LP Alarm... what now?

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taoshum

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May 21, 2009
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Taos, NM
During our "winterization" of the MH, we were almost finished... the last step was to use the water pump to pull some pink anti-freeze into the water lines between the pump and the faucets at the sinks, shower, toilet, etc.  In the midst of this, suddenly, the LP alarm erupted... it is very loud.  Anyway, nothing was "on"... the fridge is off, the cook-top is off, the heater is off but the LP is on.  So I turned the alarm off and started checking around.  Then the LP alarm erupted again.  I turned it off again.  Then, I tested the fridge using ac power, then LP, and it works normally.  I tested the heater/furnace and it works normally.  I tested the cook-top and it works normally.  So I turned the main valve on the LP tank to the off position.  The alarm did not trigger again. 

After about 30 minutes or so, we had finished the anti-freeze and final "winterization" stuff.  So I decided to test the LP system again... I turned the main LP valve on and waited, expecting the LP alarm to trigger again, indicating a leak somewhere (like it did earlier), maybe under the fridge?  It never did and has not alarmed again since, even with the LP system "on".

Here's my list of possibilities...
[list type=decimal]
[*]there is a leaky connection in the LP plumbing, somewhere inside the MH, probably near the fridge since that's where the LP alarm is located but maybe
[*]there's a leak in the pipe or joints that goes to the cook-top, which is in the front slide-out... 
[*]the fridge solenoid valve did not close completely when we turned it off (weeks ago) and when I cycled the valve, it seated properly and closed... but why did it wait so long to trigger the alarm...?
[*]Same valve story for the water heater solenoid valve or the furnace solenoid valve....although those valves are "outside"...?
[/list]

Since there was no LP alarm for the next several hours, we resumed our original plan which was to set the furnace thermostat to 39 deg F to keep the MH above freezing (belts and suspenders), so we left the LP "on" and checked it every few hours until about 10pm... no alarms so then we decided it was "OK" for the night.  It got pretty cold the next two nights, 5 deg F, and the temperature inside held at about 40 when we checked it in the early morning and during the day.  And, there have been no LP alarms.

I could turn the LP "off" entirely and the MH would get really cold but probably be "ok" with all the antifreeze in the lines and traps.  I could turn the LP "off" and leave an electric space heater out there set at 39 deg F which might keep the interior above freezing.

The nearest service center is a 3 hour drive from here, BTW.

Help!  :-\  :-\  :-\
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
A great many gases can set off the LP alarm, so it need not be a LPG leak. Household cleaners, aerosol cans, exhaust fumes, alcohol fumes, to name a few. Even a person or animal "passing gas" can trigger the detector - it is not very discriminating.
 

taoshum

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May 21, 2009
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Taos, NM
Gary RV Roamer said:
A great many gases can set off the LP alarm, so it need not be a LPG leak. Household cleaners, aerosol cans, exhaust fumes, alcohol fumes, to name a few. Even a person or animal "passing gas" can trigger the detector - it is not very discriminating.

thanks!  did not know that it triggered on so many other chemicals... LOL, maybe it triggered on the anti-freeze fumes.... that would make the most sense of anything or the 409 cleaner used to clean up the pink overflow in the shower...  seemed unlikely that a "leak" would spontaneously occur just as we were doing the anti-freeze...  OTOH, the mantra in the safety engineering community is "Believe your worst Data", so I will be vigilant for a while.
 

Jeff Brown

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Feb 23, 2010
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717
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So Cal
The age of the alarm also seems to be relivant, the two that I have had fail both started providing false alarms in their later days.  If the alarm is over 5 years old it could be time for a new one.

Jeff
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
It's not really age per se, but the sensor gets contaminated over time and becomes more and more sensitive, til it begins to go off frequently.  Some last longer, but 5-6 years is a fairly typical lifetime.

409 is an known source of fumes that can trip the LPG detector.
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
There are many times when you have just got to READ THE FINE MANUAL.

Explosive gas (Propane) Detectors have several alarm states,  The indicator light and the beeper speak to you, then not only say "ALERT" but they also say why.

For example on mine if it goes BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE (you never get to P)

Then either it's dripping wet, or it smelled gas.

