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Travelling With Propane On ? Safe / Dangerous Or Ok?


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#1 Carolyn and Steve

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 01:27 PM

Hi all Here is the new old topic.. Please weigh in.

 

From all I have read and researched the majority say "never travel with the propane on".

 

The safety concern is that the thin copper propane lines under the Casita can rupture, crack, fail in case of an accident.

The gas tank or tanks are fully open at the shut off/on valves. Gas running to the refrigerator, water heater and stove

can the propane be ignited by a spark and turn the Casita and tow vehicle into a rolling bomb?

 

Are these concerns true, unfounded or imaginary. 

 

We know the tanks when shutoff are very safe even in an accident. We like a cold fridge as much as the next guy.

However we are currently erring on the side of safety and risking some spoiled food.

 

We have put 5,500 miles touring the Southwest for a month in June and July We put another 1,500 miles touring north central

California. The propane question has come up a number of times when camping. The consensus seems to be evenly divided.

 

We are getting ready to hit the road again soon and we would like to put this matter to rest.

 

Wishing you all a joyous and peaceful holiday and New Year.

 

BTW if you are ever in the Orange County, California area let us know for that  personal guided tour.

 

best,

Steve and Carolyn

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#2 Wally Z

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 01:47 PM

I leave mine on.  We are just weekenders right now so my tow vehicle is fully gassed up before we leave so I don't have to make gas station stops.  I haven't tried running on DC to see how my TV charge system handles keeping trailer battery charged.  Most of the post I've seen on this say their TV won't keep up with the charging when running refrigerator. 

I'm going to look for a Excess Flow Valve (EFV) for RV's.  This is a valve that shuts off the gas supply if there is a break in the line.  Anyone know if these are available?

 

Added later:

 

https://home-repairs...ss-flow-valves/


Edited by Wally Z, 21 December 2015 - 01:59 PM.

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#3 CC-John

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 02:06 PM

Wally,

 

These trailers are already equipped with excess flow valves, they're built in to the ends of the pigtails that connect to the tank valve..


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#4 clairemr1

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 02:43 PM

    as you've already found out, there are various opinions on this one. you should really do what works best for you. i travel with the fridge on DC mode then switch to either 120v or propane when stopped for the night, depending on hook up availability. i have never had a problem with the fridge either staying cold or draining either battery. your results may vary.

    just for grins, i tried travelling with the fridge on propane for a bit while gone extensively for the summer. i didn't notice much of a difference in either my battery performance or fridge temp. i didn't blow myself up. luckily, i wasn't in an accident, so can't testify to what might or might not happen if propane were running in that event. even though propane is cheap, i still prefer to run the fridge on DC while travelling and save my propane for boondocking, but you'll need to experiment and see which you prefer. you might experience difficulty maintaining either your batteries or fridge temp running on DC mode while enroute, so that would sway you in your decision. happy and safe travels.


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#5 Jerrybob

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 02:56 PM

I have travelled with our propane on for many years.  This topic has been discussed many times.  Good advice above......your choice.  Turn off  propane when refueling. Most of our friends travel with their refrig. on propane.  Whatever you decide......safe travels.



#6 Wally Z

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 05:58 PM

Wally,

 

These trailers are already equipped with excess flow valves, they're built in to the ends of the pigtails that connect to the tank valve..

Thank you for the information.  Nice to know.  Sure glad I didn't buy one.  I guess it makes sense they would have one on a trailer or RV.  Is it a requirement?


Edited by Wally Z, 21 December 2015 - 05:58 PM.

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#7 CC-John

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 04:05 AM

 

Wally,

 

These trailers are already equipped with excess flow valves, they're built in to the ends of the pigtails that connect to the tank valve..

Thank you for the information.  Nice to know.  Sure glad I didn't buy one.  I guess it makes sense they would have one on a trailer or RV.  Is it a requirement?

 

 

The requirement came about as part of the federally mandated conversion to OPD tank valves back in the late 90's.. When replacing the tank pigtails for any reason, be sure to get ones certified for "RV" use as there are ones made for different applications that do not have the excess flow valve built in..

 

There are actually three safety devices in the OPD valve system that will restrict and/or completely shut off the flow of gas in the event of an accident or fire..

 

The first is the excess flow valve that is part of the "ACME" connector that connects to the tank valve.. In the event that one of the trailer's gas lines is severed from an accident or road debris, a spring loaded valve will snap shut and stop the flow of gas..

 

The second is actually part of the OPD valve that is installed on the tank.. The OPD valve has an internal poppet valve that will not allow gas to flow unless the "ACME" connector is properly connected and tightened to the valve.. This valve stops the flow of gas in the event that the plastic "ACME" connector is ripped from the tank valve or is melted from excessive heat from a fire..

 

The third is a pressure vent valve that is also part of the OPD valve.. The pressure vent valve will prevent the tank from exploding when the tank's internal pressure rises beyond a safe level due to the tank being overheated in a fire.. When triggered, the valve opens and vents the tank's contents at a controlled rate to prevent a tank explosion with the resulting shrapnel and damage..

