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Old 11-23-2006, 10:49 AM   #15
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But wait, there's more.....

The other problem you can create and will not be detected by any detector is the lack of oxygen in the trailer. I use a cat heater in my trailer and they normally do not create CO. They will deplete the oxygen in the trailer if you do not keep a vent or window open. It could cause you to become light headed and go into the big sleep.



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Old 11-23-2006, 12:08 PM   #16
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How do the cat heaters work? I don't understand how they can burn propane and NOT create CO.

I'm not saying having a CO detector makes it ok to use the stove to heat the trailer with. I'm just saying it's cheap insurance that can be easily added to our vintage, pre-safety devices rigs.


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Old 11-23-2006, 01:31 PM   #17
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They do not "burn" propane. Propane is ignited during the startup process to heat the catalyst. After that it is flame free, but hot. I am not a chemist, so I found this easy to understand discription.

Catalytic Propane Heaters: Catalytic heaters differ from other propane heaters in that the propane is combined with oxygen to create heat on the surface of a hot platinum catalyst, so that there is no flame. The absence of an open flame, and the relatively low temperature (the catalyst glows a faint, dull, red - visible only in the dark) increases the safety, relative to open flames. The catalytic process also results in a nearly perfect conversion of propane and oxygen into harmless carbon dioxide and water vapor, with no significant carbon monoxide produced.


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Old 11-23-2006, 03:06 PM   #18
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Another consideration that is more economical than biological is that the oven is designed to come up to the set temperature and then cycle the burner to maintain it. Unlike the stovetop burners, the oven is not designed to run 'full bore' for hours on end. The excessive heat will eventually warp the oven floor and damage other parts of your stove which will mess with the combustion characteristics of the burner. Even wall heaters in houses, which are designed to run full on, will burn out prematurely if they are too small for the structure. A big enough heater will cycle. Too small a heater will try to run all the time. To reiterate what others have already said: The stove is designed assuming that the operator is nearby and alert, not asleep somewhere. The problem with carbon monoxide poisoning is that it makes you stupid in proportion so that you don't react in time. If you're lucky you get a severe headache as a warning, but don't bet your life on it. Oxygen depletion by complete combustion is more insidious, but lethal non the less. Always have a source of fresh air when consuming combustable fuels. Keep your gas burning appliances in good repair to aid in complete combustion. The need to remain vigilantin enclosed areas cannot be over-emphasized.
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:00 PM   #19
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I guess I missed this thread on the first go-around. A few years ago there was a young female equestrian competitor showing her Tennessee Walking Horse during the celebration in Shelbyville, TN. She stayed overnight in the tack room of her horse trailer using a small propane cookstove for heat. She never woke up! That would be enough for me to never use an open flame oven or stove to heat with.

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Old 08-18-2007, 08:41 PM   #20
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You know...the bottom line here is that is it NOT a good idea to say it's OK to use an oven designed for cooking as a heat source—an any way, shape or form—EVEN if we use all the common sense available to us and include all the "special circumstances and situations" we can think of...

The danger in it is that someone—even if it's just one person reading the thread—might interpret it to mean it's a swell thing to do... Or someone who doesn't really understand the inherent dangers will read it....and you know what will happen? We'll have a dead Airstreamer on our hands.

Do NOT use your oven for heating purposes. Period.

