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Old 04-21-2014, 07:58 PM   #29
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Whoa, Bill, that's a heck of a summary! Thanks for taking the time.

I do agree there are special occasions where it is more important to shut off the tank valve(s)--on a ferry, most underwater tunnels or toll tunnels, places like that where the hazard to others is increased and there is no escape.

But I'll hazard a guess that this is really (mostly?) about the tank and not the fridge pilot light. I've seen some RVs burn while parked and camping, but very few (like, none in my recollection) while being towed.

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Old 04-21-2014, 08:17 PM   #30
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Is it ok to run fridge on propane while towing ?

Good point, though a personal observation does not constitute a statistically significant sample. I see far too many people on forums speaking as if that were true...and it's just not.

From what I read, I would agree with your observation that much of the concern revolves around the ignitor / pilot light and the open flame when the fridge is actively cooling via LP. However, some concern also revolves around the risk of pressurized gas lines in the event of an accident.

That said, I'm totally sympathetic to the urge to run with the fridge on. In fact I did exactly that last year with our motor home. It worked great, and our observational "n" of 1 indicated it was a perfectly great thing to do.

I started wondering about this question once we got the AS TT, questioning whether it was really a good idea to leave the propane on while towing. For now, I'm personally coming down on the side of being cautious. We also live in the Pacific NW, so unless we travel into the hotter parts of the country, we're more likely to be successful in stuffing our fridge with cold stuff and keeping it cold until we get to our destination that day.

Bottom line, I re-emphasize that I'm not telling anybody else what to do...just how we got to our current state of mind. This is simply what we've decided to do for now. If our fridge was a 3-way device (AC/LP/DC), I'd gladly run it on DC while in transit!
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:33 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvery Moon View Post
Good point, though a personal observation does not constitute a statistically significant sample. I see far too many people on forums speaking as if that were true...and it's just not.

From what I read, I would agree with your observation that much of the concern revolves around the ignitor / pilot light and the open flame when the fridge is actively cooling via LP. However, some concern also revolves around the risk of pressurized gas lines in the event of an accident.
Your sample size of 0 carries no more weight, however. Many more than just Zeppelinium have towed with LP fridges on for many years without mishap, so N>>1 in this case. Living in Texas, everyone I camp with tows with the fridge on without reducing our Airstreams to smoking piles of scrap (far from Canadian jurisdiction, I confess.)

I had no issue with your presentation of all that information, one-sided though it was, until you start talking statistics as a way to dismiss Zeppelinium's observation. At best you lose style points for denigrating someone else's statement and following that up with "But I'm not trying to tell you how to do it."
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:50 PM   #32
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Is it ok to run fridge on propane while towing ?

My comments weren't intended to be hostile, though yours certainly appeared to be so.

Anyway, it's a free country. I understand and respect the point of view that it seems safe enough to you for you to run with your propane on. As I clearly said, I did the same thing last year. I may do so again at some point. No problem. Seriously.

Again, I'm not telling anyone what to do nor am I criticizing anyone for reaching a conclusion different from my current state of mind. I'm totally comfortable with those differences. I don't need anyone to agree with my conclusion for me to feel good about it, and I reserve the right to change my mind on this for my rig anytime at all.

However, I will continue to point out that statements like "Hey, I've never seen that happen, nor has anyone on this forum." holds no statistical weight whatever. Surveys compiled from the entire membership of this forum are equally insignificant from a statistical perspective. Ad-hominem attacks hold even less weight. Our discussions can be interesting, useful and even educational, but personal observations, especially my own, are not statistically significant. If you can cite a source that provides contrary information (e.g. in a traffic study with a sample of N, there were 0 propane related accidents) or some reasonable authority on propane announces that it's no more dangerous to run with the propane on than off, or new safety devices in addition to the Interlock feature I noted for the Dometic fridge make it safer than before I will read it avidly, just as I would the reverse.

Honestly, this morning I had almost convinced myself to run with the propane on after reading the Dometic and AS manuals, because that's what I really want to do. Then I found the other citations, and decided for now to turn my propane off while in transit.

Everybody's risk tolerance is different. That's why some of us tow with teensy vehicles and others tow with 1 ton trucks, and everything in between. (ducking)

So, to answer the OP question of whether it's OK to run the fridge on propane while towing, the answer seems to be, unless you're in certain provinces of Canada it may be legal, and members of this forum who have done so while ensuring the fridge is off when fueling a gasser have had good experiences so far. So, given your personal risk tolerance profile and what little information you find here and elsewhere, do what seems best to you.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:21 PM   #33
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"though a personal observation does not constitute a statistically significant sample. I see far too many people on forums speaking as if that were true...and it's just not.”

I think if we are talking about low base rate events such as likely rare explosions in the event of accidents or rare ignitions in some otherwise odd ball event....stats probably are the only thing that will constitute something worth regarding much of.

In the case of very low probability base rate type events, what you can expect on internet forums are 10’s, hundreds, even thousands of posts describing anecdotes declaring personal experience negative of the rare base rate event. Not surprising at all....exactly what you would expect (thank goodness!).

If the base rate is so very low (and I very much suspect it is), then these anecdotes while re-assuring offer no meaningful sense of the risk.

woops, sorry, im a self proclaimed “geek” so there ya go....

