Propane tank time for frig - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-09-2016, 01:19 PM   #1
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Propane tank time for frig

Looking for approximate time a 20 pound tank will run a 4.1(?) cubic foot refrigerator. I did a search on the forum and couldn't find any info about this question. We have a 2012 Casita SD with what I think is the Dometic 4.1 CF frig and was wondering if anyone has any ideas approximately how long we can use a tank of propane to cool the frig. (Hours, days, weeks?) We are planning a trip to northern and central FL during February and will be camping primarily in NFS campgrounds with no electric, hence, will need to use the propane. Frig and freezer will be kept pretty full and I hope average outside temps will be in the mid 70's or so. We also plan on cooling the frig down with electric before we leave and putting already cooled or frozen food in the frig before we leave and as we go along the trip. Any one have any experience or ideas?

thanks...jon
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Old 01-09-2016, 02:15 PM   #2
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The answer to that one is rather nebulous. There are many different issues which arise, making such calculations only a wild-@$$ guess at best. How efficient is your fridge, (some are known to be more efficient than others "right out of the box," even within the same make, model and year,) have you added any additional insulation to the fridge, how cold were the contents when you placed them inside, what is the ambient temperature outside, how level is your trailer when parked, etc. I can go on and on, but I think you get the drift here. There is really only one sure way to figure this one out, by trial and error and keep notes of all these conditions. After a while, you might have a reasonable data base to reflect back on.

Sorry if it isn't the answer you wanted, but then, that answer isn't there. You should be able to get at least a week out of one, and perhaps a good deal more. If you are concerned about running out, you may want to invest in an additional tank just to cover all the bases.
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Old 01-09-2016, 02:22 PM   #3
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The biggest variable in your situation will be how often and long the door is open.

Anyway - the answer to "hours, days, weeks?" is that you might well see 2-4 weeks if the fridge is almost your only use. But it could be much shorter or much longer. You need an idea of where to start though so lets say 2-4 weeks. Carry a spare and when it runs out you will have your answer PLUS the food wont spoil (assuming you keep an eye on it and switch out the tank when needed).
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Old 01-09-2016, 03:14 PM   #4
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I have camped frequently with my old fridge running sole on propane. Although the fridge is not new (24 years old) it does not eat up much in the way of propane. I have used it many times for a week to 10 days straight on propane only. I also run the hot water tank on propane and heater as needed and so far have never come close to running out of propane.

As far as how long it will last? As others have said way to many variables. How much hot water are you using for dishes and showers? How often and how high do you have the furnace on.

I carry a small 5lb tank I use for my outdoor stove and its my emergency back up should the main tank run out at a bad time .... in 7 years of camping have not had to do that though. I Have though connected it on the trailer a couple of times to keep the fridge going, while I went off and got the main tank refilled which I tend to do when I see the propane gage is starting to show its getting low rather than letting it completely run out.
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:45 PM   #5
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This is easy.

If I remember right, my fridge is rated at 1,000 btu/hr input when running on propane. Propane contains around 90,000 BTU's per gallon, and a 20 pound propane tank contains about 4.5 gallons of propane.

Doing the math, 4.5 times 90,000, divided by 1,000, and divided again by 24, and you have 168 days.

This seems pretty long. Can someone check my work?

--Dan Meyer
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Old 01-09-2016, 06:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dan Meyer View Post
This is easy.

If I remember right, my fridge is rated at 1,000 btu/hr input when running on propane. Propane contains around 90,000 BTU's per gallon, and a 20 pound propane tank contains about 4.5 gallons of propane.

Doing the math, 4.5 times 90,000, divided by 1,000, and divided again by 24, and you have 168 days.

This seems pretty long. Can someone check my work?

--Dan Meyer
Maybe not so easy.. try the math again sir.. and watch the decimal place.
16.8 days is in the range of 2-4 weeks so I stand by my prior posting.
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Old 01-09-2016, 06:21 PM   #7
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We leave northern IllAnnoy with a cold fridge and deep frozen bottles of water or tea inside. When we get to Sebring after about four or five days, we still have plenty of ice left in the bottles. This is without ever turning the fridge on during the trip. Of course your fridge is bigger than ours but you can use more frozen bottles.
The furnace is the biggest propane hog, the fridge is a far distant second.
We seldom use a 20# propane tank in a year.
I think you will not need to be concerned about propane depletion unless you use your furnace a lot.
There are PLENTY of places to refill or exchange your tank at any rate.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:26 PM   #8
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All good information. At least I feel we can safely use the frig for a sevral weeks and double it with our spare tank. Two tanks should last our 6 week trip. We seldom use the propane heater and when we do, it is only on for a few minutes a night to take off the chill. All of our cooking is outside on a Coleman stove with the one pound cylinders, so no loss of frig propane there.

Does the frig run all of the time when on propane (or DC or even shore power), or does it cycle on and off as demand requires?

thanks...jon
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jon carpenter View Post
Does the frig run all of the time when on propane (or DC or even shore power), or does it cycle on and off as demand requires? Thanks...jon
Cycles as needed
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jon carpenter View Post
At least I feel we can safely use the frig for a sevral weeks and double it with our spare tank. Two tanks should last our 6 week trip.
Do you plan to park it i one place for all of the six weeks?

I ask as I often see folks packing two tanks and wonder if they really need to pull around that extra weight when its pretty easy to stop and have a low tank refilled as needed when traveling around.
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Old 01-10-2016, 05:15 AM   #11
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My Domestic 1.9 ft^3 is about as simple as they get. While the gas is adjustable, there is no thermostat, so it's always on. It also has no freezer. The longest I have stayed in one place was 2 weeks. We used about 1 1/2 gallons. This included using the cook top at least once a day for coffee. Take two tanks and let us know if you use the second tank. Oh and enjoy the sun shine. Raz
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Old 01-10-2016, 08:25 AM   #12
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Carol,
We will be moving about over the 6 weeks. Want to check out as many places as we can. We take two tanks. One for the Casita and one for Mr Heater in case we get chilled outside at night and can't build a fire for some reason. That way we always have a spare for either. Easy to get refilled along the way. I will see how long one tank lasts and report back in March.

It is currrently 11 degrees here in the mid-west, My old bones and joints are already creaking in the cold. I'm ready to head to a warmer climate for a couple weeks but unfortunately can't leave until near end of January. Use to love the snow and cold when I was much younger. I'm not as hardy of a person as those brave souls living in the cold all winter.

jon
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:03 AM   #13
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Boondocking in summer I have got three weeks use with the fridge and cooking everyday. with lows in the 60s and highs in the 80s I carry a spare.
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