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Old 07-21-2011, 01:45 PM   #1
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How long will the Refrigerator stay cold?

We are new, and planning our first extended trip, which will include some 8 to 10 hour driving days. Our refrigerator does not run on 12 volt, only 110 or propane. If it's cold in the morning before we unplug and turn off the propane, how long will it maintain a temperature that is cold enough for the food not to spoil? Should we also travel with an ice chest to store the food during our longer driving days?

Thanks your sharing your experience with another Airstream newbie.
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Old 07-21-2011, 01:52 PM   #2
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That long a day in this sort of heat is pushing it, unless it is completely full. Why not just run it while driving?

There is at least one thread on this, with some folks fearing a propane-lit gasoline (or diesel fuel) fire in case of a crash ... but I think most folks just drive with the fridge running. I personally do that, but shut it off when pulling up to fuel pumps to refuel. Conventional wisdom is that a fridge will run 30 days or more on a single tankfull of propane, so a few days of driving isn't gonna' run you out ...

Also, before a trip, even if I'm running fridge on 110, I switch over to propane several hours before departure. Seems to me that it gets quite a bit colder on propane than on electric, and also I want to be SURE that it will work o.k. on gas before I'm several hundred miles from home.
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Old 07-21-2011, 01:56 PM   #3
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I agree with AirsDream.
Your fridge will run on propane.
Why turn it off?
Just let it run while you travel.
When you get to a camp site with electric hook up just switch it off propane to electricity if you like.
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:09 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums.

While there are a handful of people who will not travel with the propane turned on for safety reasons (about 10% of Airstreamers) most people leave the fridge running on gas while on the road.

In hot weather spoilage would be a serious concern if the fridge were off for more than an hour because RV fridges take a considerable length of time to cool back down after being restarted.
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:19 PM   #5
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Should not be a problem

Do what you feel comfortable with. I dont run with my fridge on, but I dont see any reason (other than the remote possibility of a freak wind gust blowing out the burner) why not to. With my fridge cold, even in 100+ heat in the desert it still stays relatively cold when it is off and traveling. Turning it off now and then is a good idea (at least on mine) to allow the frost to melt off. I think the newer ones are more automatic and even easier to run while traveling.

I would just avoid messy frozen delights like ice cream and anything that can get runny. Most foods can handle non-food service temperatures for reasonable periods of time. Especially if in clean sealed containers or packaging. Just keep the door shut and latched. You could also add a few frozen plastic bottles of water to make the fridge a cooler of sorts.

The easiest thing to do would be to buy the minimum of perishable food and replenish daily whilst resting or feeding. Eggs and bacon will keep several days without refrigeration (they dont go bad automatically) and many other foods really do not need to be kept at 35F. (Think fresh vegetables etc). The only items i would really want to keep cold at all time is fish and poultry. They go nasty very fast. Avoid them altogether if you can while traveling. (unless you find a place to catch fresh trout! MMMMM-twould be a sin to pass up an opportunity to fish!)

Once again, fridge on or off, food in cooler or not, it is really only a peace of mind issue. Do what you are comfortable with! The whole issue is a Butter Side Up or Butter Side Down question.
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:50 PM   #6
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24yrs pull'n Streams, never a problem leaving the fridge on.

There is a safety shut-off if the flame goes out.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:07 PM   #7
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24yrs pull'n Streams, never a problem leaving the fridge on.

There is a safety shut-off if the flame goes out.
Me too, 27 years, plus my Dad's pop-up since I had my learner's permit...36 years total. Geeze, That's a long time....gettin' old!
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:43 PM   #8
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Many years of towing with the refrigerator on with no problems. Shut it down before gassing up (unless you happen to have a diesel).

I have a remote thermometer probe in the refrigerator. I found that in three hours in the Texas heat, the interior has become too warm to keep food safe. One bout with food poisoning years ago makes me a lot more afraid of food poisoning than any problem with the propane on while driving.

As mentioned above, it takes time for the the box to cool down appreciably. Turning it on temporarily during meal stops isn't going to help much if at all. By the time some cooling starts, you are on the road again.
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:17 PM   #9
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I had to turn mine off once on the ferry from Port Harding to Prince Rupert, a 17 hour trip. What we did was freeze a liter bottle of water a few days before the trip and left it in the freeze.



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Old 07-21-2011, 04:20 PM   #10
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Tunnels

Some tunnels, like the one in Mobile, AL, require that propane be turned off. Going east, I turn the bottle off at the Alabama Welcome Center at the Mississippi border and turn it back on down by the Battleship Alabama, right after going through the tunnel.
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:32 PM   #11
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Good idea if planning this type of trip. We have lots of battery so we run on 110 for the Ferry service to the Island.
On the Port Hardy north run, did you have access to, and did they let you sleep in the unit???
Any good pictures of that leg of your trip?
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I had to turn mine off once on the ferry from Port Harding to Prince Rupert, a 17 hour trip. What we did was freeze a liter bottle of water a few days before the trip and left it in the freeze.



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Old 07-21-2011, 04:56 PM   #12
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Good idea if planning this type of trip. We have lots of battery so we run on 110 for the Ferry service to the Island.
On the Port Hardy north run, did you have access to, and did they let you sleep in the unit???
Any good pictures of that leg of your trip?
Dave
No access to the rig unless you have a pet in it and then only once.

No pictures. We had a cabin but 80 % slept on the in the lounge.

The best part of that trip was when we pulled into Belle Belle 2 hours late. 3 people walked off and we sat there. Finally asked why we were not underway. I was told we were waiting for the Princess to come bless the ferry but the thought was she was drunk and home asleep so we headed north.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:23 PM   #13
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Don't blame the PRINCESS! You guys were 2 hours late.
It is a long time to not have access to your home. One has to be prepared for sure.
I have only done the trip north once in the early 90's on a school band trip. That was interesting. We tried to do it in 98 with the camper, but they changed the schedule and we had to cancel.
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No access to the rig unless you have a pet in it and then only once.

No pictures. We had a cabin but 80 % slept on the in the lounge.

The best part of that trip was when we pulled into Belle Belle 2 hours late. 3 people walked off and we sat there. Finally asked why we were not underway. I was told we were waiting for the Princess to come bless the ferry but the thought was she was drunk and home asleep so we headed north.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:26 PM   #14
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I never thought about turning off the propane to fill up with gas. but then I got yelled at for talking on my cell phone while at the gas station. Mythbusters busted the cell phone deal. but then they weren't in the dry static air of colorado.. Good Idea to shut down while re-fueling though. I always run with it on as we live in the desert.

PS I like my beer chilled....
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