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Old 09-20-2012, 12:51 AM   #1
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CO - LP detector driving me nuts.

So I just got this new to me 2010 Phaeton and out of the blue the CO/LP alarm starts going off tonight. It is parked with a power cord hooked up and the batteries are showing absorption. The furnaces and hot water units are turned off and the propane is turned off at the tank. It is the residential refrigerator, 120v, hence plugged in. What can cause this?. Can it be fumes from the waste tanks, although I cant smell anything? I have been on my hands and knees to smell for propane, just in case, even though its turned off. Checked underneath in the basement, just in case and nothing. When I bought it the previous owner said it had gone off a couple of times and that you are supposed to replace the batteries in it periodically but this alarm is 12v direct wired. Do these things do this after 2-3 yrs? Really need to try and figure, just left home on my first 2 week trip with it and had to sleep at daughters house en route (just in case)
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:22 AM   #2
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A couple of years ago mine started going off, I would reset it and a couple days later it would go off again. I unplug it to finally stop it, bothered me having it unplug, so I made plans to replace it. Then I had a idea that dust might be setting it off , so I blew it out with my air compressor, reinstalled it. Seems to have worked.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:37 AM   #3
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In our coach, the LP alarm is separate from the CO alarm. The CO alarm is under a cabinet near the ceiling in the living area (not too far from the stove) and the LP alarm is in the bedroom near the floor. I'm guessing it's the LP alarm that's going off, not CO - especially since you say it is hard-wired. The CO alarm is usually battery powered.

If it is the LP alarm, it may be that your batteries are off-gassing hydrogen as they are being charged, especially since you say the LP is turned off at the tank. The Phaeton batteries are in the rear, and LP alarm probably is as well. Hydrogen is lighter than air and could be rising up into the coach. You may have a bad cell in one of the batteries that is causing the whole bank to be overcharged, or the battery(ies) may just be low of water. There may also be a bad connection on one or more of the battery posts, or your inverter/charger may not be working properly.

PS: The dog used to sleep near ours and she would sometimes "off-gas" at night and set the alarm off.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:44 PM   #4
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two possibilities come to mind as both have happened to me.

A hairline crack in the LP tank bracket caused a leak that set off my LP alarm. This required a new LP tank.

2nd possibility is that your LP alarm either has aged prematurely or was defective such that the detector itself is no longer functional. When LP detectors wear out they become more sensitive and start going off for no apparent reason. This happened to me and new LP alarm fixed problem. Usually they take 5-7 years to wear out.

hope this helps

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Old 09-21-2012, 10:41 PM   #5
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My quess would be that installing a new alarm will fix the problem.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:09 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=paz;1314724 PS: The dog used to sleep near ours and she would sometimes "off-gas" at night and set the alarm off.[/QUOTE]

My wife never believes me when I use that one LOL.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:35 PM   #7
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IMO, If you replace them, you might consider separating the two so you can mount the LP sniffer at the floor and the CO sniffer up higher. No biggie, I suppose, but that's what I would do.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelheadbluesman View Post
IMO, If you replace them, you might consider separating the two so you can mount the LP sniffer at the floor and the CO sniffer up higher. No biggie, I suppose, but that's what I would do.
CO detector needs to be low to the floor as it is a heavier than air gas.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:47 PM   #9
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Ummmm.... Propane is heavier than air, but.... CO?

This from About.com:

Where Should I Place a Carbon Monoxide Detector?
Because carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and also because it may be found with warm, rising air, detectors should be placed on a wall about 5 feet above the floor. The detector may be placed on the ceiling.
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:21 AM   #10
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ALWAYS confusion between Carbon Monoxide - CO - and Carbon Dioxide - CO2

Both are lethal in the right circumstances, but except in places like breweries, the amounts of CO2 involved are very unlikely to cause problems. You breathe it out all the time.

CO2, like Propane is heavier than air so collects from the floor upwards which is why propane detectors are placed close to the floor.

CO is close enough to air in specific gravity that normally diffusion would result in fairly uniform concentrations, but because it is associated with combustion, it, like smoke, generally rises - which is why smoke and CO detectors (available as a single unit) are placed high in the room
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:27 AM   #11
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Mine is within inches of my house batteries, which are under my entry steps. Now I understand why it tends to go off without reason on warm, sunny days. Guess I need to find a way to better seal the battery compartment. I have pulled the fuse for that curcuit, but only during the day. It has never screamed at night, thankfully.

This group to the rescue once again!
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogpatch View Post
My wife never believes me when I use that one LOL.
Mine doesn't believe me either when I blame the cat. Though quite often his is guilty.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:19 AM   #13
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propane detectors also react to alcohol. Twice - in the Hobby - we have had intermittent alarms while driving. Once it turned out to be a bottle of rum on top of the refrigerator had fallen over and one drop every few minutes was falling on th carpet a couple of feet away from the detector. Second time, one bottle of wine of a dozen in an adjacent cupboard had cracked across the neck just above the liquid level, and that was enough to set it off.

In Europe, they are also sold as narcotic gas detectors because gullible/scared people there believe stories about thieves filling RVs full of anaesthetic gas and then robbing them.
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Old 09-22-2012, 05:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogpatch View Post
My wife never believes me when I use that one LOL.


Well, our LP alarm is on DW's side of the bed.
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