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Snapper
07-06-2009, 10:18 PM
Can anyone tell me if it is safe to use our fridge while driving down the road. I have read the instructions and they are not clear on this issue. Any help will be a great help.

Be safe and enjoy

Ray LeTourneau
07-06-2009, 11:10 PM
I'm not sure what the factory will recommend but we leave ours set on auto most of the time so it will switch to LP while traveling. There are some or maybe a couple states that have regulations regarding traveling with LP tanks open and I think NY is one of them through certain tunnels. You can also shut the fridge off and travel for several hours without worry about anything going bad as long as it's cold when you shut it down.

Bob&Patty
07-06-2009, 11:15 PM
We have never had a problem traveling with the fridge on with any of our many RV's. Bob:D

TXBobcat
07-06-2009, 11:57 PM
Aw heck. This is a real debateable topic. Each person has to make up their own mind.
For information read these topics and then read as much as you can on this page.

http://www.macthefireguy.com/Home-old.htm
http://www.macthefireguy.com/34_fire_facts_that_can_save_your.htm

I took some fire fighting training in the Navy, but I am not a fireman or even close. I am more of a computer guy. So I try to learn from the people who have the most knowledge. Mac McCoy. I have actually met Mac and attended his siminar.

The biggest fires in RV's come from the 12v in the front overhead in Motorhomes. But leaving your Propane on while traveling can be a problem. Sorta like taking out insurance.. You know ERS with Good Sams. You don't say.. I am never going to break down... No so you take out insurance. Well turning off your propane is like taking out insurance. It may never happen to you or to others very often but if it does you will wish you took the precaution..

So for me... I turn off my propane when I travel. Your Refrig will keep food cold and frozen stay frozen for more than a full day. I know, because I have done it.

So take your choice.. Never happen or most likely won't happen. Roll the dice.

BC

klindgren
07-07-2009, 04:54 AM
Put me in the "I travel with the propane turned on and the refer running" catagory. I've read a couple of horror stories about propane going off durning an accident, but I'm one of those "it's a very small risk I'm willing to take" persons.

In all the years I've been camping with a trailer the only time I shut the propane off is when I am made to going through one of the many tunnels down here in the Tidewater area of Virginia. Problem is, they provide a spot for you to pull over and turn the tanks off (and have them inspected) but they never provide a spot on the other side of the tunnel for you to pull over and turn the tanks back on.

Keith

Tom of Ypsi
07-07-2009, 06:27 AM
Recently had our coach in the shop for two days unplugged and no propane with no thawing of food and the beverages stayed cold. As long as the refer and freezer stays closed it should stay cold.

geeksrus
07-07-2009, 07:33 AM
I always travel with the propane off... reefer is sealed so well it acts as an ice box & we don't get melt in the freezer even on 10-hour travel days.

I feel much more comfortable with the tanks off.

Eh!

itsbeertime
07-07-2009, 07:54 AM
Problem is, they provide a spot for you to pull over and turn the tanks off (and have them inspected) but they never provide a spot on the other side of the tunnel for you to pull over and turn the tanks back on.
You've noticed that too, huh?:rolleyes: Have to make a mental note to remember to turn it back on next time you stop.

As for the OP, I have done both. I usually travel with it on now, but there were times I turned it off and a few of those trips I know for sure were 8-10 hour days in August on our way to Bristol, TN with temps easily in the 80's and 90's all day. No problem with food staying cold and frozen.

combine_billy
07-07-2009, 08:05 AM
I travel with the LP on and the fridge on auto. Usually when I unplug from electricity and before I head down the road I doublecheck the fridge and make sure it switched and is working. Sometimes I have had to turn it off and back on again to get it to work, especially if I havn't used the propane in a long time.

Snapper
07-10-2009, 12:07 AM
Thanks for all the information, I think it is a judgement call on everyones part. I agree that there is a safety issue, however traveling the long hours on the road in the hot summer sun, things could get a little warm.

Thanks again, be safe and enjoy the season.

