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Old 02-20-2006, 09:52 AM   #1
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While traveling in cold weather (27 degrees) we used two ceramic heaters to supplement the propane heat in our Horizon 40AD. This worked well until we reached warmer weather and experienced a problem.

One night the temperture was around 45 degrees. We left the thermostaticlly controlled cermic heaters running. Due to the warmer weather, the ceramic heaters keep the coach warm enough that the coach's propane heater did not come on. At 1:30 am the propane leak detector came on. I immediately shut off the propane and ventilated the coach. The leak detector quit sounding. I checked all the logical locations for the smell of propane and used a handheld leak detector. I found no evidence of a leak. We continued to use the ceramic heaters and the propane leak detector come on at approximately 2 hour intervals. Each time we would ventilate the coach and the detector would quit sounding.

The next morning (after no sleep) I called Winnebago and they told me to take our coach to the nearest dealer for a propane leak test. We loaded up and drove 60 miles to the nearest Winnie dealer. They performed a propane leak test and found no leaks. The test cost $100. The maintenance person said the leak detector came on because I have aerosol cans stored under the kitchen sink. I didn't buy this reasoning because the cans have been there for over a year and never caused a problem. I do know that spraying an aerosol can near the leak detector will set it off. I experienced this with carpet cleaner.

Later, I called the leak detector manufacturer and learned that high humidity and still air will cause the leak detector to alarm. They recommended that I place a small fan near the leak detector to keep the air moving and said it would still detect propane if leaking.

Lesson learned. Now when I use the ceramic heaters I insure that the thermostats are balanced so the coach propane heater is running occasionally to circulate the air. It hasn't happened since then.
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:52 AM   #2
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While traveling in cold weather (27 degrees) we used two ceramic heaters to supplement the propane heat in our Horizon 40AD. This worked well until we reached warmer weather and experienced a problem.

One night the temperture was around 45 degrees. We left the thermostaticlly controlled cermic heaters running. Due to the warmer weather, the ceramic heaters keep the coach warm enough that the coach's propane heater did not come on. At 1:30 am the propane leak detector came on. I immediately shut off the propane and ventilated the coach. The leak detector quit sounding. I checked all the logical locations for the smell of propane and used a handheld leak detector. I found no evidence of a leak. We continued to use the ceramic heaters and the propane leak detector come on at approximately 2 hour intervals. Each time we would ventilate the coach and the detector would quit sounding.

The next morning (after no sleep) I called Winnebago and they told me to take our coach to the nearest dealer for a propane leak test. We loaded up and drove 60 miles to the nearest Winnie dealer. They performed a propane leak test and found no leaks. The test cost $100. The maintenance person said the leak detector came on because I have aerosol cans stored under the kitchen sink. I didn't buy this reasoning because the cans have been there for over a year and never caused a problem. I do know that spraying an aerosol can near the leak detector will set it off. I experienced this with carpet cleaner.

Later, I called the leak detector manufacturer and learned that high humidity and still air will cause the leak detector to alarm. They recommended that I place a small fan near the leak detector to keep the air moving and said it would still detect propane if leaking.

Lesson learned. Now when I use the ceramic heaters I insure that the thermostats are balanced so the coach propane heater is running occasionally to circulate the air. It hasn't happened since then.
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:09 AM   #3
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I don't buy that explaination at all. I think they need to do a through leak check and then possibly replace the detector.

In our older trailer, we have been running on the electric heaters for 3 days now and no propane alarm. We have run it this way in the past...and no alarm. Now hair spray or a gassy pet will set one off.

Ken
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:16 AM   #4
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Same here, both explanations seem inadequate.

Did they test the detector itself? Would think they would.

Sometimes you wish they would find something wrong...
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:37 AM   #5
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There is a video for sale on the internet,done by a fella named Tim Collard,who is supposedly an eleven year rv technician....
RV video

From the narrative advertising the video...found this interesting and related here.

One customer called me and insisted that there was something malfunctioning with his LP detector. It was always going off at the most inopportune times (usually in the middle of the night) and for no apparent reason! This was interrupting everyone's sleep and giving a whole new meaning to the term "GROUCHY"!

