Ok folks. I have talked with several of my OLD SCHOOL fellow RV'ers, and Decided to post a blog on Gas fridges.

(Im relaxing before a long haul).

Ok, here goes.

The number one problem the Old Skoolerz,(as we are called) have seemed to notice over the years is Auto ignition, (peizo ignition).

Case in point,, Ole Frankie,(our senior member in the close knit group), had a problem with his Auto ignition clicking ON,even when switched over to full electric. He would hear that ole click,click,click,click, as if the igniter was trying to light. For an old guy who is older then dirt, he has some good hearing. He went in to investigate. He says Sure Nuff, its a clicking, and under close observation he noticed the pilot light *trying to light.

With a gas regulator, NO gas is supposed to pass thru the valve assembly without the Thermocoupler being at set temp, therefore allowing gas to pas through the valving. He watched it for a bit,(laying on the floor he decided hes gonna be there awhile). He watched the pilot light nozzle spurting a little yellow flame,, *trying to ignite.

Each time it Clicked, a small short burst of yellow flame would come out. That is NOT supposed to happen.

OK,, Pay attention now. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.

Frankie took his BBQ lighter and slid it into the firebox (after he took the inspection glass out), and flicked his bic, so to speak.

Frankie lost his eyebrows and part of his mustache.

Now Ole Frankie is in his 90's (like I said,, hes an old timer).

He jumped back and put his eyebrows out and realized his FIREBOX was filling up with gas, from the valve assembly, allowing gas to pass through. Now Ole Frankie says,, THAT IS NOT A GOOD THING AT ALL. He calls his fellow Rv'ers and asks what the problem mite be? 

(Its pretty obvious,,bad gas regulator). Everyone he called verified that.

Frankies regulator was approx 4 yrs old,and it was failing.

Frankie had a youn ac/heating guy who does residential home installs and maintenance come out and look at it,, The young guy spent about 10 minutes checking the system out and verified the gas regulator was failing and installed a new one. He then used sudsy soap at all the connections of the gas line to verify no leaks.

He mentioned to observe the following,,,,,,,

If your fridge makes clicking sounds while ON ELECTRIC only,,, Shut it down completley and turn off Gas at the tank and let, the rig air out, with windows and door open. Check the back of your fridge (thru the access door on the outside), and see if the pilot light is trying to light.

Ive called a few RV repair centers around Waco,Austin and San Antonio and they have said, Gas regulators do go bad and its mostly due to NOT being used, and mother nature takes its toll, with corrosion etc. Especially with moisture IN THE PROPANE itself which causes corrosion inside the regulator valve assembly. Thus causing gas to leak through, and eventually into the fire box.

The same goes with gas furnaces,  The fire box being a large or small one.  Fridges have a smaller, so called fire box,  but it doesnt take much to accumilate enough *gas, to cause a major problem.

Forgot to mention,, Gas water heaters has same concept,,

Gas appliances have a so called fire box to isolate the heat to a specific area and they all have regulators. Some have manual light and auto (peizo) lighting.

So as you do your maintenance checks,,  Check your gas appliances on full electric (if you have the dual option of gas/electric). and listen for the auto ignition and see if its *trying to light.

Some RV manufactures are installing Electric ONLY appliances in their new RV lines, thus avoiding issues with gas.

They have even upgraded with better battery banks,inverters and gensets.

Hope this info helps .........

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Comment by Joanne Leiser on July 3, 2015 at 7:56am

Yikes! Glad Frankie is a quick Old Skoolerz. Glad to add this to our list for maintenance. Thanks.

Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 21, 2015 at 4:15pm

Not to beat a dead horse, but here's some more fuel for the fire (pun intended). My brother contends that the sound of an explosion caused him to go outside where he found the trailer on fire. He said there was only one explosion (a "pop" he described it). He sent me this video today. He filmed it while he was waiting for the fire department and AFTER the initial "pop" that drew his attention. If you listen at 0:10 in the video, there's another pop/explosion. THAT, I believe is that fridge pipe popping. The first pop was probably a propane explosion.


Comment by Rich Thomas on June 20, 2015 at 8:14pm

I'm with you on the lay on the floor and light Matthew, my old fridge also a three way works perfectly even in the 90 + degree heat we had over the past week or so but, I'm still shaky when I go to propane after this event. I've crawled all over it and have found no reason to suspect anything but normal use but I still can't get my head around using the propane. I've had it plugged in to the AC all week and the fridge has Ice in the freezer so unless I'm camping somewhere electric isn't an option I'll be on A.C. at least until I use it a few times and build confidence.

Comment by So ska noname on June 19, 2015 at 3:20pm
I get chills jus thinking about it.
Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 19, 2015 at 3:04pm

And on your injuries comment - even though it sucks for my brother, it could have been a lot worse. We were loaded up for the trip to Hershey. We would have been in side-by-side sites, packed in like sardines in the pull-through section of the campground. That fire would have taken out pretty much that whole section. I get chills thinking about the carnage.

Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 19, 2015 at 3:02pm

I didn't know they made alarms that far back. My Allegro didn't have one, nor did my brother's trailer (1991). I'm sure our '76 Winnie didn't have one either. I installed one a couple of months ago because it seemed like a good idea. I put it under the fridge, directly across from the range and furnace (away from drafts, per the instructions).

Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 19, 2015 at 2:28pm

Unfortunately he didn't have a propane alarm, but it probably would not have done any good because there was no one in it when it exploded (thankfully). I'd like to think that if he did have a propane alarm, and he was around to hear it, he would have been able to get out before it exploded.

The bulge, according to my research and that article from that investigative site, is indicative of a fire in the fridge box. The fire superheats the tubing until it has to blow somewhere. It's not a great pic - on the other side of that bulge the pipe is torn open.

It all happened so fast that my brother isn't recalling every detail. He only heard one explosion, a "pop" which we assume was that pipe blowing. That's what got his attention and he ran outside. The trailer was already full of black smoke at that point and he knew it was a total loss. He removed the propane tanks and watched it burn. That single "pop" would mean, however, that the fire that caused the "pop" started without any drama (i.e., no propane explosion). He said when he heard the pop, he looked outside and there were flames shooting through the roof out the fridge vent.

Comment by So ska noname on June 18, 2015 at 10:02pm
Sounds just right to me.
Comment by Rich Thomas on June 18, 2015 at 9:46pm

The palace fridge is a Cold Star. I don't know who makes it or if it was a company all to it's self but I gave it a good look over today. It all looks good and tidy. I did get down and read the directions and It notes  to check all gas fittings with soapy water each time before lighting. a weak ago I would have thought that to be a bit excessive. 

Comment by So ska noname on June 18, 2015 at 7:17am
I prefer to do most things myself and save money, but propane and our safety is not an area to pinch my pennies at. I tried smelling for ammonia, in case this fridge has some. Did not smell any. I did find an electrical plug, possibly for and from the fridge, in closet area next to fridge. Will find out what it belongs to I replace the sink p-trap that's missing and finish plumbing systems check.



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