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Old 01-31-2014, 07:58 PM   #1
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Propane Gas Smell

I am relatively new to the RV'ing world, purchasing my 2010 Thor Hurricane 33T this past August. I live in the Pensacola, Florida area, and like the rest of the country, we have had some exceptionally cold weather. I winterized the unit in December, with the pink anti-freeze solution. This past Monday, I turned on the furnace, because it was supposed to go down to 15 degrees F that night. I was somewhat afraid to do this because I only had 1/3 a tank of propane left, but elected to do so. I went to shut off the furnace today, and noticed a strong propane gas smell when I entered the unit. I turned off the furnace, and then checked the propane level, which was shown as empty. There was not a gas leak before the freeze. Can cold weather do this? Is it a possibility that the pilot light stopped working because the propane ran out, and then there was some residual that came into the coach after the pilot was no longer functioning? Is there a pilot on this type of furnace? My owners manual makes no mention of a pilot, and I do not have a manual for the furnace. I had the propane tank refilled today, but shut off the gas valve until I can have this checked out. Any ideas? Thanks for reading.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:07 PM   #2
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Smart to turn off the gas. If you are smelling gas there must be a leak. My furnace has an electronic ignition. So there is no pilot as such. You can check the line by making a soapy water an check for bubbles at the connections. I would get it to a service center as soon as possible.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:13 PM   #3
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I am not saying that you do not have a leak but, as the liquid propane is near empty in the tank the odorant (ethyl mercaptan) becomes more concentrated.

To be safe you should have a pressure drop test performed.
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:40 AM   #4
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I also agree as the tank gets empty the smell gets stronger happens to us all the time. But if your not sure run it with the windows open to see if you get any smells.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:26 AM   #5
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I'll third the comment on the odor getting stronger and 2nd the recommendation on having a pro check it.

HOWEVER, that said.... The furnace.. any area of the furnace which can possibly have propane in it is OUTSIDE the motor home, Thus smelling it INSIDE, Is not a good thing.

Second. There may be other issues you have yet to discover.

Third.. NO, cold should not do that .. There is one product that expands when it freezes and thus damages pipes and fittings, Of all the substances on the planet only this one does that. ALL other substances contract when they turn solid and thus will NOT damage pipes or fittings.

That substance is water.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:46 AM   #6
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If you smelled propane how come your alarm didn't work ? I would check that out too......Also 1/3 on the inside meter might be mis leading , the gauge at the tank is always better.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:01 AM   #7
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run it with the windows open to see if you get any smells.
RUN NOTHING, (don't even flip a switch), until the leak is found and fixed!
(If you do you could end up with nothing).
Think BOOM!

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Old 02-01-2014, 10:06 AM   #8
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Having lived in old time trailer parks, we'd know when the tanks were getting low by the smell. A quick check with hot water poured on the tank would confirm.

Now with propane smell inside, I would be concerned. Take it to a pro!
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:18 AM   #9
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Every time we fill our Propane tank I can smell it (faintly) only outside for a couple hours then I don't smell it until we get it refilled again. Could it be the guy is putting to much in and it has a overflow or something like that. We have it filled at the same place same guy almost all ways, if we need to refill on the road its the same thing. I presumed it was normal. I have used the stove and oven and the furnace and never have smelt it inside of the coach plus the gauge on the dash always says Full.

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Old 02-01-2014, 10:22 AM   #10
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You're probably smelling your grey tank.

It has that same kind of rotten eggish smell as LPG. If you LPG detector isn't singing, it's not LPG unless the detector is dead.

The might notice the smell more concentrated around the shower area? And you might smell it stronger while driving, especially if you grey is pretty full.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:43 AM   #11
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Nope its propane, smells the strongest at the front of the MH by the tank area. My tanks (gray/blk) are probable the cleanest around, emptied and cleaned out after every trip with dawn. I drain tanks every night at a CG. I can't stand that smell.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:54 AM   #12
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Nope its propane, smells the strongest at the front of the MH by the tank area. My tanks (gray/blk) are probable the cleanest around, emptied and cleaned out after every trip with dawn. I drain tanks every night at a CG. I can't stand that smell. Thank you tb
Why didn't the detector go off?
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:59 AM   #13
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Our regulator went bad and when I went to open the door of the coach I smelled propane. I went inside and still smelled it (or so I thought). I was so attuned to the smell I really thought it was all inside the coach but no alarms were going off. I had just replaced the LP alarm a month prior to this. Finally figured out that it was the regulator outside and with our tank being right there to the left of the entrance door, the smell was really strong and I just carried it inside with me. When I replaced the regulator all was well.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:01 PM   #14
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Why didn't the detector go off?
Because I am outside and the detector is on the inside of MH? I stated that I have never smelt it inside.
I guess I am not sure what you mean?
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