RV Fires While Towing - Propane Risks? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV
Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-20-2015, 02:20 PM   #21
Junior Member
 
Name: Lawrence
Trailer: In the market
North Carolina
Posts: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by librarianocnj View Post
Reading this thread got me thinking. Does anybody remember having a gas heater in their car. It siphoned off gas from the carburetor to burn in a separate heater. Heat came on in 10 seconds. No waiting for engine to warm up.
Only a child of 5 when we had a Ford woody wagon with a gasoline heater. Scorched the right front passenger and did little good for anyone else. Can't remember Mother liking the thing at all!
Lawrence in NC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 03:00 PM   #22
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 7,056
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelypip View Post
One thing I did in my vintage camper was to put in GFCIs on both circuits. These don't generally save you from fires, but they can do a fine job of saving you from an electrical shock. Planning ahead to arc-fault breakers (which may happen sooner, rather than later, as I noticed that one of my stock breakers was a little slow to trip when I tested it), I used plug-in GFCIs on the first outlet in both daisy chains.

As I was explaining it to my 10 year old son, "you already know that 'water and electricity don't mix.' Now look around you and tell me where there is electricity that isn't close enough to water that you couldn't touch both at the same time..."

Fuel fired heaters are alive and well and used in really cold climates on things like military trucks, by the way. They tend to have multiple safety systems and timed blower runs after shutoff to purge combustion gases.
I believe that since there's little 120 VAC in a trailer that most, if not all, electrical fires are started with the 12 VDC wiring. CGCIs work great to keep you from getting shocked from the 120 VAC system. Not to worry if you're like me and never connected to 120 VAC.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 03:09 PM   #23
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escapeó 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelypip View Post
One thing I did in my vintage camper was to put in GFCIs on both circuits. These don't generally save you from fires, but they can do a fine job of saving you from an electrical shock. Planning ahead to arc-fault breakers (which may happen sooner, rather than later, as I noticed that one of my stock breakers was a little slow to trip when I tested it), I used plug-in GFCIs on the first outlet in both daisy chains.

As I was explaining it to my 10 year old son, "you already know that 'water and electricity don't mix.' Now look around you and tell me where there is electricity that isn't close enough to water that you couldn't touch both at the same time..."

Fuel fired heaters are alive and well and used in really cold climates on things like military trucks, by the way. They tend to have multiple safety systems and timed blower runs after shutoff to purge combustion gases.
Siemens and Eaton (Cutler Hammer) do make a combination GFCI/ Arc Fault circuit breaker.
Price is around $50/ each down from over a $100 / each a few years back. GFCI's do not totally eliminate shock hazards . In the OSHA class I taught we would drop a running / energized hair dryer into a plastic bucket filled with water . After 5 or ten minutes the class had to guess if the hair dryer was still running or if the GFCI tripped. If you guessed the GFCI
tripped ,like many did you would be wrong. THE HAIR DRYER WAS STILL RUNNING.
steve dunham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 03:18 PM   #24
Senior Member
 
Name: Anne
Trailer: 2014 Parkliner 2016 Honda Pilot
North Carolina
Posts: 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Just because you have a trailer with propane, no one says you have to use it under tow...
That's what I've been thinking. Is there any reason *not* to switch a 3-way fridge to 12 V while traveling?

-- Anne
neparker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 03:37 PM   #25
Senior Member
 
David Tilston's Avatar
 
Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1976, 1978, 1979, 1300 - 1977, and a 1973
Alberta
Posts: 6,760
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Siemens and Eaton (Cutler Hammer) do make a combination GFCI/ Arc Fault circuit breaker.
Price is around $50/ each down from over a $100 / each a few years back. GFCI's do not totally eliminate shock hazards . In the OSHA class I taught we would drop a running / energized hair dryer into a plastic bucket filled with water . After 5 or ten minutes the class had to guess if the hair dryer was still running or if the GFCI tripped. If you guessed the GFCI
tripped ,like many did you would be wrong. THE HAIR DRYER WAS STILL RUNNING.
That makes sense in a bucket. No ground fault, no circuit interruption. The bucket is insulated from ground. If it was a bathtub, or sink, the drain would act as a path to ground. Then the GFCI would trip.
David Tilston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 03:52 PM   #26
Senior Member
 
Name: RB
Trailer: 1992 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Virginia
Posts: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
That makes sense in a bucket. No ground fault, no circuit interruption. The bucket is insulated from ground. If it was a bathtub, or sink, the drain would act as a path to ground. Then the GFCI would trip.
Yeah, I read through the scenario and thought - 'sure - no path to ground at all, so how could there be a ground fault?' The point is, of course, particularly if you're connected to shore water, your water system is most likely at ground potential. Which means that any leakage on the neutral could make things unpleasant...

