How to Have A Vapour Barrier on Your Caravan

Do you need a vapour barrier on your caravan?

Or if you don’t know what vapour barrier is, make sure you check whether your caravan or camper trailer needs one.

In the video below, you’ll find out more about it.

The Caravan

In this scenario, we were working on a little retro caravan owned by a 82-year-old woman named Judy. We had the privilege of meeting her. She’s amazing. This isn’t the first caravan she’s had. She had a Coromal one as well. And after her husband passed away, she took that caravan around Australia by herself. It took her about eight months. Amazing the stuff she’s done. Anyway, she’s doing up this little retro caravan, doing all the cushions and everything herself. She’s called it Little Milly, which is super cute.

The Need

All we’re doing is putting a little hot plate inside, because she said she’s getting too old to go outside and put the little gas ring burner out there. Fair enough.

So we’re putting a little hot plate inside, and then putting a new gas bottle at the front. Because, at the moment, the gas bottle holder is at the back, which is in the impact zone, so you can’t really put it there. So we’re just going to move it to the front drawbar.

In the video, we show where the hot plate’s going and the little setup inside. She’s done a beautiful job.It’s got a little kitchen with a little sink. Next to it is the kitchen bench where the new hot plate is going to be. It also has a little sitting area. Apparently, the wardrobe doors are from IKEA and used to have glass in them. She’s popped those out and put rattan in there. It’s got a little 12 volt Dometic fridge, which is underneath where the hotplate is going to go.

One thing that we don’t know if you’re aware of is that if you ever put a hot plate above a fridge, you’d need a vapour barrier between them. The hotplate has quite a few fittings underneath it. The vapour barrier will make sure no gas joints or any vapour can go through into the fridge compartment. So we’ve got to install that before we can put in the gas hot plate in and hook it up to gas.

The Result: Gas

Little Milly is now cooking with gas. We’ve just chucked a little 4.5 kg bottle on the front with a couple of braces in. We didn’t want to weld these on because it’s got a hundred layers of paint on there. So we’ve just used automotive sealant and Tekked it in there. I mean, even if you take those Teks out, there’s good luck getting that off now.

We really like these OZ Trail bottle holders. You can see in the video how it goes all the way under, and then up the back, and there’s a good bracket on there. They’re really rock solid. You can see on the side that we’ve put another stand which holds up the gas regulator. Nice and solid at the correct height. She only wanted one gas bottle, but we just made it over on one side, so in the future if she ever changes her mind, she can easily just install another one next to it.

Now, the main reason that she wanted the gas bottle installed is that she was getting a ring burner out to have a cup of tea or to heat up a meal. Especially if it’s windy or the rain, it is not that great to do. That’s why she wanted it inside.

We also offered to install a bayonet for a barbecue, so she doesn’t have to take the bottle out. She was happy with the idea. It’s also a lot easier for us gas fitters to fit it at the same time, rather than to try to retrofit it after the gas main is installed. We show you in the video the bayonet we’ve installed.

The Result: Hotplate

And the hotplate has come up really nice in the bench top. It was quite difficult to fit, because there was no template. So, if you do buy a hot plate, try and get the template with it because it makes it a lot easier. Otherwise, we’ve got to measure four times and cut once, because you don’t want to stuff it up. Because if you do, then there’s a hole in the bench. And you can see the angles on the corners of the hotplate. We’ve got to follow the radiuses around as well as where the clamps and hinges are. Very difficult, but thankfully we didn’t stuff it up. In the video we also show how it lit up.

You need to have permanent vents on a caravan if you’re going to cook inside. Thankfully Little Milly’s already got permanent vents, so we just had to trim a bit of flashing that was stuck in later on. It’s got ventilation the whole way around. They are permanently open so she can cook even with the hatch down. It’s good to leave it open.

Inside the cupboard, you can see there’s the isolation valve to shut the gas off in case of emergency. There’s also, a test nipple. It’s a new regulation that’s come in for hot plates.

The Result: Vapour Barrier

As mentioned before, if you have a hot plate installed over the top of a refrigerator, it’s very important that you have a vapour barrier installed. Because underneath the hot plate is a whole bunch of fittings and piping. Over the years, if it gets rattled around and it starts to leak, what they don’t want is, the LPG, being heavier than air, drift down and go inside to the top of the fridge electrical components and then igniting. So there needs to be a vapour barrier installed.

They’re quite hard to retrofit afterwards, because there’s all the different angles. But this one worked out pretty good. You can see, we’ve just used some plywood and then sealed it down with some proper sealant the whole way around.

And the most important thing now, is that the whole set up is compliant. There’s no way, if it does ever leak in the future, that there’ll be any explosion. So make sure yours is also up to code and very safe and compliant.

If you’re thinking about doing some gas on a caravan or taking some pain points out, check out our Camper and Caravan Gas page. And give us a call. We’ll be happy to help. And if you see Little Milly out on the road, give her a toot. Or see if you can get a chance to have a look at it and look inside as Judy’s done a beautiful job.