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 Jim Stoltz on June 14, 2015 at 5:57pm

Here's a couple of pics. The Fire Marshalls (there were 3 there) had different opinions. One guy was sure it was a propane leak, another said it was likely a fridge failure. Arson investigator hasn't showed up yet. I mentioned in the original blog that something shot through the roof in the area of the fridge. One of the Fire Marshalls pointed out the blown out fridge tubing. It could either have been the cause of the fire (overheated and blew) or because of the fire (propane fire overheated the fridge).

And yes, my brother switched from electric to propane. Waited for the green light (heard it light) and went in the house.

Comment by Lakota Wolf on June 14, 2015 at 3:34pm

Thats a very good probabilty Richard... Its easy to do. Thanks for the input.

Comment by Richard W. Cobbs on June 14, 2015 at 3:23pm

OK, this is probably not too smart but, The way the accident was described didn't seem to me to be the refrigerator alone.  He said that the indication was that the pilot was properly lit. 

Several years ago I had a few people in my RV and we smelled propane.  One of the people had backed into one of the knobs on the stove and it stayed open, allowing gas to flow full tilt.  With the description given of the incident, I wonder if something like that could have happened? 

The fridge is switched to gas operation and lit, the guy may have backed into the stove while lighting the fridge.  He exits and enough gas flows to blow the RV up in 15 minutes.



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