RV Propane Switch Valve (Pros and Cons, How Does It Work?)

This is a common product, one that is made by different well-known brands. Its job is to make sure you do not run out of propane at the wrong time. It does this job by automatically switching to a full propane tank from an empty one

It is basic science. The switch is set to automatically draw propane from a full propane tank when the primary tank runs out of fuel. The way to make sure this happens right is to make sure the switch is placed in the right location.

To learn more about this product and how it works for you just continue to read our article. It has the information on this product so you know where to find it and how to use it correctly. Take a few minutes to see if this is something you can use on your journeys.

RV Propane Switching Valve


This is a device that is designed to save you time and effort. Once you have put it in place you will NOT have to do the following steps:

1. Protect yourself- you may need a gas mask and protective gloves. The reason for this is that the valve may be stuck or difficult to turn and you can bang your hands or cut them on the propane tank handle. The mask is in case there is a gas leak you did not notice.

2. Turn the gas off- a must-do step when you are manually changing your tanks from an empty one to a full one. Check the valve to make sure the one tank is empty before removing it.

3. Replace the propane tank and attach the valve or move the valve over to the full tank.

The propane switching valve does all of this for you and you only have to remove it when both tanks are empty. Also, the valve saves you valuable time that you can use elsewhere.

Attaching the valve is about as hard as attaching a regular propane valve. The key is to make sure there are no leaks after you are done.

How Does An Automatic Changeover Propane Regulator Work?

There are different brands and designs of this valve, but their operation is very basic and similar. There should be a dial or a lever on top that you need to position correctly.

Nearby, there will be a little glass tube or indicator that will show red when there is no propane in the tank. It will show green if the tank still has some propane left inside.

The third key step will be to connect the changeover valve to both tanks and open both tank valves. If you do not do this the automatic changeover valve won’t work.

Then once you turn the lever to indicate your primary propane tank, the valve will draw propane from it until it is empty. Then it will automatically open the secondary tank and begin to draw propane from that source.

To keep track of the amount of gas you have left, simply move the lever to point to the reserve tank. The glass indicator will turn green from red. You can remove the first tank and refill it or wait till both are empty and do that chore.

There is no danger in removing the first tank as there is a check valve inside the main valve. It will automatically close making it safe to remove the empty propane tank.

After you refill the tank, you can reattach it to the automatic changeover valve and it will now be the reserve tank. You can repeat this over and over for as long as the changeover valve remains in good condition.

Just keep repeating the steps when you see that indicator turn red each time. This way you never run out of fuel.

Propane Automatic Changeover Valve pros And Cons


Like any other product, this one has its good points and its bad points. The bad points may convince you that this is not a good product to use but the danger is actually low.


  • very easy to use
  • attaches like any other valve and connects to two propane tanks at the same time
  • keeps you in fuel all the time and the risk of running out is low
  • saves you time and effort. No more running out in the middle of the night to change propane tanks-
  • keeps working no matter how many times you change the empty tank


  • there is a risk of a gas leak. But this risk is present with the manual changing of tanks procedure
  • good ones can be costly to buy
  • you can forget about your tanks. When this happens both run out of propane and you will have to make a propane run asap
  • check valve and other parts may break or malfunction. This will shut down your flow of propane or cause a leak.
  • Can be costly to repair or replace

Propane Changeover Valve Instructions

The first step will be to shut off the propane tanks. You do not want to have any gas leaking in the area you are working. If you are a smoker, do not forget to leave your cigarette in a safe place or put it out.

The second step will be to remove the old valves or regulators. This is not hard and only takes the right sized wrench to handle the job. Place the old regulators in a safe place until you are finished your task.

Next, attach the automatic changeover valve to your gas line and make sure it is secure. After that, attach the two hoses to the two ports on the automatic changeover valve. Again make sure they are secure.

Finally, attach one end of the pigtail hose to your propane tank and the other to your second tank. Open the valves to check for any leaks. Installing the valve is very straight forward and should not take that much time.

