Safe to Leave Fridge Running on Propane?

Discussion in 'Refrigerators and Coolers' started by zak99b5, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    I'm finally able to go camping next week! I booked a site at a state campground (no hookups) for Monday to Monday. A couple days during the week we need to go back home.

    Is it safe to leave the fridge running on propane while I'm gone for a couple days? I'd like to leave the camper fully supplied the whole time, and the fridge cold. If I have to shut it off, it'll take hours and hours to cool it back down when I return.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    reallistically, yes.
     
  3. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

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    Hmmm.... Normally if you were camping with it, all would be good. We've camped for 3 weeks in one spot with the fridge on propane, and never gave it a second thought. I don't want to get your OCD or superstitions or nerves going, but if it was me, I would be thinking about it the whole time I was gone, and that thing was there by itself running on propane. The campground might also have a problem with it going like that if they knew it was unattended, (but they'll never know). I'm not sure what I would do.
     
  4. Jimbow

    Jimbow Well-Known Member

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    I turn mine on at my storage unit and come back in two days. I never gave it a second thought.
     
  5. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

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    I've left mine on LP in storage mode for days on end. Never worried about it in the slightest.
     
  6. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I'm not sure what I would do in that instance either. I've seen propane accidents and had kids play with my propane tanks when I was away from camp. Thank goodness I had an attentive camp neighbor who shoo'd them away. Apparently they loosened the lines and caused me to have a slow leak.
    It's one thing for it to be just overnight, but not sure how I feel about it for so long. I'm probably just paranoid though.
     
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  7. Spridle

    Spridle Well-Known Member

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    Some of us are less paranoid than others. I wish I was one of those that was not paranoid.
     
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  8. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    All the safety concerns aside, if the flame goes out (not even going into how and the gas leak that would ensue), everything in the fridge would go bad and you wouldn't know until you get back. So my suggestion is to take with you what you need for the first part of your stay, take home what remains, and bring back what you need for the second part of your stay.
     
  9. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I'd go home with it running with no worries.
     
  10. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    We often leave the campsite on day trips for the entire day and we leave the fridge, and wh, running while we're gone. If you're concerned about someone messing with your propane tanks get a hard cover and put a lock on the access cover or replace the ACME nut connection with an old style POL. If propane flow does get interrupted the safety interlocks in the fridge valve will prevent propane flow once the flame dies. If the fridge is not safe to run while you're away it's not safe to run while you're sleeping.

    As the other Steve says, I wouldn't recommend leaving anything in the fridge that could spoil before your return, but drinks, water, etc. would be ok.
     
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  11. davido

    davido Active Member

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    A well maintained propane fridge is safe.

    A neighbor down the street from me had their 3-way fridge catch fire and burned the RV to the ground. It was a spectacular, unfortunate event. The fire was caused by the fridge's ELECTRICAL system, not by its propane system.

    A PUP fridge will go for about 3 weeks on a full 20# tank, give or take a little depending on the fridge size and design. They're really efficient. Leaving it running while you're gone for a couple days is probably fine. It wouldn't worry me. But do make sure it is well maintained and in good condition. No rusted out parts, no gas leaks or old cracked propane hoses, that sort of thing. And make sure the vents are not obstructed.
     
  12. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    Thanks for all the great responses. I wasn’t going to leave meat and such in it while we were gone, more like condiments and beverages, maybe half and half for my coffee.
    I know it’s not a pilot light in the true sense, but the flame is basically the same as a pilot light. And won’t the thermocouple **** off the propane if the flame goes out?

    I lit the fridge today as a test. Flame looked perfect (though I did ignite some propane in the chimney because it didn’t light right away).
    If it’s running solidly for a few days before I leave camp, I think I will let it continue to run. If anything seems even minutely out of whack, I’ll shut it down and bring some blue ice blocks to help it cool down more quickly when I return.
     
  13. tarawes8182

    tarawes8182 New Member

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    We live in AZ and go by the rule that if there is a flame, it needs to be watched. With that said, I'm also a person that never tows my PUP with the LP on either (plenty of debate on that as well). I'm always said of something catching fire and burning.

    Plus, my OCD would not allow me to keep it on. I know I wouldn't be able to stop thinking about it, but at the same time I have never had an issue with my fridge. We have installed some fans to help move the hot air out but that was only to increase efficiency not due to a real issue.

    I agree with others. If it's maintained, has no leaks, and you feel comfortable leaving on then it should be fine.
     
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  14. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    Update: we're back home, and the camper is still at the site. Fridge was running fine, but I caught a whiff of propane at the tank connection (happened once last year as well). Shut it down and reconnected the tank, then fired up the fridge again. I checked it every so often, and it seemed fine, but it still made me a bit paranoid (trying hard to smell gas, it's hard not to think you don't smell it lol). That, coupled with the fact we are leaving it for two nights, made it easy to decide to shut it off.

    Going to replace the pigtail connector when I get back, though. I thought about grabbing a new one and bringing it back to the camper, but I'm not sure of the length or the size of the connector that goes to the regulator. I'm guessing it's only a foot long and 3/8" male, but with my luck it won't be.
     
  15. Duneready

    Duneready New Member

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    Does your frig need 12v power?
    Will your battery last long enough?
    Just wondering
     
  16. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    No. It's just the standard small Dometic 3-way.
     
  17. Clemens

    Clemens New Member

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    I think it is pretty safe. I would be more concerned if I left the water turned on.
     
  18. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    We have to monitor the temp in our refrigerator. On very hot days it needs help by adding ice. If you're not there to add ice, things go spoil.

    I wouldn't leave it burning unattended that long myself.
     
  19. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    There shouldnt be any problem with leaving your camper at a campground with the fridge running on LP.

    The main concern with running fridge on LP Is when you’re traveling ... and that’s because of the pilot light / flame. If you were to pull into a gas station, that could set off gas fumes ... would be like lighting a cigarette at the gas station... you just don’t do it. So I would say the same thing to some who leave it running in storage units. You never know what the guy next to your camper is doing with his camper... if he is handling gasoline for some reason next to your camper or something.

    But a campground... shouldn’t be an issue.
     

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