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Propane Detector Bad?

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pentachris View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 Aug 2011 at 11:08pm
Some time ago (earlier this year, I think), I heard the propane alarm in the Eloise sounding. Having never heard it before, it took me a while to figure out where the noise was coming from. If I recall correctly, she was in the driveway here at home when it happened. I aired her out, cleared the alarm, and moved on. I thought maybe it was a fluke.

This past weekend we were out camping, and on Saturday morning it sounded again. I aired her out, cleared the alarm, turned off the propane at the tank, made a mental note to get it checked out when we returned, and moved on. I knew I wouldn't need the propane again until the next morning when we heated up water for coffee, so it wouldn't hurt to just leave it off til then, right?

That Saturday night, at some ungodly hour, the propane detector alarm woke us up. It was late - or early depending on your outlook. I don't function well when I've just been woken up. I muted the alarm two or three times and may have opened a window for fresh air. I don't remember exactly - again, I don't function well when I've just been woken up. The alarm cleared, and I crawled back in bed.

I was awakened later by the alarm. At this point, knowing that the propane was turned off at the tank, as well as being incredibly pissed off at having been awakened again, I figured the sensor was bad. So, I found the nearest knife and cut the ground wire leading to the detector. One thing I remember is that when I pulled it off the mounting brackets and let it drop, when the wires stopped it from falling any farther, the light changed from red to green. The fact that that little shake would turn the sensor off further deepened my belief that something was wrong with the unit.

Perhaps there was still propane left in the lines that was leaking into the living quarters even though the valve was turned off at the tank? Maybe the leak was so slow that it didn't register with the sensor until late at night because the door was opening during the daytime to allow fresh air in?

In any case, I'll get a new detector, wire it in, and report back here. If I continue to get alarms with a new sensor, I guess I'll take it to the dealer.

Thoughts/comments welcome and appreciated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ToddsPod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2011 at 11:14pm
A couple weeks back I was working in my pod while it sat in my driveway. I turned on just the A/C fan for some air circulation, and the LP detector sounded. It's sounded before on a couple occasions, but on this particular occasion I didn't even have a LP tank within 20 yards of the pod. I had removed it weeks earlier to use on my grill in the back yard.
 
One thing I noted was the expiration date on the detector. It was dated July 2010, which was only two months after we bought it new.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tdrace Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2011 at 7:05pm
Mine has also started going off. I am assuming there is not a battery in it. When it went off I had not turned on the gas yet. I was actually  getting the air out of the water faucet. I was wonder if another camper had put  gas on their fire. Would that make it go off? I am going camping fro 7 days next week. I will let you know.
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pentachris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pentachris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2011 at 7:18pm
Mine has a production date, not an expiration date. It says it was made in February of last year.

I've read around a bit more online and apparently LP detectors that are hyper-sensitive to lots of things (including gases other than propane) are not uncommon. Some folks have reported that flatulent dogs sleeping near them will set them off. Others say that when theirs starts to go off, they know their propane tank is almost empty.

I tested my battery to make sure it wasn't a low battery alarm. 13.21V with the leads disconnected. I made an interesting discovery: gravity was the only thing holding my battery on the frame. It's worked well until now, but I won't rest easy until I've strapped it down from here on.

Also just tested the "tank's almost empty" theory. Tare weight of the tank is 18 lbs. My bathroom scale says it currently weighs 29-30 lbs. So, it's a little low, but not almost empty. We use very little propane during the summer, so this should last us until October, when we might need to run the heater a little when we camp.
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pentachris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pentachris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2011 at 7:21pm
No, there's no battery; it's hard-wired. I wouldn't think gasoline fumes outside would cause it to go off unless they were within a few feet of your camper, and then only if the gas sat there unburned for a while.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ratdog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2011 at 7:27pm
Originally posted by pentachris pentachris wrote:

Mine has a production date, not an expiration date. It says it was made in February of last year.

I've read around a bit more online and apparently LP detectors that are hyper-sensitive to lots of things (including gases other than propane) are not uncommon. Some folks have reported that flatulent dogs sleeping near them will set them off. Others say that when theirs starts to go off, they know their propane tank is almost empty.

I tested my battery to make sure it wasn't a low battery alarm. 13.21V with the leads disconnected. I made an interesting discovery: gravity was the only thing holding my battery on the frame. It's worked well until now, but I won't rest easy until I've strapped it down from here on.

Also just tested the "tank's almost empty" theory. Tare weight of the tank is 18 lbs. My bathroom scale says it currently weighs 29-30 lbs. So, it's a little low, but not almost empty. We use very little propane during the summer, so this should last us until October, when we might need to run the heater a little when we camp.
 
:eek:  :leaving:

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote furpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2011 at 9:38pm
Originally posted by Ratdog Ratdog wrote:

Originally posted by pentachris pentachris wrote:


I've read around a bit more online and apparently LP detectors that are hyper-sensitive to lots of things (including gases other than propane) are not uncommon. Some folks have reported that flatulent dogs sleeping near them will set them off. Others say that when theirs starts to go off, they know their propane tank is almost empty.
 
:eek:  :leaving:


Yep, I might have to put in an on/off switch with 170lbs of flatulent dogs sleeping right above the dang thing...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pentachris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2011 at 8:55pm
Update: installed the new propane detector, and haven't had any problems since. So, it seems to have been a contaminated sensor, not a leak.

I read around a bit more after I'd ordered the new one and found that a can of compressed air will sometimes take care of a contaminated sensor. Oh well, what's done is done.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tsunami Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2011 at 12:36pm
You are correct that alarm sensors can deteriorate.  There is no real time limit for how long your units will last.  I have had fire, Carbon Monoxide, and propane dectectors go off way before their stamped replacement dates.  Replacing them has always alleviated the problem.  But, don't just cut/remove an alarm without replacing them.  All that bouncing of the Pod can cause eventual wear on the furnace and propane lines.  Better to spend a few dollars replacing the alarms than betting that you can get out while the Pod is aflame or gases are suffocating you or you loved ones.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Footslogger03 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Sep 2011 at 10:04am
A pair or two of "ripe" socks set our off more than once   ...

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