Another scary step of your van conversion: installing the gas to use for the kitchen.
It i VERY important to plan thoroughly were and how to install your gas bottle and to be aware all of the necessary safety rules. You really don’t want to mess up with gas!
In the UK anyone can install its own gas bottle if the vehicle is not going to be hired out. That said, if you don’t feel comfortable with the process, you might want to get it done by a gas engineer for sake of peace of mind.
As for everything van conversion related, fitting the gas looked like a fairly simple job at the beginning. Well it turns out that the more you research, the more you’ll find that the world of gas bottles, adaptors, and fittings isn’t that straightforward after all. Hopefully reading this guide will help you feeling more comfortable fitting your own system.
CHOOSING THE GAS BOTTLE
The choice of which is the right gas bottle for you depends on a variety of factors such as space, travelling plans and budget. Here’s a little diagram I made to help you out with the choice:
To not over complicate things I have not differentiated between propane/butane bottles. Each gas has its particular properties but to summarise: butane will cook your stuff quicker but cannot be used below 0˚C while propane is lighter, can be used under 0˚C but takes longer to heat up stuff.
I chose to go for butane as the Campingaz 907 cylinder was the only one that fitted under my kitchen compartment!
Campingaz cylinders are very compact, and are exchangeable throughout Europe so you don’t need to buy European connectors and refill the bottle yourself. Campingaz cylinders are also very straightforward to install: you just need your bottle, the designated campingaz regulator, hose and jubilee clips.
If you can afford it, you might want to invest in a sealed box for your bottle.
HOW TO INSTALL THE LPG BOTTLE
Fit a drop vent in proximity to the gas bottle (if you have more than one connection, it is recommended to have one at each connection). This is SUPER important as any gas leaks will have somewhere to escape. To do this:
- Make a hole in the wooden floor of the size of your drop vent using a hole saw (yeeees bring it ooon). Stop when you reach the metal, then drill some holes on the floor of the van. Make sure you are drilling holes somewhere safe!
2. Fit the drop vent and secure it with some screws.
Install the gas bottle:
- Fit the regulator on the bottle. The campingaz regulator simply screws in.
2. Connect the hose to the regulator and to the gas appliance. Secure with jubilee clips.
You will want the hose to be connected tightly but you don’t want it to be over stretched.
3. Secure the gas bottle to the floor/kitchen. I secured mine with strips.
4. Check for leaks by using some soapy water where the connections are. Turn the gas on and look for any bubbles. Even a tiny leak will produce bubbles.
5. Make your first cup of coffee in the van give yourself a pat on your shoulder.
For peace of mind, I always make sure to switch off the gas bottle once I finished using it.
- Camping and Caravanning club, super useful table with information on various cylinders;
- Campervanlife.com , info on UK current legislation;
- Buildacampervan.com, info and tips on gas cylinders fittings;
- vandogtraveller.com, guide on how to install a 11 kg Gaslow bottle.
-A ridiculous amount of coffee has been sacrificed to write this blog post so if you are feeling particularly generous, you can buy me one HERE –
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