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Old 12-23-2018, 07:32 PM   #1
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CO Detector Goes Crazy! What Caused It?

I cannot figure out why it happened. Could it be related to fumes from the fresh water tank? Any suggestions are appreciated.

Here's the story. I ran the fresh water pump for the first time in over a month to get the air out of the lines. Using the bath faucet only, it took just 15-20 seconds to get the air out (severe burps came from the hot side). I closed the faucet and pump cycled off normally.

I stepped back to the rear lounge to turn off the pump motor switch and suddenly the CO detector goes nuts. Sounding new warnings about every 20-30 seconds between resets. Here's a guick scenario:

> 1st Alarm reading = 935. I reset the alarm and turned on the bath vent.

> 2nd Alarm reading = 578. I reset and turned on the Maxxfan.

> 3rd Alarm reading = 326. I reset & opened both rear windows for outside air.

> 4th Alarm reading = 158. I reset alarm and opened entry door.

> 5th Alarm reading = 98. I reset alarm again.

> 6th Alarm reading = 55. Again, I just reset.

> 7th Alarm reading = 38. One final reset, and all is well. No more alarms.

Quick Background: CO Detector is < 1 yr. old and has never alarmed before. I had already been in rear lounge for 5-10 minutes before trying to clear the fresh water pump. Van was sitting completely closed on the open driveway. Nothing running except the Tripplite charger which I had plugged in the night before to top-off external wet cell batteries. My van had not been started or run for several days prior to plug-in and no other vehicles were running in the general vicinity. Have not used the furnace, water heater, or stove top in over 3 months (no source of combustion). I have not drained, filled, or chlorinated the fresh water tank since that time, either. My one caveat is that I'm just coming off a cold and can smell nothing. So I cannot say if there was an odor when I ran the faucet.

Something messed with the CO detector, big time. I have no idea what, but I'd sure like to find out.
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Old 12-24-2018, 08:32 AM   #2
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There are other gases that can set off a CO detector besides CO (https://www.fireengineering.com/arti...detectors.html)

I found this out several years ago when I had done a long equalization charge of flooded lead acid batteries in my garage. The sulfur dioxide gas (rotten egg smell) had set of the CO detectors.
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
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There are other gases that can set off a CO detector besides CO (https://www.fireengineering.com/arti...detectors.html)
You can't red that article without an account.
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Old 12-24-2018, 12:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tberg View Post
There are other gases that can set off a CO detector besides CO (https://www.fireengineering.com/arti...detectors.html)

I found this out several years ago when I had done a long equalization charge of flooded lead acid batteries in my garage. The sulfur dioxide gas (rotten egg smell) had set of the CO detectors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
You can't red that article without an account.
Thanks for the replies. Chlorine, sulfer, or hydrogen are the only gases I can figure coming from the fresh water system (assuming that is the cause). But if I haven't added chlorine to the water or used the hot water heater (but I have flushed hot water lines), I don't know why they'd emit a burst so strong.

As I originally posted, I only cleared the bath faucet. I will go out today and try the same process to clear the galley faucet to see if I can recreate the CO Detector event. My cold is getting better, but I still can't smell much. I'll bring my wife out to see if she can't detect an odor from the faucet.


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Old 12-25-2018, 10:17 AM   #5
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Well, I tried to re-create the CO Detector event by clearing air from the galley and bath sinks this time with very little to report. No burping, no chirping. Readings remained zero.


Guess I will have to chalk it up to a one-time anomaly and not worry about the cause. I previously sealed the wiring holes in the headliner behind both the CO and the Smoke Detector to prevent any dust/fumes/contamination from the interior lining. I'll remove the nearly new CO detector, inspect it, put in fresh batteries, and reinstall.



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Old 12-25-2018, 11:32 AM   #6
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Seasonís greetings to you!
CO detectors have a limited life and are also subject to manufacturing defects. Last time I changed mine I also had to replace the new one because it kept going off. If it happens again contact the manufacturer and they should send you a replacement. They all have identifying numbers and dates for reference.
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Old 12-25-2018, 11:58 AM   #7
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Thanks and Merry Christmas to you too!

Yes, if I feel I cannot trust it, I will get it replaced while under warranty. It's an Atwood #32703 from PPL Mortorhome parts in Houston. Just $48.76, but would still try for warranty replacement first if it comes to that. I like digital readout readout on the Atwood.

Just before installing this one, I had a pricey OEM replacement that went bad in less than a year, so I know CO Detectors can fail early. But why me?
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Old 12-25-2018, 06:58 PM   #8
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So my sister had theres go nuts a few years back only to realize after panicking that something was leaking that the dog had splashed water into it from its water bowl, and it mellowed out after it dried out, may want to make sure nothing behind it is leaking. I also had one that I thought was bad only to realize my batteries were going dead.
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Old 12-25-2018, 08:33 PM   #9
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Good thought, and we do travel with a large dog that splashes and drools a bit. But the van is currently "resting" in the driveway and the CO detector is way above the floor. I mounted it where the original was located (in the ceiling above the galley). No leaks to my knowledge.

I had never had a reading above "0" prior to this. Something suddenly spooked it, but there was no source of CO. Because of the quickly declining readings once I ventilated the air, that seems to indicate it is working. My guess is some sulfur accumulation in the water heater that affected it when I blew out the fresh water lines (that I failed to smell due to suffering from a Cold). Some really strong "burps" from the hot water side, then the alarm warnings started.

I will always wonder the true cause, but not too worried about the detector itself. I would replace if that were to ever be the case.


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Old 12-26-2018, 06:49 AM   #10
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That kind of event becomes a possibility if you have an electrical malfunction that over-cooks your coach battery(ies) and maybe also sends abnormal amperages to certain appliances. Doesn't sound like what happened to you, but it certainly was what happened to us, before we took out the original electrical components and DIY'd our lithium system:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...ds-147671.html
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Old 12-26-2018, 07:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
That kind of event becomes a possibility if you have an electrical malfunction that over-cooks your coach battery(ies) and maybe also sends abnormal amperages to certain appliances. Doesn't sound like what happened to you, but it certainly was what happened to us, before we took out the original electrical components and DIY'd our lithium system:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...ds-147671.html

What a great thing you followed your hunch, and still have your van to travel in. I had already unplugged my charger about 30 mins. before my event. My CO detector is on a 9v battery with no tie-in to the chassis battery.


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