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Old 02-02-2015, 09:03 AM   #1
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Propane on or off?

We've seen hundreds of posts over the years about whether to turn off the propane while driving down the road. I have always used my inverter to run the fridge while driving, more to save propane than anything else.

The video below really made me think! Even if I'm not using the propane, if I have an accident with the propane valve open and propane in all the lines, one of those lines could rupture, spraying deadly propane throughout the wreckage, with a good chance of igniting from a spark! Mac the fire guy mentions a previous incident where five people died as a result of a scenario just like this!

From now on, I'm gonna take a few seconds turn of the main shutoff valve on the propane tank before hitting the road! The life I save could be mine, or worse yet, the DW's!

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Old 02-02-2015, 09:16 AM   #2
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OK--havent looked at the video but your statement that "deadly propane will be sprayed throughout the wreckage..." is a bit dramatic. First, if the propane tank remains intact, that means the regulator will likely also remain intact so the loss of propane will be "limited." If the tank is ruptured--all bets are off. IMHO this is a personal choice, not unlike deciding to remove the tag from your mattress.
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:41 AM   #3
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OK--havent looked at the video but your statement that "deadly propane will be sprayed throughout the wreckage..." is a bit dramatic. First, if the propane tank remains intact, that means the regulator will likely also remain intact so the loss of propane will be "limited." If the tank is ruptured--all bets are off. IMHO this is a personal choice, not unlike deciding to remove the tag from your mattress.

I don't follow you here. If the main valve is on then the lines will all be under pressure. If one of them is ruptured, then it will be spraying propane, which could spread throughout the wreckage. Where am I wrong in this statement?
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:02 AM   #4
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Up to the individual RV owner.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:09 AM   #5
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It's a personal decision. I do where a helmet when on a cycle. I still drink out of a garden hose. And I leave my propane turned on.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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I'm with Joe. We turn ours off. That is one of the items on my DWs checklist. Ours is turned off with a switch inside.

As a firefighter for many years, I saw more than one RV with the propane left on. The two I remember clearly both burned completely because of just the linked scenario, fortunately with no loss of life in either case.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:15 AM   #7
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My guess is that 99% of RV'ers leave there propane ON when driving and that includes me.

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Old 02-02-2015, 10:20 AM   #8
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I don't follow you here. If the main valve is on then the lines will all be under pressure. If one of them is ruptured, then it will be spraying propane, which could spread throughout the wreckage. Where am I wrong in this statement?
Joe
I don't think you are wrong. Unless your regulator has a fail-safe valve to shut off the gas if it reaches a certain flow rate, then yes there will be gas leaking if lines are damaged during an accident. The odds of that happening may be low, but I don't want to take the chance either. I shut off my propane tank when I do my walk-around to lock my basement/compartment doors just before leaving a campsite.
We used to have a saying about aviation, "I'd rather be down here wishing I was up there, than up there wishing I was down here." I use the same philosophy here. I would rather waste my time turning off the propane unneccessarily, than wishing I had turned it off after an accident. JMHO.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:20 AM   #9
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My guess is that 99% of RV'ers leave there propane ON when driving and that includes me.

Jim

Jim, I was one of the 99% until I read this!

Of course it's a personal decision, just like wearing seat belts, but I try to look at all the facts before making that decision!
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:22 AM   #10
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Regulators used for propane have a safety feature built into then so that if a line does rupture, it will shut the gas off. If the regulator gets knocked off or a hole is punched in the tank, all bets are off. The hole would cause the tank to keep rupturing but the knocked off regulator will create a blow torch.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:25 AM   #11
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Regulators used for propane have a safety feature built into then so that if a line does rupture, it will shut the gas off. If the regulator gets knocked off or a hole is punched in the tank, all bets are off. The hole would cause the tank to keep rupturing but the knocked off regulator will create a blow torch.
What if a line is damaged and the leakage is no more than the flow rate to the furnace, or cook top? I'm not trying to argue,,, just sayin.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:26 AM   #12
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Bezinga!!!
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:27 AM   #13
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Once propane comes out of the tank it turns to a gas, it don`t spray. Yes it will flow at a rate of about the rate of the total of your gas fixtures but in all likely hood, the windows are broken out and the gas has mixed with the air, making it to lean to burn, except at the break in the line. A bigger concern would be a fire next to the tank. Once the pressure excedes the burst strength, Big trouble.

In fire fighting, we let it leak and cool the tank.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:42 AM   #14
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My take on this is that an RV moves and shakes, and things starting weakening and coming apart.

If an electrical ground or connection weakens, something quits working or works erratically. In the rv we have many different things that help prevent electrical damage from those problems.

Propane is a liquid that boils at a minus 44 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the vapor from the propane that when mixed with air becomes a very effective fuel. When there is a leak in the rv, the vapor is 1.5 times heavier than air, so it pools at floor level. That is why a detector is located on the floor.

Start with the tech maintenance suggestions that I have read that rv systems be leak tested monthly in my tech training materials. Now ask yourselves how many rvers test or have their system leak tested monthly. Ponder the failures to do so in a moving system.

Next, the use of the term spray is probably not useful as liquid propane will not spray from the propane lines because it is vapor that exits the propane tank that is pressure reduced twice through two regulators and sometimes a third time in a stove regulator, that is flowing through those lines.

Note: when you fill you tank it is only filled to 80% capacity to allow room for the vapor and propane expansion as the temperatures increase.

Damage to the propane tank would be another matter, but it is the propane vapor when mixed with air that provides an explosion in a large area heavy with propane vapor mixed with air. Obviously, propane vapor escaping at high pressure direct from the propane tank is a great fuel for a great fire or explosion.

If a propane line breaks it is propane gas that will be leaking, not spraying, at approximately 11 inches Water Column pressure. The rv thrives within a low pressure system, not a high pressure system.

The propane service value activates to shut down a high pressure escape at 14 inches water column pressure. Low pressure just keeps escaping. A ruptured propane tank is beyond control of the service value.

Propane safety is critical for the safety of your family and your treasured vehicle. Never compromised you safety. Propane is a safe and reliable product, but flammable.
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