Propane detectors are not reliable

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omguf

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Jun 24, 2017
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Two Safe-T-Alerts and one Atwood later, just alerting at random.  I've been through it all with technical support.  I've RMA'd them, I've had them tested and after a while they all just start alerting randomly.  These days when they go off at 2:48 in the morning, the first thing I think is it's faulty NOT that there's actually a propane leak.  And, so far, I've been right.  I really don't want to have to go without such a critical, potentially life saving piece of equipment but at this point I don't see any other choice.  Please tell me it's not just me.......

PS - if anyone know of someone who makes one that doesn't constantly generate false positives, I'd love to know....
 

Gizmo100

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Just wondering have you done any check for a SLOW leak. With 3 different unit I would have to wonder
 

Isaac-1

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My first thought was also that they may be going off on low battery alert in the middle of the night as it is still cool enough for people to be running furnaces in many parts of the country, which can drag down the battery voltage significantly. 
 

Arch Hoagland

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I think I'd hook up three of them all in the same spot and see if they all go off at the same time. 

If all at the same time then I'd suspect gas of some sort.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Propane detectors are actually over-sensitive - they react to almost any hydrocarbon gas. I'd guess you have some sort of gas present, not necessarily propane.  The detector sensor can also get contaminated with airborne chemicals and will forever after give false alarms.  Sprayed products, e.g. cleaners, hair products, room deodorizers, etc., are all candidates.
 

John From Detroit

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You should (And the manfacturers should) STOP calling them PROPANE detectors and go with EXPLOSIVE GAS.
What is the difference?
Methane
Butane
Most any ane
Alcohol
Gasoline
And many other vapors.

Oh and then there are BUGS.. I do not mean Electronic bugs but rather the multi-legged insect kind.. They can short it out and BEEEEEEEEEEE
 

omguf

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Well thanks for all the replies!  I'll answer some of the questions above.  I don't have pets, but that's pretty funny that them passing gas can set them off...  I can't hook up all three because I RMA'd two of them, but that would be an interesting experiment.  Low voltage could be an issue I suppose but I don't think from running the furnace.  I'm in FL right now and it hasn't been cold enough to run the furnace in some time yet the detector still went off.  I'm not really sure how to check for a slow leak.  I suppose I could get a gas sniffer.  Maybe they are much more sensitive then the detectors and that could tell me more?
 

Gizmo100

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omguf said:
  I'm not really sure how to check for a slow leak.  I suppose I could get a gas sniffer.  Maybe they are much more sensitive then the detectors and that could tell me more?


I was thinking of something like this........

https://www.lowes.com/pd/BrassCraft-Gas-Plastic-Water-Heater-Gas-Leak-Detector/1000097902
 

grashley

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Yes, flatulence IS a very flammable gas.  We proved that in college, but further details are classified.  And yes, any animal passing gas can set off the alarm.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Leak detection liquids are useful only if you have a suspicious area to apply them, e.g. a pipe joint.  For gases in open air, a "sniffer" type is far more useful because you can follow the gas to its source (and then maybe use the liquid solution to pin point it).

Something like this:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BM1XWB8/
 

cerd

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Gary RV_Wizard said:
Leak detection liquids are useful only if you have a suspicious area to apply them, e.g. a pipe joint.  For gases in open air, a "sniffer" type is far more useful because you can follow the gas to its source (and then maybe use the liquid solution to pin point it).

Something like this:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BM1XWB8/
It's good that you included a link. Based on the previous comments, some may have thought you were regarding their flatulence.
 

Drewd

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Feb 17, 2016
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Had a gas leak and old detector never caught it.  It was strong enough for me to recognize by smell and was caused by the line to my gas stove loosening up just a bit.    A new gas detector in same location with burner gas on but not lit also did not go off.  I'm going to move the detector to a better location for safety regardless if it means I will have more alarms.

 
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