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Old 08-04-2011, 02:07 AM   #1
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Question about propane tanks

My husband and I are ready to begin a new chapter in our lives as full timers. The minute we sold our home (a miracle in today's RE market) we knew it was now or never.

So to gain some knowledge I searched for a website that would help us see what we were getting ourselves into. That's when I found this wonderful website. I have to admit I have been a forum voyeur for about two months now and have gained so much information thanks to everyone who has shared all the dos and don'ts of RVing.

I have to admit I was pretty nervous about venturing out without having, as you call it, sticks and bricks to come "home" to. I feel so much better now about our decision just because I was able to listen to answers to many of the same questions we had.

There may already be a thread done on this but I couldn't find it. My question has to do with whether we should keep our propane tanks on while we are driving. We have a 2011 Zinger Crossroads travel trailer and when we did our post sale run through, the very nice young man said that we should not turn them off so that our fridge can continue to run. I have since read in a few RV books where it is advised to turn them off before traveling.

Can anyone set us straight on this?

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Old 08-04-2011, 03:57 AM   #2
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Leave it on, most of us only turn it off while refueling (vapors and pilot lights do not mix) hope this helps. Have a good time and enjoy the road.

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Old 08-04-2011, 05:45 AM   #3
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The "official" advise is to turn the LP off. Real world is that most everyone leaves it on with the exception of fueling up. If you are on the road for an entire day the fridge will need it to keep your food from spoiling.
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:55 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum! We leave our propane on all the time in order to keep the fridge going. Lots of opinions on this one.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:33 AM   #5
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Note that if you turn the propane off, you should also turn off any propane appliances like the refrigerator and water heater. The risks are from these appliances trying to light up at the wrong time or having an open flame (pilot) on.

There are some lengthy debates on RV forums about whether to shut down the propane system or not. As Mark&Nancy note, the 'official' view is to turn everything off. That is supported by the fact that there have been fires at gas stations.

Many leave the system active and appliances (especially the refrigerator) on and take reasonable precautions for safety. Reasonable precautions include things like proper ventilation, not spraying gasoline in the refrigerator vents, good distance between fuel and potential sources of ignition, and that sort of thing.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:18 PM   #6
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We have run with the propane on since 1984 and we have yet to blow up an RV or a service station. We always shut off the frig at the controls so it can't spark while fueling. Then restart it after you pull away from the station.

The lawyers for the insurance industry have been make a push to shut off the tanks, but they have not one good reason. When I arrive I want the beer cold, steaks cold and the ice cream frozen.

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Old 08-04-2011, 08:38 PM   #7
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Depending on how your MH is wired, you may be able to run the refer from the inverter while you drive, The engine's alternator should provide more than enough output to run the refer and everything else on the 12 volt circuit. I do this to conserve propane. Since I have to fill up the diesel tank anyway, using a bit more fuel is no biggie.

Just have to remember to shut down the inverter when you stop the engine, so you don't kill the house batteries. (A reminder sign by the entry door handle helps.) The refer should then auto switch to propane.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:51 PM   #8
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This was one of my favorite topics. As ser. mgr. I used to ask my customers about propane usage on the road. According to my informal survey, about 98% of the people use propane underway. 2% scream that you are going to kill everyone. Every manuf. that I asked informally said the reason they tell people to turn off is liability. We have camped since 1968 and have always used propane underway.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BryanL View Post
That is supported by the fact that there have been fires at gas stations.
But the propane being on was not the cause of the fire! On one forum a fireman researched all his official resources and didn't find even ONE fire caused by the propane being on. All systems now have an "excess flow" valve in them. If a line ruptures or even if you turn the valve on too quickly it shuts off the flow.
Been RV'ing since 1957, have never made it a practice to turn the propane off. Although the '57 had an icebox rather than a refer. The '58 had a three way refer though.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:46 PM   #10
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We travel with our propane on all the time. We do shut off the appliances when we refill the LP tank but after than, it's back on and running. The only thing that uses LP is the fridge. We make hot water all the time with our motor-aid. In regard to warming stuff up, gen on and microwave.
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:21 PM   #11
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As said above leave it on thats what its purpose is. I turn mine off only to gas up.

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Old 08-04-2011, 10:33 PM   #12
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In Wytheville Va the flying j gas pumps and the awning were burned down because the attendant tried to change a fuel filter without the proper shut off procedure. The gas sprayed an rv and caught fire. Yes I run with the propane on but it is turned off before we go in a station. The fridge is turned off is what I meant to say. That might be a little difficult with a pull behind. Would you stop on the road or in the station entrance to turn it off before you came up to the pumps?
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:58 AM   #13
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Also if your rig is diesel powered it is difficult to ignite diesel with a flame let alone a spark. Gas is a different story and the fumes will easily ignite.

Besides you fridge running on propane can't be any more dangerous that the idiots I see smoking ten feet from the pumps.
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Old 08-05-2011, 01:44 PM   #14
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Thank you everyone for your input. This has been a great help to us.
I guess we will keep it on except when we are fueling.

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