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Old 07-05-2010, 11:28 PM   #1
Wise Elder
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2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,023
Wherefore the propane detector?

I have been contemplating the presence of a propane detector in my traylah. I'm not convinced it does much good.

In a hypothetical sense, sure, there's some greater degree of safety in the event of a leak.

On the other hand:

1) Actuarial data show that propane leaks inside the coach are not a significant, let alone major, source of fires. Most fires in traylahs are of electrical origin with appliance-related causes second. (In motorhomes, chassis-origin fires are also a major factor, but I digress)

2) To the extent propane leaks inside the coach contribute to fire risk, there is little evidence to suggest that many of these fires occur while the traylah is occupied. Most fires involve unoccupied traylahs, and since current practice is that the propane detector just beeps and doesn't close the propane valve, it doesn't do any good in an unoccupied traylah.

3) In fact the only propane line that actually enters the interior of the traylah is the one going to the range. The fridge and water heater are outside, and are well ventilated.

3) The methyl mercaptan odorant provides ample early warning regarding propane leaks inside the traylah. The only additional benefits the propane detector provides are a) for people who have a compromised sense of smell and b) it is more likely to awaken sleepers. Considering that the range is the only propane appliance inside the trailer, and unlike the furnace and water heater is unlikely to fire itself up of its own volition at 0-dark-hundred hours, b) doesn't seem like much of a benefit, and a) doesn't apply to my particular situation.

4) Amp draw.

So I'm ready to cut the wires and move on. Anyone else?

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Old 07-06-2010, 01:47 AM   #2
Be Calm, Have a Cupcake
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Houston , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 223
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Are you kidding?

Respectfully sir, that is BP thinking.

1 - Propane is heavier than air so you can't smell it till the column of propane rises to your nose.
2 - Propane ignites at a mixture of approximately 2.15% to 9.5% propane to air.
3 - Propane simply burns outdoors, however in a confined space like a trailer, ignition of propane will cause a robust explosion rather than just a fire.
see: Propane Properties, Characteristics and Propane Gas Combustion Information
also see item 8: NJBA Page - NJBA, Propane Gas Forge Use and Safety
4 - The amount of propane that must build up in a trailer in order for a sitting or standing person to inhale and smell it is already enough to cause an explosion.
5 - There are lots of ignition sources in a trailer suitable to ignite a propane/air mixture (furnace piezo lighter, range piezo lighter, light switch, cell phone, etc.)
6 - Any person unfortunate enough to be inside or near a propane filled trailer that gets ignited is going to feel very bad about it, if they ever feel anything again.
for example, see: Suntrana, AK Propane Explosion, Sep 1964 | GenDisasters ... Genealogy in Tragedy, Disasters, Fires, Floods
and also: Propane Explosions Kill or Injure Thousands Each Year.
7 - Propane detectors are mandated by federal law for the reasons above.

If you still decide to remove your propane detector, please don't park anywhere near me or anyone else.

Warmest regards,


Weekend Goals...
Do nothing all day; then afterwards, relax.


Would you rather have a mansion full of money or a trailer full of love?
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:44 AM   #3
Rivet Master
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2004 25' Classic
Prescott , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 564
After being woke up at about 4:00 A.M. for the fourth time last year, I went ahead and put a switch on it so it could be switched off REAL fast! I do not know why, the propane has been turned off when this happens, and it always has happened VERY early in the morning each time. The toggle switch works good for me
Julia & Bob
W/ Deedee & Boo
AIR #30685
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