Propane furnace safety - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-04-2014, 05:32 PM   #1
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Propane furnace safety

Other than getting a carbon monoxide alarm does anyone have any safety tips for using the propane furnace on a 1974 Boler?
Is it best to get rid of it for example?


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Old 09-04-2014, 05:48 PM   #2
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check exhaust pipe to be sure it is clear and not restricted or plugged by critters like the mud daubers. When I worked on home heating equipment it was not unusual to find cracks in the heat exchangers of older hot air furnaces or leaks around gaskets of inspection covers. Don't know if this could be an issue in older RV furnaces, Inspection by a qualified RV technician would be a good idea. Also check for propane leaks and condition of propane lines.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:15 PM   #3
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check exhaust pipe to be sure it is clear and not restricted or plugged by critters like the mud daubers. When I worked on home heating equipment it was not unusual to find cracks in the heat exchangers of older hot air furnaces or leaks around gaskets of inspection covers. Don't know if this could be an issue in older RV furnaces, Inspection by a qualified RV technician would be a good idea. Also check for propane leaks and condition of propane lines.
I agree with Bob . Inspect the exhaust pipe and heat exchanger for rust holes and cracks. Also check the burner for rust holes ,plugged gas ports or evidence of insects
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:16 PM   #4
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Mary and Bob are correct. Get the propane system inspected by a qualified technician.

Propane and Natural Gas furnaces have been used for years. Many homes have a gas furnace either propane or Natural Gas. Most RVs have a propane furnace. A CO detector is always a good idea. Plus, I have a small window over the stove that I keep open all the time and usually the roof vent is open a little. You're more likely to have CO problems with the cook surfaces than the furnace. And even greater danger is from a neighbor camper with a generator running. Keep the trailer ventilated as much as possible.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:29 PM   #5
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My 2 cents for what it's worth, but I think propane needs to be used! It's that "occasional" use that gives problems. Don't ask me how I know So, if you have propane appliances and you know (because you've checked and maintained your trailer) USE it. If you have a 2-way hotwater heater, use propane at least one day out camping during a weekend stay, same thing with a 2- or 3- way refrigerator.

It's when you NEED it and haven't used it for a while (years?) that you wonder what in the world you need to do to "fix" it.

Someday, sometime I think each one of us may use our all molded towables as a bug-out shack. Don't you want to know everything is working as it should? I do.

YMMV
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:39 PM   #6
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My 2 cents for what it's worth, but I think propane needs to be used! It's that "occasional" use that gives problems. Don't ask me how I know So, if you have propane appliances and you know (because you've checked and maintained your trailer) USE it. If you have a 2-way hotwater heater, use propane at least one day out camping during a weekend stay, same thing with a 2- or 3- way refrigerator.

It's when you NEED it and haven't used it for a while (years?) that you wonder what in the world you need to do to "fix" it.

Someday, sometime I think each one of us may use our all molded towables as a bug-out shack. Don't you want to know everything is working as it should? I do.

YMMV

I agree with you, but add, fire up propane appliances on periodic basis. Further items to do. Put an anti-wasp screen over the intake and exhaust port for the furnace. DO NOT put just window screen over the ports. You want the kind that stick out from the ports so there no air flow restriction.

Around the refrigerator burner and exhaust a good 90 day spider spay is a good thing to use. Twice I've had spiders build nests in the burner. Once I got to Death Valley before I discovered it. I think this would also apply if have a hot water heater. It's a small thing but can save a lot of head aches and money.
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:30 AM   #7
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All good information! Luv this forum


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Old 09-05-2014, 05:46 AM   #8
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I eliminated any propane problems, removed it all from our camper. LOL We don't cook inside and I didn't trust the old furnace.
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by EwaW View Post
Other than getting a carbon monoxide alarm does anyone have any safety tips for using the propane furnace on a 1974 Boler?
Is it best to get rid of it for example?


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FWIW: (My Opinion Anyway)
I think that a 40 y.o. RV furnace is plain over-the-hill for safety...period, and I would be looking for a replacement.
New Furnace: $$$, Ones Life: Priceless.....

As an alternative:
Take your rig to a real LP service company and have them inspect for condition and CO leaks with the CO detector probes they use. An experienced technician, with eyes and hands on your furnace, trumps any of us by 1000 times.



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Old 09-05-2014, 08:29 AM   #10
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I eliminated any propane problems, removed it all from our camper. LOL We don't cook inside and I didn't trust the old furnace.
Me too, except I have yet to snatch the water heater. All my stuff was 26 years old and either did not work or was suspect. We do cook inside, but with 120V electric appliances plugged into shore power. Outside cooking is over fire, charcoal or gas (propane).
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:35 AM   #11
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I agree with you, but add, fire up propane appliances on periodic basis. Further items to do. Put an anti-wasp screen over the intake and exhaust port for the furnace. DO NOT put just window screen over the ports. You want the kind that stick out from the ports so there no air flow restriction.

Around the refrigerator burner and exhaust a good 90 day spider spay is a good thing to use. Twice I've had spiders build nests in the burner. Once I got to Death Valley before I discovered it. I think this would also apply if have a hot water heater. It's a small thing but can save a lot of head aches and money.
Byron,
What is the difference between anti-wasp screen and window screen?
Just wondering!
Thanks,
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:47 AM   #12
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Byron,
What is the difference between anti-wasp screen and window screen?
Just wondering!
Thanks,
Good bug shields are made from stainless steel screening so they won't rust or burn out from hot exhaust.

