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Old 01-07-2005, 12:57 PM   #1
Somewhere between NY & LA
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Carbon Monoxide: How much is too much?

Well I finally got out of the cold weather. After the blizzard in Ohio and the sub-freezing Detroit Christmas, New Years in New Orleans seemed like heaven. I'm poking along the Gulf now, currently in Galveston right on the beach. Nice little town.

My trusty Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide detector went off the other day, reading "108." Usually I turn the stove gas off at the valve when I'm not actually using it. That day I didn't. The pilots were all lit, including the oven. It seems strange that they could have used up all the oxygen in my little Globetrotter.

When I opened the oven door, it smelled like car exhaust and there was a faint smoke for a moment.

I'm hesitant to use the stove at all now. Any suggestions?


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Old 01-07-2005, 01:42 PM   #2
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You aren't dealing with a lack of oxygen. Your Nighthawk is measuring the amount of carbon monoxide in the air. I'm assuming that your standing pilots could be a source, although it could be the furnace also but I assume you are not using it.

Now if your trailer is nice and tight you will get some buildup. My guess is you have always had some amount but the oven pilot kicked it over the threshold of your monitor.

Personally I don't have a good solution other than to not use the standing pilots and use a spark ignitor to lite the gas burners when you need them. I'm also assuming you can shut off the pilots easily.

Here's the table from Kiddie regarding your detector and the values shown on it.

100 ppm within 2 to 3 hoursSlight headache

400 ppm within 1 to 2 hours Frontal headache within 2.5 to 3.5 hours Widespread headache

800 ppmwithin 45 minutesDizziness, nausea, convulsions

1600 ppm within 20 minutesHeadache, dizziness and nausea within 1-2 hours !!!!Death !

3200 ppm within 5-10 minutesHeadache, dizziness and nausea within 1 hour !!!!Death !

6400 ppm within 1-2 minutesHeadache, dizziness and nausea within 25-30 minutes !!!!Death !

12,800 PPMwithin 1-3 minutes !!!!Death !

EPA standard is 50 ppm or below averaged over an 8 hour period.


Jack Canavera
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'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 01-07-2005, 11:18 PM   #3
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Understanding Carbon Monoxide

Carbon MONOXIDE is absorbed by the red blood cells and prevents oxygen uptake by the affected cells, even when there is plenty of oxygen in the air. It will come back out of the blood gradually (as new red cells are manufactured) but exposures are cumulative. This means if you stay in a room with a relatively low level of monoxide for long enough you can become very, very sick or even die because more and more red cells are affected.

Carbon DIOXIDE can only kill you when all of the oxygen is exhausted. It doesn't interfere with your body's ability to absorb oxygen.

A small, tightly closed trailer with all of the pilot lights on could allow a buildup of carbon monoxide. When you're doing normal cooking people are coming in and out, you have the roof vents open and your stove exhaust fan is running too.
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Old 01-08-2005, 06:06 AM   #4
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After I light my furnace, (it is not DSI), my detector climbs to 20-25. I reset it and it reads nothing for the duration.

I keep the detector plugged in next to my head when I sleep, that way, I am sure to wake up if it goes off, and get an accurate reading of what I am breathing when I sleep, if any is detected.

I always keep a vent and window cracked so there is ALWAYS some air flow.
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