I run with the fridge on so far, but honestly I have not read the stats, and I can say that perhaps if after finding these stats and reviewing them....maybe I would not accept the risk...but I am assuming at this point that the base rate is extremely low and I will ignore this risk for convenience....

Others may look at a stat of a low base rate event and decide not to accept that risk and say that from their standpoint, that low probability event is totally avoidable as such with a few easy steps so why not?

That point of view is equally valid from that standpoint I think...ill try and dig up any useful stats on da google and report back....honestly it will take some serious stats to get me worked up about it at this point...even if I find the stats...being that my background is not in something like the epidemiology of risk management...it will be rather difficult to wrap my head around the stats.....but that wont stop me from trying

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Old 04-21-2014, 09:43 PM   #34
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Just to present the alternative view, I run with the propane off. I'm not really concerned about how others run, or their opinion of my choice in this matter; it's just what I prefer to do.

There doesn't seem to be any meaningful statistics on the matter out there, at least not gathered and published on the Internet. As just about EVERYTHING gets published on the Internet I shall assume that a lack available data online is a lack of available data in general.

Personally I looked at the relative risks, you know, what COULD happen rather than what is likely to happen or what has happened (it's a long stint in IT security that's made me that way ) If you leave the propane on then you do have a length of relatively exposed live gas line under the A-frame which could, in theory, get fractured when hit by a rock thrown up, or in an accident. At best a quick emptying of the LPG tanks may occur if the line is fractured, at worst a fire. There IS a risk, but is it a big one? Probably not. Do I HAVE to have this line live when running? Well no, I don't. So for me, then, it's just the removal of a risk, however slight - and I actually shrugged my shoulders as I wrote that. There are many other risks we take daily, and dismiss them, this is just another that's up for consideration.

As an alternative to running the fridge when moving, we've put a bag of ice in the fridge when breaking camp and hit the LPG when we've stopped for lunch. The ice barely melts at all and the food stays cold. The freezer stays cold enough without the ice. It seems to work for us.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:43 PM   #35
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Risks are to be assessed and either assumed, mitigated, or declined.

I am thinking that it is likely that showers prove far more dangerous than pulling a trailer with the propane on, but I will still take showers too.

Besides all that, frankly, if a camper is going to catch fire, I would rather have it do so when I am towing it as opposed to when I am sleeping in it.

Who here turns off the propane when they sleep?
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:13 PM   #36
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Run with fridge on with all three trailers I have owned, then again all three TV's were oil burners, diesel is harder to ignite said fumes than a gasser....
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:41 PM   #37
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poor equivalency.

what is so complicated about it...the danger is real...albeit likely statistically tiny...someone chooses to avoid said small risk because they makes them feel comfortable.

Who is to say they are wrong for that? I won’t.

Keeping propone on during sleep is not the same objective risk or subjective sense of the risk at all so that seems not relevant to ask. WHile the base rate for ignition while driving is likely small....its easy enough to conceptualize the occurrence....while sleeping? possible? well yes, but it has to be even more extremely rare....and it is hard to imagine and conjure fear of that risk at all the same.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:52 PM   #38
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I beg to differ.

If a trailer catches fire and burns down while being towed, I say the chances of a person being seriously injured is very very low. I say that if a trailer catching fire while it is occupied by sleeping people, the risk of injury is much higher.

Why would it be more likely for a propane induced fire to start in a moving trailer than a parked trailer?
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:00 AM   #39
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I will admit to never riding in my trailer so I can't be sure, but I am going to assume that there is a greater exchange of air between inside and outside of the trailer while it is in motion.

If this is true, would the risk of a propane explosion be higher or lower in a pulled trailer or a stationary trailer?
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:02 AM   #40
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The risk of being hurt within a burning trailer while asleep is arguably quite high...but the risk of ignition in the first place while sleeping is what I was pointing to.

I can conceptualize the risk of how ignition could happen in the event of a collision of some variety.

But what is the hypothetical where in the propane ignites while sleeping? And should that hypothetical be quickly thought of as equal in the mind of folks? Im not sure.

Perhaps you can illuminate, and for those people that turn off the gas during the drive better understand the hypothetical they will turn off the gas at night if hooked up.

If boondocking and relying on the gas, I assume folks will just accept that risk...that would not be an equivalency.
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:13 AM   #41
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Is it ok to run fridge on propane while towing ?

I am saying that propane as a risk of injury is more of a risk while the trailer is occupied as opposed to when the trailer is being towed.

And I think that common sense proves my contention.

In the case of an accident, the propane is still there whether the tank valve is on or off. Tank off might mitigate the effect of an accident depending on the specific conditions, but I still assert that propane is more of a risk when the trailer is being used than when the trailer is being towed.

I have never heard of anyone who burned to death or was killed by leaking propane while towing. I have however known a couple of people who died in their burning trailers.

One indirectly attributable to propane, he went to sleep heating oil to make French fries.
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:27 AM   #42
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Quote:
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...In the case of an accident, the propane is still there whether the tank valve is on or off. Tank off might mitigate the effect of an accident depending on the specific conditions, ...
Despite my (and others') cavalier (and perhaps justified) attitude about towing with the fridge running, take a look under your Airstream and contemplate how vulnerable all those 1/4" copper tubes are. It's road debris damage to those tubes that makes leaving the tank valve open while towing a bad idea.

Not bad enough to make me shut the valve, however.

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