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Old 09-05-2014, 10:01 AM   #13
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Byron,
What is the difference between anti-wasp screen and window screen?
Just wondering!
Thanks,
Anti-wasp, mud dauber, screens have a larger mesh and made is such a manner as to NOT decrease the air flow. Window screen has a smaller mesh and does decrease air flow. (restricts air flow)

Here's a picture of what I use. If you like I could go into the fluid dynamics of why this is important.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:15 AM   #14
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Timely thread for me. Planning a Nov trip & debating whether to get the furnace going. I've never used any furnace in any RV before, so kind of scares me. Will definitely have it checked by a pro first! Once I do, I like the suggestion to fire it up regularly as a maintenance item. Will install smoke detector & CO detector. Byron, where would I look for the bug screen? RV store? Are they specific to each furnace?
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:39 AM   #15
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Timely thread for me. Planning a Nov trip & debating whether to get the furnace going. I've never used any furnace in any RV before, so kind of scares me. Will definitely have it checked by a pro first! Once I do, I like the suggestion to fire it up regularly as a maintenance item. Will install smoke detector & CO detector. Byron, where would I look for the bug screen? RV store? Are they specific to each furnace?
Any RV store should carry them. There's at least two different styles. One like I pictured that covers both intake and exhaust ports. The other major style is two round pieces one for the intake and the other for exhaust ports.

Either will work. I chose the larger rectangle guy so that I only had one piece to deal with.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:45 AM   #16
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Timely thread for me. Planning a Nov trip & debating whether to get the furnace going. I've never used any furnace in any RV before, so kind of scares me. Will definitely have it checked by a pro first! Once I do, I like the suggestion to fire it up regularly as a maintenance item. Will install smoke detector & CO detector. Byron, where would I look for the bug screen? RV store? Are they specific to each furnace?
An RV furnace is not a lot different than a home forced air gas furnace. If you look around you you'll see thousands of RVs almost if not all have a gas (propane) furnace and they are used.

I haven't camped in AZ in November, but been there is January, February, and March. I don't remember spending a night any of those months in AZ where the furnace didn't run. I set the thermostat for 55° at night then up to about 65° in the morning. Cooking breakfast and making coffee heats the trailer up more. I wouldn't want to travel even to Death Valley and AZ without my furnace working.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:19 AM   #17
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An RV furnace is not a lot different than a home forced air gas furnace. If you look around you you'll see thousands of RVs almost if not all have a gas (propane) furnace and they are used.
I keep telling myself that. But my forced air furnace at home is not in my bedroom! Donna's comment about using propane appliances regularly got me thinking… even if I never use it, it would be nice, should I ever sell the trailer, to be able to say confidently that the furnace works and to have receipts showing professional maintenance. And who knows… I might find I use it more once I master its operation.

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I haven't camped in AZ in November, but been there is January, February, and March. I don't remember spending a night any of those months in AZ where the furnace didn't run. I set the thermostat for 55° at night then up to about 65° in the morning. Cooking breakfast and making coffee heats the trailer up more. I wouldn't want to travel even to Death Valley and AZ without my furnace working.
We've done AZ deserts in winter without a furnace. Chilly in the morning, but warms up quickly. This year we are planning to explore the Central Coast of CA the week before Thanksgiving and spend a few days in the Big Sur area. Looks like it will likely be damp as well as cool, so thought it might be time to think about getting the furnace going.

Thanks for your input on this thread!
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:42 AM   #18
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We've done AZ deserts in winter without a furnace. Chilly in the morning, but warms up quickly. This year we are planning to explore the Central Coast of CA the week before Thanksgiving and spend a few days in the Big Sur area. Looks like it will likely be damp as well as cool, so thought it might be time to think about getting the furnace going.

Thanks for your input on this thread!
Last December we drove down CA 1 from Monterrey south. It was very very dry. Fire index was extreme, so I don't think you'll have to worry about moisture, if that's any indication of what to expect this year. From long range forecasts it like it will be dry again. Surprising since it's right along the ocean. In Oregon it gets wet along the coast, drizzle much of the time at night.

We didn't find much in the way of camping along there. There was one or two state parks way way above the ocean. Beaches simply were not accessible, at least where we were. We headed for Bakers Field and across to Bullhead City as soon as we could. Good and I hope you enjoy your trip.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:59 AM   #19
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Last December we drove down CA 1 from Monterrey south. It was very very dry. Fire index was extreme, so I don't think you'll have to worry about moisture, if that's any indication of what to expect this year. From long range forecasts it like it will be dry again. Surprising since it's right along the ocean. In Oregon it gets wet along the coast, drizzle much of the time at night.

We didn't find much in the way of camping along there. There was one or two state parks way way above the ocean. Beaches simply were not accessible, at least where we were. We headed for Bakers Field and across to Bullhead City as soon as we could. Good and I hope you enjoy your trip.
Thanks, Byron. I'm looking into some suggestions from forum members here: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ons-66259.html

Thinking to spend a couple of days near Pismo Beach (for the butterflies) and a couple of days at Big Sur (mainly for the redwoods, which my daughters are anxious to see). Disappointed to hear about the possible dry winter… I'm not particularly fond of camping in the rain, but California needs it badly, and I'd rather experience the area in its misty, foggy glory!

Now back to our regular programming...
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Old 09-13-2014, 08:50 PM   #20
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IIRC boats with propane appliances use propane detectors. Propane, unlike natural gas, is heavier than air and a leak will fill up the hull. The danger is not (?) from breathing it but explosions. Are trailers leaky enough for the gas to escape in the event of a leak? A boat that'll let the propane escape is already sinking! If propane detectors are called for they belong near the floor for obvious reasons.

Continuing to run my mouth without knowing what I'm talking about, I'd say that a propane detector does not obviate a CO detector. A propane furnace with less than complete combustion could still kill with CO.

As this is all new to me I'd appreciate any comments and criticism.
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