GETnBYE
07-10-2009, 07:26 AM
When I do "get to go" (see camper repair posts). I always freeze all the food, even butter, sandwich meat etc. I get the fridge and freezer cold before I leave. Then I turn it off. I put some of the frozen items in the freezer that I plan to keep froozen and some in fridge (that I plan to use early in the trip) to keep other Unfreezables cold. By the time we get there (when we get to go), everything is just right.
Does it seem like I getting a little bitter about (NOT GETTING TO GO:(!!!

jmgratz
07-10-2009, 07:57 AM
Something to think about. According the "Mac the fire guy", don't forget to turn off all of your propane and appliances such as the refrigerator when fueling. A spark from the refrigerator trying to light or water heater trying to light could cause an explosion at the gas pumps from the gasoline vapors in the area. If you can smell the gasoline then the vapor level is high. Just as static spark and ignite the vapor so can the igniter or flame from an RV appliance.

SilverRhino
07-10-2009, 11:19 AM
Something to think about. According the "Mac the fire guy", don't forget to turn off all of your propane and appliances such as the refrigerator when fueling. A spark from the refrigerator trying to light or water heater trying to light could cause an explosion at the gas pumps from the gasoline vapors in the area. If you can smell the gasoline then the vapor level is high. Just as static spark and ignite the vapor so can the igniter or flame from an RV appliance.

We RVed while I was growing up......my father was always seemed to be a fanatic about shutting propane off, extinguishing pilot lights.....when I asked about it he told me of three fires that he saw that were caused or made much worse due to propane being on..........by the way.....he retired from a major metro area fire department as an Arson Investigator!

Soooo.....I have always followed the practice of PROPANE OFF while traveling.....never been a problem....maybe avoided a few!

boatdoc
07-10-2009, 03:40 PM
No reason to have it on if you're doing 10 hour travel days. We used to be "leave it on folks" but we tried "off" many years ago and have never had a problem.

Duramax1
07-10-2009, 06:52 PM
And the debate goes on and on. Typically when I am refueling I do not have the trailer connected or, if it is, the ignition points on the trailer are at least 20 feet away from the gas pumps which is beyond the recommended distance for smoking at the pumps!

wdk450
07-11-2009, 06:41 PM
Gang:
You know they make 3 way RV refrigerators - 110 volts A.C. heating element, propane flame, and 12 volts DC heating element. In fact, the 12 volt and 110 volt electric heating elements are combined in 1 heater cartridge.
The 12 volts was to be used when you are travelling down the road and the vehicle alternator supplying the 12 volt power. The propane was a back-up when you were boondocking as the 12 volt heater ate a lot of power.
So if propane power going down the road is such a hazard, why aren't the 12 volt heated refrigerators standard?

cookie
07-11-2009, 06:51 PM
wdk450, we had a three way refer in our tent camper. 12 volt worked really well when traveling. However, the last time I checked on a larger size refer like the ones that come in our fifth wheels they were
a little more costly. So I guess that with all the neet things we would like manufacturers to put in our coaches, I think the cost would skyrocket. And I have to add my nickles worth on the debate, we have traveled up to 8 hours in hot weather and have had no problems with anything getting too warm. And if you really want to run on 12 volts, get an inverter for the refer.

Peace
Dave

lhetsler
07-11-2009, 08:29 PM
These new refers are not what Dad used. They have automatic relight systems and a thermocouple with a safety shutoff if no heat is present. If wind blows out the burner, it will automatically relight and will continue to try to relight it self. If relight is not sucessful the gas will shut off.

Gaffer
09-22-2009, 01:12 PM
What do you all do about the propane when fueling?

lhetsler
09-22-2009, 02:14 PM
On my 3670 Bighorn, the refer is on the opposite side of the refueling side of the truck and easily 25 feet further back.

jmgratz
09-22-2009, 03:37 PM
All fire prevention people I have ever talked to demand the propane be off when fueling. This include turning on the off the on off switch on the water heater and the refrigerator so the electronic spark does not spark causing fuel vapors to ignite. Marv, your a retired fireman, are you out there to answer this?

