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Old 02-02-2020, 11:05 AM   #1
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Big Mystery. How could this happen???

I spent one night in really cold weather in my 1972 Safari on my way home. The temperature dipped to 19 degrees and I ran my Mr. Buddy heater all night (my furnace having died long ago.) Still, when I got up in the morning it was 40 degrees in the trailer. I turned on the stove burners and the oven to take the chill off while I got up, made breakfast and secured the inside of the trailer for travel. All this took about 45 minutes to an hour.

As part of my pre-trip routine I ALWAYS turn off the propane; giving both bottles a firm twist even though I was using only one bottle. When I stopped to pee a few hours after departing I noticed a "burning" type smell in the trailer. This smell, while not overwhelming, was present another 2 hours later at another break and when I returned home after about 5 hours of travel. I noticed the trailer seemed a little warmer than expected considering how cold it was. My "sniffing" revealed the smell coming from the oven. I opened the door, and to my alarm discovered the oven was on! I hurried outside and was stunned to find that both bottles were very firmly turned OFF.

I had both bottles certified and valves replaced about a year ago and have used the trailer only about 6 times since then.

So, how could this possibly happen?
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:19 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady View Post
I spent one night in really cold weather in my 1972 Safari on my way home. The temperature dipped to 19 degrees and I ran my Mr. Buddy heater all night (my furnace having died long ago.) Still, when I got up in the morning it was 40 degrees in the trailer. I turned on the stove burners and the oven to take the chill off while I got up, made breakfast and secured the inside of the trailer for travel. All this took about 45 minutes to an hour.



As part of my pre-trip routine I ALWAYS turn off the propane; giving both bottles a firm twist even though I was using only one bottle. When I stopped to pee a few hours after departing I noticed a "burning" type smell in the trailer. This smell, while not overwhelming, was present another 2 hours later at another break and when I returned home after about 5 hours of travel. I noticed the trailer seemed a little warmer than expected considering how cold it was. My "sniffing" revealed the smell coming from the oven. I opened the door, and to my alarm discovered the oven was on! I hurried outside and was stunned to find that both bottles were very firmly turned OFF.



I had both bottles certified and valves replaced about a year ago and have used the trailer only about 6 times since then.



So, how could this possibly happen?


One if the bottles has developed a defective valve...it happens.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady View Post
...I turned on the stove burners and the oven to take the chill off ..
Unlike your catalytic Mr. Buddy Heater the stove burners and oven produce carbon monoxide (CO) as a byproduct of combustion. This could be hazardous to your health.
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Old 02-02-2020, 01:14 PM   #4
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I don't know how it could happen - as somebody else said a defective valve. I suspect something else is going on - maybe it falls into the defective valve category but I wonder if something has prevented the valve from closing, all the while giving you the sense it was closed. The valve stem may be threaded. Is something interfering with those threads? Is something near the valve handle that may make it seem tight (closed) when it's not? Dirt? Other?

You're confident the valve was closed, that is you turned it so it felt like it was off. What I'm about to say may sound inflammatory... but there have been car owners who swore they firmly pressed the brake when they pressed the accelerator instead. Stuff happens. Take a few minutes to think it through to see what may have occurred. Disconnect the propane bottle and ensure the valve works as expected. This is more difficult to do with the new valves but it is possible to turn them on slowly to bleed propane then ensure it turns off. It may be best to let a professional look at the tank and replace the valve(s) if a problem is noted.

Regardless of what's happening with your propane tank, you should give some consideration to your actions in your attempt to warm up the trailer. Did you have a window open when you were operating the Buddy heater? I hope so. Those heaters require fresh air - otherwise you can die from CO poisoning. Same thing with the stove burners and oven. While it may have made sense to you at the time that is a very dangerous practice and to do it, even for a short period of time, is flirting with disaster.
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:38 PM   #5
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I think the defective valve diagnosis is probably the most accurate. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll take it back where I got them certified and have them test them again.

As for the concern about both the Mr. Buddy heater and the stove for heating. I didn't put this details in the original post because I wanted to get to the point.

Anyway, I removed the original fridge and replaced it with a Dometic chest-type compressor fridge mounted on slides 18 inches off the floor. I did not cover either the bottom or roof vent from the old fridge. The bottom "vent" is really more of a big opening with small mesh wire over it in the floor of the trailer. This insures fresh air is always seeping in at floor level through a loose fitting cabinet around the new fridge--one reason why the trailer is colder than a better sealed one, but something I think is important for safety. I thought long and hard about the trade-off of having this tiny draft vs. sealing off the opening and having no continuous source of fresh air. As those of us with vintage rigs know, it's not like you can "crack a window".

