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Old 11-14-2013, 10:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
It is not practical to run with the propane off. Gas fridges take about a day to cool down so if you turn of the gas while traveling you can't put anything in the fridge and then the fridge becomes useless unless you travel and then stay somewhere for a month and then the day it takes for the fridge to warm up does not matter much. The propane system is something you need to inspect often for leaks. It has to be a pretty big leak for a long time to amount to much. Pressures downstream from the regulator are very small. Pipes are outside so that any gas leaks can dissipate. It is a good idea to have a propane detector. Propane trapped inside your trailer is a hazard.

Perry
We don't have any problem with the practicalities of driving with the propane off, Perry. The fridge and freezer are cold before we start and usually full with stuff; if we're on a long day's drive then we throw a bag of ice in one or both. Both the fridge and the freezer stay cold for long periods of time, especially if you don't open them during the drive. We power everything up as soon as we arrive at our destination and everything's fine. It's just a different approach, is all.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:27 AM   #16
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How many true accounts can be found of a RV blowing up a gas station?

The searches I completed lead to nothing more than the same speculation and personal opinions found here.


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Old 11-14-2013, 10:48 AM   #17
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The PO of my trailer told me that he always turned off the propane when underway and recommended I do the same. Seemed to make sense given that the propane lines run under the belly. The recent Tesla fires caused by running over metal objects has reinforced that thought.
The Tesla fires are not a good basis for comparison. Yes, your propane lines run under the trailer where they're exposed, but even if you ran over something— such as high-centering the trailer on a railroad crossing— and tore the propane line completely loose, that's still not certain to cause a fire. The concentration of propane in the air has to be between the upper and lower flammable limits (2.1% to 10.1%). Below 2.1% and the mixture is too lean to burn, above 10.1% and it's too rich to burn. And there has to be a spark or flame source to ignite it. With a broken propane line waving around under your trailer, with nothing to trap the vapor (which is heavier than air) the chances of having the right concentration are too low to matter.

It ain't like the movies, where shooting a gas tank or propane tank always causes an explosion. Ask any pilot who has ever been shot at in wartime, and took a hit to a fuel tank, and still flew home. A leak is always a leak, but it's not always a fire.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:52 AM   #18
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How many true accounts can be found of a RV blowing up a gas station?
None. The vapors that get ignited are outside the vehicle, coming off the fuel nozzle. The RV won't blow up unless propane vapors inside are ignited. At most, the RV will get scorched before the fire can be extinguished. But the people doing the fueling can be hurt if gasoline vapors catch fire.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:23 AM   #19
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We don't have any problem with the practicalities of driving with the propane off, Perry. The fridge and freezer are cold before we start and usually full with stuff; if we're on a long day's drive then we throw a bag of ice in one or both. Both the fridge and the freezer stay cold for long periods of time, especially if you don't open them during the drive. We power everything up as soon as we arrive at our destination and everything's fine. It's just a different approach, is all.
I suspect that this is a regional difference. Down here in the latitudes where Perry lives and where I do, the fridge won't stay cold enough inside in a day's drive in the summer unless everything in it started out frozen. This time of year, I could easily get away with what you describe, but with my fiddly old fully-manual fridge it's more trouble than it's worth, I like to keep it cold once I chill it down.

I'm avoiding this question entirely on the 28' trailer, I'm going to use a Danfoss-based 12v fridge. I'm doing that for better cooling capacity at 100F though, not to avoid having the propane on when traveling.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:30 AM   #20
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There are many people in the broader RV community who believe it is best practice to run with propane off or to turn off propane appliances while refueling. Among experienced, traveling RVers (that is, not including people who mostly stay at a seasonal site), about 90% of people will leave the propane on while on the highway if it makes sense to do so (fridge, etc).

Fires at gas pumps are extremely rare. I tried to find some statistics, and as near as I can determine, it's around 10 fires per year nationwide. Nearly all of them fit pretty neatly into one of two categories:

1) Fire caused by static discharge when filling a portable container in an ungrounded location, such as a pickup bed with a bedliner or a carpeted trunk.

2) Fire caused by static discharge under extraordinary dry, desert like conditions, where the driver leaves the refueling point for a period of time and then causes a static discharge when contacting the nozzle while fuel is still flowing.

Gasoline vapors are much heavier than air and sink to the ground. You can stand in a puddle of gasoline and smoke a cigarette and the gasoline won't ignite unless you drop the cigarette. The prohibition on smoking near gas pumps is because of the hazard when a fuel spill is combined with a dropped cigarette or match.

