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Do you run your RV refrigerator on propane when the RV is moving?

We’ve asked this question before but it’s been awhile, maybe a few years. It always promotes a lot of discussion. Some RVers report they run their refrigerators on propane while rolling down the highway and “have for years with no problems.” Others say, no way, they will not take the risk.



What risk? Well, use your imagination — you have a combustible gas flowing through a line beneath your RV’s floor and what if you crashed, or you blew a tire and it caused a spark, which ignited the ruptured LP line leading to the fridge? Both situations happen and have caused fires.

What do you think? Please leave a comment. Be nice.


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John
2 months ago

Holy Cow. I can’t believe so many people drive with their propane on. The propane tank valve should be off when driving, thus you should not run your refrigerator on propane while driving! So many bad things can happen driving with propane on. What if you got in even a minor accident and a gas line got a leak, boom & fire. Some tunnels won’t let you drive thru them with propane. Great Bill, you have the choice to drive with propane on and blow yourself up. Do not drive with your propane tank on.

Bob Palin
2 months ago
Reply to  John

Far less danger from a propane tank than a gas tank.

Bill
2 months ago

As I review the poll I am surprised at the results. There are 12% who have weighed the risks and have formed a hard and fast rule not to travel with propane running their refrigerator. On the other hand 83% have chosen to weigh the risks and have made a different choice. (with the other 5% having all electric) The point is we are free to make these choices. We are the ones who have been given the freedom and responsibility and have the right to choose either way.
As we all have different camping rigs and styles we have different opinions on this topic as well.
Yet we all enjoy our form of camping. Let us continue to allow each other our freedom of choice and not take the position that others are wrong if they do differently.

Tony Barthel(@tony)
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

Agreed and let’s promise to share videos of all the RVs burning to the ground because the fridge faulted out and had a plentiful supply of propane to create said YouTube content.

David Stansbury
2 months ago

If it’s more than an hour away, especially in the summer, yes.

Left Coast Geek
2 months ago

When I had an absorbtion fridge, I ran it on propane unless we had hookups, but when it died, I got a DC compressor fridge, a Norcold N2175, and that runs on DC all the time, and stays far colder in hot weather.

Dennis G.
2 months ago

24 years running our Dometic refrigerator on propane while traveling. Now,… with that said, we do not operate the fridge off-level! If we traverse a 6+ degree grade, we turn it off. If we park off level, we turn it off.
Be nice to your fridge, and it will take care of you.

Bob Palin
2 months ago
Reply to  Dennis G.

You don’t have to worry about grade when driving, the movement of the RV will prevent pooling of coolant.

l wms
2 months ago

No need. Cold food can be food safety transport for 6 hours as long temperature can be maintained below 45 degrees. I rarely drive 4+ hrs. My norcold holds 35 to 45 without assistance. Do your research on food safety.

Second the tanks on my class c are built in. It has built in safety which shuts off gas per specs for regulation.

Lastly
You got more things to worry about if you crashed hard enough to rupture tanks.

Don Sholey
2 months ago

I do on occasion leave the refrigerator running on propane while travelling. If the accident is serious enough to break the propane line to the refrigerator, it could also rupture the main propane tank. All it takes is a spark, not just a flame, to start a fire. So unless you don’t have any propane with you then you always have some risk of fire or explosion, even with the refrigerator off.

Dan
2 months ago

We rarely use propane. We start the fridge several days before hitting the road, nothing goes in that isn’t already chilled or frozen, we fill excess space with frozen gel packs, and pack a lunch in our truck so there’s no need to open the fridge en route. No problems at all for normal travel, for us no more than 4 to 5 hours driving. We did use propane on a trip last summer when temps were consistently in the 90s, and a good thing, too, as we got stuck in several tieups.

John
2 months ago

I run a freezer/fridge in my pickup and rotate ice packs between it and the RV fridge. The former is the size of a medium cooler and keeps everything frozen. You can defrost the next meal while traveling. I don’t run the RV fridge on propane while traveling. The freezer/fridge can be set above freezing when the frozen meals are used up.

vanessa
2 months ago

Since I got solar and LI batteries I use that when I’m traveling. If I’m in a campground I just plug in if I’m boondocking I switch to propane so it doesn’t drain the batteries for other things.