I had the GFCIs sitting on the shelf - they were older two-socket models that I'd removed because they were ivory and all the other sockets in that condo were bright white. So the cost to me was my labor, and I could do it sooner rather than later. The next time I'm somewhere that sells that kind of stuff I'll pick up a couple of Westinghouse pattern Arc fault CBs for the converter/load center.

As for propane risks, I will admit to running the fridge on propane while moving now and again, mostly because I haven't run a dedicated power line on the TV back for power to the trailer. A charging system upgrade is on the list of things to do...

I can't imagine having the water heater lit while driving? Why would you? Mine's all of six gallons, and it doesn't take that long to get hot...
steelypip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 04:21 PM   #27
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escapeó 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
That makes sense in a bucket. No ground fault, no circuit interruption. The bucket is insulated from ground. If it was a bathtub, or sink, the drain would act as a path to ground. Then the GFCI would trip.
Not if the water lines and drain piping to the tub or sink is in plastic (Pexs / PVC /ABS ), then the plumbing fixtures provide no path to ground . The same as the plastic bucket. 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. Because of the increasing use of plastic for both underground and interior plumbing systems ,the NEC is looking at requiring the bonding / grounding of all metallic plumbing
fixtures. The SS kitchen sink in my Casita is neither grounded or bonded
steve dunham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 04:32 PM   #28
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Trailer: Class A Motorhome
Posts: 7,912
Hmmmm... Arc fault protectors, in an RV, Me thinks that we are overthinking the complexity (actually lack thereof) in our FGRV's. Pleasel us why this protection is needed.



Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 07:04 PM   #29
Moderator
 
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 2010 Scamp 16
Michigan
Posts: 3,740
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.
RogerDat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 07:22 PM   #30
Senior Member
 
Name: Kathy
Trailer: 2017 Escape 19
Washington
Posts: 600
Registry
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.
Evergreengirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 10:08 PM   #31
Senior Member
 
Name: RB
Trailer: 1992 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Virginia
Posts: 121
Quote:
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.
steelypip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 10:43 PM   #32
Senior Member
 
floyd's Avatar
 
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
Posts: 8,445
Registry
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.
floyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 11:24 PM   #33
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,890
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.
stevebaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2015, 11:30 PM   #34
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Trailer: Escape 17 ft
Posts: 8,314
I've noticed the same with the butane canisters. Once installed, it seems some slowly leak, even after being completely shut off.
__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2015, 03:53 AM   #35
Raz
Senior Member
 
Raz's Avatar
 
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Posts: 5,107
Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
........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
Raz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2015, 07:47 AM   #36
Senior Member
 
Name: RB
Trailer: 1992 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Virginia
Posts: 121
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.
steelypip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2015, 07:56 AM   #37
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escapeó 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelypip View Post
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.
steve dunham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2015, 08:12 AM   #38
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escapeó 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Do you think all those folks stop and turn off the propane before getting to the gas station? Raz
I do !!
steve dunham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2015, 09:37 AM   #39
Senior Member
 
Civilguy's Avatar
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: Escape 21 & Jeep GC 5.7 (Previous 2012 Casita FD17 & 2010 Audi Q5)
Puget Sound, WA
Posts: 1,768
Registry
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.
Civilguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2015, 09:43 AM   #40
Senior Member
 
floyd's Avatar
 
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
Posts: 8,445
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
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!
floyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
propane


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Propane on/off? while towing adimiro Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 15 11-09-2006 08:47 PM
Forest Fires Legacy Posts General Chat 5 08-19-2003 09:24 PM
Forest Fires Legacy Posts General Chat 1 08-15-2003 10:55 PM
Planning trip, fires not helping Legacy Posts General Chat 8 08-11-2003 06:54 PM
FIRES BURN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA General Chat 0 01-01-1970 12:00 AM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions Inc.