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Old 08-18-2007, 08:58 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by bobchevy89
just ask your local fire fighters if they would reccomend heating with a gas stove. it would be the same as heating with a charcoal grill. very burns up the oxygen in the vehicle. no oxygen no life.. if you are cooking , you usualy are in and out of the trailer so the air gets changed some but if heating and sleeping there is no exchange of will put you in the land of the never ending sleep. if you have a co sensor it will go off after a while. that is why some propane heaters have a low oxygen shut off on them .. I hope this will clear up some misgivings about this subject. just be safe and don't do it..I don't like funerals..
OK, a 30 year firefighter is going to weigh in. And I'm ready to get flamed. (pun intended)
I come down on the side of Chuck on this one, but only if you carefully follow his logic in the original post.
If you can cook a pot of beans for an hour safely, you can heat your trailer for an hour safely.
Having said that, I am not in favor of anyone going to bed with the stove or oven on. Yes people have been killed by CO. But the original premise was limited heating times, just like cooking.
Don't try to read more into the question than he posted.
Let the fun begin..
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:02 PM   #22
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I'll put my 30 years in the fire service with yours Dave. Deb's 20 too. Quite often we'll fire up the burners in the morning to take the chill off. Never before bed, on the chance that we may fall asleep, but on many mornings. Never takes more than 15 minutes or so, and it feels great.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:31 PM   #23
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Like Dave, Ron, and Deb, I am a former firefighter (though nowhere as long- I opted out for a academic career). Its tough to say it is a good idea to use the stove this way, however, if it is just to take off the morning chill I have no beef with it. For extended periods (ie greater than 30 min) or any time when you might get drowsy- not a chance.
Honestly though folks, you are towing a multi thousand dollar camper around, there is no excuse not to get the heater(s) in order. If making your biscuts and gravy will warm up your camper on a chilly morning great. But that isnt what the oven is for. Yes, you can use the stove that way, and yes, you will probally get away with it. On the other hand why risk it?

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Old 08-24-2007, 03:23 AM   #24
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Taking the chill off when cooking breakfast is one of the nice things about our morning camping ritual.
But the furnace does a better job of it.

I keep the oven vent fan running while cooking because, aside from possibly killing me, propane lets off a lot of water vapor when it burns, which contributes to that moist camper feeling.

One of the first things I bought for the trailer was a combination smoke and CO2 detector at Home Depot for about $30. It runs on 2 AA batteries, so its independant from the trailers electric. It has a self test for batteries, ect that is part of my pre-trip checklist.

In the house, I have a plug-inn battery backup CO detector in each bedroom and one in the furnace room in the basement because we live in an old house and Im paranoid.

It saved our bacon a few years ago when CO sarted leaking through the 10 year old duct tape on the flu of the 20 year old HW heater in our 50 year old house. The one in my Sons room went off because it is directly over the HW heater in the basement.
We took this as a sign to replace the whole HW heater.

Building codes nowadays prohibit any heat source that draws combustion air from the room in any bedroom to reduce a risk of a backdraft of CO into the room, but also there is a chance of it depleting the oxygen in the room while sleeping. The exception are Direct Vent units that draw cumbustion air from the outside.
I think RVs have that same requirement, there is a 3" hole drilled in the floor of the Avion under the combustion chamber for the furnace to draw fresh air.
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:57 AM   #25
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When my 1964 Overlander was parked at my deer camp, I used to roll in on a Friday night and would turn on all of the stove burners and turn up the oven on high. Within a very short time, the Carbon Monoxide detector I mounted on the ceiling would go off.

I would let it heat up the trailer, then turn it off and air the trailer out. The furnace was unreliable so I didn't use it. I had a small electric heater that would keep it warm after the stove/oven took the chill off.

One particularly cold winter, I bought one of those propane powered forced air worksite heaters. I would aim the fire down the center isle so it wouldn't burn up anything and get the temp around 100 degrees. I opened up all of the cabinets so the heat would get everywhere. This warmed up all surfaces inside and was comfortable after a very short time. Without this, as most of you know, it would have taken many hours to get the inside warm and comfortable. I of course aired it out before occupying it.
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Old 08-24-2007, 05:28 PM   #26
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Lots of potential for a Darwin award in this thread.

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Old 08-24-2007, 07:27 PM   #27
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"Hold my beer and watch this"

Originally Posted by pmclemore
Lots of potential for a Darwin award in this thread.

Did I tell you that when I used the heater pictured above, I would always tell the other guys at the deer camp to "Hold my beer and watch this"?

Not really. I was always very careful with it. I would let it run only about 15 or 20 minutes at the most, then remove it and the propane tank to the porch outside. Then air the trailer out with the vent fan with the door and a couple of windows open.

I also had a smoke/CO detector, and always slept with the window nearest to me partially open no matter how cold it was just in case something unforseen happened.

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