View Full Version : Traveling with propane on to keep refrigerator col

06-08-2015, 11:43 PM
Should you or should you not travel with the propane on while on the road? If not, what do you do to keep refrigerated items from spoiling?

06-09-2015, 02:17 AM
The 2 way reefers are designed and built to operate off of propane. That is what I do when traveling. Never had a problem.

06-09-2015, 02:28 AM
We always leave ours on, the only time we turn it off if we are going through tunnels. Sometimes we will travel 8+ hours in a day stopping now and then to grab something cold out of the fridge. A cold beverage on a hot day :D
That being said I'm sure the fridge can stay cold for most of a day as long as you keep the door shut.

06-09-2015, 02:35 AM
This has been discussed many times I am a beleiver in turning off Refer when driving.What we do we have 4 blue packs when we make our over nite stops in a Campground we put the 4 in the freezer when we start out in the AM we turn off the Refer and move to packs down to the refer and leave 2 in the freezer.We never keep a lot of food in the Refer when we travel just enough prepared food for the trip. This has worked for us for over 15 years our max travel days are 3 Pa To Fl

06-09-2015, 02:41 AM
We have been running our propane while on the road for 25 years and have never had a problem. I do shut off, if we pull in to fuel.

06-09-2015, 03:58 AM
We run fridge all the time while traveling. Never had a problem.

06-09-2015, 04:36 AM
What Bingo said. I have plenty of other things to worry about while traveling. If you're worried about fire in a accident, look at it this way, you probably will not survive the impact so why worry about fire.

06-09-2015, 05:43 AM
As mentioned, this is a frequent topic of conversation, especially on some other RV sites. Most frequent concern is the fridge being on while fueling and causing a fire at the pump. And that could be a concern on a truck camper or a gas motor home where the fuel cap may be close to the fridge. But on our trailers the fridge is a long way from the truck fuel cap. And gas fumes are heavier than air and sink to the ground. To cause a fire, the fumes would have to travel from the source, across the distance to the fridge, at the height of the fridge grill, and enter that grill, and still have a concentration greater than the LEL (lower explosive limit) of the gas fumes sufficient to support combustion. Highly unlikely even if it were from a neighboring pump that may be somewhat closer. In spite of all the arguments about it, no one has ever posted a verifiable report of it ever happening.

If you are at diesel only pumps, then forget about it. Diesel fumes are not explosive like gas fumes are. I used diesel to ignite burn piles when burning off cleared brush and downed tree limbs on some land I owned. It is more like charcoal lighter fluid, you have to actually touch the match flame to the fuel to ignite it. The fumes alone do not ignite.

Mine stays on from a couple days before we leave home until we return.

06-09-2015, 07:02 AM
We use ours on propane all the time while driving and have never had an issue. Turn propane off prior to entering a gas station is all we are concerned about and that is more about other and not us.

06-09-2015, 05:09 PM
We do both. If it's not hot out we leave it off and things stay fine all day. 90-100 degree days we leave it on. Only problem I ever knew to be true happened at the LP fueling station at Q. If you look at the pictures where you pay you'll see a rig and their shack burning to the ground. Fueler asked if everything was turned off before he started to fill a tank on a class A. Fridg was still on.

06-09-2015, 05:53 PM
I'm with most of ya and keep it on propane while traveling ,but I have only stopped once for fuel in 4 years with the 5er attached

06-09-2015, 06:02 PM
I am surprised that these fridges don't run off the battery power when hooked to vehicle while driving. Our old 1986 Alpenlite trailer worked that way. Haven't been out yet in my HC but a few weeks then out for first run. Great site I have learned and bought a lot of stuff from all the discussions.

06-10-2015, 04:25 PM
I see where Mac the Fire Guy (Macthefireguy.com) will be at the rally in Goshen this year. As a
retired firefighter he is against travelling with the propane on. He says most refrigerators
will keep food cold & frozen for 8 hours. Those that are going to the rally be sure to attend
his seminars.

06-10-2015, 05:26 PM
Wonder what Mac the Fireguy would say about me traveling with the generator running to keep the pets cool in their crates in the rig? Years ago, I might have concurred with his "professional opinion", but with the safety measures that are now present, I will continue doing what I have always done. I have ran with the furnace on in freezing conditions as well. I understand his viewpoint, I just respectfully opt to disagree. Others may well have their own opinions as well, and each person should respectfully make their own choice based upon what they feel comfortable with as I will.

Willy Bee
06-16-2015, 05:19 PM
I leave mine on all the time while driving. Only time I shut the refer down is when I go into a gas station to get fuel. Refer is by the door so it is easy to do. You will be fine running your refer on propane.

06-16-2015, 07:22 PM
i thought this issue was resolved years ago. keep the propane on.

