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Old 09-08-2015, 10:33 PM   #1
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Driving while running the fridge on propane

I have a question I've been wanting to ask for awhile. When we first bought our trailer I was under the impression that it wasn't safe to travel down the road with propane turned on running the fridge. On my occasional browsing through different threads, though, it seems like some folks do this regularly. We've never done it and just have to cool things back down once we stop and can turn the propane on.

Can anyone share with me whether this is indeed a safe way to travel?

Thank, I appreciate any thoughts!
Lisa
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:47 PM   #2
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Lots of arguments pro and con.
I'm in the middle. I've run with propane on and with it off. You need to turn off open flame ( such as your fridge ) when refueling. I find it a PIA to have to stop prior to the gas station to shut down, then fuel, then stop again to restart. I've found that my fridge ( 5 cu. ft. ) stays cold for hours, if you don't open the door.
You do ( legally ) have to shut off propane on ferries and prior to entering some tunnels.
Some are concerned about escaping propane in the event of an accident, but the propane cylinders today have a safety valve that shuts down the flow when it detects escaping gas.
So, it's up to you.
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:58 PM   #3
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There seems to be two camps on this topic, one that would never do because they think it’s dangerous, the other who do it all the time and see the danger as minimal or none existent. From the comments I’ve read I think it’s split about 50/50. I suggest you do what you’re comfortable with.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I've run with propane on and with it off. You need to turn off open flame ( such as your fridge ) when refueling. I find it a PIA to have to stop prior to the gas station to shut down, then fuel, then stop again to restart.
Same here. The amount of pain depends on what is involved in the restarting. In my old trailer, that's relighting a pilot, which is too much of a pain; with a new electronically controlled refrigerator, it's just a button push, so it is just the stop which is the (significant) issue.

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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Some are concerned about escaping propane in the event of an accident, but the propane cylinders today have a safety valve that shuts down the flow when it detects escaping gas.
It actually greatly restricts (doesn't entirely shut off) flow if an excessively high flow occurs - the idea is that a ruptured hose will trigger it (and it is located in the fitting on the end of the hose). That does make use on the road safer, but it is not an absolute fix for all possible leaks.

Escape builds the trailers with properly secured propane tanks. Anyone who has changed this - such as by relocating the tank to the storage box and not really clamping it down - might reconsider this before driving with the tank valve open.

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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
You do ( legally ) have to shut off propane on ferries and prior to entering some tunnels.
... and that means turn off the valve at the tank, not just turn off appliances using propane (just in case anyone didn't already understand that). The excess flow feature is not good enough on a ship or in a tunnel.

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Originally Posted by sunrisetrucker View Post
There seems to be two camps on this topic, one that would never do because they think it’s dangerous, the other who do it all the time and see the danger as minimal or none existent.
I'm not sure that anyone thinks that the risk is non-existent, because that doesn't make sense. Operating any vehicle and any use (while driving or not) of a fuel involves risk - I just think that the risk when done properly is reasonable.

I think there's a third camp - those who incorrectly believe that it is illegal, aside from any risk evaluation.

With larger (meaning larger than available in an Escape, but common in larger RVs) refrigerator, DC operation is not available, so being away from shore power for a whole driving day means running it on propane. I'm sure that a lot of RV refrigerators - especially in motorhomes - are run on propane while driving.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:21 PM   #5
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I almost always have it on, as we switch from electric to propane in the drive before leaving, and leave it on until we get home, as we need to run on propane while camping.

I recently saw a thread on another RV site while searching something about propane. I can't remember now what I was searching, and I can't find the thread again. Basically, the OP asked folks to honestly answer a few questions, the first was who ran with propane on, and it was the vast majority. And of those that did, who turned it off when refuelling, and it was pretty mostly those that had a switch to use to do so. Most argued that it is not even posted to turn off propane when refuelling, and to be honest, I don't think I have ever seen a sign saying to do so. Ferries and tunnels requiring it to be off do have signs posted to do so.

In the vein of being honest, I very rarely (okay, pretty much never) turn off my fridge when refuelling, partially because I never actually think about it.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:30 PM   #6
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Mine's usually on from departure to return, except for ferries.

But, because I think this question has come up several times, second time this week? I did a little searching. Sure lots of opinions out there

I did notice, on the Canadian Propane Assoc. website, that they state that it's required by most provinces that the appliances be turned off while refueling Further research required

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Old 09-08-2015, 11:33 PM   #7
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I do the same as others have mentioned, propane on before leaving home and off upon return to home. Have never shut off while refuelling (have never seen any signs at gas stations requiring that this be done), but I do turn off the propane before getting on a ferry.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I did notice, on the Canadian Propane Assoc. website, that they state that it's required by most provinces that the appliances be turned off while refueling Further research required
The research has been done.

That site is mostly based on opinion, and is not at all based on the law. I am sure you remember the thread from many years ago (it has been linked to a few times in past years), where I reported most of the results I got from the each Provincial and Territorial, and the National Department of Transport, asking if using propane appliances in trailers was allowed while under way, and every last one said it was fully legal unless posted otherwise.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:40 PM   #9
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OK, I found something of the TranBC, Minister of Transportion.. website.

Appliances "should" be turned off.... Well, it doesn't say "shall" so it looks like I don't have to change my ways.

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Old 09-08-2015, 11:44 PM   #10
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There is a sign at all gas stations saying that there should be no open flame within "X" number of metres or feet. The fridge is an open flame .........

Barry
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