Using Propane While Driving?

posted on 01/07/2008 04:01 in RV Doctor - Gary Bunzer

Dear RV Doctor,
I have heard of running the roof air conditioner off the generator while traveling. Is it safe to run the furnace off the generator while traveling? We travel to Florida every March and sometimes the first morning is quite cold, even after preheating the coach for several hours before leaving. The dash heater could not keep up with the heat loss while traveling. Riding in an oversized icebox isn't much fun. Bill Lemke, (South Wales, NY)

Bill, I think I’m a little confused by your question. Typically the RV furnace is powered by 12-volt DC, whereby the fan, thermostat and internal components all run off the auxiliary battery. There’s no reason to run the generator. Plus there’s no reason not to run the furnace to help heat the coach while driving. You will, however, find some experts who say you should not travel with an open propane container, but I’m not in that camp. I also believe in periodic propane leak tests to ensure the integrity of the propane system. If you are sure no propane leaks exist and you have adequate ventilation, running the furnace while traveling is safe. While driving, the engine alternator will continue to charge the battery systems so there’s no danger of draining the battery by using the furnace. You should be good to go as is!

-Gary Bunzer
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Questions of general interest may appear in a future issue. Due to the heavy volume of mail received, personal replies are not possible. All effort is made to ensure the correctness of Gary’s responses; however, not all answers will apply in every instance. Some situations may mandate a visual inspection and further hands-on testing. If you choose to follow these instructions, make sure that neither personal nor product safety will be compromised. If you do not feel comfortable performing a procedure, call your local RV service facility and schedule an appointment or visit Camping World Supercenters nationwide.

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  1. May 02, 2010 at 06:12 PM

    I have been having trouble with my generator(onon 5000) come to find out the fuel pump was not getting 12 volts due to being unpluged at the power source, there are 4 wires I think 3 are grounded & one hot the hot wire was getting no power, checked all fuses with volt meter all good , so I ran a wire from starter silonid on starter to pump with toggle switch in between working fine now just flip switch flip on & hit starter is this safe ?