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Old 06-12-2007, 03:34 PM   #1
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Is it normal to smell propane?

I am just testing my Dometic fridge since having it reinstalled after new cabinets. I have had it running for 5 days and the last 24 hours or so the trailer was closed up. When I went into the trailer today, it smelled like propane. Is that normal? Could it be that it is not vented properly? Before and after I started it I tested the lines in the back for leaks by using soapy water.... Thanks, Pam
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:38 PM   #2
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Pam,

Did you light the other pilots on say the stove or oven? I once forgot to light the stove pilot and I could smell it after a day or two.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:45 PM   #3
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Pam-

This can not be good. Did your propane alarm go off? If you smelled gas it should have gone off. There is nothing that should leave a smell in your trailer! I would start investigating each LP line going into each appliance immediatly and be sure you have the trailer well ventulated.

Please keep us posted!
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelake
I am just testing my Dometic fridge since having it reinstalled after new cabinets. I have had it running for 5 days and the last 24 hours or so the trailer was closed up. When I went into the trailer today, it smelled like propane. Is that normal? Could it be that it is not vented properly? Before and after I started it I tested the lines in the back for leaks by using soapy water.... Thanks, Pam

Immediately "search" for a propane leak, or a improperly adjusted reefer burner.

If a dealer did those repairs, make them answer the leak question.

Your "life" depends on it.

Andy
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:48 PM   #5
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NO IT IS NOT

Kill the electric, AC and battery, before you go in the trailer. Open the windows.

Check the stove first to make sure none of the burners is part way on.

If you had the refigerator out the first thing I would do is get some soapy water, Simple Green works well, and wet the flare nut that connects the refigerator to the gas line and look for a leak. That nut wants to be tightened with 2 wrenches, one on the line, moving, and one on the nut, holding the fitting on the gas valve body.

If you do not find a leak there put the soapy water in a spray bottle and work your way along the gas lines from the gas bottle connection through the trailer till you find the leak.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:55 PM   #6
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Thanks, I turned off the fridge and opened the windows... I have a new to me Magic Chef that is hooked up and I did not light the pilot lights. Could that be it? I thought with my old stove I could leave it without the pilots lit.... thank you all for the quick responses... I will go out and close the propane tanks and unplug the trailer from the electric source. Then what? If I turn the tanks back on can I look for leaks if the gas appliances are not turned on?
This makes me nervous! Pam
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:06 PM   #7
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Yes. With all the gas equipement turned off you should not smell gas unless there is a leak.

Let the trailer air out for a 1/2 hour with the electric off, disconnect the batteries also they turn the gas back on.

Check the refigerator connectioin first since that was the last thing worked on. If your stove is new make sure the pilot gas valve is in the off position.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelake
Thanks, I turned off the fridge and opened the windows... I have a new to me Magic Chef that is hooked up and I did not light the pilot lights. Could that be it? I thought with my old stove I could leave it without the pilots lit.... thank you all for the quick responses... I will go out and close the propane tanks and unplug the trailer from the electric source. Then what? If I turn the tanks back on can I look for leaks if the gas appliances are not turned on?
This makes me nervous! Pam
Were the Stoves and oven tops valves in the pilot light "off" position?
No - there is most likely your problem.
Yes - is the smell still there with all of the appliances off and the bottles on?
Yes - you have a leak
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:26 PM   #9
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The stove is a 'new to me' old Magic Chef and I don't have the manual. How do I find the pilot light valves? I could send a picture if that would help you help me. Thanks for your attention to this for me!!! Pam
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelake
... I will go out and close the propane tanks and unplug the trailer from the electric source. Then what? If I turn the tanks back on can I look for leaks if the gas appliances are not turned on? This makes me nervous! Pam
Hi Pam:

Propane is heavier than air so it sinks to floor level instead of rising to the windows or roof vent (which in this event let in fresh air). So while everything is turned off, get a broom and "sweep" the propane out the door.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:30 PM   #11
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Normally with a pilot, if the pilot isn't lit, there won't be gas coming out. Pilot lights generally have thermocouples in the flame that allow the valve to remain open... however nothing in this world is a certainty.

Remove the burner grates. The stove top is generally held on with metal friction clips of one type or another, usually located in the front of the stove. Pull up on the front of the stove top until it comes free and opens up. Some may be hinged at the back, and some may just come free and lift off.

