Refrigerator solution while on the road - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-15-2016, 11:26 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Mr Lynn View Post
Carol, the issue in the video that Darral posted was not about safety of normal use; it was about the hazard that flowing propane can present in the event of an untoward event: a road obstruction that damages a propane line, or a crash that breaks a line or joint. The fire-safety guy was pointing out that in such circumstances you increase your risk of fire and/or explosion, perhaps markedly so.
Mr. Lynn I do understand what the fire safety guy was saying BUT the reality is that you face the same risk that every time you start your car!

Gas is an equally flammable liquid. If a gas line ruptures due to age or someone crashing into you you face the same risk of fire - the moment the gas starts to leak over a hot engine or muffler system. It happens multiple times a day in NA & people are killed daily as a result. So should we all stop driving our cars?

The simple facts are that if running a propane fridge in every tunnel was putting people at great risk it would be banned in every tunnel. It is not. In fact the last time this topic came up people posted known tunnels that prohibited the use of propane and the numbers listed were in fact VERY small compared to how many tunnels there are in NA. There are thousands of tunnels in NA that allow propane to be used in them. Apparently the folks responsible for keeping us all safe on our highways on both sides of the border do not see it as a big a risk as some folks here appear to do.

I suspect that statistically we are being put at risk to a far greater extent by simple starting our cars each day or crossing the street.

its up to each of us to decide what level of risk we are comfortable taking with our own safety.

What I object to is the suggestion by some that those who do choose to run their fridge on propane are putting the rest of the world at unreasonable level of risk.
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:39 AM   #72
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Carol, I was about to post the same.

I personnally can live with that risk.

Any tow vehicle has a gas tank that's basically a tin can simply hung under your vehicle that contains a highly flammable and volatile liquid. There are electricals in the tank (fuel pump, level sensor, etc) so think Apollo 13. There's a fuel line, usually made of aluminium and somewhat exposed, that runs under your vehicle from that tank to the front of your vehicle, and that line is pressurized to maybe 60-80 psi. Not too far from the gas line is your exhaust line, and your red-hot exhaust manifold and catalytic converter, and a 600 CCA battery.
Get involved in an accident, and that tin can gets crushed, fuel line breaks, with fuel spraying everywhere and leaking down your neck, and you can't open the damn door.
How safe is that? Still, nobody seems too concerned about that.

I don't think that having a low pressure LP system and in use in a travel trailer poses much more risk.
To each his own, but I always travel with the fridge on LP, but I shut it off before entering gas stations, just common sense.
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:58 AM   #73
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Threads on this subject always brings out half truths and down right inaccurate information generating fear in people's minds.

IF your trailer's rubber lines to the tanks have plastic knobs you can cut the hose and the gas flow will stop instantly because they have "excess flow valves" in them that detects a large flow and shuts the gas off. Same goes for a rupture in any other of the gas lines.

If your rubber lines don't have the newer plastic knobs it's long past time to replace them.

NOTE: Brian has informed me the plastic knobs come in differing colors that indicate the flow rate before shutting.

So I have replaced "Green knob" with "Plastic knob"


That's why newer appliances say to turn on the gas slowly...
Turn it on too fast and the excess flow valve shuts the flow off.

For those interested do a search.

Also try turning the tank on with no hose attached and see what happens.
This statement was to show there is a safety device in the OPD valves on the tanks too.



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Old 08-19-2016, 10:09 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Actually it says something about the safety of tunnels, but tunnel safety is another thread for another day.
There are a couple of other interpretations possible. First, the laws are behind the times and were written before safety shut off valves were required in LP tanks. More likely however is, that with all the different RVs, it is easier to make sure all the flames are out if the tank is turned off.

If there is an accident in the tunnel and there is a fuel spill, they don't want any flames that could set it off, just as you should turn of the refer before entering a station for fuel.
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Old 08-19-2016, 01:32 PM   #75
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I just asked CDOT (Colorado) about tunnel restrictions re: propane being on for fridge. Here is the response:

Tom - there are no restrictions about a camper size fridge and propane tank. We have hundreds of motor homes and campers moving through the tunnel everyday and I would guess most, if not all, are run on propane.

We only have restrictions on hazardous materials for semis. You should be good to go. Thanks for writing and asking.

?Susan Jacobs
Customer Service Representative
??Colorado Department of Transportation
Region 3
P 970.384.3335 | F 970.947.5133
202 Centennial Drive, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
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Old 08-19-2016, 02:48 PM   #76
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The argument for or against use of gas in transit it about acceptable risks. Some wish to take them and some don't. The newer and more modern appliances remove some of the risk that resulted in the recommendation not to use propane while in transit.

But as far as regulation, that is only to prevent the lowest common denominator. IE: everybody has to turn their propane off in tunnels because there is going to be that one RV or trailer that has never been serviced and good ole boy has "fixed" it at home several times. That small leak is no big deal until the car in front of you breaks down in the tunnel and you are stuck for an hour. Then some twit has to light up 'cause he can't go more then 2 hours without sucking down a pack of cigs. BOOM!

But this is all exaggerated to make a point. 99% of the time it's no big deal and everything is fine. The recommendation is for that 1% of the time, in perfect conditions, because of the catastrophic results.

