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Old 06-29-2016, 01:26 PM   #1
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Propane Safety

This topic may have been mentioned before but it never hurts to talk again about it.

A few fellow campers have talked about the legality of running your propane fridge while in transit. Many people say it's ok and have been doing it for years. Other say it's not ok.
I finally contacted our own MTO (Ministry Of Transport). Funny thing is: I had to call several Transport offices because no one really knew the law and a few people gave me various phone numbers to contact because those people didn't even know who could answer the question. Yup, that sounds about right....It's government.

I finally talked to one of the inspection officers and asked him point-blank what the scoop is for the law. He said there are no laws in our province for running your propane fridge while towing.

Then I asked the masses on our local FaceBook page for "Ontario Camping" and many agreed that there is no law, but they also agreed that there should be.
For the longest time I had my 2,000watt AC inverter hooked directly to the truck battery (and fused at the battery) and was on my merry way powering the fridge on 120 VAC via the inverter. Powering on the road

One of the posts I read was from someone more local that said there was a fiery crash on a highway just outside our city last weekend. We were gone camping so we missed the news.
They said the fire was caused by a leaky propane situation somewhere in the trailer and one thing lead to another. Ok, so there's the law and there's reality.

I think what kicked me in the forehead was when I heard the government inspection officer in a boring sounding voice just vaguely say. "No there's no law" and he left it at that; no comments, no explanation.

IMO no matter how any of us keep our maintenance up to date, few of us can claim that all our propane fittings, lines or appliances are in great condition. As age and fatigue enter the equation.

We only have one province that bans the use of propane while in transit (Quebec) and I heard crossing the border at Canada-USA crossing. (which I never knew). The rest of Canada there are no restrictions.

I made my inverter thingy for fun originally. Now it has proven it's worth.

Of course, this won't apply to those 3 way fridges.
Just curious what various laws are applied and enforced throughout the various states
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:07 PM   #2
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One of main causes of RV fires is the propane line at the fridge. That is some thing that should be checked every so often. However that has nothing to do with driving usually is when they are sitting with no air flow. If it makes you feel better the main cause of RV fires is wiring! There is also no law in the states about using the fridge in route. I have tried in the past to find reports of fires caused by RV's at filling stations running the fridge while fueling and have yet to find any credible reports. QC has never told me to turn mine off.
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:42 PM   #3
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Since the only "law" I have seen is a highway sign saying to turn LP off when entering tunnels, I think it was in West Virginia maybe. For my own peace of mind I do turn off LP appliances when filling LP tanks. Usually at the request of the station attendant. Now it is habit to turn things off, fill tanks, turn things back on. I do double check fittings after we're setup on sites and back at home. The nose test away and at home the soap solution test. To me laws are only werds on paper and if people do not worry about explosions without the law they will not worry with laws.
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:39 AM   #4
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There are some strange laws with tunnels and propane has some to do with the rise or fall of the tunnel entrance/exit. Some require you to turn them off some are OK some do not allow propane at all in any form! It would be a good ideal to check before you leave if your route takes you through a tunnel other wise you may have a long detour around the tunnel. I have never been asked to turn my propane off when fueling up in the US or Canada.
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Old 06-30-2016, 08:02 AM   #5
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There are some strange laws with tunnels and propane has some to do with the rise or fall of the tunnel entrance/exit. Some require you to turn them off some are OK some do not allow propane at all in any form! It would be a good ideal to check before you leave if your route takes you through a tunnel other wise you may have a long detour around the tunnel. I have never been asked to turn my propane off when fueling up in the US or Canada.
I know up this way enforcement can lack due to resources. I think cops and the like have more bad guys to seek than propane offences.

BTW Propane is heavier than air and most tunnels, as we know them, tend to dip to a low spot within the tunnel. Going under a river for example the more middle part would be a lower point than back on land. I'm sure the thinking is: is too many vehicles left their portion of propane residue that collectively it ads up, then one of us would drive through the cloud with our open flame. Kaboomski.

I recall when I was in the cable company, often times we had to go in to man holes to repair a trunk-line or trunk-amp or distribution line. This necessitated the use of a torch for soldering and heat shrink. Natural gas is lighter than air but acetylene was cheaper and easier to get than natural gas (for compressed bottles). That job was a blast (sorry, couldn't resist)

So, I can totally understand the ban for inside tunnels.

Like I mentioned prior I'm on a camping Face Book group and 95% of the members won't use propane while in transit law, or no law.

While I used to poo-poo the issue and trying to be as safety conscience as possible I have now joined the ranks of no propane while in transit. I think I've only done it once or twice. My 2,000 watt inverter toy is now on the official required tool-list. LOL my wife still rolls her eyes that I needed this tool (back when Santa gave it to me) Hey it was on sale.
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Old 06-30-2016, 09:32 AM   #6
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That's the crazy thing about tunnels it depends on how they are made it's allowed in some but not in others. The problem with propane is the liquid, it boils at -43*F when it's pressurized the propane gas is at the top and already expanded if the tank is ruptured the liquid expands to 270 times it’s volume and will fill a large area instantly that’s the big concern in tunnels.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:05 AM   #7
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Propane is prohibited in the main two tunnels in MD, I-95 and I-895 (both under Baltimore Harbor). You can use I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) to Bypass them.
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:51 PM   #8
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Yeah use the Curtis bay bridge it's been that way for ever.
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:55 PM   #9
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Yeah use the Curtis bay bridge it's been that way for ever.
Wow, never heard it called that

The Key (as in Francis Scott...)Bridge is the eastern I-695 outer harbor crossing.

Interesting factoid......the bridge is built very near the spot where Key wrote "Oh say can you see....."

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Old 06-30-2016, 05:02 PM   #10
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Wow, never heard it called that

The Key (as in Francis Scott...)Bridge is the eastern I-695 outer harbor crossing.

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Marylander born and razed there was a paint factory on the southern side that made huge amounts of some sort of toxic haze they had warning signs for low visibility.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:14 PM   #11
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I think we need a survey. I don't turn mine off and fill my gas tank with the fridge running. I leave the tank on when it's parked.
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Old 07-09-2016, 06:13 AM   #12
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We have traveled with ours on for years in both campers and had no problems. The campers are also stored with to tanks connected, but the gas off. I have heard of some tunnels or bridges that may require them to turned off while crossing. We have not had to do that yet.
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