rick_debbie_gallant
09-22-2009, 03:45 PM
Are we talking about refueling our tow vehicle or refueling the propane tank in the 5th wheel? FYI propane and gasoline vapors are heavier than air and will sink to the ground and should not present a problem. Diesel really does not give off flammable vapors, it just plain stinks. So I am not sure what the question is.:confused:

jmgratz
09-22-2009, 04:00 PM
If you have ever been fueling and someone pulls into the pump on the other side of the island they could be using gasoline while you are using diesel there could be a problem. Also while refilling propane bottles they bottles must be removed from the vehicle unless the it is a tank attached to the vehicle i.e. motor home. In that case everyone must vacate the vehicle and all ignition sources turned off. (Texas state law) and common sense.

rick_debbie_gallant
09-22-2009, 04:18 PM
Good points all! So it would be best to leave all propane valves closed until parked and set up.

newbie
09-22-2009, 04:37 PM
On our Dometic refrigerator, when using LP gas on the Auto mode, the gas will lock out for 15 minutes when the tow vehicle's engine is shut off (for the reasons pointed out earlier when refueling) However, if the Gas Only mode is selected, it will not lock out.

So while it is an added safety feature, you wouldn't want to linger around the pumps longer than 15 minutes!:eek:

branson4020
09-22-2009, 05:03 PM
How in the world does the refrigerator know that the engine has been shut off? Sounds suspicious to me.

tmcran
09-22-2009, 05:08 PM
I'd like to know that as well????

rick_debbie_gallant
09-22-2009, 06:54 PM
On our Dometic refrigerator, when using LP gas on the Auto mode, the gas will lock out for 15 minutes when the tow vehicle's engine is shut off (for the reasons pointed out earlier when refueling) However, if the Gas Only mode is selected, it will not lock out.

So while it is an added safety feature, you wouldn't want to linger around the pumps longer than 15 minutes!:eek:


I was under the impression that the "auto mode" meant that it would switch from either "AC" or "Propane". AC when hooked to shore power and propane when not.:confused:

SmokeyBare
09-22-2009, 07:17 PM
We've tossed this question around before...

It's one of those questions that has no right answer for some folks... in their eyes the "FEAR" of the Fridge being off for a few hours of travel time is just too much for them. For the life of me I don't understand what's all the fuss is over the Fridge being turned off. I have traveled as much as 10 hours with the Fridge being OFF... No Power at any of the rest stops... no power when we are in the restaurants for a meal on the road. It has always stayed COLD... Ice box is still frozen... Ice cubes are still solid as well. But I'm sure no matter how many times this is covered there will be those who feel it's "No Big Deal".

The Big Deal to me has always been Safety. Any time I can eliminate a source of Ignition for what ever flammable vapor that floats in it's path... I'm Happy !! I also unplug the coffee pot each time I use it... the toaster as well. Do I unplug everything?? HECK NO... I do run an electric heater in our BigHorn... I leave the TV's plugged in as well as the surround sound system.

The small flame on the Fridge or Hot Water Tank... (Nope, we've not touched on keeping that flame burning have we) may look like a LOW RISK to some...it may strike them as unlikely it will cause a FIRE... But I've seen the results of an RV Fire... and no, for the record the ones I have seen were not caused by a gas flame of the Fridge. There is no saving one of these Rigs... once they catch fire. Fire grows by seconds...

To anyone still reading this RAMBLING reply... for my own travel style... I leave the Valves off when we are traveling. The Power button is in the OFF position on the Fridge... the Hot Water Tank is OFF... my Solar System's Inverter is OFF. And Most times... I've even lowered the over the air TV antenna as well... (since its now repaired) :) We've even been warned NOT to use the Cell Phone when fueling at a Gas Station... We've also been warned to Remove the portable gas tank from the bed of the Truck when filling them... Static Electric can and does ignite gasoline vapors.



Oh, by the way... I know my Chevy and the Dometic Fridge are not communicating either... the Fridge does not know when the Duramax is running...

jbeletti
09-22-2009, 10:29 PM
I was under the impression that the "auto mode" meant that it would switch from either "AC" or "Propane". AC when hooked to shore power and propane when not.:confused:

Your impression is accurate to the extent that you have propane, the tanks are on, the battery cut-off switch (if so equipped) is on, you have AC power and the refer is plugged into it. Then AUTO mode works as designed.