Andrea
2 months ago

I’d love not to need to run on LP on the road, in our 17′ TT. Our Dometic 6 cu ft fridge works great, but does not hold the temperature in a food safe (& frozen for that portion) for a travel day. We tried, multiple times. On a hot sunny day, when I turned it off at a rest area, in anticipation of stopping for gas, it was just below unsafe when I turned it back on a hour later. On a cloudy, cool day, it will hold longer, but not long enough for most of our driving days. (We live and camp in the wide-open spaces of the West.)
Reverting to a cooler would reduce our food choices considerably, back to tenting and popup days. With an aging and problematic digestive system, I enjoy our trips much more now that we have a fridge that works, plus our food choices are just tastier than being limited to a cooler days. If we couldn’t use the LP on the road, we’d have an expensive, dry cupboard.

l wms
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrea

check door seals with dollar bill, tug test.
Use magnetic tape on both seals

JAMES
2 months ago

I read somewhere that is the #1 cause of RV fires so I use ice in the fridge and freezer while traveling.

Joe
2 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Just googled causes of RV fires, James is close!

On average there are approximately 4000 RV fires per year. It is reported that the number two cause of a fire is the RV refrigerator. The number one cause of fire is reported to be within the RV engine compartment, often in the electrical system.

Bill Forbes
2 months ago
Reply to  JAMES

I think it may be true that RV refrigerators are the origin of a lot of RV fires, but that is mostly when they are sitting still. I think engines are the primary source of fires while driving.

Scott
2 months ago
Reply to  JAMES

Your propane tank should be valved off at the tank when travelling down the road. Not worth the risk. I installed an inverter to keep the fridge running off the alternator/battery since I only had a 2 way fridge. Works great!

steve s
2 months ago

has anyone considered the fuel line going to the onboard generator. if an accident occurs serious enough to rupture the propane line then it just might also rupture the generator fuel line?? what am I missing?

Don N
2 months ago
Reply to  steve s

What about removing your propane tanks? In a serious crash the tanks can rupture also. You can only do so much to be safe. Staying in your sticks and bricks can also be dangerous! We all take chances whatever we do.

Larry Lee
2 months ago

Drove with LP on for the fridge 1972 ’til 2014 when we changed to a residential fridge. Always turned LP off at fuel fill-ups and tunnels as required by law.
The rocking motion while driving eliminates the off-level concerns of hilly roadways for absorption fridges.
Risk cannot be eliminated totally only optimized. No sych thing as totally safe so I accept “safe enough” or “as safe as practical”.

Jerry X Shea
2 months ago

WOW – I just answered the poll (NO) and 58% have said “Yes.” That to me represents new RVers that have absolutely no knowledge of what RV safety means.

Gary
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry X Shea

Or not.

Kaye beeson
2 months ago
Reply to  Gary

I have been rving for 45 YEARS and using the fridge on propane in travel trailer, slide-IN CAMPER AND 34 FT. CLASS A MOTORHOME NO PROBLEM YET.I WOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE GAS FUEL LINE RUNNING FROM THE 75 GALLON TANK TO THE ENGINE, BECOUSE IT IS FEED BY A ELECTRIC FUEL PUMP..

Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry X Shea

I have used a refrigerator on gas for over 30 years in 3 rigs.

Wayne C
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry X Shea

New RVer? Nope. I have run with refrigerator propane on for over 40 years. Why isn’t there the same concern over engine fires, the number 1 cause of RV fires. My Diesel engine produces up to 28,000 psi to the injectors in lines next to a hot engine supplied by a 34 gallon tank. The 7 gallon propane tank supplies regulated gas pressure of about 1/2 psi and has a excessive flow valve to reduce flow if a line breaks. I consider that much less risk than the engine fuel system and I consider the engine fuel system almost no risk. The fact that 58% (at least) run with propane on suggests the majority agree with that opinion.
To suggest we have “ absolutely no knowledge of what RV safety means” is an assumption and everyone knows what happen when we assume.

Bob Palin
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry X Shea

Wrong.

Rod Brady
2 months ago

With the increasing amount of residential refrigerators in RVs, it’s becoming less of an issue. We do not have one of those but we do have a solar/battery/inverter system retrofitted into our fifth wheel and our Norcold can run on electric from our significant battery bank while traveling down the road.
The issue I didn’t see mentioned is fueling up your rig at a gas station. If you are running your fridge on propane and pull into the pumps to fuel up, your open flame is just what the right mixture of gasoline fumes and oxygen needs to cause a news worthy event. The event will be on video and you’ll have some ‘splaining to do… Make sure you have enough insurance for that!

Ken Lailer
2 months ago

FYI – Most RV’s use an electric ignition that can create a spark & trigger an explosion. Shutting off the propane, especially if there is a break in the propane line, does not allow any fuel to feed a fire, if one occurs.

John Macatee
2 months ago

I don’t because when running propane the frig shuts off when I hit a 6% grade.

Dr4Film
2 months ago

When I had the RV NotSoCold fridge it always switched over to LPG when disconnecting from shore power. That’s been gone for 10 years now as we have a residential now. Don’t miss it for one nanosecond!

Mavray
2 months ago

This is a non issue. My concern is my vehicle catches fire since I and others may be in it.

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