There will usually be two valves in the gas plumbing of the stove under the stove top near the front of the stove, one to the pilot and one to the burner tube. The one to the pilot will be significantly smaller. Depending on how it's plumbed, the one for the pilot will usually also shut off the pilot to the stove; and the burner plumbing will usually supply the oven also. It may be possible, though, that the oven may be valved separately.

There is also generally a shutoff stop immediately before the stove plumbing, usually somewhere under the stove near the floor.

Happy hunting.

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Old 06-12-2007, 04:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelake
The stove is a 'new to me' old Magic Chef and I don't have the manual. How do I find the pilot light valves? I could send a picture if that would help you help me. Thanks for your attention to this for me!!! Pam
yes, if its a "period" stove from the early/mid 70's, the oven knob has 2 positions marked "off", and "pilot off".
this is very confusing, imo...because "off", is actually "ON".
"Pilot off" shuts off the pilot, too.

we've made the same mistake...leaving the knob where it says "off"...and filling the trailer w/ propane.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:38 PM   #13
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our heater does smell of propane at the VERY end of the tank. The odor added to propane sits at the bottom of the tank, and becomes more concentrated at the end. It goes away when I switch tanks... but first, I'd make sure you don't have a leak.
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Old 06-12-2007, 05:42 PM   #14
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Here is a picture of the stove top. The close up I believe is the pilot valve. If it works like a stop cock, then I believe it is in the off position. (as in.. no gas to pilot light!) It is a little bit sideways in the picture so it will show up. Straight up and down is what I believe to be off....What do you think? Pam
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Old 06-12-2007, 05:44 PM   #15
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Propane smell is the "normal" prelude to an explosion. Got to find the source!
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Old 06-12-2007, 08:43 PM   #16
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Pam,

A quick way to check is to try and light the pilot. Only if you have sufficient ventilation after your "leak" to air the TT out. Obviously if the pilot lights and stays lit for more than say..30 seconds than the valve is in the "on" position. Reverse valve position and try again. If your oven is in the same unit it may have it own pilot system as well, so now you have to do it twice. I wouldn't be too frightened unless you sleeping in it overnight with a leak or if when you opened the door the propane smell felt like it was ripping your eyes out. If it wasn't that bad then you are most likely OK, but do youself a favor and check.
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Old 06-12-2007, 08:49 PM   #17
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If you have a regulator with a sight gauge, it should be green when the gas is on. With no propane items on turn the tanks off and the gauge should remain green for several hours. If it turns red after a short period, you have a leak.

I have also noticed that the smell added to propane gets much stronger as the tank nears empty. I think that whatever they add to propane to give it the smell must be slightly heavier then the propane itself.
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Old 06-12-2007, 09:01 PM   #18
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There's a big recall on Dometic refrigerators right now. I just got my official "recall notice" today.

The root problem of the recall is a potential PROPANE LEAK. The problem only affects 1 in 10k units, but that's small consolation if you are the unlucky 1.

I don't know from your post whether your fridge is original. Tread carefully here. Shut it all down until you know what's happening!!!

Official Dometic Recall - DometicUSA
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:29 PM   #19
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Hi All,

Asflycaster and 3Ms75Argosy...

I don't have a regulator on my propane tanks, but I think I might be out of propane (the smell was not strong, just noticeable). I also don't have a propane detector. Two things I think I need!

drag'nwagon, Chuck, and 85MH32I...

I will try to light the pilot on the stove... that will also tell me that I might be out of propane in that tank... The oven knob says 'pilot on' and I have it turned to the off position. My next problem will be how to light the oven pilot. I guess I just turn to the 'pilot on' position and stick a match where it looks like a pilot light might be in the oven?

Sean Michael, thanks for the link to the recall. I checked and my model number is not on the list. Good to know!

Thanks everyone for all of your help. I am doing this on my own and really couldn't do it without the great help I get here! Pam
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Old 06-13-2007, 01:17 AM   #20
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Exclamation Stop!

No regulator on your propane system? Good grief! DON'T operate it until you get one. You need the regulator to prevent the possiblity of serious over-pressure in your appliances which can be very dangerous!

If your stove has the '70.s pilot valve, there will be a position marked "pilot off" on the oven knob.
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