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Is It Dangerous To Run An RV Propane Refrigerator While Driving Your RV?

With so many different systems onboard a modern RV, it can be confusing trying to figure out what you can and can’t do while you’re driving down the road.

Many RVers wonder if it’s OK to use a propane-powered refrigerator while driving an RV. In this video, Mac McCoy will explain his thoughts on driving with the propane system on.


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Original video by RVtravel

“It’s your RV. You can do whatever you want!”

What do you think? Would you (do you) travel in your RV with the propane on?


A lot of people have asked me here at the booth or when I do classes whether it’s OK to run with your propane on as you’re driving down the road.

It’s your RV, you can do whatever you want. However, running with your propane on can be a dangerous act.

If you’re in a collision, if you have to go off the road due to a blown tire, whatever, and you break the insulated black pipe which is what goes from the propane tank to the length of your RV, whether it’s a motorhome or a fifth wheel or whatever.

And you have four branch lines, you have one that goes to the refrigerator, one that goes to the stove, one to the furnace, and one to the hot water heater.

If you break those then what’s going to happen is it’s going to fill your space up with propane. If it finds an arc or a spark, it’s going to light off.

So my suggestion is, and has always been, is to turn it off as you’re driving.

Both Norcold and Dometic will tell you that you should be able to drive six to eight hours without losing more than 4 degrees [Fahrenheit].

Now remember, motorhome operators, you have a big thing up on the front or in the side or in the back called a generator.

Turn the generator on.

Run it on A/C.

It’ll keep your refrigerator nice and cold.

The other thing you could do is you could get the little cube fridge fan, runs on 2 D batteries, and what it’s job is is to circulate the air, because all the cooling is done in the fins on the top shelf. You want to get them down to the lower shelf.

So the fan will circulate the air, and guys guess what? You don’t need to read the directions because there’s a picture in there that will tell you exactly where to put it.

Now you’ll get about four to six weeks out of a good set of batteries, Energizer or Duracell. And you should get about a year to 18 months out of the fan.

Because remember, every cubic foot of air that’s in that refrigerator travels through the fan. And there are microscopic bits and pieces of food that fly around in there that you don’t see, you don’t want to see, and it will get on the fan blades, or get on the shaft of the fan, and it’ll stop the fan.

And they are only about $25 or $25 bucks depending on wherever you get them. So to do that is just a lot safer.

Two years ago, because of a blown tire, and the people went off the road, we had five fatalities because people were running their refrigerator.

That has been a controversy for years. You got 50% of people saying, eh, it’s no big deal. You got 50% of people saying it is a big deal.

I think it’s a big deal because only you can keep you safe. Because I don’t know anybody else that really cares.

There may be small errors in this transcript.


1 thought on “Is It Dangerous To Run An RV Propane Refrigerator While Driving Your RV?”

  1. I know it’s a long drawn out debate.

    Here is something to consider in your pat answer to “run your generator to power your fridge”.

    Wanna know something???? Our generator runs off propane in our Class A diesel pusher!

    If we run the generator to make 120Vac to run our fridge, that means that we STILL have the propane tank on….. LOL …. and the flow is still going to the lines to the water heater, stove and furnace.

    Sooooo what good is your advice going to do for me?

    (I know I am being a bit snarky here, but please consider a Pat Answer like yours often can have some exceptions—–)

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