View Full Version : Refrigerator On or Off While Traveling!!

05-27-2007, 07:06 PM
A fair question and just out of curiosity; how many RV'rs travel with the refrigerator on using the LP gas? The reason for the question was I did read where a member had a tire blowout and it not only cut his water line and damaged the unit, but it also cut his LP line to the refrigerator. Luckily no sparks and no fire. Last fall, just south of here we had a TV and TT that lost control and inverted, causing the unit to catch fire. The driver lost his life due to the fire. It does make you think.

05-27-2007, 09:05 PM

I always turn the Refrigerator OFF

I always gas valves OFF

I remember well two RV Fires I made runs to while working. Both left nothing but the frames...

The one that comes to mind... caused a loss of life...

They were warm as it was summer so they had their Roof A/C working by using their Generator to power the A/C as they drove down the Interstate Highway.

That generator was fueled by the Motor Home's gas tank. That line started to leak... spraying fuel on the hot generator motor... and soon there was fire flaring out of the side of their Motor Home. One of them never made it out of that burning RV.

Although there is a vast difference between Gasoline and propane... the results could be very much the same.

I chose to play it safe always... keeping my Refrigerator door closed... it never even melts the ice or the frost in the freezer when we stop driving at days end.

05-27-2007, 09:34 PM
Frans, I usually travel with the frig on in our 3600RL. However, both you and Marv make a lot of sense with your logic and comments. Stay safe.
tom w

05-27-2007, 11:06 PM
I leave ours on. You need to have a pretty precise air/fuel mixture to ignite propane.

05-28-2007, 06:24 AM
We leave ours ON. When the frig temp gets over 40 degrees things start growing. It all depends on individual choice the remote chance of fire or possible food poisoning.

05-28-2007, 07:28 AM
We also travel with ours on.

05-28-2007, 07:41 AM
With it on.

05-28-2007, 08:41 AM
With it on all the time.

05-28-2007, 09:00 AM
I have always traveled with it on but this is giving me food for thought.
I am now wondering if the solar system we are having installed on the new Mt. Rushmore will power the refrigerator while in transit.


05-28-2007, 09:58 AM
We travel with ours turned ON.

Uncle Rog
05-28-2007, 01:04 PM
Howdy, I usually leave it on. When I blew a tire in DV the carcass did bend up the gas line pretty good, the line to the heater. The reefer on the 3600RL sits forward enough of the wheel well to avoid any debris and the gas line is not exposed as is the heater line. I also carry 4 fire exstinguishers on the rig and 2 in the GMC when towing. I am going to re-directy the heater line so that it is not as vulnerable to damage.........

05-28-2007, 02:48 PM
I will travel with ours on if we will be on the road for more than 6 hrs a day and if the travel will be fairly level if it is mountainous I do not use the LP as I was told by a tech that you can develop an air bubble in the system on steep inclines and this could burn out your frig system. If we know we will be on the road for less than 6 hrs than we place 5 of the blue freezer packs in the frig and that holds the temp very well, then when we get to the campground we put the packs back in the freezer for use the next time.:D

05-28-2007, 02:59 PM
Anyone know why the rv industry seems to have gone away from the 3 way fridge-propane, 120v and 12v?

05-28-2007, 08:57 PM
I always travel with my propane off. I keep a tell tale temp gauge which reads both min/max temperatures in the fridge area and use the old ice cube in a baggie for the freezer compartment. To date we have never had a problem. Food in the freezer stays really cold and the food compartment is still around 42.

The other problem is the possibilty of having an ignition source during a fuel stop or if there is an accident.

With the unit moving around during towing you never know how much chaffing of lines is going on... with the tanks off that is just one less thing to worry about. and thats my two cents worth.

05-28-2007, 09:15 PM
We always turn ours off, we have done long days of travel and fridge is always good and cold..../Doug

05-28-2007, 09:53 PM
We travel with ours on.

I do agree that those of you that dont leave it on make some good points.

05-28-2007, 10:54 PM
We generally only run the refrigerator on short trips such as long weekends somewhere locally. These trips are typically to state parks. We stock up with food ahead of time so we don't need to spend time shopping after we arrive.

05-29-2007, 10:03 AM
OK - I am confused. I thought that the fridge would work off of battery power while traveling. Aren't the batteries charged from the TV during travel? I am also thinking of getting a solar panel or two for additional dry camping power without generator.

I never travel with gas on, but on my past RV's all of them worked on DC power as well. I have not gotten my new BH (maybe this week) yet so I do not know about it yet. So guys tell me why do you use gas - ever to run your fridge? Seems a waste of gas..

Past RV's include 1) Class C, 2) 38' Diesel pusher, 3) Travel Trailer.

05-29-2007, 04:46 PM
Our fridge doesn't work off of battery power and neither did the ones in the first 2 campers we owned. We have been camping since 1988 and have always ran the fridge when traveling. My husband has been camping since the 1960's. His father also left the fridge on. With 4 growing boys to feed, they had to take food from home.

