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Old 01-07-2020, 09:24 AM   #1
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Always ON propane detector and the Law

I have been struck by several posts asserting that it is a federal law to have a propane detector always ON so I did some research. Short answer: No
I fought through the CFR, then NFPA. I could not get into RVIA because I am not a member but ultimately everything pointed to UL 1484 on residential propane detectors for RV's. I could not find a copy to read and the cost of buying the standard is nearly $1000, but the table of contents does show a section on connections. IF such a requirement exists, it would be in that section.
However, UL standards are just that industry standards for the builders so that they all conform to what committees have determined is proper. Airstream could not build one without conforming to the applicable standards but you, the owner, are under no legal obligation to conform. You would also, likely, point out the switch or connection you installed to a buyer and the choice is theirs. This is really no different than any plumbing or electrical work you have done around your house that does not conform to local or industry codes. You are not breaking any laws.
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Old 01-07-2020, 10:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
However, UL standards are just that industry standards for the builders so that they all conform to what committees have determined is proper. Airstream could not build one without conforming to the applicable standards but you, the owner, are under no legal obligation to conform. You would also, likely, point out the switch or connection you installed to a buyer and the choice is theirs. This is really no different than any plumbing or electrical work you have done around your house that does not conform to local or industry codes. You are not breaking any laws.
Larry
That is my understanding. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to have one and have it turned on at all times. The last trip to JCI I ask if Airstream could install a cutoff switch for me, they said "no" it is against the law for them to do that.
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Old 01-07-2020, 10:52 AM   #3
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My first thought and most important to me is safety. I want the LP/CO detector on at all times. I don’t want a switch that I might forget to turn on.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:05 AM   #4
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My first thought and most important to me is safety. I want the LP/CO detector on at all times. I don’t want a switch that I might forget to turn on.
I miss-spoke. I meant to say battery cutoff switch. Having a cutoff switch for just the propane detector would not be good!
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:04 PM   #5
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I see no problem with adding a cutoff switch on the propane detector. An alarm is not going to do anyone any good when the trailer is unoccupied and in storage. Besides, when unoccupied, I turn the propane tanks off as well.



When getting ready to use the trailer, turning the propane monitor back on is part of the routine of opening the propane, checking the stove, turning on the fridge, and checking the furnace for operation.
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Old 01-07-2020, 03:52 PM   #6
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My sister just bought a brand new Lance trailer. It has a battery cutoff switch that totally disconnects the batteries from ALL circuits. I suspect other SOBs may do the same. Airstream probably has a good reason for leaving these monitors hooked up but I don’t think it has anything to do with Federal Regulations.
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Old 01-07-2020, 04:08 PM   #7
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Thanks for taking time to look into this.

I'm one of those who have commented several times in threads related to batteries discharging while the RV is in storage that RV owners should consider installing a manual battery disconnect switch to disable all parasitic drains on the system. My comments, and similar comments from others, have many times resulted in a response, cautioning that we are somehow violating some safety law. If anyone knows the law that is being violated please come forward and describe the code in detail.

Reminds me of the labels seen on mattresses and pillows...

DO NOT REMOVE UNDER PENALTY OF LAW (except by the consumer)
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:57 AM   #8
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My 86 has a cut off switch made in the propane sensor. I bought the trailer used, but I'm pretty sure that is the way it came from airstream. Anyone else have one?
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Old 01-08-2020, 12:08 PM   #9
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I put an on/off switch in the subwoofer circuit to prevent parasite power draw in both the 31’ Classic and our 23D. It is nearly time to replace the propane leak detector in the Classic and a switch will be installed for storage purposes.
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Old 01-08-2020, 01:16 PM   #10
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Yeah, that is what I did and received some of the "Law" comments, which I finally have debunked. Even a Jackson Center tech saying he cannot do it because of the law is blowing smoke. But I do understand that manufacturers need to comply with industry standards or there would be bedlam and disasters. On the other hand, when a thoughtful owner asks to have a modification made to the trailer it is not appropriate for a service technician to simply say "no, it is a against the law", when it is not.
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:53 PM   #11
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Rather than switching off all the parasitic loads, I find it more practical to have a 'master battery disconnect'. (and that isn't the "use/store" switch)
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:59 PM   #12
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Always ON propane detector and the Law

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
Rather than switching off all the parasitic loads, I find it more practical to have a 'master battery disconnect'. (and that isn't the "use/store" switch)


I installed a Blue Seas System cut-off switch in the positive lead from the batteries. It’s mounted in a water resistant enclosure on the front of the Airstream.

