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Old 03-07-2014, 03:50 PM   #1
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Smelling propane

After getting our propane tanks filled at the end of our Christmas trip we haven't used the RV since. Getting it ready today for our spring break trip starting tonight we noticed a strong smell of propane when we entered. The valve on the tank is still closed and they read full.

With the exception of looking around in dark corners with a lit match, what's the best way to track down the cause?
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:10 PM   #2
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May not be propane since you filled it a while ago and your detector isn't going off. It could be that the propane valve on the tank is bad and leaking enough to give off the smell as you enter the door. It could also be holding tank smells from a locked up coach if the vents are blocked or if the water in the p-traps has dried out. If the tank valve is closed there is a small chance that it is propane you smell inside.
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:20 PM   #3
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Batteries can smell like gas
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:43 PM   #4
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Batteries can smell like gas
I guess batteries boiling since propane valve closed.
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:21 PM   #5
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I guess batteries boiling since propane valve closed.
Batteries are clean. Smelled propane in the basement. Turned it on, it's functioning normally.

The fill cover was cross threaded, but that shouldn't be serving any real purpose other than as protection. I'd be surprised to learn that the plastic cap was actually designed to hold pressure.
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:38 PM   #6
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Put a little soap and water in a squirt bottle and spray it on all the gas connections you can get at to check for leaks. Propane tank, heater, hot water, stove and refrig. Bubbles will show a leak
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:48 PM   #7
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Put a little soap and water in a squirt bottle and spray it on all the gas connections you can get at to check for leaks. Propane tank, heater, hot water, stove and refrig. Bubbles will show a leak
Thanks. I'll try that
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:48 PM   #8
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Just a quick thought on that smell. You say your batteries are clean, but you could still have a dead cell. The way to check is if still plugged in and charging run your hand along side each of them. If one is much warmer (hot) to the touch more so then the others this may be the cause of the smell.
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:49 PM   #9
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I thought I had a propane leak but I found a dead mouse instead. That was the smell.
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Old 03-08-2014, 05:14 AM   #10
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Smell but detector not going off...it's going to be something else most likely.
You said you smelled propane when you entered the coach, and later you said you smelled it in the basement. Is it both?

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Old 03-08-2014, 06:06 AM   #11
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Smell but detector not going off...it's going to be something else most likely. You said you smelled propane when you entered the coach, and later you said you smelled it in the basement. Is it both? Jim
Yes, both places. We delayed leaving last night but are headed a couple hundred miles down the road this morning. We will see if a good airing out helps anything.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:10 AM   #12
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A leaking valve, one that won't shut off the propane completely, not that unusual. Couple that issue with a stove or oven pilot that's been left on and you should be able to see how issues may appear?

A leaking tank valve often goes undiagnosed for years as you don't notice it until something else goes wrong, and you need to shut off the propane to service THAT issue! The tech shuts off the valve, goes to remove or service the appliance, but the propane doesn't stop after the line is cracked!

Regarding a pressure test, many rookies doing them don't consider or understand the potential for a tank valve leak, and think nothing of starting a leak down test with pressure on the system. This test is useless at detecting a tank valve that's not shutting off.... It's why the test is supposed to be started with an observed 0 pressure in the system! Of course it won't detect a leak either, as there's an endless supply of propane to keep the system pressurized....

If this turns out to be the issue, valves aren't that expensive, and a good propane dealer should be able to swap the valve out for you. Full tanks will be an issue, but anything under 1/2 or so can be frozen down by an experienced tech.
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