Monday, January 10, 2011

Propane Issue Resolved

We got our propane issue fixed Saturday, by Dale Sumner of Mobile Rv Medic.  We were extremely impressed with him and recommend him highly!  He is very knowledgeable and we immediately felt comfortable with him.   From the minute he walked up, he was giving us tips and pointers.  His charge for a service call is only $20.  It was worth it to us to have someone come to us.  The final bill was very reasonable and we felt like he really knew what he was doing.

Dale and his wife are full time rv’ers and travel most of the year on the rally/show circuit.  He gives seminars on LP and electrical systems.  He sells Progressive systems surge and volt protection (like the one we bought), as well as Solar systems.  He writes,  and sells rv instruction books , and does seminars at rally’s.  He is a wealth of knowledge.  We will definitely buy a couple of his books at the Rv show this week.

They are in the Tampa/Zephyrhills/Lakeland area from November to March.  He specializes in LP systems and has all the required training and licenses, including the Florida 04-07 license.  That license costs $5000, so many LP “repairman” don’t have it.  It’s a 3rd degree felony to work on LP systems without it, but you can bet many don’t have it.  Personally, I prefer someone that’s fully trained and licensed!

Dale was there 3 hours and gave kept giving us tips and pointers the entire time.  I just hope we can remember some of the things he told us.

The first tip  was on our “Extend a Stay” kit.  It’s a connector that allows you to run your rv propane systems off of a spare propane tank.  The propane tank on a motor home is permanently mounted so you have to drive to get the tank refilled. 

He suggested that when we connect the Extend a Stay kit, we turn off the propane on the main tank and only use the spare tank.  That  way we’d always have a nearly full onboard tank of propane for emergencies.  We had it set up to use the motor home’s propane first and then use the spare tank if we ran out.  It really did make more sense the other way.

He also noticed that we had screens on the exhaust for the furnace (not good) and the refrigerator and hot water heater.  He said these rv propane systems need all the air they can get and you only use the screens when the rv is in storage.

He did some adjustments to the water heater flame and plugged a hole that might have allowed some exhaust inside the rv.  He did a whole house pressure test and said we had no leaks.  He checked out the work done on the recall for our Dometic refrigerator, because some of the recall fixes he has seen were not done correctly.  Ours was fine.

He found no leaks and thinks the odor I was smelling was just exhaust and improperly burned gas.  He spent a lot of time checking our LP system and I feel comfortable that we are okay.  The propane detector isn’t going off anymore.  He couldn’t get the detector to  sound even when he put a butane lighter (unlit) right next to it.  He strongly recommended changing the propane detectors out every 5 years. We knew that, and had been intending to do it, but hadn’t found the right size unit that would fit in the space the old one was.  Dale is going to order one for us.  He gave us his cell number and said to call if we had any more problems.  He will be a vendor at the Tampa Rv show this week, but we feel if we have any serious problems, he’d come and help us out.  He’s a great guy and anyone in the area that needs any work,  we recommend him.    You are supposed to have your rv LP systems serviced annually.  He is certified to do that and I’m sure he’d be cheaper than Camping World.  We will have our annual service done by him every year when we are here in Florida.

Another issue he noticed was the outside door to the hot water heater.  He said there is a design flaw on the Atwood water heaters, and the door closes too tightly and somewhat restricts the airflow.  He told Al to bend the arms out so that the door doesn’t fit quite as tightly, which would allow more airflow.  You could pull the door out a little bit and notice a difference in the sound of the water heater flame.  It definitely sounded better when we pulled the door out a little.


Al is pointing to the little arms that are on the bottom of the door.  These are what need to be bent out a little bit to allow more airflow.


You can see some soot on the outside of the door that because of improper airflow.  Hopefully it’s all fixed.  At least I don’t smell propane and the detector is not sounding.

Dale gives seminars and  and has written several books.  We intend to buy a couple of his books when we visit him at the rv show.  He will be at booth B220.  Stop by and tell him we sent you!   

Saturday night was the “big” 50’s dance here at geezerland. It didn’t start until 8pm and guess who pooped out at the last minute?  It was cold and by 8pm, we lost interest and just stayed home.

Sunday, we made a drive towards the east coast, to try to find a new campground for February.  We want to head east towards the space coast.  Of course it still depends on how Mom is doing.  We didn’t find anything quite like we were looking for, sunny campsite, cheap and close to the east coast and no further north.  Anybody have any suggestions?  It doesn’t have to be right on the coast, just close enough that we can easily drive there.


  1. Sure glad you got that fixed up! Sounds like you got the right guy to do it too. I'm really sold on the mobile RV techs as opposed to taking a rig into a dealer. We've also had great success when dealing with mobile RV guys with our old 5'er. They just seem to take more time explaining things and do extras while charging reasonable prices.

  2. Sounds like this guy did an amazing job of checking over your rig for you. Isn't it wonderful when you find someone like that, that you can trust so completely.

    We, too, often poop out on things. I think if it was still light outside we would feel differently.

    We have friends working the RV show in Tampa. John and Diane. So if you see them, say hi. LOL (as if there aren't going to be a million people there)

  3. I imagine an RV show in Florida in the winter is a very big event with all of the snowbirds around!

  4. Glad you got that all fixed. Now I am going to have John look at our water heater door. Thanks. :)

  5. Here are two I am considering for a couple of weeks in March.

    Here is where I just booked 8 days in the beginning of March.


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