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Old 02-19-2021, 04:23 PM   #1
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Propane safety

Can the refrigerator and furnace be used safely while traveling? Before fueling the tow vehicle is it necessary (or safer) to shut off propane? Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2021, 05:17 PM   #2
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Almost everyone uses the propane for the fridge when traveling. It is safe and legal. A few have left the heat on, but I have never had need, even when well below 0°C.

There are a few places that turning the tanks of is required, like ferries and some tunnels.
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:25 PM   #3
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I turn the heat on before I leave (on short trips only). Particularly in the Winter.

I like it warm when I get there.
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:14 PM   #4
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We carry a Mr. Buddy heater to warm the camper up when we get in at night. It can be 30 F out and the Buddy will have the camper nice and toasty in 10 minutes. It's too hot to use as a heater all night though. Terry is usually complaining how hot it is in the camper after the Buddy's been running 15 minutes.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:20 PM   #5
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Can the refrigerator and furnace be used safely while traveling? Before fueling the tow vehicle is it necessary (or safer) to shut off propane?
In a gas station it doesn't matter whether or not the propane supply is turned on, but the appliances are potential ignition sources for gasoline fumes, so it would be safer if they are turned off.

Some appliances in some RVs and in some conditions have difficulty staying lit when moving (which means essentially when in a very strong wind). With electronic ignition, you may not realize that the flame is being blown out and relighting; as long as the appliance works appropriately, there isn't likely any problem.
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Old 02-20-2021, 08:15 AM   #6
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If you carry insurance on your trailer, double check your policy. Typically there is wording that you void any coverage if you don’t follow THEIR definition of safe practices. Same goes if you’re in an accident, you could be blamed for any resulting fire.
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Old 02-20-2021, 08:44 AM   #7
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We carry a Mr. Buddy heater to warm the camper up when we get in at night. It can be 30 F out and the Buddy will have the camper nice and toasty in 10 minutes. It's too hot to use as a heater all night though. Terry is usually complaining how hot it is in the camper after the Buddy's been running 15 minutes.

Enjoy,

Perry
I have one too and I admit, I love it. I was worried about injecting humidity in the trailer, but it seems to be negligible. Out here humidity can be a good thing.

I would caution people that are considering this to also get a carbon monoxide monitor ($100-$200). Not just alarm ($35). It will give you a continuous readout on CO. A couple of times I had to shut mine down due to levels hitting 10. Safe but not by much. Besides any CO is bad. It usually stays between 5 and 7.

Alarms do not give you a continuous readout. Instead they usually flash Zero until you hit a threshold, usually 35.

Levels 1-3, normal breathing levels
Levels 4-9, High end of normal

Anything below 50 is considered Low. You don't want anything near that (IMHO)!

This is the Buddy Flex and Flex Cooker. In the cold snap I used this every morning. This heat comes on FAST!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Buddy Flex-1.jpg (314.9 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg Buddy Flex-2.jpg (308.4 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg CO monitor.jpg (112.6 KB, 26 views)
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Old 02-20-2021, 08:50 AM   #8
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We just turn the trailer furnace on when we arrive somewhere for the night, even when super cold like - 19C one night, the trailer warms up real quick. The bedding is a bit cold but warms up quick once we are in it.

To each there own though. I like to bring a minimal amount of extra things like heaters and such, which allows me more space for the fun stuff.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:04 AM   #9
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I have one too and I admit, I love it. I was worried about injecting humidity in the trailer, but it seems to be negligible. Out here humidity can be a good thing.

I would caution people that are considering this to also get a carbon monoxide monitor ($100-$200). Not just alarm ($35). It will give you a continuous readout on CO. A couple of times I had to shut mine down due to levels hitting 10. Safe but not by much. Besides any CO is bad. It usually stays between 5 and 7.

Alarms do not give you a continuous readout. Instead they usually flash Zero until you hit a threshold, usually 35.

Levels 1-3, normal breathing levels
Levels 4-9, High end of normal

Anything below 50 is considered Low. You don't want anything near that (IMHO)!

This is the Buddy Flex and Flex Cooker. In the cold snap I used this every morning. This heat comes on FAST!
We have an additional Kidde CO alarm with readout as well as the Escape supplied CO detector, but the kind you have to press the button to get the readout. I can't get above 0 on the readout using either our Mr Buddy or our Martin catalytic heater (about 1,400 btu's), even when the Buddy is on high (9,000 btu's). However, we follow safe protocol and crack the passenger side dinette window and the ceiling vent. Just a little ventilation goes a long, long way.

OTOH, we've had that Kidde CO detector go off twice using both burners on our gas stove, without the windows cracked. Think about how much CO people here are breathing while cooking in their camper on a cold day.

Didn't know about those Buddy's you have. I've got to look them up!

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:19 AM   #10
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Didn't know about those Buddy's you have. I've got to look them up!
Same here.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:57 AM   #11
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We just turn the trailer furnace on when we arrive somewhere for the night, even when super cold like - 19C one night, the trailer warms up real quick. The bedding is a bit cold but warms up quick once we are in it.

To each there own though. I like to bring a minimal amount of extra things like heaters and such, which allows me more space for the fun stuff.
Ultimately this approach makes the most sense (IMHO). Most of the time when the Buddy comes along, it is for another reason. But having more than one purpose is good too.

This brings up another point. I never get close to filling up the room I have either in the truck or camper. I do admit, I don't bring a lot. And I have to watch payload. Mostly a guitar, amp, scooter or skateboard, hiking clothes and some additional cooking gear and propane. I would love to try X-country skiing, but I have not done that yet in the camper.