But once it is done, it can save you a lot of awkward moments when a manually operated propane tank runs out of fuel. Do not forget to test the lever to make sure it is working.

If you are not getting any fuel, the check valve may have malfunctioned and if that is the case, or if anything else is wrong with the valve, call in a pro to diagnose and repair.

RV Propane Selector Valve Leaking


This is a possibility and you do have to check for leaks once you have attached the valve. Sometimes the valve can fix itself and seal the leak after a few minutes. Just do not count on this happening as you never know when it will.

But when it comes to propane, it is best to leave any leaks to the professionals. Your RV dealer may not be the one to turn to as they are RV specialists, not propane tank experts.

It is better to go to a propane dealer as they handle these types of problems all the time. Before you go to the professionals, check the valve stem. If the leak is there, you may solve it by tightening it with a wrench.

This repair depends on if there is enough packing inside to seal the leak. However, some valves do not have packing and rely on rubber O-rings to seal the valve connection.

If those have failed you will have to replace them. Again a job left up to the professionals. Propane is not something you should fool with and you should schedule a repair as soon as It is practically possible.

Make sure to empty your tanks so that you are not at risk. The risk of leaking propane will be dealt with in the next section.

The Danger Of Leaking Propane

Propane is a very volatile gas, probably more so than unleaded vehicle gas. You have to be careful if there is a leak in your propane system. These risks can happen whether the leak is inside or outside.

Unlike carbon monoxide, the producers of propane can add an odor to the gas so you know when you have a leak. Without that added odor, this gas would be exactly like carbon monoxide-- colorless and odorless.

The first danger will be an explosion. Propane does not need a lot of spark or flame to explode. When the leaking gas catches that spark or flame it blows the tank and the results can be devastating.

This can happen if the leak is inside your trailer or outside. It does not take much to have an explosion with propane. An RV or trailer is a confined space so it is easy for the propane gas to accumulate.

A pilot light can easily set off the explosion so be careful. The second biggest danger that comes with propane will be suffocation. The propane can replace the oxygen inside your RV or trailer and cut off your air supply.

The symptoms of just mere breathing problems are- rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, clumsiness, and fatigue. The results of suffocation are- nausea and vomiting, convulsions, coma, or even death.

This is why you need to keep your propane lines intact and in top shape with no leaks. Double check your connections to make sure there are no problems. Also, keep your RV well ventilated when it is possible.

You do not want to have a propane build-up in your bedroom or other living spaces. Make sure your propane areas are well vented and the gas has some place to go outside of your RV< Keep those vents clear of obstructions and nests.

How To Tell When You Have a Propane Leak


These leaks can be found anywhere. Bad or loose connections, cracked hoses, a failed pilot light on an appliance, and so on. To save yourself and your RV from problems, you need to quickly diagnose that you have a problem. Then you need to find that leak and repair it.

To tell if you have a leak here are 4 guides to follow:

1. You have installed or the maker of the RV installed a propane detector. When it goes off you know you have a leak

2. Your nose detects that propane odor. Some people say it is an eggy type of smell. To identify that smell quickly, do a test and let some propane out in the air and smell it. Once you recognize the odor you will be able to tell right away that you have a propane leak somewhere

3. You are losing a lot of propane in a very short time. If you are refilling your tanks more often than usual, you are either using too much propane or you have a leak.

4. Your appliances screens show error codes related to propane.

To stop the link, you need to shut down the propane tank’s valve. Then you have to go on a little leak-finding hunt. Don’t stop until you find and repair it.

If it is the valve that is leaking then you will have to release the propane until the tank is empty and then replace the valve. Often, you should let the pros handle this issue.

They have the right tools with them to make the repair quickly. It is also safer for you and your family if you take this option.

Some Final Words

The automatic changeover valve is a great invention. It saves you time, and trouble and makes sure you do not run out of fuel at the wrong time. The key is to make sure both tanks are kept full of propane all the time so you do not have to worry about it.

These valves are not perfect so make sure to check them regularly for leaks or damaged parts. They are very handy when they are in top condition and working well.

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