Is It Safe To Travel With My RV Refrigerator On Propane?

RV Refrigerator

An Rv refrigerator is an absorption fridge that does not contain a compressor but works by a chemical reaction between hydrogen, water, and ammonia and is primarily used in recreational vehicles designed for camping, recreation, and other personal use.

It consists of  7 main parts which are the evaporator, absorber, pump, generator, analyzer, pressure reducing valve, condenser, and expansion valve.

Is this your first time using a recreational vehicle and you want to know the fast and safe way to run your Rv refrigerator while travelling, then this article is for you?

Is It Safe To Travel With My RV Refrigerator On Propane?

While embarking on a recreation you need to get yourself prepared and ask your self few questions about your safety as you will be travelling with a few appliances and these questions include this very one.

Is it safe to travel with my RV refrigerator connected to the propane? Before you answer the question, you need to ask yourself, why should I put my life in danger when it could be avoided? Why should I travel with an open flame?

The answer is this, You should not have any reason to do that, it is risky to travel when your propane is connected to the  Rv refrigerator. Nothing may happen if your propane tank is on while travelling but it is still possible that dangerous things happen.

How Safe Are Propane Fridges?

Propane fridges are the safest as long as precautions are strictly followed. Precautions to follow include,

i. Keep Your RV At Level

I know you are wondering why your RV should be kept at a levelled position for your propane fridge to be safe.RV needs to be kept at a level for the RV fridge to be kept at a level as ammonia needs to circulate well through the condenser to the evaporator to avoid serious damage to the fridge immediately or later in the future.

ii. Check Out For Any Leak

Anything can happen to your fridge or the propane tank, do well to check out for any leak in the fridge or the propane tank.

Ammonia has a sharp smell that can easily be noticed as it overshadows any other smell and a tiny leak can ignite a fire in seconds.

iii. Provide Ventilation

The propane tank area has to be ventilated as the odourless gas produces carbon monoxide. Too much carbon monoxide will displace oxygen in the room will prevent the fire from burning effectively and in turn, the tank and the RV will be heated up. Moreover, it is not healthy for the occupants of the RV as it will give them breathing issues.

Some  RVers do not like to make use of propane fridges as they find it difficult to regulate the flow of carbon monoxide, however, this can be managed if you can watch out for the following signs as this will help you know if your room is not well ventilated and they include, watery eyes, dizziness, weakness, vomiting and most of the time headache. when you notice all of these things, make sure you create more space for ventilation.

iv. Turn off your Propane Tank while Driving

You shouldn’t put on your propane tank while driving, make sure your foods are cold already before you begin your journey.

And if there is a need to refrigerate the food, have a stopover and put on the propane tank but do not forget the Rv must be levelled and put off the fridge and propane tank properly once the food is cold.

v. Parental Supervision

Make sure your children do not play around with the propane tank or leave them to operate it alone.

Keep away flammable materials away from the surroundings of the propane tank and do not allows them to pack things from the fridge alone as they may fondle with the thermostat or other controls.

vi. Follow the Manufacturers Guidelines

It is like a man always wants to follow their desire but when it comes to the use of a propane fridge, there is a need for you to follow the manufacturer’s desire and drop your desire as you are just a user.

vii. Turn Off at Strategic Location

Confirm and re-confirm if  your propane tank and the fridge are off properly when you are near or about to enter a gas station or when going through tunnels

How To Maintain Temperature In Your  RV Refrigerator While Driving

The same way you maintain the temperature in your compressor refrigerator when it suddenly develops a fault before the repairer comes around is the same way you will maintain the temperature in your RV refrigerator and it can be achieved in these ways

  • Keep your refrigerator cold by putting it on overnight or a few hours before you start your journey. 
  • Stock your refrigerator in a way that there is no space between the items and if there is, put ice packs to fill up those spaces as avoiding space will help to maintain n the temperature.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator when it is not on and give strict warning to the passengers not to open it. Meanwhile, provide a cooler where you can store everything that will be needed during the journey.
  • You can make use of a DC generator but make sure the generator is run outside the Rv

How Long Can a Camper Fridge Run On Propane?

For you to get an answer to this question you must be able to provide answers to the following questions because the answer to these questions vary.

  • How old is your fridge?
  • What size is your fridge?
  • What model is your fridge?

These questions are very important for you to get the accurate litre of propane that your fridge will run on during the camp. Nevertheless, an RV fridge always comes with a manual, the manual can give you a direct answer.

However, research has shown that a 20lb propane tank can run a refrigerator for 30 days if the propane is used just for the fridge along with a cooling fan available to help circulate the cooler air and thereby reduce the excessive use of propane.

Do I Need To Vent My Propane Refrigerator?

Yes. You need to vent your propane refrigerator besides two vents are advisable, the intake and exhaust one 

A vent is important when it comes to the use of propane refrigerators as propane fire produces carbon monoxide and this displaces the oxygen in the room but venting helps to provide fresh air (oxygen) in the propane box and helps to exhaust carbon monoxide outside.

Intake vents are best put at the back of the RV while the exhaust ones are on the RV  but it all depends on the type of RV refrigerator.


Recreations are always interesting provided all basic amenities are provided in the RV but precautions need to be taken for you to enjoy these basic amenities which include using Propane refrigerators.

Following the above instructions, you should have better knowledge of how safe it is to travel with an Rv refrigerator on propane or not, and always remember that you are responsible for any decision you take.

Happy Recreation.

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Written by Jane Miller

I'm Nomadic Jane, a digital nomad and travel blogger. Since 2009, I've been traveling the world and exploring cultures through my travel blog.