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Old 01-23-2014, 03:01 PM   #15
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All those that reassure how safe it is - when something unforeseen goes wrong - they won't be there at your funeral.
I don't think any of us who responded are trying to reassure anyone that it's safe. Just that it can be done, if proper precautions are taken. Urging caution is not the same thing as reassuring.
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:00 PM   #16
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Carbon monoxide makes me sleepy. What I'm saying is that even though the intent is to only use the gas while you're awake, you could nod off. Also, a house isn't the same as a 24 foot trailer with a low roof. The interior is much smaller.
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:39 PM   #17
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Why take a chance?


Life is all about taking chances I suppose.

For example, I gotta believe the chance of my window snowing closed are about the same as the chance of a crack developing in the heat exchanger of the propane heater - yet no one worries much about that.
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:47 PM   #18
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For example, I gotta believe the chance of my window snowing closed are about the same as the chance of a crack developing in the heat exchanger of the propane heater - yet no one worries much about that.
Maybe your window won't get blocked by snow, but your rooftop vent might. And a lot of furnaces DO get replaced when they start to rust out. People do worry about their furnaces asphyxiating them, if they have reason to worry.
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:54 PM   #19
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People do worry about their furnaces asphyxiating them, if they have reason to worry.
well put

and I think it applies to me. I worry just as much as my furnaces' heat exchanger asphyxiating me as I do about the stove with a window cracked open asphyxiating me. Which is to say, not a whole lot about either.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:03 PM   #20
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That settles it. I'm getting me a canary.

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Old 01-23-2014, 07:11 PM   #21
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well put

and I think it applies to me. I worry just as much as my furnaces' heat exchanger asphyxiating me as I do about the stove with a window cracked open asphyxiating me. Which is to say, not a whole lot about either.
I don't think the furnace and stove are equivalent in terms of risk.

I may come across as a safety geek. That's because I am one. I'm a contributing author/editor of the 2013 edition of the Army Corps of Engineers Safety and Health Requirements Manual, and a fairly large proportion of my job is risk management (the current buzz-phrase for safety; you can't eliminate risk, only manage it). I've also been on boards of investigation for two work-related fatalities, both of which were completely avoidable and ultimately caused by simple carelessness. As a result, I'm more likely to err on the side of caution, and I'll never recommend that anyone take an avoidable risk.

But if you or anyone else knows the risks, and takes the risk anyway, I have no call to stop you.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:21 PM   #22
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I'm a contributing author/editor of the 2013 edition of the Army Corps of Engineers Safety and Health Requirements Manual
Cool. I'm an embedded software and controls architect. I have designed and built so called "zero defect" software, and no matter what anyone says it is all about quantifying and managing the risk.


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But if you or anyone else knows the risks, and takes the risk anyway, I have no call to stop you.
Cheers to that! Therein lies the difference between an engineer and a regulator.

(P.S. - I take now that you'll not be endorsing my canary solution)
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:24 PM   #23
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CO issue from a health standpoint binds very very strong to hemoglobin's O2 binding sites and this is what causes CO poisoning....

I think using a furnace that vents exhaust vs a stove even given ventilation is a risk equivalency?

One seemingly constitutes a greater risk due to design differences

Most generally speaking it's probably a bad idea to promote this practice as a general rule...

If you take various precautions is there equal risk to the furnace? I'm skeptical of that to be honest bit not entirely sure

If I boondocked and needed more juice then id fix that anyway as very much preferred solution
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:39 PM   #24
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If you take various precautions is there equal risk to the furnace? I'm skeptical of that to be honest bit not entirely sure
CO will only be produced when the propane flame is deprived of oxygen. So long as there is plenty of oxygen both are safe.

The RV furnace is designed to eliminate most all of the risk of depleting oxygen. The occupant must crack open a window to eliminate the risk of the stove depleting oxygen.

Specifically.....
The RV furnace uses a heat exchanger. It works basically by forcing outside air, heated by an open propane flame, through the inside of long tube. The air from your cabin is recirculated and blown across the outside of that tube, heating it up and retuning it through your duct work.

So in the furnace the combustion air pretty much never mixes with the cabin air and is designed to not run the risk of depleting any oxygen because it is not using cabin oxygen for combustion. In the rare case that the tube develops a crack or rusts through (gas flames produce lots of water) then cabin O2 may be used up.

The open propane flame of the stove will use up oxygen unless outside air gets in to replace it. Most RV cabins let in plenty of air but a cracked open window will be safer.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:37 PM   #25
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LOL--- I should explain.... the trailer had holes in floor behind the gaucho, believe me, there was PLENTY of fresh air coming into the trailer that night!

The first trailer Regina and I owned, a 1968 Utopia, had a Humphreys gas light which we used to take the chill off the trailer at night. Our houseboat had a gas light too which we used for the same purpose.

I bought one off of Ebay for to install in the Airstream --- I tee'ed off the gas line to the refrigerator but the lamp never got that "coleman lantern" burn,, I finally took it out and sold it.

When our daughter had her accident-- (horse accident, she's better now, still hasn't regained her sense of smell or taste) she lived last winter in our trailer.

she rarely ran the furnance relying instead on an 'Amish' heater and the catalytic heater. the pipes only froze once ....

Lucky she didn't have her smell as there was a broken cap on the sewer vent in the trailer (behind the false wall in the closet) and it always had the smell....that got worse when I emptied the black water.

We were at a rally and I was embarrassed to have people tour our trailer because of the smell. A fellow Airstreamer told me to check the vent piping which I did and solved the smell problem!


The trailer was drafty,,, we put bat insulation in teh trunk, under the beds and under the front credenza.
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:12 AM   #26
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I think my biggest concern with using a stove or cooktop for "comfort" heat is not oxygen depletion or carbon monoxide buildup; it's a draft from the window you left open blowing out the flame and letting unburned propane accumulate in your living space while you're asleep. With the furnace, even if the flame should go out for some reason, any unburned propane ends up outside. With the stove, propane would accumulate below the level of the open window, unless you've got enough air exhange to make the stove worthless for heat anyway.

Propane is poisonous to breathe at lower concentrations than it would take for it to ignite (and lower concentrations than your LPG detector will detect, by the way). And while you're asleep, your breathing zone is closer to the floor where propane vapors would build up.

Stoves and cooktops are designed to be used with human supervision, not to be turned on and left unattended overnight.

For those that are interested, here are the numbers:
Propane lower explosive limit = 2.1% in air (21,000 parts per million)
Propane upper explosive limit = 9.5% in air (95,000 parts per million)
OSHA permissible exposure limit = 0.1% in air (1000 parts per million) 8-hour time-weighted average (i.e. 1000 ppm in 8 hours, 1333 ppm in 6 hours, 2000 ppm in 4 hours, etc.)
Detectable threshold for an Atwood ProTechTor LPG detector = 0.2% in air (2000 parts per million).

Propane is an asphyxiant, and can cause damage to your central nervous system if breathed even if it doesn't asphyxiate you.

Propane can become dangerous to breathe before your detector will sound an alarm. An unattended propane flame inside your living spaces is a Bad Idea™. Period.
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