I think the OP may be refering to something they read. I recall a thread on this a while back. I think someone found out that there is a feature available on the refer for a Motorhome application or some such. To my knowledge, no such feature has been implemented in our application.

Jim

TXBobcat
09-23-2009, 12:14 AM
Ditto to SmokeyBare. If I were going to error I would rather error on the safe side. Turn it off. Can't hurt..

BC

rick_debbie_gallant
09-23-2009, 05:53 AM
I am not trying to "flame" anyone, but:

FYI: The specific gravity of propane is 1.52, or in other words 1.52 times heavier than air. (Read that propane vapors sink rather rapidly to the ground).

Gasoline vapors on the other hand has a specific gravity of 2.8 or in other words 2.8 times heavier than air. Read that gasoline vapors sink really fast to the ground which would present little to no chance for a pilot light caused fire, etc.,.

Imho it is far more likely for the catalytic converter on vehicles to cause a gasoline vapor fire or explosion in the event of a spill or other wise, than that of a fridge pilot lite or active flame, the same goes for the hot water heater. In fact I have seen several fires started by a vehicle with a hot catalytic converter that had parked over dry leaves in the gutter or dry leaves or grass on the ground.:eek:

I am sure that drivers of gasoline operated vehicles dont wait long enough for their catalytic converters to cool off prior to refueling, do you?:confused: again IMHO it is very unlikely for a fridge pilot light or flame to cause a gasoline vapor or gasoline spill fire or flashback as some people are fearful of. Just my 5 cents worth (adjusted for inflation or (specific gravity)).

jmgratz
09-23-2009, 06:26 AM
I am not trying to "flame" anyone, but:

FYI: The specific gravity of propane is 1.52, or in other words 1.52 times heavier than air. (Read that propane vapors sink rather rapidly to the ground).

Gasoline vapors on the other hand has a specific gravity of 2.8 or in other words 2.8 times heavier than air. Read that gasoline vapors sink really fast to the ground which would present little to no chance for a pilot light caused fire, etc.,.

Imho it is far more likely for the catalytic converter on vehicles to cause a gasoline vapor fire or explosion in the event of a spill or other wise, than that of a fridge pilot lite or active flame, the same goes for the hot water heater. In fact I have seen several fires started by a vehicle with a hot catalytic converter that had parked over dry leaves in the gutter or dry leaves or grass on the ground.:eek:

I am sure that drivers of gasoline operated vehicles dont wait long enough for their catalytic converters to cool off prior to refueling, do you?:confused: again IMHO it is very unlikely for a fridge pilot light or flame to cause a gasoline vapor or gasoline spill fire or flashback as some people are fearful of. Just my 5 cents worth (adjusted for inflation or (specific gravity)).

Are you willing to bet your family or your lives on those "facts" . I am not. I will opt on the side of safety. I also think that "Mac the fire guy" would beg to differ with your opnion. :)

jbeletti
09-23-2009, 08:55 AM
Are you willing to bet your family or your lives on those "facts" . I am not. I will opt on the side of safety. I also think that "Mac the fire guy" would beg to differ with your opnion. :)

Not to make light of this serious matter, only wanting to let the cat out of the bag on something related.

Come to the 2010 North American Heartland Owners Rally to debate "Mac the Fire Guy" in person. He will be one of our featured seminar presenters at this rally in Nashville in July.

Jim

rick_debbie_gallant
09-23-2009, 12:50 PM
Jim:

There is not really much to debate.

If anyone wants to error on the side of safety then by all means do it. One can't be to safe these days.

However believing that the act of shutting off an rv's propane valve while traveling or refueling will make things safer or not, well that is up to each person to decide.

I feel completely safe traveling with my valves open and fridge on, even when refueling.

I do not however feel safe with an electric heater operating in my r.v. I have seen way to many deadly fires caused by electric heaters.

Be safe!

again my nickels worth