caravan fridges on gas

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 10:34
ThreadID: 77058 Views:5064 Replies:18 FollowUps:12
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I am new to caravanning and would like to ask if it would be OK to travel with fridge running on gas.

I have been told that if pilot light is blown out the fridge will shut off the gas flow, is this correct?

I have spoken to and met people who do this.

I would love some informed comments please.

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Reply By: Member - Heather G (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 10:52

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 10:52
Hi Bob48,

We would never travel with the gas turned on, let alone have the fridge running on gas. To do so would be highly dangerous in my opinion, if not illegal.

You should switch the fridge over to the 12v setting and have the car supply power to it while you are in transit via the plug which also provides your lights.


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Follow Up By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 17:04

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 17:04
Apart from the dangers involved, isn't it also illegalto run gas while travelling?
FollowupID: 679697

Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 10:57

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 10:57
Travelling with a fridge running on gas has led to quite a few fires/explosions. While in theory the gas should shut off if the flame is blown out that is not always the case & something that shouldn't be relied upon. If it did blow out & cut the gas as designed you end up with a warm fridge anyway so better to swap over to 12V when moving. Always turn the gas off at the bottle when travelling.
Cheers Craig...............
AnswerID: 409725

Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:05

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:05
Same as what Heather said Bob, we turn our gas off at the bottles when travelling.
When running on 12V from your vehicle, beware if you stop in transit for more than a couple of hours as the frig will flatten your battery fairly quickly so I'am told. We used to disconnect it at the plug, but later had an Auto electrician fit a "gizmo" ( I don't know what its called!) that cuts power to the Frig when the vehicle ignition is switched off.

You will find, that provided you are not opening & closing the Frig door constantly, that it wont suffer to much if not running for a couple of hours, even in hot weather.

Welcome to the world of caravanning, you will enjoy it. Cheers & safe travelling.
AnswerID: 409727

Reply By: ian - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:06

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:06
I think you will be happier in the long term with a good 12V/230V set up, and forget the gas.
AnswerID: 409728

Follow Up By: jeep cherokee - Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 16:07

Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 16:07
Could be awkward if you are free camping,relying on 12v.
FollowupID: 679863

Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:08

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:08
I don't have gas or 12v to my fridge and the freezer at all,they're both 240v units. I have noticed that after a night in a caravan Pk on 240v the fridge and frozen goods inside will keep solid all day travelling until you get to the next Caravan Pk. When I came across to NT from Qld I was on the road for a fortnight and only stayed in 2 parks, Cloncurry 1 and Tennant Ck 3, all other times I ran the Gennie for an hour at Midday break and for 2 / 3 hours in the evening, I had frozen good that did not thaw for the entire trip.
The people you talked to telling you they run gas on the move might regret it someday.

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AnswerID: 409729

Reply By: Member - Kevin B1 (WA) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:52

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:52
Think about what could happen if you pulled into a service station to refuel and the petrol fumes came into contact with the gas flame. This has happened on more than one occasion with catastrophic results.
AnswerID: 409740

Follow Up By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 17:05

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 17:05
Happened in Halls Creek, WA, a few years ago - closed the road through town for several hours.
FollowupID: 679699

Reply By: farouk - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:58

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 11:58
The most dangerous feature of leaving the gas on both the hotwater and the fridge is when you are filling up with fuel at a servo, there was a incident at Coober Pedy a few years ago of LPG leaking from a incorrectly connected hose and the gas reached the pilot light of the fridge and there was a fire as the result.
Some people are quite pedantic about having some means of cooling the fridge whilst travelling. we have been travelling for 3 months of the year for the last 19 years and very seldom use the the 12v and eveything is still cold at the end of the day's travel, we would use it if the temp was in the high thirties but as we only travel in the winter it certainly is not necessary.Just do not open the fridge unless it is really necessary
But to each his own

AnswerID: 409741

Reply By: Member - mazcan - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 12:10

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 12:10
hi bob 48
in 1980/81 i did an 8 month round aus trip and we had the fridge on gas for the entire duration while traveling 50,000km
only used 240v while in caravan parks

the 12volt system was not good enough in my fridge in 40 plus degree heat it was a 1980 viscount
when i needed to refuel i would turn the gas fridge off before pulling into the bowser and then restart it after i got away from the p/station
the fridge only went out on 2 occasions once when we had a very strong side wind and once when it ran out of gas but we did'nt lose any food

when ever we stopped i would put my ear to the side of the van and could hear it going on most occasions or i would go in the van and check it

in later years i have done a lot more travel in another van20km's and also had the fridge on gas with out any problems so its up to you
i use to clean the flue pipes and the vents mesh regularly so the air could get through as blocked vents will cause a gas fridge burner to malfunction/go out or not burn properly just careful maintenance thats all is needed

do what you feel comfortable with

but a lot of the negatives are based on hear say and paranoid fear passed on from one person to the next and what if's passed around at sundowner gatherings and tales of wo
i;m a positive person but not a know all as i enjoy learning something every day in general if i can and happy to pass it on when asked
and enjoy your caravaning
AnswerID: 409744

Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:07

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:07
I don't think the above replys are negative, just common sense, most modern Gas Appliances have automatic gas shut off, if the flame goes out, have you thought about what would happen if your caravan was involved in an accident and the gas line was severed and a spark ignited the gas, or your tyres threw up a stone or some other object while you where travelling and damaged the gas line under the caravan, ok you are doing the right thing by turning of the gas when in a service station, but being carefull re turning the gas off while travelling is not being negative.
FollowupID: 679659

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:47

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:47
hi daza
i take on board your comments
but in my case the van i went around aus in wasnt insured brand new it only cost me $8000 with reverse cycle aircon yes thats all

big diff with todays prices aayh!!!!
and the other van was $2500 s/hnd and i made a personel decision with both vans that if something happened we would walk away from what was left
as an ex farmer i was acustom to taking risks where insurance fees were involved and im still in front
insurance is very much driven by fear and what if;s may be i have a tin arse or just had sheer luck on my side
but i still havent won lotto ??? thats much harder to do
lifes what you make it ---- imho----
as for the gas pipes i fully encased all of the gas and water pipes pipes and installed shields where needed so stones would'nt cause damage

also wrapped my poly water tank in a metal and vinyl shield as in 1980 there was still a huge amount of rough dirt and stoney roads so i did my preventative preparation before leaving and had a trouble free trip apart from tyres and suspension bushes cutting out which i replaced enroute

cheers and i respect everyones opinions on this site so dont think otherwise
FollowupID: 679663

Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 12:33

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 12:33
Hi Bob

I can only recommend you do what we did with our previous camper - get rid of the gas fridge and get a 12 v. We got a 12/240 v which fitted neatly into the same spot, a deep cycle battery, controller and solar panel which, as it was a small wind-up camper, we only put out in the sun when we stopped at the end of the day. We also ran a couple of 12 v lights off the controller. We had power all the time at basically the cost of the initial expenditure, and a power efficient fridge which performed well in hotter areas. We bush camp most of the time and we left the genny at home.

When my family had a camper with a gas only fridge we never lit it - we had reasons for the paranoia.

Our present van is very well powered by solar for all our power needs and independent camping.


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Reply By: Gazal Champion - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 12:58

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 12:58
Hi Bob, from everything I have read on this subject, mainly posts by members and visitors, it is illegal to run your frig on LPG whilst the van is moving.

A friend I spoke to on the subject told me his son, a police officer, always checked the gas bottles on every van he had stopped. If they were open the person got fined. I have not researched this within the motor traffic regs but none the less it would be good policy to shut your gas bottles off before moving off. If only to avoid a fine.
Regards, Bruce.
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:50

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:50
After sifting thru several forums and road rules sites It is not illegal to travel with the gas turned on.

Gas does not come under road rules any way it is under health and safety or some such bureaucratic nightmare.

Witness food trucks round tradie sites etc.

It is however incredibly stupid.

There was the remains of a van on the Eighty mile beach road a few months ago that was attributed to a broken gas pipe igniting somehow.

Dont know if fridge was on but the gas certainly was. Luckily they managed to unhitch the thing before they lost the lot.

Also at Bank Banka mid last year a guy lost his camper and car and ended up in hospital together with his wife.

He actually came on a forum with the reason which was.

He had a portable GAS fridge sitting on the ground behind the car.

He decided to take the jerry cans off the front of the trailer.

They had expanded during the day so he removed the cap and fuel gushed out and the pilot light on the fridge blew the lot.

Wasnt a gennie or anything else. Thats what the owner said in answer to all the rumours.

2 good reasons not to have any gas going

Mazcan I thought you had more sense.

The older the van the more brittle the metal lines and so more likely to rupture.

FollowupID: 679670

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 17:02

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 17:02
hi gee thanks grandad
for the reprimand
i'm a very naughty boy

my current camper trailer has 12v twin charger and deep cycle battery plus solar power so now i'm such a naughty boy i'll be to conscous of gas to even boil the kettle or cook a meal
what's cold bake beans and raw egg taste like????
lol ha! ha! ha!
i alway personelly believed that it's not illegal to use gas while travelling but now thanks to you grandad i know its a stuuupid thing to do
anyway i do respect your opinion and thanks for pointing that out and now i will go stand in the corner,
FollowupID: 679696

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 17:17

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 17:17
You are Barry lighten up

Dont forget the wet tea towel to flay yourself with.

We have stopped travelling for 6 months so have the gas and everything else turned off as well.

Are house sitting a new house at Coffs for 6 months

Oh the space, what a difference after 14 months in the van.


FollowupID: 679702

Reply By: disco driver - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:00

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:00
Just a small point to consider.
When, not if, your caravan either explodes or bursts into flame, don't expect your insurance company to pay out on the wreck.
One of the first things they check is the gas bottles (or the remains of them). If the valves are open, goodbye any insurance.

