Installing Propane Lights in a Cabin

Propane-powered lighting is ideal for cabins and homes in rural areas that are not serviced by electrical lines.
Propane-powered lighting is ideal for cabins and homes in rural areas that are not serviced by electrical lines. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Propane-powered lights are ideal for cabins and homes in remote areas, since the light is powered by propane instead of electricity. People often associate propane-powered appliances with an open flame, but propane is often used to power light fixtures. Prior to installing the new light fixture, you will need to hire a propane-qualified electrician or plumber to extend a propane line to the location where you'd like to install the fixture. In addition to installing a port — where you'll attach the fixture to the gas supply — the electrician will also install a ceiling or wall outlet box, which includes fixture straps (a plate with screw holes for attaching the fixture.) Propane is an explosive substance, so the pipework must be installed by a qualified professional. Propane-powered cabins should always be equipped with a battery-powered propane alarm to alert you to a potentially dangerous leak.

Things You'll Need

  • Propane-powered light fixture
  • Propane line port
  • Wrench
  • Teflon TFE paste
  • Small paintbrush
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Lightbulbs
  • Propane detector

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Turn off the cabin's propane supply. The propane tank is typically stored outdoors, beside the structure. There will be a lever or valve in the vicinity where the main pipe meets the propane tank or inside the home, where the pipe enters the cabin. Turn the lever or valve to the "Off" position.

Bleed the system to remove propane from the cabin's piping. The propane tank will have a bleed valve, located near the point where the main pipe meets the propane tank. Open the bleed valve and turn on lights and appliances inside the home to eat up the remaining propane supply. The lights and appliances will dim and turn off when the propane has drained from the line. Close the bleed valve once the process is complete.

Uncap the propane line port where you'll install the light. Untwist the cap with a wrench. Twist toward the left.

Paint Teflon TFE paste onto the threads of the pipe, and coat the inside of the threaded section of pipe that extends off the back of the light fixture. Use a small paintbrush to apply the paste.

Attach the light fixture to the propane line. A threaded section of pipe will extend off the back of the light fixture. Twist the light fixture toward the right and secure it on the line.

Smooth the excess Teflon TFE paste that gets squeezed out when you attach the fixture to the supply line. Smooth it with a wet finger. Run your finger around the joint to create a neat seal.

Twist the light so it's positioned properly on the wall and screw the light fixture onto the bracket that sits around the propane supply line. There are typically two screw holes on the base of the fixture. Align these holes with the holes on the mounting bracket and insert the screws through the fixture and into the wall bracket.

Install the lightbulbs in the light fixture. Twist them to the right.

Open the main propane supply valve and restore the cabin's supply.

Place a battery-operated propane detector near the new light and monitor it closely. If the detector sounds and indicates a leak, immediately cut the propane supply and ventilate the home. If you cannot identify or remedy the source of the leak, remove the fixture and re-install the cap over the end of the pipe. Seek professional assistance.


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