Although these accidents are rare, it seems sensible that you turn off your propane when you move your camper. How come RVers are so determined to leave it on?
When you’ve just loaded your refrigerator with enough food for a few weeks, leaving your propane valve open will help keep it cold, which is a good thing. The safety features built into RV fridges are useful, but for most of us, this reward doesn’t outweigh the risk. Furthermore, you have a variety of options for keeping your food cold:
- Keep your refrigerator closed: The food will stay cold longer if you do not open your refrigerator after unplugging it. It is also possible to freeze certain items, which will help them remain cold for a longer period of time.
- Pack perishables into a cooler: Make sure you pack any perishables that could spoil before you leave in a cooler filled with ice.
- Make the switch from propane to electric: An RV battery-powered electric refrigerator poses fewer risks than a propane-powered model.
Rules for propane tanks:
Propane tanks cannot be driven with their lids open under any circumstances, but there are rules in place for specific situations. Always check local and state laws before driving with a valve open in unfamiliar areas, and keep an eye out for any signs restricting access.
- Gas station safety tip: Always shut the propane valve before pulling into a gas station to fill up. It is dangerous to combine gasoline fumes with propane refrigerators since propane refrigerators have an open flame.
- Observe signs near tunnels, bridges, and ferries: Many states have laws prohibiting the use of propane tanks in open positions while traveling in tunnels, bridges, and ferries. All propane tanks are required to be closed when entering the Washburn Tunnel in Houston, for example.
- Check your state’s laws regarding open propane valves: There are some states that do not permit open propane tanks at all. Whenever driving on an open highway in New Jersey, all cylinders must be closed.
- Consider alternative routes for strict regulations: Some tunnels do not permit the use of propane tanks at all. A vehicle hauling propane cylinders or other hazardous materials is not permitted to pass through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, for example.