Post by John Palmer on Feb 28, 2014 19:09:53 GMT -8
I have a nice 1950's era Morphy-Richards Astral propane refrigerator.
My question, is it safe to tow down the highway with it "ON" lit? It's a PITA to light it, because of how and where it's mounted so I would like to leave it turned on except for periods of long storage. How much propane do they burn, for example how long would a tank keep it running? I'm aware of the importance of leveling it for proper operation, but how well do they work with movement going down the road?
Seems odd that they can set "un-used" for many years, you build a fire under it, and it "GETS COLD"!
When we transitioned from a tent to "indoor" camping, the first unit I had was a pickup camper. This was in the 60's. I was so darn glad to have a refrigerator that I left it lit all of the time (when traveling and camping). Since those days, I have had other campers, trailers and motor homes. In all cases I have always left them on when traveling. Is it safe? I don't really know the right answer to that. I have studied the information out there and you can find data that will support both sides of the question. Like I said, I have been traveling with them on for years and have never been concerned or had a problem. I don't however leave them on when I am not using them. Not because of the amount of fuel they burn but these things don't have an infinite life and they are expensive to replace. As to the amount of fuel they use, that depends on the efficiency of your specific unit but suffice to say that the fuel consumption in any of them is very low. I would suspect that a 5 gallon tank of propane running only the refrigerator would probably last at least a couple of months maybe longer. John, you know about the need to be level when these things are on, however, when traveling up and down hills, and parked for short times it is not as critical. This is because you are actually "shaking" the liquid/gas to keep it moving and it don't have time to settle. It is when you are stationary for overnight or long periods that problems "can" occur.
Post by John Palmer on Feb 28, 2014 21:48:24 GMT -8
Thanks 61 Shasta, That's exactly what I needed to hear. You answered all of my questions.
I'm excited to get my 1958 Mallard "back on the road". I've owned it for about a year and a half. It rotted in a storage lot for about five years before I purchased it. I have about six months of "full time" labor invested rebuilding it. It looks like a new trailer "inside and out".
We will be camping in it, at The March Meet nostalgia drag races in Bakersfield, CA next weekend. It will be the maiden voyage for this trailer. It's always fun to bring another one back from the dead. If anyone is at The March Meet this year please stop by and say high. We are pitted in row #3 with all of the aircooled VW drag cars.
Vikx was dead on about shutting off when refueling tow vehicle while hitched due to "Blow Up" danger. I have traveled many miles with them on also but when I had a 3 way I would travel in the 12 volt position due to another blow up danger. DOT recommends LP gas tanks (and other types of tanked gas bottles) be in the off position in case of accidents due to possible roll over, tank release, broken hose, and sparks in an accident situation. (preventing explosions)
Good point Bill, I have had mine go out also. However, It should be checked occasionally to be sure it is still working. Also, we have utilized the Western Washington ferry system. When preparing to load the ferries, they require all propane to be turned off and tagged out. I am sure there are other entities that have this requirement. In our motor home, they require the propane to be shut off and everyone including pets have to exit it before filling the propane tanks as they are on-board tanks. We also shut off all flame generating appliances before filling the fuel tank.
We always travel with the gas off. I knew someone who blew up with his trailer. Never found out exactly what happened, but we are always extra careful just in case.
If the flame were to "blow out" while your traveling, the most that would happen is the refrigerator propane safety valve would "cool down", and then "turn off" the small flow of propane. The flow of propane is "very small", even when it is "on, and lit". We are talking about a flame the size of a single candle.
Your "blown up trailer example" would need some other source of ignition to ignite, even if the trailer was full off propane gas fumes.
Requiring the propane tank to be turned off, and the lit burner turned off, makes perfect sense during a fueling stop due to gasoline vapors. It also makes sense for maximum safety when the vehicle is on a water ferry with other people.
I recently worked on a trailer involved in a highway crash. It was "jack knifed", bent the frame tongue, and totaled the tow vehicle. During this serious accident, both the battery and propane bottle were ripped off of the tongue and tossed across the highway. The propane hose stayed attached to the trailer, and the propane regulator and the propane tank's valve were still attached to the trailer hose. The bottle with the broken valve rolled across the highway, and still "no fire".
John is right propane and compressed natural gas tanks that are broken open very seldom result in a fire because the gas rises into the atmosphere instantly (almost). An accident that opens a small hole in a line is much more dangerous because the tank keeps feeding gas to the small hole creating a blow torch. That is why it is much safer to tow with the valves closed on your propane tanks.