Cars are full of ignition sources. Essentially any switch or DC motor will produce sparks. The starter motor produces sparks. The window motors produce sparks. Etc. But the statistics show that there aren't any fires from them.

Everyone has to decide for themselves but it's a hassle to shut off the fridge before refueling and then turn it back on.
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Old 11-14-2013, 12:39 PM   #21
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For a long time my Ranger had a leaking fuel fill hose thanks to Ethanol. Gas would leak on the ground and I am sure I had an exhaust leak or two. The truck never blew up but it did concern me. Fumes hang low to the ground. Always best to touch the truck and the fuel hose before fueling. Static can and will ignite gas fumes as well as dropped cigarettes. Getting in and out of your truck because it is cold is not a good idea.

Perry
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:04 PM   #22
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I suspect that this is a regional difference. Down here in the latitudes where Perry lives and where I do, the fridge won't stay cold enough inside in a day's drive in the summer unless everything in it started out frozen. This time of year, I could easily get away with what you describe, but with my fiddly old fully-manual fridge it's more trouble than it's worth, I like to keep it cold once I chill it down.

I'm avoiding this question entirely on the 28' trailer, I'm going to use a Danfoss-based 12v fridge. I'm doing that for better cooling capacity at 100F though, not to avoid having the propane on when traveling.
It is quite possibly a regional thing, DKB, although we did spend a couple of weeks one August motoring around Florida and the Gulf Coast with no fridge or freezer issues; the bag of ice in the fridge was the key to it I think.

Still, it's horses for courses, isn't it?

After years of tent camping, it's a real luxury to have a fridge at all!
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:19 PM   #23
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Leaving the frig on while fueling is a ticketable offense. I have heard stories. The above arguments may not convince a cop.
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:38 PM   #24
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This may be a real dumb question, but would it be possible to use an inverter to run the frig when on the road?
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:23 PM   #25
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This may be a real dumb question, but would it be possible to use an inverter to run the frig when on the road?
If you have the common propane/electric absorption-cycle RV fridge, it's just not a viable option. The absorption cycle isn't particularly efficient , but it's simple and propane provides plenty of heat to make it go. 120v operation works well when you have a power supply that's unlimited for practical intents and purposes but requires too much battery to be practical on an inverter.

If you want to run a refrigerator on battery power, a Danfoss 12v fridge is a more practical solution, but they cost as much as the gas/electric RV fridges.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:35 PM   #26
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This may be a real dumb question, but would it be possible to use an inverter to run the frig when on the road?
Possible, but probably not practical. In over simplified terms, to generate the amount of heat needed to operate the fridge, you would need 10X the current from 12V as from 120V. To keep the batteries charged under that load, you would need a pretty stout cable from the alternator to the batteries and on to the inverter. Some of the RV fridge makers sell 3-way models that allow operation from LPG, 120VAC and 12VDC. A trailer we bought in the early 80s had one of these. It would run the battery flat in about an hour if we went shopping and the battery was nowhere near charged when we arrived at our dry campsite. From a practical standpoint these absorption cycle fridges work well on gas or 120V when you have a post to plug into.
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:57 PM   #27
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Gasoline vapors are much heavier than air and sink to the ground. You can stand in a puddle of gasoline and smoke a cigarette and the gasoline won't ignite unless you drop the cigarette. The prohibition on smoking near gas pumps is because of the hazard when a fuel spill is combined with a dropped cigarette or match.
... to reassure me just minutes before he set his 1954 Chevy pickup on fire trying to thaw the frozen fuel line with an open flame. The entire Aztec Volunteer Fire Department arrived in less than 15 minutes. They saved the house, but they could not save the Chevy pickup or the 1949 Chevy sedan parked next to it.
As you can imagine, it made quite an impression on 9 year old Alumaholic.
My mother, a housewife, told my father, a chemical engineer, "Bob, only a fool would stand in a puddle of gasoline and smoke a cigarette. And only a damn fool would thaw a gas line with a blow torch."
She had spent the Great Depression living in a tent because her father had burned down Aztec Motor Company keeping the city fathers' cars inside his wood-stove, heated garage in the winter before the days of automotive antifreeze and insurance.
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Old 11-14-2013, 04:29 PM   #28
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OK, the inverter is out I appreciate the info
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