What Smoke Detector? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-08-2009, 12:15 AM   #1
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whats a good reliable smoke/co detector. im planning on putting a wave 3 in my lite house and want a decent detector. i never run it while we sleep but i had a detector in our last trailer just to be extra safe. we loved our wave 6 so id like to stick with the wave cat family. thanks for the info ahead of time.
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:16 AM   #2
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whats a good reliable smoke/co detector. im planning on putting a wave 3 in my lite house and want a decent detector. i never run it while we sleep but i had a detector in our last trailer just to be extra safe. we loved our wave 6 so id like to stick with the wave cat family. thanks for the info ahead of time.
Curtis,

I went through this several weeks ago. I installed a Wave 3 in our Scamp 13 and installed an Atwood CO detector with digital readout. I think there is a picture of it in this link:

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:49 AM   #3
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Just my two cents worth, but as a retired Fire Marshal, and former adjunct faculty at our local community college (teaching classes on fire protection, supression, and alarm systems), I would like to make something perfectly clear to any of you using, or considering using, any fuel burning (heating or cooking) appliances in confined spaces, which do not DIRECTLY vent to the trailer/RV's exterior, (and no, an open window doesn't count as direct venting!)....In a nutshell, it's not a good decision due to products of both complete and incomplete combustion that are created by ALL fuel burning appliances, no matter how "efficient" they are claiming to be. IT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and can potentially kill you or your loved ones.

I know a lot of you out there employ many various forms of these heating devices, and so far have gotten away with it up to now, but in my opinion you are playing Russian Roulette with five chambers loaded.

Please spare me any "justifications" here you may have regarding their use, or how you've used one for years with no problems, etc., as you are only propagating the "myth" that these devices are in any way safe to use in enclosed areas.

Further, if you read the accompanying literature that ALL the manufacturer's include with their products, you will not find a single one saying that using it anywhere but in an open, well ventilated area is either condoned or recommended. They would be sued big-time and they know it.

Sorry if I seem to have a rather heated and opinionated view on this subject, but I feel it is more important to educate people on safety, rather than seeing how cheaply someone can get by using inferior equipment in unapproved manners to save a buck...and risk your lives in doing so!

If the products of combustion (i.e. exhaust gases) do not vent directly to the outside (vented outboard), but only dump the exhaust into the same compartment you are occupying, it can kill you...period! Nuff said. Use at your own risk, (but I hope you folks are smarter than that).

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Old 04-08-2009, 12:55 PM   #4
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well how do i stay warm without a heater? i wasnt asking if its safe... because i know it is. right in the directions of these heaters it says , can be used in a rv with x amount of window ventilation. i understand that its "dangerous" to use gas in an rv. and what about the countless rvs that dont have a vent directly above the stove? if there is a better safer way to heat a trailer im all for it. but still i asked about a good co meter so id still like some good ideas.
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:54 PM   #5
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i asked about a good co meter so id still like some good ideas.
Curtis,

If you made it through all the stuff I posted while checking out my Wave 3, I hope you came across the reference to the Atwood detector. I hope you'll consider it, and come back with some CO readings to compare.

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:29 PM   #6
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yea i looked through that post. ill probably go with that one so i can move it around the trailer. ill probably add a LP monitor too even though i turn the tanks off at night. i don't really like the propane on when i sleep. on a side note does your wave make a fireball sometimes when you first start it up? both my grandfathers wave 6 and mine did this sometimes. we also used way more window vent than required and never had a problem with them. we never use it while we sleep tho. Ive also never read anywhere that someone has died from proper use of these cat heaters. i like that platinum cat heater that vents "the gasses" but you still need open windows for "fresh" air anyhow so i have yet to be impressed with them. a furnace would be nice but they are pricey and a pain to install and there inefficient. anyhow thanks again for the info.

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Old 04-08-2009, 11:21 PM   #7
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Greg, I understand where you are coming from, but these heaters have been around for quite a while now and are designed for use in small spaces, specifically RVs. If there was a serious danger to them they would have been sued off the markets long ago.

