How to Prime a New RV Propane Tank

How to Prime a New RV Propane Tank
New RV propane tanks must be primed to regulate the atmosphere of the tank before filling it with propane. New tanks are often filled with pressurized air for shipment, and if the air is not purged with propane vapor before filling it with propane, the tank will be difficult to fill. Priming a new propane tank is a safety issue as well. Filling a new propane tank with propane when it already contains pressurized air can cause a buildup of pressure that causes the pressure release valve to trip and release large amounts of propane.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Connect the new propane tank with a full propane tank, using a connecting line. The connecting line must have a regulator and a two-way purge valve with a bleed port.
Step 2
Set the connecting line valve to the "purge" position and turn the valve on the new propane tank counterclockwise to open. Open the bleed port on the connecting line.
Step 3
Turn the full propane tank valve counterclockwise to open, and set the connecting line valve to the "charge" position. You will hear the propane gas flow from the full tank to the new one.The flow will last approximately one minute for a 20-lb. tank.
Step 4
Set the connecting line valve back to the "purge" position and wait for the propane vapor to bleed out of the new tank, about 30 seconds for a 20-lb. tank.
Step 5
Repeat the priming cycle four times to ensure that only a minimal amount of air remains in the new RV propane tank.

Tips & Warnings

It will take between 10 and 20 minutes to purge a 20-lb. RV propane tank.
If you bring your new tank to a filling station to be filled for the first time, be sure the station purges it before filling it.
Propane is a flammable gas. Use extreme caution when priming a new RV propane tank and stay away from sparks or open flame.

Article Written By Elizabeth Grace

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Elizabeth Grace is a freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Pepperdine University, and has 15 years of experience developing marketing campaigns for universities and multinational corporations.

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