Even when I bring both the Blackstone and the Baby Q grill I still have plenty of room left. The only other thing is firewood and my Solo stove.

I might buy an inflatable boat. What do you guys bring that is fun?
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:12 AM   #12
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We just turn the trailer furnace on when we arrive somewhere for the night, even when super cold like - 19C one night, the trailer warms up real quick. The bedding is a bit cold but warms up quick once we are in it.

To each there own though. I like to bring a minimal amount of extra things like heaters and such, which allows me more space for the fun stuff.
TETO works for us too.

We've paired so much needless stuff out of our rig and tug we have no problem bringing our Buddy. There is no comparison warming up the trailer with the Buddy vs the standard furnace. With the furnace the solid items take quite a while to warm. We usually wait until it gets 80 inside before turning off the Buddy.

In the 5.0, if it's 80 down below it's 90 in the bed area using the Buddy for a few minutes (Buddy heat rises). Once the Buddy has been off for 20-30 minutes the heat equalizes and even the sheets are nice and toasty.

But like you said, TETO. We all have different needs and wants.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:15 AM   #13
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Toys

I bring a Smokey Joe charcoal grill, a bicycle or 2 and an inflatable 1 person kayak, some kites and a drone.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:02 PM   #14
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Can the refrigerator and furnace be used safely while traveling? Before fueling the tow vehicle is it necessary (or safer) to shut off propane? Thanks.
I imagine this subject has been covered before but here's my .02

I feel safer with the tanks off when travelling. I might be the only guy on the planet driving with the fridge on DC but it's worked ok for me (with a large gauge truck to camper power feed). And I'll try the same with the trailer. If DC doesn't cut it I'll try AC with the inverter before LPG. Likewise for trailer area and water heating if I were to do that while driving.

I've prob forgotten some of the reasons for this but a few come to mind ...

-watching an RV pull into a parking lot with a bit a smoke coming from the rear. I thought he was burning blue (burning oil) but quickly a fire overtook the cabin area and then the cab. We watched from across the street, waiting while our truck was being repaired after unexpected trouble on a road trip. I remember thinking the classic, "there's always someone worse off than you" !

- I know a guy who's camper burned down beside his house one night. Lost his truck too. Some talk that an oven knob had gotten knocked to the on position and maybe the furnace starting set it off.

- Once I stopped, smelled propane and found the hose to the LPG tank loose. It had been tight before moving.

All those incidents can be explained away, brushed off, could be irrelevant etc.

But, like many folks I've seen and been in vehicle accidents. They can happen in an instance and I figure propane tanks being off would be one less thing to worry about/deal in the moment.

YMMV, best to do your research and determine your own level of comfort for what you feel is safe.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:27 PM   #15
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YMMV, best to do your research and determine your own level of comfort for what you feel is safe.

You feel safe driving the truck with a tank full of gasoline and many electrical functions?
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:54 PM   #16
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I too drive with propane off and fridge on DC. This has been hashed before on this forum and others. Both sides argue their points. I simply won’t drive with it on; others will. Not sure about water and heat in the winter. In my Bigfoot it didn’t freeze on travel days, but the Escape is 3 season. Not sure how I will address that yet.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:59 PM   #17
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I might be the only guy on the planet driving with the fridge on DC...
No, lots of people do that - it's the reason for the DC operation mode of the refrigerator.

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I've prob forgotten some of the reasons for this but a few come to mind ...

-watching an RV pull into a parking lot with a bit a smoke coming from the rear. I thought he was burning blue (burning oil) but quickly a fire overtook the cabin area and then the cab...
It's likely that the wood of the interior was burning after being started by an electrical fault. Yes, fires in RVs are a risk, but those fires are not necessarily related to propane.
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Old 02-20-2021, 11:24 PM   #18
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I know a guy who's camper burned down beside his house one night. Lost his truck too. Some talk that an oven knob had gotten knocked to the on position and maybe the furnace starting set it off.
One of the things I like about the Dickinson Marine line of cooktops and ranges that some of us have installed is the safety flame-out protection. Shuts the gas valve if flame is accidentally extinguished or the burner does not ignite on start-up.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:20 AM   #19
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We carry a Mr. Buddy heater to warm the camper up when we get in at night. It can be 30 F out and the Buddy will have the camper nice and toasty in 10 minutes. It's too hot to use as a heater all night though. Terry is usually complaining how hot it is in the camper after the Buddy's been running 15 minutes.
Anyone considering a catalytic propane aka Buddy heater, please understand how much humidity they output. Every small green tank used outputs 3 cups of water in the form of water vapor. If you're concerned about condensation and mold, you don't want to go anywhere near a catalytic propane heater.

The stock propane furnace heats the trailer so quickly I don't see why you would need a different propane heater.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:47 AM   #20
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It's likely that the wood of the interior was burning after being started by an electrical fault. Yes, fires in RVs are a risk, but those fires are not necessarily related to propane.
I’m glad you mentioned that Brian; it is exactly what I was thinking. If I were a betting person, I would bet that more (unoccupied) RV fires are related to electrical problems than propane.

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Anyone considering a catalytic propane aka Buddy heater, please understand how much humidity they output. Every small green tank used outputs 3 cups of water in the form of water vapor. If you're concerned about condensation and mold, you don't want to go anywhere near a catalytic propane heater.

The stock propane furnace heats the trailer so quickly I don't see why you would need a different propane heater.
I fully agree. Unless temperatures are close to or below freezing, I find the furnace can quickly “overheat” the trailer. If I have shore power, I find a 1,000 watt ceramic heater adequate and even that cycles on and off. Plus, I do not like the “clamy” sensation or the condensation which results from high humidity.
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