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Old 09-14-2009, 07:39 PM   #1
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Propane Leak Inside Trailer

I just returned from a three week camping trip, which included a few rough roads. When we returned to the house and opened up the trailer I smelled propane. I opened the windows and shut off the tanks. The smell dissapated. The LP monitor never alarmed and there was sufficient electricity for the monitor to function.

One propane tank was shut off and I think the other was quite low tho the switchover valve was showing green. Did I read somewhere that a low propane tank can cause propane smells?

The question now is where should I check. The propane input to my WAVE heater is the easiest to check and my likeliest suspect tho no propane lines have been touched since the WAVE was installed three years ago.

Where are the locations I should check (with soapy water)?
Will I have to pull out my stove? If so, how?

I have a 2005 25' Safari.

Thanks,
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:55 PM   #2
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First things I'd check is the attachment points for the propane lines into appliances, particularly the stove. In my '05 Safari 25 the propane line was rubbing on the stove's steel frame at the entry point, which was wearing into the copper. I bent it to avoid rubbing, left alone it would have eventually worn through.

BTW as I recall the propane line enters the stove at the top just lift the burner pan.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:07 PM   #3
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You will get more propane odor when the propane tank gets near empty, but any time you smell propane is a reason to be concerned. A good test is to open the tank valve with nothing turned on in the trailer. This will cause the indicator to turn green. Now close the tank valve. The indicator should remain green. Mine will stay green for several hours, but if yours turns red in just a few minutes, you have a leak.
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Old 09-15-2009, 05:55 PM   #4
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I think my problem is related to low pressure. I did your 'charge' test.

First, confirmed no smell in trailer
second, turned on my full propane tank.
Shut off tank after 5 minutes.
switch-over valve showed green as I left (30 minutes later).
still no smell in trailer.

My next steps:
fill the low tank
turn tank gas on.
check trailer for gas smell hour by hour over a day.
turn gas off at end of the day.

I still want to check gas line as it enters the stove. Good suggestion.

Thanks,
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:08 PM   #5
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do you have any pilot lights that could have blown out?
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:18 PM   #6
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I have changed my outside regulator after I smelled propane. I had the orginal on so I figured it would be a good idea to change the regulator and the lines coming off the regulator. I was still smelling gas inside the trailer. I had an RV tech fix a couple of loose connections when we were on vacation and he thought the problem was solved. It wasn't solved and so this last weekend I took it to The RV repair shop and they did a check of the lines and discovered I have a bad leak somewhere. I am waiting for the news to what they have found. Gas is very dangerous so I figured I needed to get the experts to check out all the lines and fix it.

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Old 09-20-2009, 04:08 PM   #7
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My propane smell must have been due to low pressure. I filled the low tank, opened both tank valves and started the refrig on gas. No smell at 6 hours later.

Also I checked the copper propane tubing inlet at back right of my stovetop. My trailer was one of the very first 2005 25' Safari's manufactured that model year. It was manufactured in late June or early July. We picked it up very early in August.

Surprisingly the copper inlet tube had a rather thick white plastic tube around it at the very place that chaffing would have occurred. The plastic tubing had no chaffing.

Thanks,
Neil.
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Old 09-20-2009, 04:55 PM   #8
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Now, the other problem

How come the propane detector did not work. Check it out....just for safety.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:08 AM   #9
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Excellent question. 12 volt power was on. Maybe there was enough for smelling but not enough to set off the alarm.

How does one test the propant detector?
It has a green light which does periodically flash.

Neil.
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.ervin View Post
Excellent question. 12 volt power was on. Maybe there was enough for smelling but not enough to set off the alarm.

How does one test the propant detector?
It has a green light which does periodically flash.

Neil.
Propane is heavier than air. If you can smell it, the detector should have gone off. Do you have a propane torch? If yes, open the valve, without lighting it, and hold it next to the detector. The detector should sound within a few seconds. If it doesn't, replace the detector. Like smoke detectors, they can lose sensitivity and basically no longer work after several years.

Chris
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:18 PM   #11
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Isn't that like holding a match next to a gas leak?

The detector is 12v electrical. Might flooding it with pure propane cause ignition?
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:13 PM   #12
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No, the detector is supposed to alarm without igniting the propane. A propane leak detector sounds an alarm when it detects a minute amount of propane in the air. It doesn't ignite the propane! Actually, you need a fairly high concentration of propane to become combustible. That's why I said after "a few seconds." Anything longer might create a flaming hazard, but not from a correctly operating propane detector.

Short of turning on a stove burner without lighting it and waiting to see if the propane detector goes off, I don't know of any other easy way to check the detectorís operation. And I would strongly advise against doing that type of check!

If someone knows another way to check the operation of a propane detector, Iím more than willing to learn!

Chris
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:31 PM   #13
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Maybe the simple things should be mentioned as well. There should be a TEST or a TEST/RESET button on the detector. Press that. If the alarm doesn't sound, I'd replace the unit without doing any further testing.

Chris
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:13 PM   #14
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Hi Neil,

If this helps, I went out and did the propane torch test on my SOB trailer's propane detector for a second time. First time was several years ago in another SOB trailer - one of those let's see if it really works ideas. Anyway, I turned the torch on just enough to hear the gas, and then waved it gently by the detector. In less than a second (maybe a 1/2 second), the led on the detector changed from green to red and the alarm sounded about another second later. As soon as the LED changed color, I shut off the propane torch. I then used the test/reset button to the silence the alarm, and the LED changed back to green after about 5 seconds.

I figured if Iím going to suggest something that sounds as harebrained as this does, I should be willing to test it again and stand behind it.

Chris
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