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Traveling With the Propane On

an RVer asks...
(Questioning the Safety of Traveling with LP Appliances On)

Is it okay to travel with the propane furnace on, when traveling when outside temps are below freezing? Is it okay to travel with the refrigerator operating on LP?


Coleen, the RVing editor replies:

Bob knows a lot more about RV appliances, propane, and RV safety than I do, so I referred this pair of questions to him. His reply follows.

Bob's reply:

Traveling with the propane furnace on is NOT okay. A furnace has a full flame and the turbulence from the wind outside the rig can raise havoc with the air intake and exhaust of the unit. This could potentially cause propane to back up, exhaust to back up, burping, and maybe an explosion or fire.

Turn the furnace off and let it finish running through the cycle before you start down the road. After you stop, fire up the furnace and start warming up the RV.

As for the refrigerator, the official line is, no, it is not okay to travel with the refrigerator running on propane. Many people do. That doesn't make it right. The flame of the refrigerator is about the size of a pilot light for appliances without electronic spark ignition. Metal shielding usually surrounds this little flame. It may seem safe enough, but the wind can still cause problems. When you are stopped for fuel, the fumes from fueling can float up to the flame, and could cause an explosion.

I believe it is illegal to have the propane turned on while going through certain tunnels, over certain bridges, and through some industrial areas.

It's always best to err on the safe side. Like your mother probably said, just because someone else does it, doesn't make it right.

Travel safely.

Go to the RV Life and Travel blog.

Comments for Traveling With the Propane On

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Bobs 100% right AND ...
by: mike c

Propane can freeze and spit fireballs. Had it happen to me in 17 degree weather. Also, don't run heaters in a camper that are not built into campers and that are propane -- carbon monoxide will kill ya.

We used a sunbeam heater in a tent in 17 degrees and it shot fireballs at the tent and burned the tent. Try throwing a 20 pound propane tank, heater and cord out of a tent on fire. I did.

They also make silver padded covers for your tanks now that are highly recommended (real cheap) to prevent outdoor tanks from freezing, especially if mounted on the tongue. Also, keep a good check on cracking on your lines by running soapy water on them -- you will see bubbles on leaks.

Safe camping - "Live Long and Propane" (lol)

Safe Refridgerator Travel
by: Amos

Safest way to maintain food in fridge while traveling is to place blocks of dry ice in the freezer and refrigerator. Turn gas off and be safe.

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