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Old 08-19-2016, 04:19 PM   #77
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The only time I've had to turn off the propane in a tunnel was in the Chesapeake Bay tunnel that goes down and under the bay.
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Old 08-19-2016, 04:36 PM   #78
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Last year a type C caught fire in Tunnel Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine in Montreal. Regulations there restrict the amount of propane in the tunnel to two 45 l tanks but it was carrying more than twice that amount. The fire was initiated by an engine problem not a running refrigerator. There's a picture and a translated article in the link.
https://goo.gl/O3xPZQ

A standard 20lb 5g tank holds about 18 l. The type C had the equivalent of 11 tanks on board. I think it had been was converted to a Chip wagon which explains the excessive amount of propane.
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:15 PM   #79
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It was a class C motorhome pulling a chip wagon or shack or whatever you want to call this. The fire caught in the wagon, there was two 100lbs propane tanks in it.
This is illegal to begin with.
The law for this tunnel allows 2 gas containers, up to 40lbs each. Now if you carry one small disposable 1lb gas bottle, that counts for 1 container. If you have 3 of these, you are illegal. If you have only one tank, larger than 40lbs, you're illegal (large motorhomes with large LP tanks are not allowed).

There is nothing is the law about closing the tank valves, and nobody is really sure if an appliance like a fridge can be left running or not. The law is not very clear on that topic, you speak with police officers, people at the government, or FQCC (Quebec camping Federation) reps and you always get different answers. Some say you can, some say it's totally illegal, and you ask again the next time and get a different answer. The truth is the law is poorly written and even law enforcement isn't really sure how to interpret it.

The law outlaws "devices producing an open flame" (my translation, this law is written in french).

Not too long ago, in an effort to clarify what constitues an "open flame", the FQCC sought advise from the provincial DOT, and then issued a document stating that according to the DOT, an RV fridge in use DOES NOT constitute an "open flame" device. My understanding was that in a fridge, the burner is enclosed in a metal box and not considered "in the open". Now I have no idea what kind of device would then be considered as having an "open flame", but at that point this made crossing that tunnel with an RV fridge in use perfectly legal.

Then this accident happened last year. And in the wake of all the media coverage of that accident, the document issued by the FQCC explaining that running fridges were legal kinda disappeared and can't be found anymore... And many interviews with law enforcement or DOT people mentioned that "all pilot flames" should be turned off before entering the tunnel. Now again in many forums the question surfaced: is it legal to use gas refrigerators or not? I expected maybe the government will finally make it clear, be we haven't heard anything yet. So the usual advise is to turn the fridge off before entering the tunnel, but then nobody is really there to check if you did, and many RVs are crossing that tunnel every day, many of them with their fridges running I guess.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:17 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by Mr Lynn View Post
I thought it was pretty cool (as it were) to have a three-way 'fridge, but now I'm beginning to wonder what the point of having 12V capability is. On shore power, you naturally run the 'fridge on AC. When boondocking, off shore power, propane is quite efficient, while running the 'fridge on 12v will quickly deplete your trailer battery. When traveling, many say the alternators on your tow vehicles can't keep the trailer battery(ies) charged and also run the 'fridge. I haven't tried it yet with our Expedition, as our trips have been short.

So when do you use the 12V?

As for running the 'fridge on propane when traveling, the PO of our Casita told me he did it. But many say it is not safe, and I am inclined to think they're right (without any hard evidence).

/Mr Lynn
If you have solar panels 12v works good.
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:58 AM   #81
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If you have solar panels 12v works good.
That's my next project: solar. (Anything to put off rust-proofing the frame of my Casita. . .)


/Mr Lynn
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:25 AM   #82
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Here is my solution. I tow my Escape 19' with the fridge on propane most of the time (except for ferries). However, I also carry a cooler with a loosely fitting lid inside the trailer that is full of dry ice. As the dry ice warms up, it releases CO2, which we all know is a great fire suppressant. The resulting higher concentration of CO2 inside my trailer almost totally eliminates any risk there is due to my propane fridge exploding and the trailer catching on fire.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:00 AM   #83
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Here is my solution. I tow my Escape 19' with the fridge on propane most of the time (except for ferries). However, I also carry a cooler with a loosely fitting lid inside the trailer that is full of dry ice. As the dry ice warms up, it releases CO2, which we all know is a great fire suppressant. The resulting higher concentration of CO2 inside my trailer almost totally eliminates any risk there is due to my propane fridge exploding and the trailer catching on fire.
Right. . . No sarc tag?

Don't go to sleep in there, or the CO2 settling inside will asphyxiate you. Remember that lakeside village in Africa:

Gas cloud kills Cameroon villagers - Aug 21, 1986 - HISTORY.com

Not likely you could create enough concentration to either asphyxiate you or stop a fire, though.

Of course the rational solution is to turn off the fridge, and use a little of that dry ice to keep your food cold.

/Mr Lynn
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:14 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by Mr Lynn View Post
Right. . . No sarc tag?

Don't go to sleep in there, or the CO2 settling inside will asphyxiate you. Remember that lakeside village in Africa:

Gas cloud kills Cameroon villagers - Aug 21, 1986 - HISTORY.com

Not likely you could create enough concentration to either asphyxiate you or stop a fire, though.

Of course the rational solution is to turn off the fridge, and use a little of that dry ice to keep your food cold.

/Mr Lynn
Notice the in my post Mr. Lynn. That indicates a little bit of humor for those that were not able to recognize it.

The irrational fears that some people have regarding the safety of propane devices is highly amusing. I have lived and worked safely with propane devices (and natural gas devices) my entire life and have no qualms about travelling with the fridge on propane in my camper. I even use a propane stove, hot water heater, furnace, BBQ, and fire bowl when I am in camp, and so far have not blown myself or anyone else up. Now my single-burner Optimus back-packing stove running off of Naptha gas is another story.
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