RV Fires While Towing - Propane Risks? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-20-2015, 08:04 PM   #29
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I'm in the shut the propane off for traveling but realistically the propane tank is sitting right behind the fuel tank full of gasoline. While the propane will make a heck of a boom if it goes off, the fuel tank in front of it would be no slouch at providing excitement.

Not sure how flammable the FG shell of a scamp is but with the small size any fire is going to be a close encounter, does make the fire extinguisher range pretty short.

Inline fuse or fusible link on the 12 volt line is good idea, Twice I have seen 12 volt lines glowing red hot. Once was a GMC truck with a 1/2 inch cable going to the starter. That was a little hairy.

Take care of the equipment and maintain it and fire or shock become much less of a concern. Let crud build up or ignore it because it worked last season and you may end up paying a price. Could be a steep price too so don't do that.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:22 PM   #30
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The OP asked if there was a "significant risk" associated with towing a trailer equipped with propane. To that I would answer no, especially in a new trailer equipped with modern appliances. We just make sure everything is turned off before we hit the road. The hot water will stay hot a long time and the fridge will likewise stay cold. Install a good propane/CO detector and turn off the propane at the tank(s) when you're towing. Have your propane lines pressure tested at least once a year. Personally, we would hate to be limited to camping only in campgrounds with electrical hook-ups. We use and appreciate all of our propane appliances.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:08 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Your trailer
has plastic water lines , a plastic water tank ,pvc/ abs drain / vent piping and is fed by a vinyl water hose. None of which are conductive and water is not an excellent. conductor in itself.
So you only use distilled water in your trailer? Hope you're taking your mineral supplements. For the rest of us, it's probably wiser (and certainly safer) to assume that the water coming from the campground supply is conductive enough to be a ground, and thus a source of danger to someone in contact with a 120 V potential relative to ground...

And for the rest of you wondering, I'll point out that Steve is technically right: pure water itself is a terrible conductor of electricity, in fact its resistance is measured in millions of Ohms per centimeter.

Generally, the only places you find water that pure in a pipe are laboratories and factories. Everywhere else, there will be some mineral content in the water, and that (the dissolved minerals) has some degree of conductivity. You can bet your life on just how conductive it is if you like; I'll install a GFCI.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:43 PM   #32
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The effective reason to shut off propane while underway IMO is to prevent leaks in the event that a rough ride might cause a line to crack or a fitting to fail. The gas could then build up inside the trailer until it reached an ignition source like a running appliance.
It has been said that 75% or more travel trailers are towed with the fridge running on propane.
I have seen a few travel trailer fires and often there was not enough left to easily determine the cause.
Of the trailers which I have seen which have survived fire damage, one was clearly caused by a roof A/C while hooked to shore power. Two others were clearly caused by propane fires in the refrigerators while being towed.
I don't travel with the propane tank on because I believe that most travel trailer fires are caused by propane even though the possibility of any fire is remote.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:24 AM   #33
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I choose to shut off propane when I travel. But I have had issues with propane leakage from used 1 lb bottles of the type used in lanterns. These worry me far more than a shut off trailer. Just no way to properly store these things.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:30 AM   #34
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I've noticed the same with the butane canisters. Once installed, it seems some slowly leak, even after being completely shut off.
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Old 07-21-2015, 04:53 AM   #35
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........It has been said that 75% or more travel trailers are towed with the fridge running on propane......
Do you think all those folks stop and turn off the propane before getting to the gas station? Raz
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:47 AM   #36
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These are all good arguments for not running the fridge in propane mode when towing! So far, for our short trips, having a pre-chilled fridge full of something massive (we have a nice little 2 liter pitcher with locking lid we fill with water) to even out the temperature, we've gotten by with no refrigeration at all during the drive.

Longer term, it's definitely time for power from the TV.
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:56 AM   #37
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So you only use distilled water in your trailer? Hope you're taking your mineral supplements. For the rest of us, it's probably wiser (and certainly safer) to assume that the water coming from the campground supply is conductive enough to be a ground, and thus a source of danger to someone in contact with a 120 V potential relative to ground...

And for the rest of you wondering, I'll point out that Steve is technically right: pure water itself is a terrible conductor of electricity, in fact its resistance is measured in millions of Ohms per centimeter.

Generally, the only places you find water that pure in a pipe are laboratories and factories. Everywhere else, there will be some mineral content in the water, and that (the dissolved minerals) has some degree of conductivity. You can bet your life on just how conductive it is if you like; I'll install a GFCI.
We used plain old City of St. Paul Mn water ,straight from the tap for our experiment !!
( NOT DISTILLED WATER) I am not saying that GFCI are not effective just that they are not 100% effective. You can still get a shock or be electricuted. by a GFCI protected
circuit . GFCI's are not the total answer to stupidity or the misuse of electricity!
There is a huge difference between an effective & intentional grounding such as a copper wire and a incidental ground such as through water in a hose.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:12 AM   #38
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Do you think all those folks stop and turn off the propane before getting to the gas station? Raz
I do !!
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:37 AM   #39
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I've been interested to read all the responses here, including discussions of the AC and DC electrical systems. The differentiation between propane water heaters and refrigerators was something I hadn’t even considered. After all, we “tear-droppers” generally don’t have all those onboard appliances that folks in their big "luxury-coach" 13-footers do.

I found some additional thoughts on propane on a previous thread here:

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f55/propane-on-off-while-towing-27348.html

I also found it interesting that the subject of the disposable cylinders has come up. I found 4 of them leaking after removing from the stove this year. This is 4 out of about 10 used. I’ve written to Coleman, with no response yet.

The leakage is very subtle. Is it TMI to say that a little judiciously placed saliva can aid in evaluating the cylinder's seal? I even tried briefly pressing in on the valves with a small object, hoping they would reseat properly. No dice.

I didn’t want to transport the leaking cylinders as I generally pack them back in the trailer where I wouldn’t detect any warning odor while driving. And propane is what they use in the movies to produce so many of those super-duper spectacular Hollywood-special-effect explosions. So in each case, I informed the camp host that I was leaving the cylinder near the picnic table and that a subsequent camper might be able to use them.

In any event, my solution was to buy an 11 lb. refillable cylinder and a five foot adaptor hose. It gives me a little peace of mind and at $0.62 per lb. vs. about $3.00 for a 16.4 oz disposable I expect to recover the cost of the cylinder pretty quickly.

Plus, I'll still get to use it when I move up to a "luxury coach" FGRV.
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:43 AM   #40
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Do you think all those folks stop and turn off the propane before getting to the gas station? Raz
Of course I don't think so!
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Old 07-22-2015, 03:14 PM   #41
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Good heavens. I've been using those little propane cylinders for many years, most often transporting them in the back of my car. Am DEFINITELY getting rid of those used ones, and I like the idea of moving to a larger, refillable cylinder. Thank you all for this discussion.

LP
(now proven dangerous with LP stuff)
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Old 07-22-2015, 03:39 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
We used plain old City of St. Paul Mn water ,straight from the tap for our experiment !!
( NOT DISTILLED WATER) I am not saying that GFCI are not effective just that they are not 100% effective. You can still get a shock or be electricuted. by a GFCI protected
circuit . GFCI's are not the total answer to stupidity or the misuse of electricity!
There is a huge difference between an effective & intentional grounding such as a copper wire and a incidental ground such as through water in a hose.
If you're talking about the bucket experiment, you did say it was a plastic bucket, right? Hair dryer probably has two wires and no ground bond. So there's absolutely no way that it would know there's a ground fault.

That said, yes GFCIs are not perfect. But they're better than just circuit breakers, which is what I had first.
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