RV Propane Monitor - What is the best tool to use?

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RV Propane Monitor - What is the best tool to use?

Friday, March 12, 2021

You can monitor multiple tanks using the propane tank monitoring system with the mobile app as well as the sensor you can mount in your RV.


Have you been camping or preparing for a trip and wondered how much propane you have?  We use our propane primarily for cooking or operating our refrigerator when towing.  Sure we use our furnace occasionally in cold weather months but our use is minimal.  How do you know how much propane you have?  We played the guessing game on a recent trip, and I decided to go back to a tried and true propane monitoring tool.
Accurately measuring fuel levels are important for every season of travel since we use our fuel for cooking, our fridge, and for heat.

RV Propane Monitor - What is the best tool to use?

A few years ago, we added a propane monitoring tool to our pop-up camper tank.  The AP Propane Monitoring System worked flawlessly to monitor our fuel level while we owned Peggy Sue.  However, when we sold her, I sold the gear too.  While I don't regret that decision, I do regret not getting another propane monitoring system for our new RV.  

Propane Pressure Gauge vs. Propane Monitor

Not all tools to measure your propane use are alike.  These tools are at different price points and function very differently.  Propane pressure gauges give you a reading of the gas flow running through the gauge.  Turning on the propane allows the pressure to be released and provides a reading on the gauge that estimates what is inside of the tank.  

Propane monitoring systems use ultrasound technology to read and measure what is inside of the tank.  The high-frequency waves measured inside of the tank are transmitted to the connected app or monitoring device.  This can be done regardless of the tank being open and turned on.  

The technology being used to monitor propane levels is different for each system.  Ultimately, there is one goal in mind here.  The end-user wants to know how much propane is in that tank without weighing or guessing.  So, which method or tool is better or more effective?

Propane tank gauges just never gave us an accurate reading that we could actually trust.

Pros and Cons of a Pressure Gauge

A pressure gauge is a simple solution that doesn't require moving parts, batteries, and other technology.  Anyone can add them to the propane tanks and obtain a reading.  They also have a lower price point.

However, we discovered over time that we got readings that were not really accurate much of the time.  We would see the gauge reading low or empty while the tank would be more than halfway full.  Regardless of how many times we rethreaded them onto the lines, the readings were never trustworthy enough for us to feel confident about the amount of propane in the tanks.  I also didn't love having to remove the propane cover to check the propane levels.  This was just one more step to keeping a check on our fuel levels.  We would remove the tanks to refill them when reading empty to only find that they were still heavy enough to seem full, but we weren't totally sure.  Plus, the uncertainty of how much fuel we were actually using over time because the gauges seemed to give such random readings made it hard for us to determine how much fuel we used over time.  

For example, we had been on the road for 2 days.  The gauge read low, but the tank was heavy and seemed full.  So, did we use half of a tank in two days, or was it really nearly empty?  I felt like we basically had no way to monitor our use with the gauges because they were just not trustworthy.  

The AP Propane Monitoring System works well consistently for an accurate reading of our fuel levels.



Pros and Cons of a Propane Monitoring System

We have discovered the  AP Propane Monitoring System gives a much more accurate reading.  Even with temperatures fluctuating, the reading stays fairly consistent.  Overall, we have experienced better and more accurate readings from the propane monitoring system.  The propane monitors attach to the bottom of the tanks.  We can check our fuel levels without over removing the covers or turning on and opening the propane.  The levels are measured by ultrasound waves that are measured without me doing a thing other than having them positioned under the tank itself.

Additionally, I can use the Mopeka Tank App to monitor the fuel levels with my phone.  And, if you are concerned about having access in an area where you have limited cell service or a wi-fi connection, you can use the monitoring device that you can install in your RV.  The monitoring device doesn't require cellular service.    

The AP Propane Monitoring System installs on the bottom of your tanks with a magnet.  I would encourage you to remove them while traveling so that you don't lose them if you hit a bump in the road.  For some, this can be a deal-breaker.  You could leave them on, but I prefer not to do so.  These also require a battery inside of the sensor.  Some say the battery life is 3 to 6 months.  Others indicate a year of battery life.  Having to change a battery can also be a downside for some users, but I am not bothered by this.  The batteries have lasted closer to the year mark for us, and feel like that is reasonable.

How you monitor your propane fuel levels does matter.  We like a monitoring system as opposed to propane tank guages.


Choose What's Right for You

The AP Propane Monitoring System is the right choice for us.  It is accurate and works well every time.  I love that I can use my phone to monitor our fuel and it's just an easy choice overall.  The monitoring system costs a little more initially, but for us, it comes down to ease, accuracy, and peace of mind.

The propane gauge just never gave us accurate readings.  After a while, I wondered why we ever had them because I didn't feel like we could trust them.  This is a low-cost option that doesn't require changing batteries.  The bargain price didn't provide us with the peace of mind and functionality that we needed.

Before you hit the campground this spring and summer, consider upgrading your propane monitoring tools.  Having an accurate reading for your propane isn't just for the winter months.  It is really helpful for those trips when you are towing on hot summer days and using your propane for your fridge and freezer.  Don't run out of fuel when you need it most no matter what season you are camping.  

Until next time...

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