Also, I place the Mr. Buddy under the Carbon Monoxide detector and it has an automatic shut-off if the oxygen level drops. For those who think they are unsafe in a trailer, I invite you to look at this YouTube video The best part is where the guy is concerned his CO detector might not be working because it has registered nothing the whole time he was running the heater. He put it in the exhaust of his truck to verify it was functioning properly. These are great little heaters, although expensive to use with the standard small canisters.
As for running the stove to help take the major chill off. It was brief. Not any longer than it would have been if I decided to cook a couple of things on the stove top while baking a cobbler in the oven.
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:42 PM   #6
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With both valves turned off, the regulator should turn red after a while and almost immediately if you turn on a stove burner. If it stays green, you have a problem...
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Old 02-02-2020, 03:41 PM   #7
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Carbon monoxide from Mr. Heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adventure.AS View Post
Unlike your catalytic Mr. Buddy Heater the stove burners and oven produce carbon monoxide (CO) as a byproduct of combustion. This could be hazardous to your health.
The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy is not catalytic. (As far as I can determine, none of the Mr. Heater products are.) Therefore, it does produce carbon monoxide, and is a potentially deadly hazard if plenty of venting is not provided.

If you want a catalytic heater, get a Wave 3 or Wave 6. Here's a comparison.
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Old 02-02-2020, 04:13 PM   #8
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Carbon MONOXIDE can harm or kill you even with fairly decent ventilation.

CO bonds with your red blood cells preventing them from absorbing oxygen, and the effects of CO poisoning linger for weeks or months until your body makes enough new red cells. If your complexion turns bright pink and you feel woozy or have a headache, get the heck out and call 911!

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) only becomes lethal when nearly all O2 (oxygen) in an enclosed place is depleted.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:38 PM   #9
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I replaced an OPD valve because when I shut it off it wasn't. 👍

On a chilly morning I let the Coffee maker warm up the trailer. Works well & tastes great.😂

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Old 02-03-2020, 09:32 AM   #10
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Carbon MONOXIDE can harm or kill you even with fairly decent ventilation.

CO bonds with your red blood cells preventing them from absorbing oxygen, and the effects of CO poisoning linger for weeks or months until your body makes enough new red cells. If your complexion turns bright pink and you feel woozy or have a headache, get the heck out and call 911!

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) only becomes lethal when nearly all O2 (oxygen) in an enclosed place is depleted.
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CO2, what we breath out in respiration, does become toxic if it exceeds certain limits, even if there is otherwise sufficient oxygen, that is how the underwater Rebreather Apparatus works, it scrubs out the CO2 without adding any additional O2.

Found the following article on an internet Med site: "Carbon dioxide at low concentration has little, if any, toxicological effects. At higher concentrations (>5%), it causes the development of hypercapnia and respiratory acidosis. ... Concentrations of more than 10% carbon dioxide may cause convulsions, coma, and death..."

Hence in small places, like Airstreams, when using stoves, ovens, catalytic heaters, ventless fireplaces, etc. CO will kill you quickly but CO2 can also get you, so always have a small supply of fresh air incoming even if it is cold. Better that than you be permanently cold. It might pay you to fix your vented furnace so all combustion by-products go outside, and outside air comes in for furnace combustion.

With an Airstream everything costs a thousand or two; its a land yacht after all. Airstreams are a hole in the air into which we throw money!
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Old 02-03-2020, 12:37 PM   #12
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Good video! We have a Buddy Heater and swear by it to keep us warm and toasty while dry camping ...so we don't have to run the furnace which saps our batteries (and propane). We typically do not let it run while we are sleeping...we get the Bambi toasty (it doesn't take long in a Bambi) then turn it off for the night and sleep under a comforter ... I will sometimes get up early in the AM and crank it up again to take the chill off while crawling back into bed. We leave the bathroom vent open (at all times while camping, actually) and crack the vent over the bed about 2" when the heater is running. When using the Buddy in the evenings and early mornings, we usually get a night+ out of one propane bottle. We keep an extra bottle in the trailer in case it runs out.

Happily for us, we can camp year-round in SoAZ ... but those winter camping nights can get a bit chilly (chilly, being a relative thing, of course ... your "chilly" and my "chilly" are probably different if you live in the MidWest). If you do any dry camping in colder weather, this is an easy and efficient answer to the age-old problem of staying warm and conserving your battery charge.

