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Old 08-11-2015, 11:14 AM   #1
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What else beside Propane will set off the detector?

Any gas experts here?

Our Allegro is parked at the boat harbor, it's our home base for the weekends while I fix our houseboat.

It's parked next to a pond, which is at the moment, largely covered in moss. Along the shore is the typical 'water vegetation' like fragmite, bullrush, etc..

So last Sunday the propane detector below the bed starts going off. Did this a couple of times, then just reset itself.

Now, I have a nose for that smell they put in propane. I can smell a propane leak 1/4 mile away. There's no propane leaking.

However, standing behind the motorhome, within a small 'zone' was the distinct, but faint, smell of decomp. We didn't find the source, but people leave dead fish laying around all the time --or it could've been a dead mouse, as I keep mouse blocks under the rig.

OR, it could the moss or vegetation...? Not sure.

I'm no scientist, but I believe decomp creates methane...

But that's not all-!

Earlier Sunday I was checking batteries, and found a cap off one of my 3 house batteries. The cap was nearby, so I topped off the battery with DW and went on my merry way.

So after the second alarm, I start lifting doors to see if I can smell propane, and when I open the batt compartment door, I find the battery I filled earlier smoking and bubbling acid all over the place as the case was now cracked in several places...

SO-- I never found any propane leak. But I did find possibly methane gas, and definitely sulfuric acid gas, which was right below the bedroom btw...

I'm kind of assuming methane may set off a propane detector, but what about sulfuric acid?
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:40 AM   #2
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Any gas experts here?
I'm kind of assuming methane may set off a propane detector, but what about sulfuric acid?
PlayItForwrd
I am not a gas expert, but me thinks both methane gas and/or battery fumes can set off some propane detectors.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:49 AM   #3
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"Boiling" batteries have been reported to set off propane alarms.

Alcohol, flyspray, most aerosol sprays will set them off too.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:51 AM   #4
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An LP gas detector will also be set off by other explosive gases. Most common is hair spray which often uses Butane as the propellent and is, like LP gas, heavier than air and will settle to the floor where the gas detector is typically mounted. In addition, methane gas, found in swamp and sewer gas also can set it off. Hydrogen Sulphide gas also will trigger the alarm, which could have been generated by the failing battery you report.

Gasoline fumes, alcohol, and many cleaning fluids will also set it off. You're lucky your detector is so sensitive, they do go bad and should be replaced periodically.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:52 AM   #5
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Low 12V power will set it off, and an old, bad detector will do that also. Have you eliminated those possible issues?
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:54 AM   #6
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How old is the detector? Mine was made in 2005 and on its 10th birthday it started to go off, reset wait a day and go off again over and over till we replaced it. They have a set life, will alert you when it is time to replace.

On the battery, it looks like it also needs replacing. CAUTION, wet cell batteries produce hydrogen gas when they are being charged and it is is bubbling it is producing a lot of hydrogen gas. They can and will explode when a spark ignites the hydrogen gas. It can be signifient explosion depending on the quantity of trapped gas. Be real careful.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:56 AM   #7
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The gas off from batteries is hydrogen sulfide and will set of an alarm.
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:28 PM   #8
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Hydrogen Sulfide was likely the culprit then, the battery was literally steaming and boiling over like a pot of eggs boiling over on the stove. And it was just about as hot.

I'm not sure how old the detector is, it may be 15 years old like the rig, I'll have to check it out.
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:40 PM   #9
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Dogs passing gas will do it too!
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:49 PM   #10
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Dogs passing gas will do it too!
It's not just dogs, it's all methane. It's just that a dog's butt is closer to the floor and the detector.
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:18 PM   #11
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It's not just dogs, it's all methane. It's just that a dog's butt is closer to the floor and the detector.
You haven't met my wife. Just kidding Babe
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:31 AM   #12
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Yep, battery off-gassing will cause it. I've had it happen. You need to disconnect the batteries right away and work on why they're being boiled.
After you get that taken care of, you should check the date on the back of your propane detector. They're supposed to be replaced every 5 or 6 years.
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:48 AM   #13
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Mexican food or Irish bean soup or a hundred other gas builders.

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Old 08-12-2015, 05:12 PM   #14
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Dogs passing gas will do it too!

Yeah yeah yeah, blame it on the dog
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