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Old 01-09-2004, 06:02 PM   #1
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Open Flame Propane Heater Gas Monitor Results

There has been much discussion on catalytic heaters and propane appliances and their effects on a closed environment.

Today I had the opportunity to borrow a professional grade gas monitor used by safety forces to measure CO, Oxygen and Hydrogen Sulfide levels inside of buildings.

The meter is set to alarm on a low oxygen level of 19.5% and a CO level of 13 PPM.

After running my "blue flame" unvented propane heater here in my computer room for 2 hours, I noted the following readings:

Oxygen 20.5%, down from 20.9% before heater was started. A walk outside produced 21.3%

CO, ZERO!!

Well, this makes me feel much better about using that heater.

This weekend, I intend to fire up the Suburban and catalytic heater and see what they do inside my Airstream. I'll keep you all posted.
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Old 01-09-2004, 06:10 PM   #2
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That is what some of the catalytic heater companies claim: Does not emit carbon monoxide but crack a window or vent because it does consume oxygen. Glad to see that you tested it out.

I wish I had that contraption when some of us used a Coleman fueled catalytic heater over 20 years ago in a tent. We woke up with a headache and the thing seemed to be giving off fumes of some type. I bet it would have shown CO.
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Old 01-09-2004, 09:35 PM   #3
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Mr. Heater?

Pick,

Is that a mr heater blue flame that you are using?

I would be interested in hearing what your results are with a non-blue flame catalytic heater, like the Olympic 6.

Steve
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Old 01-10-2004, 02:49 PM   #4
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BAD News, very bad news...

After firing up my Suburban Furnace, the CO reading shot right up to 4 PPM. I left the coach and returned a half hour later.

Readings peaked at 21 PPM. Most CO detectors alarm at 12-13 PPM.

Boy am I glad I checked this furnace. Got a slight headache just walking around for 2 minutes.

Folks if you are in doubt about that old furnace, DO NOT USE IT. It can kill.
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Old 01-10-2004, 04:39 PM   #5
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the life you save might be your own!

wow!!

let us know what you find when you tear into it.

good canidate for a furnace safety thread!

take lots of pictures!

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Old 01-10-2004, 06:18 PM   #6
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John, I am guessing that the rubber hose exaust/intake thingee is shot and/or the plenum has some pin holes in it.

I did some web research and found some home style CO detectors go off at 35 PPM, that may explain why the CO detector in the coach didn't go off. Still, 21 PPM is way to dangerous in my book.
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Old 01-10-2004, 06:25 PM   #7
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Now I'm getting nervous.

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Old 01-10-2004, 09:55 PM   #8
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As I wrote in a previous post in this thread, I measured 21 PPM after 1/2 hour of operation of my old Suburban Furnace. Here are some figures on CO levels and their effects:

PPM CO Time Symptoms


35 PPM 8 hours Maximum exposure allowed by OSHA in the
workplace over an eight hour period.

200 PPM 2-3 hours Mild headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness.

400 PPM 1-2 hours Serious headache- other symptoms intensify.
Life threatening after 3 hours.

800 PPM 45 minutes Dizziness, nausea and convulsions.
Unconscious within 2 hours. Death within 2-3
hours.

1600 PPM 20 minutes Headache, dizziness and nausea. Death within
1 hour.

3200 PPM 5-10 minutes Headache, dizziness and nausea. Death within
1 hour.
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Old 01-10-2004, 10:25 PM   #9
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In April 1994, I fell victim to CO, from a furnace tampered with by vandals, in an apartment I rented.

500 ppm, overnight did not kill me, it didn't do much, except make me very confused, but I managed to call for help, and was taken to the emergency room, where I was told only my excess fat had saved me. I was full of CO, but still breathing. They put me in a hyperbaric chamber for a couple of hours, and measured the blood again, to find over 50 ppm still floating around, so back in the pressure cooker for a while.

Over the next 2 weeks, I felt tingling in my arms and legs, then numbness in my extremities. I started to twitch involuntarily, unable to hold my head straight, and getting increasingly confused. I returned to the doctors, with no idea what was wrong, to be told that the incident with the CO earlier in the month was manifesting as a progressive decline.

By mid May, I could not walk without falling, and had little control over my left hand side. By June, I was in a wheel chair, by mid June, I could not control the wheel chair, and by July, I was confirmed triplegic, with accute ataxia. They gave me a power wheel chair, and an adapted power assisted vehicle to move me about in. By August I stopped getting worse - I am glad of that, because worse would have been real bad.

For the next two years, I managed to exist by sitting all day long, in a very uncomfortable power wheel chair, unable to do much except twitch a lot, and eat. Boy could I eat. In my disabled state, I went from 210 pounds, at 6ft tall, to 425 pounds.

One morning, I woke up and was not twitching. I do not know how, or why, but the attaxia had left, and I felt pretty good. form that day it took me another eight months to relearn how to walk, how to wash, how to do everything. Over the next two years, I fought my way from infirmity with gross obesity, to somewhat better, but still obese.

I remained over 300 pounds until I learned that I had screwed up my body, big time, with obesity. I will not bore anyone with the details, but Christmas 2002 was the last time I ever ate potatoe, white bread or any other carbs.. One year later I am back at the weight I was at before Carbon Monoxide changed my life forever.

I still have problems with my left side - it doesn't work very well - i used to play the piano very well, now I can only play auto accompanied electric keyboards because my left fingers do not work too well. I still cannot hold my head up straight, it leans over to the side somewhat, and I twitch from time to time.

All because CO did not kill me. If you have a gas burning furnace, please go get a CO detector, and learn how to use it properly - For two years, I thought the lucky people were the ones that CO killed. I really do not want any of you to ever feel like that.



It has taken me almost 10 years to recover from an act of vandalism that should have killed me.

Theo
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