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Old 12-06-2010, 10:12 AM   #1
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Location: Dacula, Georgia
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Possible Propane Leak

While cleaning up my motor home after returning from my last trip back in October I smelled propane. I did not have the time to explore the problem and took the coach back to where I store it. In the meat time I cut off the propane at the tank. Now that I have some time on my hands I want to go and investigate this problem. Can anyone give me advice on how to track down a possible leak? Unless I am missing something the only places that could possible be leaking are:
1. At the tank valve itself, but that is in a storage compartment
2. The kitchen stove
3. The furnace
4. The hot water heater.
Any suggestions?
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

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Old 12-06-2010, 10:27 AM   #2
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there are lines going to all of the appliances you mentioned. spray bottle with a water and a little bit of soap works to check lines and connections. did your propane detector go off? if so that should have shut your propane off at the tank. maybe you just bumped a knob on your stove when you were cleaning. no matter what investigate it thoughly and be carefull.
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:42 AM   #3
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I had a leak from the tank itself.
But if you turned off the LP tank valve and the leak stopped, then it is probably not the tank. You should also check that a pilot light has not gone out.
Check the refrigerator too as it has an LP mode.
Good luck,

jim & debbie, 04 journey 34H
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:58 AM   #4
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Stop by a HVAC supply store and pick up some NU-CALGON Leak Detector

Click here for link

It works great to find leaks on any pressurized system.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:01 PM   #5
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Had friend with an odor problem once and it turned out to be diaphragm in the regulator was leaking ever so little. Open your tank valve again and check the vent hole on the side of the regulator. Just a possibility.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:01 AM   #6
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Our tank had a leak at the weld between the tank and a bracket that is used to secure the tank to the RV frame. The fix was a new tank.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:28 PM   #7
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You might be able to have a local LP dealer check it out. Along with the usual places to check for leaks... anyplace the pipe goes thru a floor or wall where it might get rubbed. First, I would check the easy spots with the soapy water. If your tank itself was leaking, you would still be smelling LP with the valve closed. Do you have shut off valves on all your appliances? If so, shut down all the valves. Open them up one at a time, starting with the valve closest to the LP tank. Check the piping and the connections as you work your way to the farthest point. It may be a simple as you bumped the stove knob while cleaning or the tank happened to "vent" slightly. They will do that at times. It's why propane lockers have holes in the bottom of them. I've had tanks vent during the summer but once had an older tank that would vent during the winter when the sun would shine on it, heating it up. I hauled it in to have it checked (got re-certified while there). LP dealer said it was fine that some tanks would do that... touchy valves. It was a factory gray paint and when I repainted it, I painted it white. It quit venting after that.
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:26 PM   #8
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HI Ho: As you can tell from the replys propane leaks can come from almost anywhere in the system. We bought an Itasca Suncruiser new in 2000 and found that the pipes from the tank had fittings that had never been tightened.

The easiest way to tell if there is a leak is to use a pressure gauge that can be attached anywhere in the system. Just turn off the valve at the tank and see if there is a pressure drop. We had a coach once that had such a gauge built in just for that purpose.

Now finding the leak (if there is one) is just a matter of using soap solution and as a last resort isolating pieces of the system.

good luck, Dirk
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:35 AM   #9
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We had a similar problem with our Adventurer. There was never enough gas concentration to set off the detector but from time to time the smell was there. It turned out to be a defect in the tank itself. There's a thin plug welded on the bottom side that's supposed to blow out if the tank becomes seriously over pressurized. It's there to prevent the tank from exploding in the event of a fire.

The plug in our tank wasn't welded fully around the circumference. There was a small gap of about 1/8" between the welds. It probably leaked all the time but the leak was so small the smell of propane was only detectable when the coach was in a sheltered area out of the wind. Ours was a Manchester tank certified to be defect free for 10 years from the date of manufacture stamped on the ID tag. It was replaced at no cost (except for the cost of a new tank of LP) when it was about 3 years old. If that's your problem there may be some prorated warranty after the 10 year mark.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:04 PM   #10
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I just replaced the regulator on my Atwood rangetop. There was a slight propane odor in the coach when closed up, never enough to trip the detector. I bought an inexpensive gas leak detector from Honeywell for about 35 bucks off Amazon, (wanted one for home anyway) and it found the leak at the diaphragm right away. Apparently these things are famous for rubber diaphrams that dry out and leak.

Handheld gas leak detector: Flammable Gas Detector: Home Improvement
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