 

It's probably safe to say that the propane systems in these trailers have more safety systems to shut down the flow of gas in the event of an accident than the vehicles that pull them..

 

OPD Valve.jpg Excess Flow Valve.jpg


Edited by CC-John, 22 December 2015 - 04:12 AM.

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#8 CC-John

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 04:11 AM

And to answer the OP's question... Yes it's safe to travel with the propane turned on..

 

The only time the propane is turned off in my trailer is for performing any routine maintenance on the gas appliances.. Otherwise, it never gets turned off..


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#9 Mark Watson

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 05:36 AM

..." From all I have read and researched the majority say "never travel with the propane on"....

               I can't say I come to that same conclusion. I think the majority travel with propane on, but I have  no data to support that.

 

..."The safety concern is that the thin copper propane lines under the Casita can rupture, crack, fail in case of an accident.

The gas tank or tanks are fully open at the shut off/on valves. Gas running to the refrigerator, water heater and stove

can the propane be ignited by a spark and turn the Casita and tow vehicle into a rolling bomb? "...

               I don't think the Department of Transportation would allow traveling with propane on if there was a sufficient number of

               fire/explosion incidents to mandate not traveling with propane on. To my knowledge the Department of Transportation has

               not issued such a mandate. 


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#10 clairemr1

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 05:48 AM

a rv repairman i met last summer in utah told me his old travel trailer fridge only had 120v and propane options, so they had no choice but to run propane while on the road, unless they opted to use an ice chest while travelling. our fridges give us the 3rd option.i have run both ways safely but run on DC mode the majority of the time. experiment and decide what feels right for you.


Edited by clairemr1, 22 December 2015 - 05:50 AM.

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#11 CC-John

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 05:57 AM

a rv repairman i met last summer in utah told me his old travel trailer fridge only had 120v and propane options, so they had no choice but to run propane while on the road, unless they opted to use an ice chest while travelling. our fridges give us the 3rd option.i have run both ways safely but run on DC mode the majority of the time. experiment and decide what feels right for you.

 

"Two way" fridges aren't limited to "old" RV's.. My last trailer was a 2004 Nash that had a "2-way" (120V/LP) Norcold fridge.. The vast majority of RV's built only have 2-way fridges, because DC operation isn't a viable option for the larger fridges..

 

If my Casita's fridge ever bites the dust, it will be replaced with a 2-way fridge as I have never used the DC option on mine and don't wish to have to pay for the price premium on it's replacement..


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#12 clairemr1

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 06:08 AM

john, i did not mean to imply he meant "old" as in year of manufacture, i meant "old" as compared to the "new" trailer his family just bought. for all i know, he might have been talking about a 2014 model, since they had just purchased their "new" 2015 travel trailer this summer.................................


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#13 Euphoria

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 07:55 AM

I use the trailer fridge on DC when I'm travelling, and maybe I am more fortunate than some others, but I haven't experienced any problem with the temperature rising above acceptable levels (aka "danger zone +40o F") levels. When we go from home to NW Nevada, (a 12 hour straight through drive,) we still have a cold fridge upon arrival. We always use 120 V shore power whenever we get to our destination. I will go so far as to say I rarely ever use the on-board propane tanks, even when set up at camp. I downsized the tanks on the front of the trailer to 2.5 gallon sized ones instead of the full sized 5 gallon tanks. This also dropped my front end weight down some as well. Why pack around excessive quantities of stuff if you aren't going to use it? I use an electric heat cube for heat in the trailer and I cook outside with either electric or portable propane equipment. We don't cook on the trailer's two burner stove, other than maybe to boil water on rare occasion. I still keep the propane option alive, as a "just in case" option, but I have yet to need it for anything of note. I bring along a composite 5 gallon propane tank for use with my outside cooking appliances that I carry in the back of my truck. I realize that this may not work too well for those boon-dockers among us, but as a rule, we generally go where we can find a shore power hook up. YMMV.

 

001.JPG

Small 2.5 gallon tanks with cut-down cover.


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#14 clairemr1

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 08:12 AM

just goes to show how versatile these casitas are. so many of us, just as many ways to use/not use what they offer. solar/generator/DC/propane/furnace/cube heaters/bathroom/no bathroom, microwave/no microwave/tv/no tv/ 13ft/16ft/17ft etc.we all use our casitas in slightly different ways and this little trailer fits the bill! amazing..............i, along with so many of us on here, sure made the right choice with casita.


Edited by clairemr1, 22 December 2015 - 08:16 AM.

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#15 Wally Z

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 09:02 AM

When I purchased the trailer I was under the impression the DC 12v was for use only when you didn't have the other two for some reason.  Emergency backup sort of thing.  I primarily just do weekend camping in two different locations.  One has hook ups and one doesn't.  I guess it's nice to have options.


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