In one of the motorhome lockers there are two 7kgs calor gas bottles. These bottles provide gas to a Truma heater/boiler/water unit and provides hot water and blown hot air heating inside the van, the gas is used also for the 3 ring cooker hob and cools the fridge.
After reading motorhome blogs about travelling through Europe and some research we decided to install a LPG refillable system.
We like the convenience of using just one LPG system on the motorhome and avoid buying different LPG bottles in different countries.
Having two bottles and use one at a time, close one off at the valve on the top of the bottle and use the other one. When the first one runs out, switch to No.2 and fill up at your next opportunity.
On the many forums the LPG discussion boards are full of comments, ideas and personal preferences. The most common systems seem to be Gas It and Gaslow, Alugas & Prakto. Each one has merits and drawbacks and there didn’t seem much differentiation, apart from maybe Alugas as their bottles are aluminium so therefore lighter than the others.
However, the dimensions of the gas locker meant there was only two choices for us due to height of the locker at 580mm plus a smaller upper recess rising to 600mm. We were looking at the 10-11kg bottle size.
For your information, the bottle heights were;
Gaslow – 580mm, click here
Alugas – 600mm, click here
Prakto – 550mm, click here
Gas It – 550mm, click here
The full kit quotes in 2016 for two 11kg bottles and hoses were circa £450, plus a further £110 – £140 for installation by a professional.
I had to buy a 7kg calor gas bottle recently and paid £22.50 from our local garage (we didn’t have the LPG system then) and LPG at the pump was 58 pence per litre.
We realised that the purchase of an LPG refillable system wouldn’t really pay for itself, it would take a lot of refills over a long time before it broke even. This was solely about the convenience, hassle-free fill top ups with the minimum of fuss at petrol and service stations.
We weren’t in a rush, but I kept an eye on the adverts for both Gas It and Prakto systems, when a classified advert on Motorhome Fun popped up; for sale 2 x Prakto 10.5 kg bottles with some hoses. I made contact and we agreed a price £180.
I called Autogas 2000 and was told the price of two Prakto bottles was £390 and in fact they fitted this system 6 weeks earlier and this was confirmed by the seller. Autogas 2000 quoted about £100 to install including the refill point in the body not the skirt.
Be aware that all LPG refillable bottles are date stamped and are good for up to 10 years.
There are two types of filler points available to you, internal and external;
1) a filler point mounted internally on a bracket or similar inside the locker, open your locker door and fill up or
2) a filler point mounted externally in the skirt or body of your van, no need to open the locker.
We went with option two, the filler point was mounted flush in the body like a fuel tank cap.
For £138 including VAT, Autogas 2000 installed a white flush filler cap, my Prakto bottles and 3 gas filling adaptors for use abroad.
Therefore, the total cost was £318 excluding diesel costs to Lockerbie and Thirsk. You can read about the Lockerbie trip here and the Thirsk here.
The pipework had to be boxed in though because the hoses came through the body in to an interior locker and dropped down in to the gas external locker.
We now have 42 litres of LPG so it will last a reasonable time between top ups.
Overall, I think we got a bargain.
How to put LPG in your refillable system;
- Wearing gloves is advisable
- Put the LPG nozzle on to your filler, inside the nozzle there are two slots, line these up with the two prongs on your filler.
- Twist the aluminium sleeve on the nozzle a quarter turn to the right, it should lock on.
- Squeeze the LPG trigger upwards, keep it there and with your other hand flick the clip inside the holster handle to lock the trigger in the up position.
- Release your hands, the nozzle will remain attached and in position on its own.
- Now on the LPG pump housing press and keep your hand pressed down on the button, this releases the gas through the nozzle.
- It will cut out/off automatically when the bottles are full.
- The trigger will release and return to its down/normal position.
- Twist the aluminium sleeve nozzle a quarter of a turn to the left to release.
- Replace nozzle in to the pump housing holster.