One of the first improvements I wanted to make to the motorhome was to install Gaslow refillable cylinders. Most motorhomes and caravans in the UK use Calorgas propane bottles, either in a 6kg size or a 13kg size. Calorgas propane bottles are usually an orange / red colour. Calor also sell butane in blue bottles but as butane does not perform well as a gas in very cold weather most motorhome owners in the UK don’t use it.
With Calorgas bottles you normally enter into a contract to buy the bottle(s) and then when it runs out of gas you simply swap the empty bottle for a full one at one of their suppliers. The cost of a new full 13kg bottle of propane is around the £22.00 mark. For most people this system works well, however more and more people are installing Gaslow Refillable Cylinders.
Gaslow Refillable Cylinders – What are they & the benefits
So what exactly are Gaslow Refillable Cylinders? Well Gaslow is a system whereby you buy the bottles outright and instead of exchanging them when they are empty you refill them yourself using a propane LPG pump, usually at a petrol filling station. Gaslow Refillable Cylinders are not cheap to buy so why do motorhomers use them? There are probably two main reasons:
1. The gas at LPG forecourts is about half the price of Calor propane bottles that you exchange.
2. Gaslow Refillable Cylinders can be refilled overseas. You cannot exchange Calorgas overseas.
It would take quite some time to recoup the cost of buying Gaslow Refillable Cylinders and for those who only use their motorhome a few times a year it would not make economic sense. But for fulltimers like me Gaslow refillable cylinders start to look attractive.
If you intend to travel in Europe you will find that many countries have their own gas companies like we have Calor in the UK. This could mean changing gas providers every time you cross a border, certainly something you want to avoid if you don’t speak the language! The only real bottled gas that is universal across Europe is Camping Gaz. The largest Camping Gaz cylinder is a 2.7Kg butane bottle which in the UK can cost almost £50.00! Faced with these problems, motorhomers who travel in Europe quickly begin to look at a system like Gaslow Refillable Cylinders.
Gaslow Refillable Cylinders – My installation
My Gaslow Refillable Cylinders were installed this week by Mobile Motorhome and Caravan Services and consisted of 2 x 11Kg bottles, stainless steel hoses, auto changover valve, bulkhead regulator, white filler kit and 2 adaptors to allow use on European forecourts. Steve kindly partially filled the bottles with gas and did a thorough leak test. That evening I nervously visited a petrol station to fill the bottles completely. Having never used an LPG pump before I took my time to read the instructions carefully and after a couple of failed connections I managed to attach the pump and fill up with propane. The Gaslow Refillable Cylinders have a mechanism that automatically stops filling when the bottles are 80% full which is a safety mechanism to prevent the problems often associated with overfilling.
It’s only been a couple of days since installation but I’m happy so far with the change to Gaslow Refillable Cylinders. It’s comforting to know that the bottles have a guage on them so I know when to refill them. No more running out of gas at 3:00am on the coldest night of the week as happened with Calor both times! I’m hoping that the 2 x 11Kg bottles will last me about 2 weeks before I need to visit a forecourt and that’s in winter when gas is being used for heating, cooking and to run the fridge when away from electricity. Now that Spring is showing signs of arriving I’ll not need the heating quite so much.
If any other motorhomers reading this have also switched to Gaslow Refillable Cylinders please feel free to leave a comment on this post with your experiences.