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Old 05-08-2016, 12:13 PM   #1
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Propane smell around water heater

Hi Guys

Just back from our first weekend in our 26ft springdale. Everything went well and some of you guys here helped me nail down an electrical issue (faulty receptacle which is now replaced and all good )

One thing i did notice today and not on prior days at the trailer...a faint smell of propane at the water heater behind the outdoor access panel.

I am using the heater on electric mode but my tanks at the from are turned on for other functionality.


Is this normal? I was thinking maybe just the regulator releasing off some pressure and i can seem to hear it a tiny bit as well? I put soapy water on all the joins in there and see no bubbles at all. All the joins seem tight as i couldnt budge the nuts with a thumb wrench. The heater functions fine on both electric and propane....

This has me stumped but im not really sure if this is an actual problem or normal. I had a few others look at it but couldnt really find any problems...perhaps the regulator may need to be changed...i really dont know...
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:28 PM   #2
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Propane pressure is only 0.4 psi

If you smell propane at water heater then GAS VALVE (not a regulator------Regulator is at the cylinders or tank) is leaking thru.

Might try removing the Main Orifice from GAS Valve (brass insert that screws into valve where burner tube attaches)
Clean Main Orifice by soaking in alcohol and blowing out with air.
Then with orifice still removed.......try firing water heater off with propane.
That will cycle gas valve and possibly blow out any debris in valve.
Then reinstall main orifice/burner tube and fire off propane.

After running .....recheck later for any smell of propane.
IF still getting propane leaking thru valve it will need to be replaced.

Remember...propane pressure is only 0.4 psi so gas valve should not leak but when they do.....they are faulty.
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:34 PM   #3
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Did you look under the RV for a connection between the main LP supply , and the copper tubing to the water heater.

Most RVs the main LP supply is a black iron pipe with fittings to connect to the copper tubing that supplies the appliances. The connection could be close under the RV to the heater and a leak there could give the smell at the heater.
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:44 PM   #4
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This is similar to my setup. The smell seems strongest where the brass pipe goes into the valve. I cannot for the life of my budge that nut to loosen it feels like i will rip the whole valve off hahaha


https://www.google.ca/search?q=rv+wa...dtUJOKvkC_M%3A
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:54 PM   #5
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Just thought I would tell you that one day I thought I smelled propane/ethyl mercaptan coming from my trailer. I looked all over and could not track down the source, but I shut off my tanks and waited a few minutes. I could still smell it, even an hour later. I assumed the lines were still pressurized, and made a mental note to check tomorrow.

The next morning my neighbor moved out of their space, and the odor seemed to have went with them.

This may not be your exact problem, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 1bigmess View Post
Just thought I would tell you that one day I thought I smelled propane/ethyl mercaptan coming from my trailer. I looked all over and could not track down the source, but I shut off my tanks and waited a few minutes. I could still smell it, even an hour later. I assumed the lines were still pressurized, and made a mental note to check tomorrow.

The next morning my neighbor moved out of their space, and the odor seemed to have went with them.

This may not be your exact problem, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
Thanks man. Would be a good thought but im the only trailer around at this point unfortunately. When i shut off the tanks the smell and slight hissing noise goes away. I was hoping it was just releasing excess pressure but looks like i might be replacing the valve sooner than later if i can figure put how to get it off :s
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Propane pressure is only 0.4 psi

If you smell propane at water heater then GAS VALVE (not a regulator------Regulator is at the cylinders or tank) is leaking thru.

Might try removing the Main Orifice from GAS Valve (brass insert that screws into valve where burner tube attaches)
Clean Main Orifice by soaking in alcohol and blowing out with air.
Then with orifice still removed.......try firing water heater off with propane.
That will cycle gas valve and possibly blow out any debris in valve.
Then reinstall main orifice/burner tube and fire off propane.

After running .....recheck later for any smell of propane.
IF still getting propane leaking thru valve it will need to be replaced.

Remember...propane pressure is only 0.4 psi so gas valve should not leak but when they do.....they are faulty.
Would adding teflon tape to the connections possibly help? Doesnt appear to be any there at the moment...
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:59 PM   #8
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If the connections are leaking, bubbles would appear. No need to tape what's not leaking.

If you hear the leak, it's big.

Sometimes the soap blows away without bubbles. Try shaving cream to look for it.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:48 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the help guys. Ive been learning alot this week for sure.

I spoke to an rv tech at my local servicing center and he told me has has seen times where the valve was gummed up inside and wouldnt close completely thus leaking off some propane. Has anyone had this problem?

My only issue is it will take two weeks to get a new valve ordered in. Is there a way to take it off and clean it up to ensure it closes fully? After speaking to the tech and thinking it over it really seems like this may be the issue for sure...
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:58 AM   #10
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Would you be able to remove the valve and cap off the line until the replacement valve comes in?
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:15 AM   #11
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Would you be able to remove the valve and cap off the line until the replacement valve comes in?
certainly an option. what could i use to cap the end of the brass pipe?

I'm heading up tonight but id definetly rather try to get it working to avoide buying a replacement for the time being
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Old 05-10-2016, 07:32 PM   #12
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Pulled the valve tonight and capped the line. No more leak.

The valve is fairly corroded so for the sake of 50 bucks it will be just be replaced.

Only thing is...the valve i pulled model 161109. All the ones i find online that are 161109 state for models after serial number XXXX...my serial number is lower but still has the 161109..hmmm
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Old 05-10-2016, 07:38 PM   #13
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The gas valve is nothing fancy. If it looks right (same size and shape, with all lines in the right places), it is.
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Old 05-11-2016, 05:33 AM   #14
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The gas valve is nothing fancy. If it looks right (same size and shape, with all lines in the right places), it is.
Cool thanks man.
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