Propane on for 3-way fridge while underway?

gregg007

New Member
Apr 13, 2016
4
Can't find anything in owners manual addressing having propane on while towing.
Manual says using 12V is not to be relied upon for initial cooling.
Cooling the night before does not last long enough. Arriving at camp site with warm fridge takes until morning to get cold. Like to be able to arrive with unit cold.
Is it safe to leave fridge on propane while underway?
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,866
Northern Virginia
On my camper the pilot light tends to blow out in a bad wind so I never trusted it on the road. However because my camper sits in offsite storage I stick with a cooler and throw everything in the fridge when I get to camp along with a frozen jug or two to keep things cold until the fridge manages to cool down to temp. I never tried my 12v as I was always warned to turn it off if you plan to stop for an extended time or else you could have a dead battery on both the camper and car if your not careful. However Many people I talked to have precooled their fridge using 110v power the night before And switch to 12v just before setting off.
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,141
I do. You can prechill on A/C and switch to propane or DC for driving if the controls for doing so are on the back of the fridge (that is, the exterior of the popup).

Some popups only have fridge controls on the inside which limits options...
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,930
Albuquerque, NM
We do tow with the LP on with our TT, as do our friends with a 3-way fridge in their Casita. They discovered that their tow vehicle cannot run the fridge and charge the trailer battery, and pops a fuse in the TV. We would love to tow without the LP on, but our fridge will not hold to a safe temp for the length of our travel days. It can reach unsafe temps in an hour on a hot, sunny, day, or longer on a cloudy, chilly, one, but still sure to be not safe. (I now have a medication that needs to be kept at refrigerated temps, so that just adds to needing it to work.) We have a max/min thermometer to keep tabs on things.
We stop and turn the fridge off before stopping at a gas pump, and turn it on again afterwards. It's handy when the gas station has a large enough parking area to do that right there, but that isn't always the case. There are also some places, such as tunnels, where it is prohibited. I've seen some claims that it is prohibited by states, but I have yet to find any widespread prohibition.
 

David Lewis

Member
Oct 29, 2021
26
Lake Wylie SC
Have yet to use the propane option on mine, that being said, I have refrigerator on 110 I until I hitch up, then switch to 12v for underway. Have yet to have a TV or other battery problem doing it this way. Sounds like gas is the answer for you while underway.
Cheers, David
 

OTR1522

Member
Jun 9, 2018
71
Can't find anything in owners manual addressing having propane on while towing.
Manual says using 12V is not to be relied upon for initial cooling.
Cooling the night before does not last long enough. Arriving at camp site with warm fridge takes until morning to get cold. Like to be able to arrive with unit cold.
Is it safe to leave fridge on propane while underway?
We pre chill at home from 110, switch to 12V to drive, switch to propane when set up- agree it’s not as cold as we want so we add 4 frozen water bottles to help it get there. Seems to work for us. When we finish camping we leave the fridge with a dozen or so water bottles so they help with the pre chill - I try to do that 48hours ahead of leaving. As there are no clear regulations on driving with an open flame we chose not to as I do not want to stop prior to getting gas every time. But just like everyone else says you find what works for you
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,286
Southeastern PA
I always find it's best to run off of 12v while traveling and 120v or propane at a campsite. Just make sure to make the switch during setup/take-down.

I did have an issue on my recent trip where I could not get the propane to light on the fridge. But since I only use it for bottled water, it was not a problem.
 

J Starsky

Super Active Member
Aug 3, 2017
1,394
East Central MN
I run the fridge in the TT the days before travel, because we're packing up to leave a while. I run my propane almost the entire month, as the fridge auto swaps to 120v when I arrive at my site. I always have power sites, never use 1/2 a 20lbs tank for the trip.
 

gregg007

New Member
Apr 13, 2016
4
I ran the fridge on propane for two days before leaving, and kept it on while driving to camp, for the first time. Arrived with flame still burning, and a cold fridge!
Thanks for all the input.
 

Lug_Nut

Active Member
May 29, 2016
309
Mt. Wachusett area, MA
Not all have the same luck with the pilot remaining lit through the trip.
I have, and now you as well.

My priority:
AC whenever available
LP when AC is not available
DC Why bother? Re-fueling, inside ferries, other restricted areas are not encountered for long enough to not just shut the LP off for the duration. If the fridge contents will warm to an unsafe level over that duration with no AC or LP, then 12 VDC will be unlikely to keep cool without battery depletion.

Be aware that is regarding adsorption cooling with ammonia as the medium.
Freon medium fridges with compressors wouldn't have the LP option, and would be intended for use with 12 VDC.
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
377
Niagara Region, ON
Although I've not aware of any regulations that prohibit the use of a propane fridge while driving, most jurisdictions (if not all) have regulations regarding ignition sources when refuelling.

In Ontario, for example, the TSSA Liquid Fuels Handling Code (section) 6.3.1 states that "Product shall not be dispensed or vented within 3 metres of any source of ignition". As long as your fridge flame is 3m (~10') away from the fuel fill in your vehicle you are fine. Also keep in mind, depending on the fuel station layout, that you may still be placing your fridge flame within 3m of someone else's fuel fill when you stop at a fuel pump.

My Dometic RM2193 (3-way) fridge works equally well off 120V or 12V. With solar panels on the roof and a DC-DC charger we always drive with the fridge on 12V. Propane at the campsite.

The RM2193 fridge manual itself is pretty clear regarding refuelling:
Fridge_Refueling_Warning.png

--------

AC voltage note: Although much of the Caribbean and South America use 110V, in North America the standard is actually 120V (anything less than 108V being considered a brownout, and anything less than 80V a blackout).
 

TSS

Member
Jan 17, 2022
61
NW Georgia
Can't find anything in owners manual addressing having propane on while towing.
Manual says using 12V is not to be relied upon for initial cooling.
Cooling the night before does not last long enough. Arriving at camp site with warm fridge takes until morning to get cold. Like to be able to arrive with unit cold.
Is it safe to leave fridge on propane while underway?
Majority of camper/RV fires are caused by LP refrigerator on and not level. Even in parking lots and motels we have seen fires from refrigs. Be careful.
 




Top