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Do I need a gas filter in the camper?

Liquid gas is essential for camping. It provides us with energy for cooking and heating. In the motorhome and caravan, it is also responsible for heating water and the self-sufficient use of the refrigerator. Gas makes the world quite comfortable for us campers and over 80 percent use bottled gas, according to the German Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association. (DVFG).

Bottled propane gas provides mobile energy and heat exactly when and where it’s needed. And finally, gas is a relatively clean fuel that is easy to obtain. Almost everywhere you look, you can find sales outlets where you can trade in your empty exchange cylinders for newly filled ones.

But the liquefied gas we use is a gas that, on the one hand, is produced during the extraction of crude oil and natural gas and, on the other hand, is a natural by-product of oil refining. Even though the manufacturers of the gases subject their products to a series of quality controls during filling, the quality of the cylinder filling is revealed only when it is used. According to experts, especially when the cylinders are used for a longer period of time, contamination is found more and more frequently and can be deposited in the gas system.

This article tells you what you can do about it.

What causes impurities in the gas?

As mentioned earlier, liquefied petroleum gas is produced during petroleum processing and extraction. Within Germany, propane gas cylinders usually contain a mixture of the largest proportion of propane and smaller proportions of butane, ethane, ethene or butane isomers. Abroad, e.g. in Spain or Portugal, this mixture ratio may be different – more butane is often used here. These other mixtures can be used as well and have a similar calorific value as propane. If you want to learn more about gas, I recommend our article “Propane or Butane?”.

During the production process for bottled gas, very fine oil droplets such as olefins, phthalates (plasticizers), kerosenes (wax) and other hydrocarbon compounds are distributed in the form of aerosols, i.e. solid or liquid substances, floating in the gas.

If these tiny particles are now carried along in the gas flow to the consumer, extremely fine deposits can form in the systems. Pressure reducers, pipelines, hoses and valves are the targets of these oily aerosols. Contaminated gas can clog the fine nozzles over time, causing equipment burners to go on strike.

When it gets to the point where the heater won’t start, the refrigerator keeps going out, and the gas flames on the stove keep getting smaller and changing color – appearing yellow-tinged instead of blue-flame – it’s probably happened: A gas problem is brewing. To prevent this from happening and to avoid spending your valuable vacation time on repairs, consider purchasing a gas filter.

What is a gas filter?

The gas systems in today’s recreational vehicles are considered to be very reliable. However, the potential impurities in the gas pose a potential problem. To protect the gas pressure regulator and valves from contamination and oiling, you can install a gas filter in front of the pressure regulator. This filters the evaporation residues out of the gas flow before they can sI can deposit. This protects the regulator and thus all gas appliances in your camper or caravan. With a purchase price of just around 50 euros, you can ensure the proper functioning and long life of your system and the gas appliances.

You can find more information about this in our video about “Gas accessories” (from minute 01:55):

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How does a gas filter work?

The gas filter consists of a metal or plastic housing and the connection for the supply line to the cylinder on one side and the connection for the pressure regulator on the other. Inside the housing, a filter cartridge or pad ensures that residues are reliably retained.

Can I install the filter myself?

As you know, caution is always advised when working on the gas. However, if you stop the gas supply and turn off the valve of the cylinder, nothing can happen. If there is any residue in the pipe, you can burn it by igniting a hotplate. Now the gas filter can be easily retrofitted by yourself.

However, if you have any concerns, simply hire a professional to install it for you. It’s done in no time and shouldn’t cost much.

How can I install the gas filter myself?

The filter is installed between the gas cylinder and the gas regulator. To do this, proceed as follows:

  1. Assemble the filter
  2. Disconnect the hose from the gas bottle
  3. Connect the hose to the housing inlet of the filter (with max. 5 Nm)
  4. Tighten the union nut by hand and fix it with the wrench (“regulator release”)
  5. Connect the filter outlet directly to the gas pressure regulator and also tighten the nut with the regulator release (max. 5 Nm)
  6. Connect the hose line to the gas cylinder in the usual way.
  7. Check all connections for leaks, e.g. with dishwashing liquid or a leak detection spray.

And now your gas system and your appliances are protected against contaminated gas.

Attention: If you own a switching system like the Duo-Control from Truma or the Caramatic DriveTwo from GOK, you need two filters. The installation is then done as described on both cylinders. These systems are also available for retrofitting as a set, which already includes a double pack of gas filters.

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What does a gas filter cost?

Depending on the brand and model, the cost of a gas filter averages around 50 euros, replacement filter cartridges are available for around 20 euros, and a set of 10 filter pads for around 15 euros.

What does maintenance look like and how often do I have to change the gas filter?

Maintenance is limited to a visual inspection, which you should perform twice a year. To do this, close the valve of the gas bottle again and open the filter housing (filter cup). If the saturation filter or filter pad shows signs of contamination, it is time to change the filter cartridge or pad.

There are different statements about the rotation:

Manufacturers recommend mandatory filter changes every two years, but depending on usage and gas quality, this may be necessary more frequently. In the camping trade is often from a

While there is talk of seasonal replacement, many campers fit new filters after every second or third cylinder change. Truma advises changing the filter pads after every gas cylinder change, and the oil separator only needs to be replaced if it is damaged, according to the manufacturer.

Practical tip: This is how the change is carried out on the Truma model:

First, the filter housing must be opened

.

To do this, carefully pull off the filter cup. You can do this by hand, tools are not necessary for this.

The “filter cartridge” (oil separator) does not need to be replaced on this model, as long as it is not damaged.

It is usually

sufficient to remove the old filter pad from the filter cup and insert a new one:

On models from other manufacturers, the housing may have to be unscrewed and the filter cartridge replaced. Information on this can be found in the respective operating instructions.

Conclusion: Is a gas filter necessary?

If you think a gas filter is an unnecessary luxury, you may be proven wrong. In recent years, there has been an increase in complaints about problems with gas quality. According to the gas industry itself, the quality is sometimes subject to strong fluctuations in production.

If you don’t have a filter yet, you often don’t notice problems until it’s too late: the pressure reducer then simply stops working and no more gas can flow into the vehicle. With inexpensive gas pressure regulators, this can often be tolerated, as long as the particles have not already settled in the entire system. However, if you have installed more expensive devices such as a Truma Mono or Duo-Control or a GOK Caramatic DriveOne or DriveTwo, which cost 100 to 200 euros each, such a failure is particularly annoying.

Especially if you exchange his gas cylinders abroad, the gas filter should be standard for safety reasons.

Photos: © autarker.de

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  • Podcast: Basic knowledge – gas at camping
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  • Gas cylinders in France – suppliers, purchase and exchange options, special features
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  • Gas cylinders in Portugal: suppliers, purchase, exchange
  • Gas cylinders in Switzerland: suppliers, prices and exchange possibilities
  • Gas testing for motorhomes and caravans – regulations, procedures, costs
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  • Truma LevelControl App: The gas level always in view
  • Clean dirty gas stove in the camper – With home remedies and without chemicals!
  • DIY: Sooty gas stove with yellow burning flame – the solution


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