Traveling with the propane gas on can be significantly dangerous for RV’ers. The pros and cons must be weighed carefully and each individual must decide what they are comfortable with; it is your RV after all.
RV refrigerators are available in two configurations;
- 2 way RV refrigerator; these are the most common type of refrigerator. They operate on propane and 110volt AC
- 3 way refrigerator; these operate on propane, 12 volt DC and 110 volt AC
RV refrigerators work best when using propane but 3 way refrigerators can be run on 12volt Dc while driving. This conserves propane but will drain your battery if you switch your motor off for even a few hours.
If you travel with your generator running, use the electric setting on your refrigerator. Most new RV’s are wired in such a way that the generator cannot run your refrigerator while traveling due to the amount of energy required. If you can run your refrigerator, you will need to replace your alternator more frequently than usual, keep this in mind.
Traveling with your propane gas on
Traveling with your propane on allows for conveniences such as the refrigerator to run. Propane also keeps the water in your water heater hot and runs the heating system in your RV. The benefits of traveling with your propane gas on are clear but you will be exposing yourself to definite risks.
While traveling, appliances move and they can break the propane line allowing the gas in the tank to escape. You only need a small spark to ignite propane gas. A broken line can trigger a fire in an instant.
If you travel with your propane on, turn it, and all other appliances off before going into a gas station. Most states also require that you turn propane off when entering a tunnel.
Traveling with propane gas off
This option means you forfeit your heating and cooling systems, but that’s a minor trade off considering it could save your life. A propane leak due to an accident is a disaster about to happen.
It is unnecessary to keep your refrigerator on while traveling. You will lose 4degrees Fahrenheit at most, every 8 hours if it stays off. You can also purchase a $20 fridge fan if you would like to guarantee that your food stays cool while your fridge is off.
The fridge fan circulates cool air in the fridge and is simply placed on a shelf. The lower the shelf the better as warm air rises.
To get the most out of your fan, place a stainless steel bowl of ice cubes next to it.
The seal on your refrigerator will keep things cold even on very hot days. Open your fridge door only long enough to get what you want out of it,
The inside temperature of your fridge should be 30 to 40 degrees. Purchase a fridge thermometer if you are very concerned about spoilage due to temperature.
How to maintain temperature in your refrigerator when traveling with propane gas off
- Put your refrigerator on the coldest setting the night before you set off on your travels.
- Use an ice chest to keep any food or drinks you may need during the day to minimize opening the refrigerator door
Remember to turn all appliances off when traveling. Most use an electric ignition that can create a spark and trigger an explosion if there is a break in the propane line.
If you are an RV owner for whom safety is the first propriety, then traveling with your propane refrigerator switched off is the clear choice.
Watch the video below and hear what an expert has to say about the subject of traveling with your propane gas on.
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