How Important is a Propane Alarm? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-29-2010, 10:01 PM   #1
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The new scamp13 is coming March 10 and I'm getting stuff ready for the trailer.... I got a CO alarm because we got the propane furnace and fridge options and I figured that in a small enclosed space with gas-burnining applicances a CO detector was a good idea...but what about a propane alarm? Do I need one? the only ones I could find are 110v or hardwired 12V not 9V battery like the CO - and kind of pricey at $40-$60...any thoughts on the need for one? thanks in advance for the feedback
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:37 PM   #2
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That is a good question. I have a 2002 Coleman popup that came from the factory with a propane detector. The 2002 Scamp I recently purchased does not have one. I think it's kind of important. I think I'd like a CO2 and a propane detector as well.
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:01 PM   #3
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The new scamp13 is coming March 10 and I'm getting stuff ready for the trailer.... I got a CO alarm because we got the propane furnace and fridge options and I figured that in a small enclosed space with gas-burnining applicances a CO detector was a good idea...but what about a propane alarm? Do I need one? the only ones I could find are 110v or hardwired 12V not 9V battery like the CO - and kind of pricey at $40-$60...any thoughts on the need foe one? thanks in advance for the feedback
I get a chuckle every time I see a question like this on any of these forums!
All you need to say is "Nah! you don't need no stinking propane detector"...
and you set off a firestorm of comments about the contemptable foolishness of being without a safety device!
Now, do I really need those safety belts to prevent falling off that bottom bunk??
Regards;Floyd
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:51 PM   #4
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Why would you need a CO detector? You don't have natural gas in the trailer.



You do need a propane detector.............................
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:36 AM   #5
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It's probably worthwhile to explain why propane and CO detectors are a good idea.

Most of our trailers (some have converted to all-electric systems) have various propane-powered appliances. Our trailer has one gas line that enters at the front of the trailer and wraps almost all the way around the inside of the trailer at floor level. Along the way it has gas lines that "T" off and connect to the furnace, the stove top, water heater, and refrigerator.

Each one of those "T" connectors is subject to the same vibration and flexing as the rest of the trailer, so there's a small but not insignificant chance one of those T connections will develop a leak someday. My trailer electrical wiring is subject to the same kinds of potential problems, but has fuses that protect the trailer from developing a short that could start a fire. The propane system does not have a fuse . . . it's safety mechanisms are it's "gas" smell (which comes from a chemical additive) and a propane detector. Since propane gas hangs out at floor level, well below the level of your nose, you might miss the smell if you're asleep. If that ever happens that propane detector, like your electrical fuses, can make the difference between detecting a dangerous situation before any damage is done, allowing you to spend another several years enjoying your trailer, not spending those same years recovering from third degree burns. Or worse.

A CO detector's job is the same kind of thing. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, tasteless, and lethal. It is made almost anytime you have flames burning propane. Trailer furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators, etc. vent those combustion byproducts outside the trailer. Repeated heating and cooling can, however, crack the exhaust manifolds and allow CO to escape into and fill the trailer. If that happens you go to sleep . . . and never wake up. The CO detector is the "fuse," the safety device that prevents that from happening.

Hopefully none of these things will ever happen to you or your trailer, but isn't it worth spending $100 so you don't have to worry about your life . . . or the lives of your partner, kids, grand-kids?
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:28 AM   #6
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No trailer should be without an alarm for co (mounted high) and lp (mounted low, heavier than air), in my opinion. I'd no sooner leave without either than without a fire extinguisher.

And, check the batteries/detector every time you camp.

Very cheap safety features.

Good explanation, Peter.
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:50 AM   #7
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At 'almost 70', I can honestly say that in all our years of camping, we have never used a detector in the trailer when camping. The roof vent is open and so is the window and often the door is open to let air through the screen. All this airflow, in a 13 foot trailer, I think would negate the need for any detector.
Besides Propane Stinks!
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:52 AM   #8
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Hi: bcomnes... Escape Trailer Ind. installs one in every trailer they make...It's that important!!! They are 12V hard wired MTI industries propane gas alarms.
Don't leave home without It...IMHO
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:22 AM   #9
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propane is extremely combustible (it will burn over a large oxygen range) natural gas is much less combustible (very small oxygen range). in addition, it is heavier than air so it puddles to the floor (unseen or smelled). For that reason if I had propane in my trailer, I would not be without a detector.

Art
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:28 AM   #10
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How important? Life and death important.

Millions of homes have smoke detectors, but only a few detectors are ever set off by smoke to alert the occupants. Ignoring the dead battery issue. Dying in a propane explosion/fire is dumb when a few dollars for a detector could alert you to the dangerous condition.

I'm surprised that Scamp doesn't install a propane alarm as standard equipment. But what do i know.

Your best option is one of the 12 volt direct wire detectors. You might ask Scamp about a detector and their reasoning.

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