Of course you can use these in outdoor spaces as well, like under your awning if you'd like to sit outside and keep you feet warm at the same time! (The cave men would have loved these!)
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Old 02-03-2020, 04:07 PM   #13
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Interesting how my request for ideas about how my oven could possibly be running with the propane turned off (and YES, I know lefty loosey righty tighty) transformed into kind of a mini-shaming for !. Using my oven to take the chill off while I ate breakfast and got ready (being as it was 40 freakin' degrees in the trailer). and 2. Using a Mr. Buddy Heater.

The real irony is somehow despite all this implied ignorance to do these stupid things, which according to some posters would most certainly kill me, is that I'm alive and able to post a question to the Forum.

Again, I have an open hole about 6 in by 24 inches in the bottom of my trailer that used to vent the fridge. There's also the open fridge exhaust vent into this same compartment that now houses my Dometic compressor fridge. Plenty of air seeps in there because I choose not to close them off when I removed the old fridge just so I would have good ventilation. Hence, my trailer getting down to 40 degrees.

The valuable information I got was that even though the valves had been replaced, maybe there was some kind of defect. So, thanks to those who suggested that.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:47 AM   #14
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You said it was COLD outside as in 19 degrees.

You may have had some water/condensation in the propane tank/valve that did not allow the valve to completely close when turned.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady View Post
Interesting how my request for ideas about how my oven could possibly be running with the propane turned off (and YES, I know lefty loosey righty tighty) transformed into kind of a mini-shaming for !. Using my oven to take the chill off while I ate breakfast and got ready (being as it was 40 freakin' degrees in the trailer). and 2. Using a Mr. Buddy Heater.
I think this is a big problem on this forum. You ask a question, and instead of an answer you get a bunch of unsolicited advice and "expert opinion". Forum Trolls IMO.

I'm glad you got a few answers that may help you debug your problem.

Steve
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:41 AM   #16
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Add a ball valve between the bottles and the camper. Install a 10k btu blue flame heater on the bulkhead. Store the Mr. Buddy away where you can't find it as it's dangerous to use indoors. ����
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:18 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady View Post
I think the defective valve diagnosis is probably the most accurate. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll take it back where I got them certified and have them test them again.

As for the concern about both the Mr. Buddy heater and the stove for heating. I didn't put this details in the original post because I wanted to get to the point.

Anyway, I removed the original fridge and replaced it with a Dometic chest-type compressor fridge mounted on slides 18 inches off the floor. I did not cover either the bottom or roof vent from the old fridge. The bottom "vent" is really more of a big opening with small mesh wire over it in the floor of the trailer. This insures fresh air is always seeping in at floor level through a loose fitting cabinet around the new fridge--one reason why the trailer is colder than a better sealed one, but something I think is important for safety. I thought long and hard about the trade-off of having this tiny draft vs. sealing off the opening and having no continuous source of fresh air. As those of us with vintage rigs know, it's not like you can "crack a window".

Also, I place the Mr. Buddy under the Carbon Monoxide detector and it has an automatic shut-off if the oxygen level drops. For those who think they are unsafe in a trailer, I invite you to look at this YouTube video The best part is where the guy is concerned his CO detector might not be working because it has registered nothing the whole time he was running the heater. He put it in the exhaust of his truck to verify it was functioning properly. These are great little heaters, although expensive to use with the standard small canisters.
As for running the stove to help take the major chill off. It was brief. Not any longer than it would have been if I decided to cook a couple of things on the stove top while baking a cobbler in the oven.
Reference the Little Buddy heater.....Flame King makes a refillable 1 pound propane canister and kit, that makes it easy for you to refill their container from a 20 pound propane tank. Their refillable 1 pound canister has a 12 year certification. The entire kit and additional canisters can be bought at Home Depot and Amazon... HOWEVER buy your individual canisters from Home Depot... they are almost half the price than when found on Amazon!
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:52 AM   #18
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What’s the difference between a blue flame heater and running the burners on your stove?
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:29 PM   #19
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Defective valve or ice formed in such a way that prevented full closure.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:55 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Paprika View Post
The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy is not catalytic. (As far as I can determine, none of the Mr. Heater products are.) Therefore, it does produce carbon monoxide, and is a potentially deadly hazard if plenty of venting is not provided.

If you want a catalytic heater, get a Wave 3 or Wave 6. Here's a comparison.
https://campingwithgus.com/2018/01/0...heater-review/
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