Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - Here’s a new look at an old pastime: Recreational vehicle (RV) travel has been a favorite with Americans for more than a century. The fuel of choice for RV travelers, propane, has also been around for more than 100 years.

Propane is a clean, American-made fuel used for cooking, heating and cooling, and powering a variety of appliances in most towable, motorized and specialty RVs.

Before they get behind the wheel, however, there are a few steps that RV enthusiasts should take:

1. Get an inspection. RV owners should have their propane system inspected annually by a qualified service technician.

“Technicians, like any expert, get training that helps them to properly predict and address any issues with your system,” advises Roy Willis, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), an energy check-off program dedicated to safety and training for the propane industry. “Leave it to the experts and do not attempt to repair any propane-related component yourself.”

It’s also important to ensure that the RV has at least one Class B:C fire extinguisher and operational propane, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

2. Read the owner’s manuals. It’s always a good idea to read the RV owner’s manual and appliance manuals and carefully follow instructions. If there has been a recall notice on appliances—or anything in the RV—have the vehicle serviced before departure.

3. Check for wear and tear. Check the RV’s propane fuel gauge to make sure there’s enough propane in the tank before hitting the road. PERC also encourages travelers to visually inspect propane cylinders and holding mechanisms for any signs of rust, corrosion, fatigue or wear and tear.

“Propane systems should never leak or show visible damage,” Willis says. “If you detect a leak or sense a propane odor—which is similar to a rotten egg smell—have it checked out immediately by a professional. All refilling, repair or replacement must be done by qualified service technicians as well.”

4. Turn propane systems off while on the road. “Shut off propane supply valves, pilot lights, igniters and appliances,” Willis says. “The equipment should not be in use while operating the RV.”

5. Clear the cooking area. Propane is most often used to cook food and cool beverages at rest stops and campgrounds. Before cooking on an indoor RV stove, open a window and turn on exhaust fans.

If you’re cooking outdoors using portable fuel-burning equipment including wood, charcoal and outdoor propane grills and stoves, make sure you’re a safe distance from the RV and propane tanks. Never use outdoor cooking equipment inside.

“Travelers should also keep propane tanks and cylinders at least 10 feet away from heat sources,” Willis says. “Remember, propane is a safe fuel when handled properly.”

Following these simple safety checks can save travelers time and provide them added peace of mind.

Green-Trip Tips

Families that travel by RV generate less carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions than those traveling on a plane, renting a car and staying in a hotel. To further reduce their carbon footprint on the road, RV travelers can follow these suggestions from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association:

• Keep RV and tow vehicle engines well tuned to conserve energy and reduce emissions.

• Always use marked RV campsites to avoid damage to natural habitats.

• Recycle as you travel.

• Minimize the use of disposable dishes, cups and utensils.

• Keep campfires small to minimize the amount of ash and pollution, and don’t put anything into the fire pit that will not burn.

Learn More

For more information, visit usepropane.com or gorving.com.