How to fill up a Gas bottle?

The first thing we do every morning is boiling water for our coffee. We use the gas stove for it.

One of the advantages to have a mobile home is the already installed gas system. It is connected to the fridge, gas stove, heater and warm water depot (yes, that is correct we can have a warm shower 🙂 ). We have space to storage two 11kg gas bottles.

In wintertime when we used the heater everyday for 12-15 hours (temperature dropped to -8°C) a bottle lasted around 5 days. Now in spring time we use the heater every now and then, one bottle is enough for around 2 weeks. In summer time is around 4 weeks or even more.

So, what are we doing when the bottle is empty?

Really every country is using gas, but every country has a different way. Bottles, connections, filling systems all this things are different and it takes sometimes quiet a lot of time finding it out.

One of the reasons that we have two bottles is, if one bottle is empty we keep our eyes open for a station.

Our Caravan is from Germany, so all the system is fitting to the German gas bottles. Usually in Germany you bring the empty bottle to a department store and buy a full bottle.

Going to Countries like Croatia you will not have a problem to find a place. I think they are using a different system, but having a lot of campers from Germany coming, so they have the right equipment.

But how to fill up a gas bottle from Germany in Kurdistan??

Well, we built our own small adapter. We went to a workshop in Turkey which updates cars with LPG tanks. Here we found this device, it is used to fill the tanks in the car.

Device to connect to LPG filling station
EU-Refill set

In Germany we bought a EU-Refill set, it is a collection with four different adapters fitting different gas bottles.

And finish!

With our adapter we can go to every LPG station.

Now we can fill up our gas bottles on every gas station selling LPG.

But be careful!

There are a few things you need to know about gas. To be clear here: I am not (!) a professional, so make your own researches as well before you do stuff with gas.

Camping gas bottles are filled with Propane gas, LPG is a mix with Propane and Bhutan (proportions differ). Under pressure Propane and Bhutan is liquid, if you release the pressure it is becoming gas.

The pressure can change very much with temperature and also altitude. The gas bottle have a safety valve which opens when the bottle has to much pressure, so it will not explode, BUT high flammable gas will get out. If it happens that you are for example with a cigarette near by, this could create a disaster.

Another point is that the volume of gas is much higher then in the liquid state. Means that if for some reason liquid Propane or Bhutan is getting out of the bottle it will suddenly expand its volume. Is this happening in the open there is no problem, but is it happening in a closed space for example the pipes, it can cause a deflagration.

Another point is that in cold temperatures the pressure could not be enough to completely empty the bottle. Especially when you use LPG, the proportion of Bhutan and Propane is determining the change from liquid to gas state.

Okay, now the bottle.

We are using a 11kg bottle which has a volume of 27,2l. To make sure that the liquid has enough space to transform to gas inside the bottle don´t fill it up more then 80%, which would mean 21,6l.

The bottle has a volume of 27,2l

Keep in mind that, unless you have a weight scale you cannot say how much Propane/Bhutan is left inside, especially in cold temperatures.

And don´t trust the people on the filling station, you need to tell them. There will be an automatic stop, but it comes when the bottle is full (100%).

It happened one time to us in Albania, high in the mountains and around 0°C.

The guy at the station said “no problem”, he made it completely full. A few days later we were in Athens with more then 20°C. The sun was very strong (yes in know, theoretical you shouldn´t put the bottles in the sun, but after the winter we were every second in the sun :-)).

Until this point we didn´t open this bottle, I was walking around the car and could smell gas. Well it turned out that the safty valve of this bottle opened and gas came out.

No idea if this was dangerous but I didn´t feel good at all!

Since this day I keep an eye on it when people are filling the bottles.

If you keep in mind not more then 80% and you might still have some gas left inside the bottle everything is fine. To be on the safe side, I fill the bottle with not more then 20l and I close the bottle after the filling until we stop for the night somewhere.

That´s the whole story. But please, as I said make your own researches. If you read in camper groups on the internet some people might swear at this idea, it is also illegal in a few countries, but in many other places it is just the normal way to fill up bottle like this.

Good Luck.

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