IF it boes "Beep" (long pause) Beep (long pause) Beep.

Which sure sounds like what you described in your original post

It means "I have a problem and need attention" The light blinks a code that translates (in my case) to "Internal error" and the batteries

So far every time that has happened.. The batteries needed charging.

The key is the "Long pause"

Depending on the alarm,, The DANGER signal is either a constant BEEEEEEEEE.
Or Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep (never ending)

Or Beep, Beep, Beep, pause, Beep, Beep, Beep, (Pause)

I have also heard alarms that did the 3 beeps pause 3 times, then a longer pause, then it started over.

Groups of 3, epically 3 groups of 3, is a universal danger signal dating back to the days when it was 3 stones or 3 slashes on a tree or three knotted tufts of grass.

But a beep, with a long pause, is a "problem" not a "Danger" signal.
 

taoshum

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May 21, 2009
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Taos, NM
John From Detroit said:
There are many times when you have just got to READ THE FINE MANUAL.

Explosive gas (Propane) Detectors have several alarm states,  The indicator light and the beeper speak to you, then not only say "ALERT" but they also say why.

For example on mine if it goes BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE (you never get to P)

Then either it's dripping wet, or it smelled gas.

It was #1.... BBBBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE (push the shut off button)  eeeeP.  Wait a few minutes then repeat.

I hope Gary "RV Roamer" nailed it with the observation about the 409 cleaner... I might repeat that as an experiment just to see if it will trigger again...

But it could be the age... it is going through its 5th or 6th birthday this year... so I'll order a new one soon.

Or, it could be a leak, somewhere... so we will watch it daily for a while... and I'll climb under there and spray some soap bubbles around the fittings when it gets a little warmer here....like Friday.

It's not the battery, the coach is on shore power and the house batteries show 13.4 VDC...

Just learned one more valuable lesson that will get logged in the RV/MH journal.  Thank You ALL!
 

sldutton

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Nov 30, 2012
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1
I just winterized our travel trailer and pumped the antifreeze through the pipes and put a considerable amount in the toilet. My mother called me to tell me that the LP alarm was going off (we store it in her barn). I told her to leave the door open and I'd come out and take a look. When I got there, the alarm was not going off. So, I closed everything up and left. She called me again this morning and said it was going off again.

It has to be the antifreeze? I did not turn on the propane, I did not use any cleaners.

Has anyone else experience the alarm going off when winterizing?

THANKS!

 

Jammer

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Dec 20, 2009
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I solved this problem by removing my propane detector and putting it in the trash.

A few people on the forum have vilified me for this, but the thing is that vanishingly few RV fires have propane leaks as their origin or a contributing cause.  Most RV fires are electrical in origin, followed by careless smoking, cooking fires, and candles and other open flames.

The mandate for propane detectors is a carryover from the marine industry, where propane leaks are a much more serious safety problem than they are on RVs.
 

taoshum

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May 21, 2009
Posts
2,679
Location
Taos, NM
sldutton said:
I just winterized our travel trailer and pumped the antifreeze through the pipes and put a considerable amount in the toilet. My mother called me to tell me that the LP alarm was going off (we store it in her barn). I told her to leave the door open and I'd come out and take a look. When I got there, the alarm was not going off. So, I closed everything up and left. She called me again this morning and said it was going off again.

It has to be the antifreeze? I did not turn on the propane, I did not use any cleaners.

Has anyone else experience the alarm going off when winterizing?

THANKS!

I wondered if that could be the problem... we had similar results.  So I poured some AF in a dish  and put it adjacent to the detector after it quit beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeping and it never beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeped again.  I'm betting on the 409 cleaner right now.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
There are 3 types of anti-freeze, which one did you use?

Disconnect the battery, lift the negative lead off the battery terminal.

Make sure all propane valves are closed.
 

jje1960

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Nov 11, 2007
Posts
1,556
Definitely agree that many gases set these off.... Ours started going off last summer while our golf cart was in the bay of our toyhauler, without the cart in does not go off... Determined that the fumes from the cart batteries were the culprit.  So much for storing the cart in the unit during the winter, back to the garage it went.
 
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