05-29-2007, 06:12 PM
The only unit I had that ways 3 way was a Tent Camper. The last 3 units have always been Gas or electric only. I never have seen a large fridge that was 3 ways. It possible that make them I just have not seen any.

Ken Washington
05-29-2007, 09:37 PM
You must have 12 volt power for the electronic part of the refrigerator to work. I for one run mine while traveling.


05-30-2007, 05:24 AM
Have always traveled with our gas on.

05-30-2007, 07:52 AM
Chulinw, we had a 8 cubic foot 3 way fridge in our 1994 24 Corsair 5th wheel. Didin't get as cold as propane but it worked.

05-30-2007, 08:31 AM
That's weird - I wonder if they run it through an inverter or something. I have owned a class C and a Class A Diesel and they both worked while traveling without gas... Now I am unsure about the TT – haven’t used it a lot. Anyway, I have never run with gas on – but it seems that you would have an issue with food spoilage if you were doing 8-10 hour travel days…
Maybe the answer is to make sure that the gas lines have really good protection around the tires.

05-31-2007, 09:53 AM
I always travel with my fridge on propane. I will turn it off before fueling at a busy gas station if I am at gasoline pumps. Only one of my two previous campers had a 3-way fridge. When on 12 volts, they pull a lot of current, I don't remember the amperage, but is is significant, and the fridge will discharge a 12 volt (or 2-6 volt batteries) in a very short time if you are not moving and the batteriy is being charged. Also, my perception was that the cooling provided by the 12 volt system was marginal at best. It would not keep the fridge cold when traveling across Idaho in the summer, 90 to 100 degress. I finally gave up on the 12 volt part of the system and used propane, or the 120 volt system when hookups were available. It would take multiple solar panels and a large battery bank and a lot of sunshine to run your fridge on 12 volts when camping.

The last trailer I had (Weekend Warrior) had cast iron gas pipe bolted to the frame rails, so flexing and chaffing wasn't a problem, and I doubt a blowout would damage that pipe. Copper tubing was used only for the last, short run to the appliances.

06-01-2007, 08:34 AM
I read an article in the Good Sam magazine last night - The RV Doctor Said he suggests leaving the gas on for the heater and other appliances as needed. He seems to think as long as you check the gas lines for leaks periodically then there is no issue.

I never had any problems with cold fridges on the Class C and Class A on 12V. Of course the coaches were cooled while running. As for Solar – I am not talking about those wimpy over priced Camping World models. The residential grade solar panels pump out 80 to 208 watts at 12V. Camping World’s biggest model is a 15 watt one – LOL. One of those 208 watt babies could run the fridge on 110 with an inverter… LOL.

How are the Big Horns set-up? Do they use cast iron or all Copper? Haven’t gotten mine yet to see.

06-01-2007, 10:05 AM
My main line running down the length on coach is cast and then from the T's to the appliance is copper.

06-03-2007, 06:50 PM
Always on for the last 37 years and no problems, but piece of mind for you is what counts.
Travel safe

09-26-2007, 12:25 PM
I know there haven't been any entries on this thread for awhile, but wanted to add something I was told by the dealer when we picked up our BH 3670 last Friday. I was asking him about the fridge and he told me that it was a 3 way, I doubted it, at the time because the Coachmmen that I traded in had a 3 way, same make fridge, and it sure did look different. I work 7-10s so haven't had time to check things out yet. But he did tell me something very interesting. He said that if the coach isn't level, when operating the fridge, that it would lock out and could not be run again until it was brought back to the dealer and they had to unlock the fridge. He said that Heartland was doing that to keep from being sued by people that had accidents, on the road, and got hurt by explosions, fire, etc. Has anyone else heard this or was he just blowing smoke? It seems that that would pretty much preclude leaving it on while traveling. This is my third RV and I have never left my gas on when traveling. I work in refineries for a living, (both natural gas and oil) and have seen to many incidents to be comfortable traveling down the road with a gas fed flame burning.

09-27-2007, 05:34 AM
Been Rv'ing for 27 years and always traveled with the Frig on LP, never had a problem.....also a State Trooper for 30 years and never worked a wreck where LP was suspected as a cause of fire. Most fires on RV's in my experience are caused by underinflated tires that overheat. Jmho....Jwb

09-27-2007, 05:38 AM
Mine is a two way, and works fine unlevel. That sounds like a story. I also thought one of the reasons the propane industry went to the new bottle valves was safety. I don't believe they will discharge when the line is cut down stream of the regulator, or when the bottle is upside down.

When I had my new bottles purged, they would not discharge when the valve was opened, but when the dealer opened the bleed valve, there was quite a discharge.

09-27-2007, 01:58 PM
The refrigerator is not 3-way it is cooled by 120V and Lp Gas only.
The refrigerator does not lock out when used in an un-level condition. The only consequence is that it does not cool as efficiently. For maximum efficiency the unit should be operated in a level condition.
Please - Please - Please don't believe everything you hear.


09-27-2007, 03:17 PM
I never said I believed him, that was just what he told me. lol ;)