When I arrived at the customer's unit and was preparing to dive into the detector, I noticed a small doggy bed very close by. Not wanting to embarrass the gentleman, I casually asked if his dog was particularly flatulent or gassy. He looked a little confused and then responded: "Of course he *****... he's old!"

I suggested that if he move the doggy bed further away from the LP detector, he could probably return to peaceful nights sleeps!

You see, LP detectors can not only be set off by LP fumes, but pet and cooking odors, aerosol sprays, and such things can activate (and ruin) them as well.
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:37 AM   #6
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The Winnie dealer ran a pressure test. I am confortable that they did it correctly and there are no leaks.

The leak detector company offered to check and possibly replace the leak detector but I would have to send them my detector and presently I am traveling.

We have not had another incident since I am now ensuring that the combination of ceramic heaters and propane furnace is allowing the propane furnace to come on and circulate the air occasionally.
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:59 AM   #7
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I do not trust the dealer when it comes to propane leak test. When we had the class C, the dealer supposedly checked for a propane leak and gave it a clean bill of health. I was still loosing propane. When I took the time to leak check it, I found two easily found leaks. They were diffucult to fix as I had to disassemble a fair amount of piping to get back to the leak. In any case, no more leak after I fixed it.

Truthfully, the dealer typically will not take the time to really check it.

Ken
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:10 AM   #8
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The propellant in aerosol containers (butane is common since the ban on CFCs) will certainly trip a propane detector - someone who shall remain nameless managed to poison a propane detector in our previous 5th wheel by spraying the trash can (which sat adjacent to the propane detector) with Lysol.

I don't buy the dealer's explanation. We routinely use 2 ceramic heaters to heat our RV, and the furnace seldom if ever cycles. My bet would be that there's either some hydrocarbon gas (yes, it could be methane from the dog ) floating around, or the detector is going bad.

Rusty
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:56 AM   #9
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Bob, that's what I do, blame it on the dog!!!

LK23: Just curious, with temps in the mid 40's outside, why would you not use that great heat pump and save your propane? Also, we used a small elect. heater extensively on a recent trip and had no problems with the LP detector...and both me and the dog pass gas!
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:10 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by smlranger:
Bob, that's what I do, blame it on the dog.......and both me and the dog pass gas! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nice mental picture Gary....

Ken....sounds like you need a new dealer....
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:22 AM   #11
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Good information LK23. You could put your ceramic heater near the LP sensor blowing away from the sensor thereby drawing fresh air toward the sensor.

I like the humor guys. Got a good chuckle.
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Old 02-21-2006, 01:33 PM   #12
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Clarification: The dealer tried to blame the leak detector alarm on the cleaning supplies stored under the kitchen sink. I don't agree. The manufacturer of the leak detector said high humidity and still air with make the alarm trigger. I definitely had still air and the humidity was high.

We don't have a dog. We do have a pet cockatiel whose cage is about ten feet from the propane sensor. I don't recall the bird being flatulent. Maybe I need to listen closer.

To smlranger: Yes we use the heat pump on a regular basis but, as you know, it looses its effectiveness in the lower 40s. It is also noisy in the bedroom so I tend to turn it off at night and use the propane heater.
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:18 PM   #13
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Cockatiels produce a fair amount of powder down (feather-dust). This is a very fine white powder. Could this be bothering the propane sensor.

When we had a cockatoo (also has a lot of powder down) we kept a small HEPA filter running near the cage to cut down on the powder down.

Try moving the bird away from the sensor for a few days.

Ken
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Old 02-21-2006, 06:49 PM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by LK23:
Clarification: The dealer tried to blame the leak detector alarm on the cleaning supplies stored under the kitchen sink. I don't agree. The manufacturer of the leak detector said high humidity and still air with make the alarm trigger. I definitely had still air and the humidity was high.

We don't have a dog. We do have a pet cockatiel whose cage is about ten feet from the propane sensor. I don't recall the bird being flatulent. Maybe I need to listen closer.

To smlranger: Yes we use the heat pump on a regular basis but, as you know, it looses its effectiveness in the lower 40s. It is also noisy in the bedroom so I tend to turn it off at night and use the propane heater. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
=====================================

Give the bird a box of matches and tell it to light the ***** off, problem solved!

Sorry couldnt help myself.
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