Two 20 lb RV propane tanks secured  on the front of an RV trailer
Can your RV propane tanks freeze in the winter? Photo from Shutterstock

How Cold Does It Have To Be For Propane To Freeze?

We love winter camping in our RV. The RV provides a warm and cozy refuge from the cold after a day of skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, or ice fishing.

This is largely due to the heating power of propane. Not only does the warmth of a blue propane flame make our RV nice and toasty, but we can use it for other things too. We use propane to cook and heat beverages on our RV stove.

When we run our RV refrigerator on propane, we can save our DC power for lights and other vital things. But that’s not all propane does for us. We even use propane to power our generator when we can’t connect to shore power. Sometimes we worry about what would happen if our RV propane tanks froze during a winter camping excursion.

In this article, we’ll look into what it takes to freeze RV propane tanks. Of course, we’ll also dive into what you can do to keep your propane flowing and your tanks warm when it’s really cold out.

Does propane freeze?

Let’s start by saying that yes, RV propane could technically freeze. But it would have to be really, really cold for that to happen. How cold? Propane reverts to a liquid state at -45ºF (-43º C). But it has to get even colder than that for propane to freeze.

The freezing temperature of propane is -306.4º F (-188º C if you’re in Canada). It’s never been that cold on earth that we know of. However, that doesn’t mean that freezing temperatures don’t cause RV propane tank problems.

The most common propane problem when it’s cold out

The biggest problem with RV propane when it’s cold out happens when your furnace just doesn’t produce enough heat to keep your RV warm. The problem is probably not with your furnace at all. Let’s have a look at what’s happening.

The colder propane gets, the fewer BTUs it can produce when it burns. By the way, BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, which is a measurement of the energy it will take to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

For RVers, this means the furnace burns propane less efficiently to heat the inside the RV. The result can be that your RV furnace struggles to create warm air and your RV doesn’t warm up as much as usual.

The answer to this problem lies in keeping the propane tank warm. A cost effective solution is simply wrapping your propane tank in a blanket or a small heated throw. To keep the blanket or throw in place, you can secure it with a bungee cord.

Of course, there are specialty products on the market that do this too. You could also use a propane tank heater, which is specially designed to fit propane tanks and bring them up to optimal temperature.

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

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