06-17-2015, 05:31 AM
quote:Originally posted by mazboy

i thought this issue was resolved years ago. keep the propane on.

Will never happen. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and probably most will never change either way. And they then pass it on to others who have not heard the arguments or read the discussions. And the process goes on.

06-18-2015, 03:50 AM
Right or wrong we have traveled with the propane on for 30 years. Did stop and shut it down at a couple of tunnels that said to do it.The fridge will keep food cold for a few hours.

06-18-2015, 05:43 AM
If you are afraid to drive with it on, wouldn't you be more afraid to sleep in it with it on?

06-19-2015, 01:01 PM
quote:Originally posted by andylparish

If you are afraid to drive with it on, wouldn't you be more afraid to sleep in it with it on?

Excellent point.

06-19-2015, 01:18 PM
quote:Originally posted by richfaa

quote:Originally posted by andylparish

If you are afraid to drive with it on, wouldn't you be more afraid to sleep in it with it on?

Excellent point.

Most excellent point!

06-20-2015, 02:58 AM
I wonder if 5th wheels will eventually offer an all electric rig like some motor homes have...or maybe there is one out there.

06-20-2015, 03:26 AM
Always drive with it on (except for tunnels that have restrictions).

06-25-2015, 01:13 PM
I spent 26 years dealing with auto accidents and such. Car fires are the most frightening and heartbreaking to deal with. Most tunnels are posted "No Haz-mat"; propane is haz-mat. If you do not have an automotive-propane-fuel-tank, you ain't 'lowed through - check before you go getting caught gets expensive. Forgetting to shut off the fridge at a fuel stops is like playing russian roulette; even if you are not the cause, if you are there and something goes wrong, you are likely to be at least named in the lawsuit. We take a two week tour going to and coming from our winter destinations. We also take other tours. We travel roughly 400miles between stops. We switch on when we stop and switch off when we leave. A small cooler with cold-pack lasts the day just fine and setting the fridge to its coldest setting during transit-stops holds for 48 hrs easily. If you can figure a way to wire it, a 200watt inverter will do the job of running the fridge. Be safe.

06-25-2015, 03:23 PM
Mine is an older unit but it pulls around 380 watts. Maybe the newer ones are more efficient. Jim

07-05-2015, 08:40 PM
We always travelled with it on except tunnels. While traveling through Canada last summer, we were told the fine for traveling with propane on was very high ($10k?). Perhaps our Canadian friends can comment. While in Canada, we travelled with it off. By the way, the difference between driving and sleeping is multiple. First, should a leak occur while you are sleeping, your propane alarm would go off and you would hear it. Not sure about driving 65 down the highway. Also, should there be an accident, your lines could be compromised. Again, we normally travel with it on.

07-08-2015, 04:15 AM
Can't remember the last time I even turned my gas off.....Don't go thru many tunnels that require you to turn off small bottles of propane....those signs only pertain to larger volumes of Haz Mat materials not travel trailers...The Bay tunnel in Md is one of the few I have ever run across that require propane tanks be turned off on travel trailers. I have asked different DOT's about tunnels and most said has to be 100 Gal plus....like one told me a lot of city buses and now some cars run on propane. They are trying to avoid a major conflagration in a tunnel. As a firefighter a 30 lb bottle blowing off does not concern me like a 1000 gal tank would......At gas stations you are out in the open air where fumes do not build up to explosive levels...think of how far away your frig is from the pumps????

07-08-2015, 06:31 AM
Let's think about this... It's not the propane being on that's necessarily the problem unless you have an accident that breaks a hose or connection, it's any sparking that might occur that uses propane to run that is the problem. I have been known to run with propane on, if the drive is gonna be more than 4 hours which is rare but does happen. As long as the fridge doors remain closed during this time the contents should remain cool but I run the A/C on propane just to make sure if the drive is long.

Other things that spark with propane are the water heater and the furnace which I don't run, but know of others who do run them. This means prior to entering a tunnel (which might have fumes) you don't want anything to spark from your rig, so turn off these items if you know there's tunnels ahead, but who plans this much. Well, I do. And of course if getting ready to refuel, turn off these devices so they don't spark. The only other hazard with propane being on, is having a severe accident that might break a propane line, then if there's a fire or spark somewhere, well you get the idea.

07-08-2015, 06:32 PM
In our 8 years of travel with our 5th wheel, we have never left the propane on. The frig has stayed cool and the the food is still cold and frozen, even our ice cream.

At times we have driven 7-8 hours a day and never an issue. If the frig is cold and doors aren't open it shouldn't be a problem.

I think it goes by personal preference about the propane.

07-09-2015, 03:35 AM
The problem we see, is if we travel 7-8 hours the food is ok,, but the refrigerator itself has to start cooling down all over again. In seven hours, ours goes from 33-35 degrees at shutdown to high 40s at restart.