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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers

 > Running the refridge on propane

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PWALT0366

Brownsburg, Indiana

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Posted: 06/03/02 10:34am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

New to this TT thing....Question - Is is safe to pull the TT with the propane running the refridge? This sure would save on the coolers, but would hate to burn down the TT. Sales people said we could, but I never trust them or weathermen. Please advise

NewmarGuy

Canada

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Posted: 06/03/02 10:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You may run into local regulations not allowing propane tanks operating while in tow. First your trailer is subjected to much road shock and bounce depending on the road conditions. Much of the propane systems in a trailer utilize soft coppet tubeing and compression fittings. Any propane appliance depends on a live flame to operate. Taking all these things into consideration the safe thing to do is to NOT tow while propane appliances are operating. Close the valves at the bottle and reopen and light up when at your destination. Always check for any leaks when before you relight - remember the trip may have loosened or broken a gas fitting or the soft copper tubeing. Yes, many drive towing with open propane tanks and appliances operating. I would not and suggest it is not worth the risk you subject yourself to. A fridge closed will maintain the temp for 5-8 hours - why take the risk?? My opinion and I have worked around propane most my career.


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LAdams

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Posted: 06/03/02 11:53am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll take the other side on this issue... I have been RV'ing for close to 20 years and always travel with the frige on propane...

To my knowledge, there are no regulations that prohibit this in the US except for a few tunnels on East Coast that prohibit open tanks when passing thru them...

This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions on this forum... Just do a search on this topic and you'll see many and varied opinions...

You may want to turn it off when refueling but that's about all I would be concerned about...

Best Regards,
Les

*This Message was edited on 03-Jun-02 11:54 AM by LAdams*



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dmeyn

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Posted: 06/03/02 12:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I also run with the fridge operating on propane, the only problem I can actually forsee is having a wreck, and breaking the propane line, having it ignite. The tunnels mentioned above prohibit portable propane tanks, whether open or not. I've never know why, since gasoline is pretty dangerous, and there are tons of it in the cars going thru the tunnel at any given time. It is possible to get 3-way refrigerators, which can operate on 12VDC, but for some reason, they're not very common. Maybe they take too much current, and run down the battery. The charge line from the tow vehicle can only supply around 20 amps, usually, and the alternator might not be able to handle the load. Don't know. Dale.


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Frankjake

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Posted: 06/03/02 12:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Although I am new to towing a travel trailer, I used to use my parents truck camper all the time, in fact, prior to buying the TT, my mom gave me the camper. It was an old 1979 Lance Camper mounted on a 1979 Ford F-350. My dad bought the rig brand new. I am no expert and don't claim to be one but they alwasy drove with the fridge running on propane and never once had a problem, even after 23 years the fridge worked perfectly.

Now with my new TT, the dealer told me it was fine to tow it while it was on using propane, so I have been. I guess it's a matter of personal preference. But I agee with the guy who said get it cold at home while plugged into electricity, once cold, you can drive for 4 or 5 hours before it loses too much cold. Of course if you have something in the freezer, you may want to check it after a few hours just to make sure.

Vern M.

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Posted: 06/03/02 01:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here's the real answer to your question. Ask the person/agency/company that is insuring your trailer and do what they say.

You'll find, incidentally, that the refrigerator will keep things pretty well near the temperatue where they were when you started for up to 4-5 hours with no cooling source if you don't open the door a lot. Having something in there cold such as a milk carton filled with water and frozen or chilled "blue" packs shuch as used in coolers, helps.

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wlkjr

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Posted: 06/03/02 02:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm with Les. I've always kept my propane on. As a matter of fact, mine seems to getter colder faster on propane. It's probably a lot safer than a trip to the store in the family car for a gallon of milk.

Drbolasky

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Posted: 06/03/02 04:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've always been amazed at the number of people who drive with their gas appliances on and the tank valves open. There seems to be a fair percentage of the people on this forum who are very safety-minded (and rightly so). I guess that's why I'm puzzled.

I'm with respondent #1......we always travel with the gas off and tank valves closed. The refrigerator will keep your food cold upwards of 8 hours, depending on the outside temperature. We usually turn the fridge on two days before departure, load it with our pre-chilled food the day before, and then right before we leave we put in a I gallon jug of spring water that we have frozen. We've not lost any food yet, and that includes frozen stuff.

The possibility of a catastrophe in an accident is too great. Accidents happen no matter how good your equipment is or how careful the driver is. I just don't understand gambling with your life and those of your family with such a dangerous practice.





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Huntindog

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Posted: 06/03/02 04:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I guess that the answer depends on your point of view. I live in Phoenix Arizona, And here the fridge needs to be on ALL the time. In fact when parked with the sun beating down on the back of the fridge, it won't keep up even when running. If you're on hookups and can run the ac then you're alright, but then propanes not needed.
On another note, I have noticed that 3 way fridges tend to be installed on cabover campers and 2 ways on trailers. I think that this is because of where the flame is in relation to the gas tank cap. On a trailer it will probably be at least 20 ft away while on a camper only 2-3 ft.
Also while I don't condone this look around you when refueling and notice how often people smoke at a gas station. I rarely do not see someone smoking at these places, but have never heard of an incident. In reality the gas fumes would have to be so concentrated that it would be difficult to breath before an exsplosion could take place.
Cheers!

*This Message was edited on 03-Jun-02 04:46 PM by Huntindog*



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Frankjake

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Posted: 06/03/02 05:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Drbolasky

I mean absolutly no disrespect for you or your comments, but I would think if something catrostrophic happened in regards to an accident, it wouldn't matter if the propane was on or off. Something that bad could just explode the bottle or even break off the valve anyway, Then don't forget about the gasoline in you vehicle. A castrostrophic accident could also explode you gasoline tank. Propane is flamable, but not as explosive as regular old gasoline.

Like I said, I mean no disrespect for you opinion. I am just expressing mine!

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