Thus speaketh the voice of experience.

(who had it happen to him years ago).
AnswerID: 409747

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:27

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:27
I have been caravanning for more than 30 years and have had several caravans.
In my experience it IS quite dangerous to travel with the fridge running on gas for the reasons quoted in the above replys. Viz vehicle accident and forgetting to turn off gas at a servo. We had an accident near where I live on a major highway where a car towing a caravan hit a bridge both car and van were incinerated including some occupants. It was revealed that the vans gas was turned on at the bottle with fridge operating on gas and this resulted in a gas explosion causing the fire.

I would advise you when stationary to use 240v when available and gas when 240v is unavailable.
When on the move use the 12v system, as said it is not that great but usually maintains the fridge temps.
Also as said above get your 12v supply in the car fed by a relay that turns it off when the ign is turned off or get a fridge motion sensor switch installed.

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:06

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:06
hi all
have read above comments on the travelling with gas turned on issue and am wondering is there still loop holes in the laws regarding this

when one considers there is an ever increaseing number off vehicles now been fitted to run on with gas and or as a supplement to power them

i have seen several on the news and web sites that have exploded during an accident rear end or role overs/ colisions

they all have gas pipes going from the gas tank to the engine bay that can rupture and allow gas to escape etc

so has the the police and insurance laws become a bit iffy in this respect or does the insurance fine print have an exclusion clause written in for this ?????????
just curious
FollowupID: 679665

Reply By: Member - Glenda and Max C (QLD - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:42

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 13:42
Hi Bob, we are new too and we were told it is illegal to move with the gas running.

AnswerID: 409752

Reply By: outsider - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:16

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:16
While not condoning running a gas fridge while traveling, I am curious as to why a safety shut off valve couldn't be fitted to the bottles ?
There are plenty of cars driving around running on gas and they are just as likely to have an accident and rupture a gas line, they obviously have the gas turned on while traveling, whats the difference?
AnswerID: 409760

Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:25

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:25
Vehicles running on as have very strict rules re installation and do not have a naked flame running all the time whereas a caravan with fridge running on gas does.
One must be aware of this when traveling, you may know of the Banka Banka Station incident that was widely reported.

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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Reply By: Cruiser 2091 - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:40

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:40
Hi all.
I have heard many comments about it being illegal to drive with the gas on usually by "my cousins girlfriends neighbours wife" or such like.

But I have never seen it written anywhere.

Can anyone give a link to the actual specification from RTA, Police or insurance companies.

You have all raised my curiosity.
AnswerID: 409763

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:56

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:56
As i said above it is NOT illegal just stupid.

The gas regulations come under a different department to road rules.

Lots of lunch vehicles have a gas bottle for heating in the ovens etc and are legal.

If you want to do it fine, but be aware that should you cause a fire because of doing it you may well end up losing a case of negligence with all its implications.

After the house has been sold to pay the bill you cant live in the van cos you burnt it down.

Some should think a bit further than their own blind faith.
FollowupID: 679674

Reply By: keviny6 - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:54

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 14:54
thats why electrolux brought out the 3 way fridge 30 odd years ago ---gas for camping- 240 volt for c/p --12 volt travelling ----it only takes a minute to change over
with my memory lol --i have a card i place on the dash to remind me to change over when leaving the c/p
AnswerID: 409767

Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 16:32

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 16:32
Hi Kev, I know what you mean, I have a similar card to make sure I have the jockey wheel removed! I had an incidence a few years back as I exited the Dungog CP. I knew "she" wasn't pulling "right" & it was not until I got just outside the gate that I realised why!! Very Embarrassing & one stuffed jockey wheel. The only person that thought it was funny was my better half!!

Actually these days I have a pre tow check list, stabilisers up, water & power disconnected, annex secure & locked, & yes, both gas bottles turned off etc. including jockey wheel off. Ahhh well live & learn. Cheers
FollowupID: 679688

Reply By: Member - Roger B (VIC) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 21:13

Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 at 21:13
The old 2 way fridge (Gas/240v) in the 1978 Jayco Dove we had until about a year ago served us well.Never felt the need for 12v while travelling. Went for weeks without mains power and had ice cubes in the fridge the whole time. Sealed it up in the morning when travelling, and fired her up on gas that arvo when we stopped for the night. Everything was always cold. Have a different van now with a 3 way fridge, but never bother to run it on 12v while travelling. Cheers All.

Roger B...
AnswerID: 409837

Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 03:58

Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 03:58
used to doit all the time
no isues I bought it up while getting refuelled at sheringa and he shrugged his shoulders and said everyone does it - never caused an issue.

look out for flys I detected a few gas leaks because of em
- they love the aromatic added to gas to aid detecion

too many people with too many opinions and no experience apart from a mate of a mate who knew theirbest mates girlfeind who had it happen
AnswerID: 409857

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