LP/CO Detector - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-18-2014, 10:56 AM   #1
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LP/CO Detector

Planning our first trip in which we may use the stove & furnace. Having everything safety checked by a pro.

I need to install LP/CO detector(s). Did some online looking, and there seems to be a lot of options and price points.

Recommendations? Separate units vs. 2-in-1? Battery vs. 12V? RV-specific or household-type?
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Old 10-18-2014, 11:26 AM   #2
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I was never able to find a battery operated propane detector. So I ended up hard wiring it to the 12v trailer system with a toggle switch. My CO alarm and fire/smoke alarm both operate from AA batteries.
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Old 10-18-2014, 08:08 PM   #3
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Same answer as LK Gray. I put a keyed switch and the reason is, I turn it off when we are not camping. The Key prevents Grandchildren from messing with it.
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Old 10-18-2014, 09:18 PM   #4
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My biggest concern with a switch to turn off the propane detector is that when it's parked and not being used a small leak can create a good sized build up of propane. Flip a switch, create a spark, loud noise comes next.
They're hard wired in for reason. Please folks don't defeat that reason with switches.

Now for the question of separate CO and propane detectors. I put in separate units, because I wanted to make sure I used a minimum current consumption propane detector connected full time all the time. The CO detector uses disposable batteries, AAs. Also a CO detector is only good for about 10 years, I believe, so in 10 years you'll have to replace it. They're not very expensive.
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Old 10-18-2014, 10:44 PM   #5
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It would seem to me that anyone who would install a switch on the propane detector would also close the valve(s) on the propane tank(s) so a small leak producing a build up of propane resulting in a boom is really a non issue. Additionally, a propane detector's primary purpose is to awaken a sleeping person in the event of a propane leak. And due to the chemical added to propane that can be detected by smell even in very small concentrations, it is unlikely that anyone who would put a switch on a propane detector would flip that switch if the smell of propane could be detected. I fail to see why installing a switch would compromise safety.


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Old 10-19-2014, 12:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPW View Post
It would seem to me that anyone who would install a switch on the propane detector would also close the valve(s) on the propane tank(s) so a small leak producing a build up of propane resulting in a boom is really a non issue. Additionally, a propane detector's primary purpose is to awaken a sleeping person in the event of a propane leak. And due to the chemical added to propane that can be detected by smell even in very small concentrations, it is unlikely that anyone who would put a switch on a propane detector would flip that switch if the smell of propane could be detected. I fail to see why installing a switch would compromise safety.


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You make a lot of assumptions. You'll always remember to turn off the propane at the tank. You can always smell the odor tracer put in propane.
Propane is heavier than air and collects in low places, I don't know about you but my nose is rarely on the floor.
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:55 AM   #7
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I agree Carl, when you park it at home or where every you decide the refer gets shut off the second thing done is shut the LP tank off. Even if you didn't, the gas valve would shut it off because of no heat to the thurmo coupler, that's what it's for. If it's flakey it probably wouldn't have turned on in the first place. Been there, done that. I use a switch also to eliminate battery draw while the trailer is stored. Turning it on again when loading up for a trip is just one of the steps of getting ready to go. I'm all for monitors but only when I'm using the trailer. Millions and millions of RVs are out there and the few that I've ever head of burning up was from an electical issue. Not saying it couldn't happen from a LP problem but I think the chances are about the same as a meteorite coming through the roof. Gees, we have more of a chance of a head on accident with all the yahoos texting now days than an LP leak. I might have ruffled a few folks feathers by my comments, sorry but this is after 30+ years expirences of RVs of all types.
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Old 10-19-2014, 08:42 AM   #8
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So... battery-powered CO detector & hard-wired propane detector. Any advice on where to put the propane detector in a Scamp 13 standard bunk/icebox model? There isn't a lot of 12V wiring down low.
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Old 10-19-2014, 10:30 AM   #9
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I put my hard wired propane detector on left side if porta Pottie cubby door. When fridge door opens still plenty of clearance. Mounted with industrial Velcro. Click image for larger version

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Old 10-19-2014, 11:28 AM   #10
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Carl, You are so right. Why would anyone leave the propane turned on when storing the camper, that just doesn't make sense to me. I put a keyed switch on mine so it can.t accidentally be either turned on or off. By turning it off when not in use it will extend the life of the unit.

One solution to a build up problem would be to Air Out the unit way before flipping any switch.
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Old 10-19-2014, 05:00 PM   #11
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Hello:

The company I work for actually manufactures Carbon Monoxide detectors. While the style we manufacture are designed to be connected to a burglar or fire alarm system, I can offer a couple of things that come to mind.

First, as mentioned, Carbon Monoxide detectors and alarms have a very limited life, but the life-span is actually closer to 5 years, with many having a useful life of only 2-3 years, so please be cautious in that regard, and make sure to take note of the expiration date that will be located on the device (this date is required to be on the device, so if you don't see an expiration date on your detector, it's time to buy a new one).

Also, carbon monoxide detectors have limitations with regards to temperature and humidity. Just like smoke detectors, you can expect the devices to operate in a temperature range of around 32-104 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, I would probably recommend a new CO alarm each year (after the winter in the north, and after the summer in the south), as most campers are not kept in a temperature controlled environment year-round.

As for power supply, either way will work as well as the other, though I would recommend something with a battery back-up at a minimum.

For the most part, I would feel very confident in installing any manufacturers CO alarm or detector in my camper. The truth is, the detectors are being subjected to environments outside of their operating range, so device degradation increases exponentially.

Yes, even for the kind I sell

Just my thoughts. Hope the suggestions help keep everyone safe...


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Old 12-11-2014, 08:51 AM   #12
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LP/CO Detector

Update...

I installed basic battery-operated smoke & CO detectors before our recent trip to CA. After some consideration I put the smoke detector on the dinette side of the closet up high. Had a harder time with the CO detector to find a spot down low that wouldn't get kicked. In the end I settled on the front gaucho left of the porta-potty compartment near the icebox as Wendy suggested.

I had the LP system tested and the furnace checked. Everything fine except it needed a new thermostat- it'd been whacked with the dinette cushion one too many times, I suspect.

Here's the problem I encountered. Every time I ran the furnace, the smoke detector went off. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with the furnace, just a bit of smell of hot metal. Could it just be dust in the system? Should I just run it a while with windows and door open to clear it out? It hasn't been used since I acquired the trailer 2 years ago, and I don't know whether the first owner used it or not.

Any thoughts?
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:02 AM   #13
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It is possible that your CO detector is defective or possibly overly sensitive. Ours tended to go off when the trailer was closed up for long time periods with propane tanks turned off, particularly after I fixed a leak in the weather stripping on the trailer door. Ours tended to function better when there was a bit of ventilation in the trailer.

On the other hand, you should not discount the possibility that you could have a propane leak in your trailer.
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:57 AM   #14
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It wasn't the CO detector that went off. It was the smoke detector. I haven't installed an LP detector yet.

We didn't run the furnace all night, just 20-30 minutes at night before we went in to change for bed and another 20-30 minutes in the morning to knock the chill off. I did provide ventilation by opening the roof vent and the kitchen window an inch or so. Is that enough?

In the end, I just popped open the battery door of the smoke detector while I ran the furnace and popped it back in when I turned it off. But I'd still like to find out why it's happening.
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