The literature *doesn't* specify open, well-ventilated spaces -- The Coleman Black Cat, for example, specifies ten square inches of ventilation for their 3,000 BTU cat heater. I don't recall what the Wave or Mr Heater literature says because it's been a long time since I read them, but it's nothing like open and well-ventilated.

In fact, the only two CO poisoning cases in RVs that I know of came from the standard RV *vented* furnace because there was a flaw in the sheet metal separating the combustion chamber from the warm air circulation chamber and from a neighbor's generator venting too close to a second RV where people were sleeping.

There's no comparison to the unvented catalytic and ODS systems and the unvented home heaters like the kerosene ones or charcoal, etc.

Despite that, however, I don't sleep with my ODS heater running. When I do use it, I have my kitchen window slightly open and the door window, across from it, slightly open, plus I usually have the roof vent slightly open to vent the vapor-laden hot air. My CO detector never went off using my ODS heater, but it would trigger from cars idling nearby...
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:16 AM   #8
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does your wave make a fireball sometimes when you first start it up? both my grandfathers wave 6 and mine did this sometimes.
Curtis,

I've had a small fireball a couple of times. It's like the propane gets disbursed across the face of the heater and then lights all at once.

I also installed a propane detector. This one I installed near the converter to make it easy to wire in permanently. I got one of the surface-mount models and used double-backed foam tape to mount it on the fiberglass surface of the bench seat, so I only had to drill one hole for the power wires. We usually leave our propane on overnight so I can start the tea kettle in the mornings without going outside to turn it on. That's probably called lazy. It probably would be safer to turn the tank off at night, but I'm not quite sure that we won't occassionally sleep with the cat heater on low if we're boondocking in colder weather now that we're getting some experience with it.

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Old 04-09-2009, 06:25 AM   #9
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If your propane system is installed properly there should be no reason at all to turn it off over night. This is often when it is most needed as the temps drop quite a bit over many parts of North America and the need for heat is at its highest. If for some reason there is an issue, it should be dealt with regardless. It is no different the having the natural gas in your home left on all the time.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:28 AM   #10
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QUOTE/ It is no different than having the natural gas in your home left on all the time. /QUOTE.

That is absolutely untrue!

Natural gas is lighter than air and dissipates readily.

Propane, butane and gasoline all have specific gravities which are approximately 1.5 times that of air, which means they are heavier than air and will settle and collect in low spots.
(In case you ever wondered why your gas detectors are mounted so low, this is the reason).

Carbon monoxide (CO), as opposed to carbon dioxide (CO<sub>2</sub>), is absorbed by body tissue about 200 times more readily than oxygen molecules are. When you die from CO poisoning, the asphyxiation occurs at the cellular level, not just in the lungs. When your body cells absorb CO, it tends to hold onto these smaller molecules and doesn't give it up readily to accept the oxygen which the cells need to live. That's what makes CO poisoning so insideous. The CO gas kills you by displacing the oxygen in your cells. Since it is tastelss, odorless, and colorless, you may not know it is present until you can no longer react and remove yourself from the hazardous environment. Please be careful when deciding to use these things.

I also see a lot of folks saying how they use them "safely" by having various combinations of doors and windows and vents open while operating them. To me, it kinda seems like a big waste of money to be trying to heat the great outdoors.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:34 PM   #11
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so i should put the propane detector as low as possible because thats where it collects correct? i never run it while i sleep, im allways afraid ill take the long nap.. when it has been really cold ill get up and turn it on for an hour or so and set my alarm to turn it off. ive only had to do this once because once you get in your sleepin bag it keeps you pretty warm. a good bag is priceless. we usually have 4 sleeping bags with us, 2 mummy bags and 2 big timber canvas bags. on the real cold nights we stuff the mummy into the other bag.
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:52 PM   #12
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Yes sir,
The ideal location for your propane detector would be somewhere about a foot off the floor, preferably not installed in some corner niche, but in an area where there would be a little bit of air circulation (i.e. not in a "dead spot", but not in a strong draft either). Usually somewhere in the middle section of the centerline walkway near the bunks is a good spot.

The same holds true for smoke detectors, except that you would want that to be installed near ceiling level, again, not in a "dead spot" or corner, or too close to your stove either, to avoid niusance alarms while cooking. Hope this helps.

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