It kills everything on the 12 volt buss internally including the solar power controller. Only things still powered at present are the break-away switch, tongue jack and power WD jacks outside. They will get a separate switch or other positive disconnect means.
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:34 PM   #13
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The law and the industry standards are probably one and the same for a service tech trying to deal with a customer.

He is probably taught to say that instead of “what part of no did you not understand”.
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Old 01-08-2020, 06:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
Yeah, that is what I did and received some of the "Law" comments, which I finally have debunked. Even a Jackson Center tech saying he cannot do it because of the law is blowing smoke. But I do understand that manufacturers need to comply with industry standards or there would be bedlam and disasters. On the other hand, when a thoughtful owner asks to have a modification made to the trailer it is not appropriate for a service technician to simply say "no, it is a against the law", when it is not.

Larry


Easier to saw it’s against the law then to go through a long explanation of “protecting thy butt” for a possible law suit.
If something happened, God forbid, and someone got seriously injured or died, in our “law suite happy society”, who would be at fault?
A scenario I am familiar with:
A toddler opens the oven door and climbed up to reach for something. The oven tips forwarded and the toddler is injured. Since 1976 the range manufacturers have to supply the range with an anti-tip device and instructions to install it. It is the responsibility of the delivery/installer to ask if you want it installed. They then need to have you sign whether you have it installed or not.
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Old 01-09-2020, 02:21 AM   #15
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There are two reasons Airstream Service will not do something for a customer. One is to do a modifications on any system required by Ohio law (disconnect switches). But I installed my own. The other reason is liability potential, and they are really sensitive about that in the case of propane system mods. Again, I did my own. Otherwise, they will do about anything you want. Excellent service at JC.
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:21 AM   #16
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I recently purchased a replacement propane detector for my trailer and found the following paragraph in the manual:
Connection to a Master Storage Switch is acceptable. The alarm will be off along with all other 12 volt equipment when storage switch is turned to the off position. DO NOT USE THE RV WHEN THE STORAGE SWITCH IS IN THE OFF POSITION
The bold/underline bits were stated that way in the manual, and not me trying to emphasize anything.
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:38 AM   #17
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Hoorah for the Truth!
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:06 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
The law and the industry standards are probably one and the same for a service tech trying to deal with a customer.
NFPA 1194, "Standard on Recreational Vehicles":
"6.3.3.1 All recreational vehicles equipped with a propane appliance and an electrical system shall be equipped with a propane detector listed and marked on the device as being suitable for use in recreational vehicles under the requirements of ANSI/UL 1484 and installed according to the terms of its listing."

I suspect the "always on" code requirement comes from the UL standard in the "installation terms".

RVIA requires a trailer to meet NFPA 1194 to be RVIA certified. Since Airstreams carry the RVIA seal, I can understand AS requiring repair work to meet RVIA requirements. It is not by statute, but likely required by contract and insurance liability terms.

As far as "law", that is most likely at your state level - being the authority having jurisdiction. For example, Florida Regulations 69A-3.012 references NFPA 1194 as included under the state fire marshal code.

Why would anyone not have a propane detector in your trailer that is always on? Would you put an on-off switch on your smoke detector or CO detector?

73/gus
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:28 AM   #19
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Makes no sense to leave it on, in storage, as it will kill the battery. Now it's off and you also have a dead battery to deal with.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:34 AM   #20
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Airstream Adventures NW will sell and install a battery disconnect switch.

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