm useless at DIY and also nervous of gas (and electricity), think I'll go to the gas centre in salisbury and see if they can supply me with the correct nozzle for campingaz and then the quick release gas connectors.
    This way I'll keep a big propane cylinder for general use and a campingaz as European back-up, as our gas store accommodates two cylinders. When we're in Europe it'll be generally warm so no heating (we have an electric heater anyway), we're mostly on sites apart from occasional beach stops so fridge will be on their power, so it's only cooking and hot water that we'll use the gas for. If i'm unlucky and only have limited propane when we go I'll just switch to campingaz when the propane runs out - I appreciate it'll cost more than using refillable but for me it's worth it for piece of mind and ease of use.
    Thanks for all the replies and advice - it helped me work my way through this one, even if I'm taking a bit of wimpish route by not doing the refillable option.
     
  17. The gasman

    The gasman Funster

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    Hi Gary, I see you are in the New Forest, we are in Southampton, if you want to stop by sometime, I will show you how I have done it.
    Regards
    John
     
  18. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    Thanks gasman - may well do that, we're not in any hurry as our first Europe trip won't now be until May or June but I'd like to get it sorted soon.
     
  19. kevan

    kevan Funster Life Member

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    GASLOW every time.
     
  20. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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