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Old 12-13-2012, 01:00 AM   #1
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Highland , Utah
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Keep propane or switch to electric?

I belong in Vintage Kin but I thought this question was general and easier asked of everyone

I could not quite find what I was asking for in other forums

So...Do I keep the propane appliances or switch to electric? pros and cons including expenses...

I do not even know if my current appliances work so before I go to the repair, rewire, rebuild their home I would like your opinions and experiences.

I do think that if I ever live in the trailer for an extended period I will add solar panels and that may adjust how I do things now if it makes sense to change things now for later.

Thanks for your Help!

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Old 12-13-2012, 01:29 AM   #2
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cover all bases, keep the propain and add electric (micro toaster oven) ect.

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Old 12-13-2012, 04:55 AM   #3
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You can store power in propane or batteries. Batteries are heavier per watt hour. Propane is great for heat, hot water, cooking, and refrigerator when you are off the grid. If you are always plugged in, electricity is cheaper, when it comes for free with the campsite. It depends on how you intend to use the trailer, which is best.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:28 AM   #4
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This has been discussed quite a few times, so search around in the electrical forum. The short version is that if you're always going to have an electrical hookup, yes, you can do all electric.

I would never buy a camper that had its propane system removed, because boondocking would become impossible (not that I'm a huge boondocker, but it's nice to have a usable camper at home when the power goes out).

Just to be clear - you can't run an all-electric trailer on solar alone. The stove, oven, HVAC, microwave, and fridge all draw far too much power.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:47 AM   #5
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Water is the most important system on a TT. Propane is a very close second. Electrical is a distant third.
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:20 AM   #6
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If you decide to go all electric, it should be done just after deciding you, or any later owner, would NEVER use the trailer again for what it was intended, travel.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:34 AM   #7
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Why go one or the other? Both systems are easy installs and maintenance. What appliances do you plan for? Will you ever boon dock? What is your trailer set up for now...(work around your answers.)
"If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted
then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production."
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:50 AM   #8
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Diversity is the key. The ability to have options allow one to adapt on the fly.

Out first trailer was a small SOB that had only an ice box. I replaced it with a cheap dorm-style refer and off we went, happy as clams thinking no more soggy food and dealing with ice and chests.

During a two week trip we found a perfect BLM dry campground, but could not stay because we needed electricity.

I would keep both.

Jeff & Cindy
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:52 AM   #9
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Keep the propane. If replacing the fridge I would get a gas/electric. Same for WH, but I run it on propane most of the time since I have to pay for both. Propane heat is wonderful, fast and warm, and in many Airstreams it will keep the water from freezing while you are camping. Propane is cheap and easy to carry. Neither of which is electic or solar electric. My guess is that propane is probably "greener" than electirc or even solar if you consider all of the batteries.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:20 AM   #10
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Whether or not you believe in doomsday scenarios you NEED off grid utility. Ask the people who had to survive weeks without power after Sandy or the east coast power outages. In those situations some think they need to power their whole house because they still have to live in it so they will shore up their homes accordingly i.e. solar and battery banks to power the whole house but if you have your trailer you have most of your needs fulfilled for a while provided you have solar and capable battery bank plus a couple of backup propane tanks. Seeing that you live in Utah you have amazing sun exposure there for solar and who knows...maybe a couple plasma guns to kill off them pesky zombies.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:44 AM   #11
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NORMAL is a city in Illinois!

Normally you stay at campgrounds with electricity. BUT some of them are out in the country at the end of a grid. And Murphy's Law GUARANTEES that the power will go out for 48 hours when you have a refrigerator full of highly perishable and dangerously perishable items. (Lobster, mayonnaise, or anything else that can give you botulism!)

Solar panels don't work in a storm or at night, generators run out of fuel, propane gives you another chance at survival. As another poster mentioned, if your power went out for a week in hurricane Sandy, the trailer with hot water and cooking capability would be a life and morale saver.

I've occasionally PLANNED to get to an RV park before dark, only to pull off due to high winds/heavy rain, and end up sitting the whole night in a COLD truck stop or roadside rest. That quick hot shower the next morning - HEAVEN!

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:46 AM   #12
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Thank You!

I am grateful to all of you for your input!
I was not ever going to go all solar, the addition of it later if my roof can take it is a plan. (reinforce the roof first)
I have lived off the grid for a considerable amount of time...We were burned out of our home in the Deer Fire in Bodfish/Lake Isabella California a while back and lived with my then 2 year old daughter in our Vintage Shasta (could not afford the Airstream it is still a dream)-with appliances just no propane or battery life- for 4 months on BLM land and then 3 on Lake Isabella itself -moving every two weeks.
We used firewood for everything including heating her bath water.
I cooked over the fire, I used block ice in coolers for my fridge and for light we had candles and the fire.
I had a fabricated fire pit made out of a washing machine inside drum with a stand welded on and I cooked over that.- there were no fires allowed out of "pits" then because we had had a huge fire just before this one -McNalley- and we campers/residents were not to be trusted -no one was. Isabella is windy a spark flies get it.
(a homeless woman camping was the unofficial reason for the Deer Fire as I remember it)
I am very fond of Boondocking and plan on doing it for the most part, the farther away the better, usually.
I have never stayed in a park where I used electricity...that is what you battery is for and if you are lucky a generator (QUIET PLEASE) I drove truck for a bit and we stayed in parking lots and truck stops (bigger parking lots) and there were always lots of trailers and campers there with us.
Let the good times roll.
When I was in the truck we had a bank of batteries and a small generator- that was our power, it was plugged in tho the house from the front end so it would not freeze on a bad day and on the road we would idle for a bit to charge the batteries if we were stuck for too long,
I do not think this would be a viable idea for the trailer ( DUH no idle at all and to be idle is to idle too long) and as I am new to this actually using the appliances I am grateful for all the help.
Me thinx I might just have to tear into the appliances at hand to see if they are to be of use any suggestions on testing them?
I have gotten some really good tips from other posts on how to clean them and my next day off is devoted to just that!
I do not want to go to too much trouble if they are no good. I must replace the seal on the fridge..the PO painted it...
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:37 PM   #13
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Wow, my friend, you have had some invaluable experience. I hope that you choose to include it in your reflections and choices made aloud in future posts as you get the TT to where you like it. Many of us wish to be independent, and are mindful in considerations like these you've but touched on.

I would amend my earlier post to say that trailer mobility is the system most important: from hitch rigging to tires, brakes, lights, etc, which allow us to depart at a moments notice and arrive at destinations chosen and unchosen, safely, despite the exigencies of the road. Bad roads, bad weather and stressed drivers in worst-case combined scenarios are the first problem to be prepared for. Being stranded is not ever acceptable (doing what we can to keep that a distant, rather than close, possibility).

And I should have included, under "water" that trailer skin & plumbing seal integrity (dry shelter) takes precedence over all other functions thereon.

Now, lightly-said, with caffeine, nicotine and toilet paper in a dry trailer . . . all other problems can be dealt with.


1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 12-cpm solo, 19-cpm towing (fuel)
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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