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Old 10-11-2009, 05:45 PM   #1
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Carbon Monoxide Detector and strange smell

I was sleeping soundly last weekend only to be awakened by my CO2 detector. I had just turned the heat on for the winter and I think (thought) it just had some dust as there was a slight dingy smell coming out of the vents. I reset the alarm and went back to sleep (after cracking some windows) and slept well with no more alarms. The other night the alarm went off again, even after reseting it went off again and again, the smell was greater this time so I abandoned ship and slept elsewhere. What little I know of CO2 is that it does not smell, so what could this be??? How do you track down a CO2 leak if that is what it is??
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:20 PM   #2
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...How do you track down a CO2 leak if that is what it is??
seems u mean CO (carbon monoxide) not C02 which is carbon Dioxide...

both are lethal is concentration, but the CO2 is an expired gas from animals and has too reach MUCH higher levels...

and there isn't a readily available CO2 detector, unless you are gonna buy a used space shuttle.
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first assume it is NOT a false alarm or faulty detector,

but you really should CHECK the device for reliability.
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next what are the potential sources for co in the trailer air?

-the cook stove
-the oven
-hydrocarbon burning space heaters
-the furnace
-the water heater
-the refrigerator
-the tow vehicle
-cigarettes (the primary cause of co levels in human blood)
-candles and oil burning lamps
-wood/pellet stoves...
-that campfire on the lounge floor?

and so on.
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IF the only thing running OR burning fuel is the furnace, start there.

i m no hvac guy but with a 20+ year old central furnace...

-it should be CLEANED and free of obstructions (mice/nests/webs/paper n stuff)
-it is supposed to EXHAUST out of doors, so go open the outside cover and look
---AFTER turning it OFF and TURNING OFF the gas supply, and perhaps disconnecting the juice (12vdc and 120AC)
-look 4 the stuff blocking the exhaust and for gaps in the sealant or trim pieces
-now go INSIDE and remove the cover, again looking for stuff and gaps.

beyond THAT a qualified RV hvac tech needs to inspect it.

imo the MOST likely, major issue is failure in the heat exchanger/manifold thingy...

old ones CRACK and leak co, this is NOT a good thing.
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any of the hydrocarbon burning STUFF can be an issue and each item needs 2b checked for venting, proper combustion and so on....

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are u sure it's a CO detector and not a LPGAS detector?
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does the detector take batteries or is it wired to the 12v system?

be safe, be sure, read the manuals and get a pro 2 check it out.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:29 PM   #3
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CO or CO2?

I'm not aware of anything in an A/S that would emit CO2, and what you reset was most likely the CO detector. CO is the result of incomplete combustion (see Carbon Monoxide Detectors). Probably you have a bad pilot light, or your heater's burner is a little fouled. Or you could have a leak in your propane supply line.

Smart move to get out. I suggest that you check all your gas appliances as well as your detectors for CO and propane.

Hugh
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:39 PM   #4
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I'm not aware of anything in an A/S that would emit CO2...
hi hugh...

the PEOPLE and PETS do...

and so does every other gadget burning fuel.

the PRIMARY source in a 'stream may be a catalytic heater...

see posts 31-55 here for a gassy exchance...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ent-29984.html

but our units don't have detectors for co2....

and neither co or co2 typically SMELL as suggested in the title/op here.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:09 PM   #5
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don't know what to say about the detector going off but it is not unusual to get odors from pilot lights etc when you are close to the bottom of a bottle of gas. Apparently the oils added to the propane to add smell tend to accumulate in the bottom of the bottles as they get older. I find myself leak hunting from time to time and thats what it turns out to be.
Have to check tho, can't be to careful with that stuff.
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:59 PM   #6
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2air--
I forgot about animals - us and the pets - exhaling CO2.
Hugh
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:33 PM   #7
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2air--
I forgot about animals - us and the pets - exhaling CO2.
Hugh
And the spiders that come in through the trunk under the bed.

If it is really the LPG detector, I have found that if batteries are being charged and the battery compartment is not properly sealed, the emitted hydrogen can set off the LPG detector. Probably just as good, since either one can blow you into the next county.
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Ken
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:06 PM   #8
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Back on track here...

The LP detector should be close to floor level. A CO (carbon monoxide) detector is higher up near the ceiling. Incomplete combustion is a source of CO and incomplete combustion might have some other non-CO odors.

It would be useful knowing if you had any windows or vents open at the time. How about appliances? HW heater? furnace? stove? Exhaust fans?

A source for information - http://www.lchd.org/environhealth/aq/pdfs/FAQ%20CO.pdf
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:34 PM   #9
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Hi, what about close, running motor vehicles or a generator?
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:13 PM   #10
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Sorry about the late reply, the thread may be dead, I have unfortunately been busy at work last week, terrible how jobs get in the way of hobbies! My fault, it is a CO detector, no windows were open, and the detector resides near the floor, I thought that is where you install the things?? I will disassemble the heater unit and check for obstructions, how do you check if a detector is good? It seems to light up and beep!
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:21 PM   #11
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I note your trailer is an '86, what year is your CO detector? They have a 10 year life span.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:22 AM   #12
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I bought it and the trailer 1.5 years ago, so it should be good?? I was wondering how you test them, maybe put it close to the vent on my home water heater?
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