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Old 05-06-2015, 04:48 PM   #1
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Propane on off-site

Ok. I feel like I, intuitively, know the right answer to my question but I guess maybe I hope I'm wrong. We will be storing/parking our TT off-site storage facility. It will be in an uncovered spot. From what I understand, it takes about 24hr for the refrigerator to get down to temperature. Would it be as bad of an idea as I think it might be for me to run out there and turn on the propane and fridge the day before a camping trip and leave it running out there until we head out?

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Old 05-06-2015, 05:15 PM   #2
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Kind of depends on how far you drive before you get plugged in. If many hours/miles then get cold as possible before loading it up and then it should stay cold for hours.
I asked once about driving while running the fridge on propane and never got a strait answer. Other than shut it off before pulling into a gas station.

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Old 05-06-2015, 05:29 PM   #3
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Whenever we go, we do exactly that: go out night before, load everything that is not perishable, and start the fridge. Make sure your unit is level.

When we go, we load the perishable food in.

Some travel with fridge running - we don't, as food stays cold once fridge is cold.
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Old 05-06-2015, 05:32 PM   #4
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The only problem could be your battery if it isn't charged. Other than that you should have no issues.
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Old 05-06-2015, 05:53 PM   #5
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As the second post indicated - this is a hot (albeit you want cold) topic. May I suggest you do a forum search for posts that contain the word PROPANE - you'll find there is a plethora of postings with ideas galore! It'll take you DAYS to read them all and digest the opinions.

On a personal note, our dealer advised ... [1] Have all your stuff pre-refrigerated or frozen, and [2] Pack fridge(s)/freezer with cold stuff (it'll act like a cooler whether you turn it on or not before traveling). We've made the personal decision that for our local (under 3 hour) trips - leave it off until at the campsite.

My personal hint? Pre-make and freeze meals (e.g., soups) for they start out great as ice blocks, defrost in a couple of days, and turn into great dinners when heated over the fire, on the cooktop, or nuked if you have power.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:38 PM   #6
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Hattie has a nice hint with the frozen soup, etc. It is also nice to have an easy, ready meal after travel and set up.

Grumpy makes a point we learned the hard way. There are parasitic draws on the battery even when all is "turned off." Some remove the battery, some have battery disconnect switches. We remove the wires to the battery. We learned the first time the fridge would not start. Since then, no problems.

When we go to leave we transport the (refrigerated and frozen) perishable food in coolers. We leave the car where the TT was in the storage lot and load any leftovers back into coolers to take home.

You can put some drinks in the fridge the night before as well - nice to have when driving.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:54 PM   #7
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I have done exactly like you describe. Our storage is only a couple miles from home, typically I'll bring it home to plug in and start the fridge on AC a day or two prior. But I travel for work a lot, my wife would rather not have the chore of retrieving the TT, so in those times I can't get it early she will run out and turn on the LP and start the fridge.

Then for the contentious part -- we tow with our fridge on every trip. I don't see the risk nor am I aware of it being illegal where I live. There are lots of LP and NP powered vehicles, if they can do it so can I. Besides the LP system is designed to shut off flow if a rupture is to occur. I have no reason to think that system won't work.
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:58 AM   #8
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We plug camper in 1 day ahead of travel day. Fridge gets cold. Never had any problem.
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:22 AM   #9
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Yes, lots of discussion and opinions pro and con on propane usage. I'll go with the manual and shut off during travel, knowing probably only a .1% or less chance of problems with it on. Besides would be a pain to shut off and on again at gas stops (which some say also no problem to leave on). We do as many freeze stuff we can and put in cold frig before starting out, never an issue for us.

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Old 05-07-2015, 10:43 AM   #10
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For 20 years I have always started the fridge (on propane) the evening before I go camping. At night, the fridge will cool down more quickly (around here, anyway). The unit should be fairly level and the battery has to be charged (the fridge electrical board requires 12V to operate the system).

I've had three different dealers give me this recommendation, although you will get all kinds of personal opinions here. The fact is the system is designed to run standalone for when you are camping with no electrical hookups. So you won't be harming anything and you don't have to freeze meals ahead of time. I like knowing the fridge is cold and will keep my food safe.

As to running it on propane while driving to the campsite - well, that's a hot topic here, as it is on all RV forums. I do. And I have for 20 years. All three dealers have told me it is safe to do so, but turn off the fridge when refueling. Logic says it is OK, as well. Otherwise, why would the manufacturer put that "Auto" switch on the fridge, which automatically switches the fridge to propane as soon as you disconnect shore power? Yes, I know the owner's manual says to shut off propane and turn off the fridge while towing. Their legal departments require them to say that, just in case someone tries to sue them in the event of a freak accident. In all my 60 years, I have never heard of any of these kinds of accidents or any bad things happening due to the fridge running while towing. But I DID have my food spoil on vacation one time when the fridge accidentally was turned off at departure. We towed for about 7 hours in 100 degree heat, and when we got to the campground, the fridge thermometer sat at 52 degrees. All questionable food was thrown in the dumpster and we restocked at a local grocery store the next day. That $50 lesson taught me to ALWAYS make sure the fridge is running before I leave!

Also, if you feel the need to pull your camper through long tunnels (not sure why), some tunnels on the east coast require you shut off the propane before entering, so make sure you know the rules (although I don't think the propane police check you before entering).

OK. Now let the arguing begin!


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