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Old 06-14-2017, 09:01 AM   #1
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Water heater sets off CO alarm

I have a 1999 Country Coach Affinity with a water heater issue. When I turn on the propane fired water heater, the burner fires right up but after several minutes the CO alarm goes off and I smell a funny smell, kind of like warm plastic. There is no smoke or anything like that. I turn off the water heater and after a few minutes, the CO alarm will reset. Any ideas? It is probably the original heater. Maybe it just needs replacing.
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:13 AM   #2
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DO NOT use the propane water heater until you get this repaired! CO is nothing to take a chance on. It sounds as if the burner chamber has rusted out and is allowing Carbon Monoxide into the coach. The plastic smell could be an indication that a fire is imminent.
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:19 AM   #3
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If you have an access panel for the water heater, take a flashlight and inspect the interior of the burner chamber. The propane burner tube will be in the center of the round chamber. Inspect the chamber tube for rust and holes. If any holes or rust through are found replace the water heater.
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:40 AM   #4
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I would look around the inside part of the frame for leaks air leaks. If you have access to the part on the inside, have someone shile a bright flashlight around the outside while you check the inside. I've also sen this happen when a window down wind from the heater is open. It's been my experience that if the burner tube is burned through, you will see water.
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:52 AM   #5
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I've seen older RVs where the manufacturer , ignored the heater manufacturer's installation instructions , and placed the heater directly below an opening window.
If when the CO alarm is going off you have a powered roof vent running, and there is a window in the area of the heater , you could be drawing the CO in around poor window seals , even if the window is fully closed.
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Old 07-13-2017, 05:55 PM   #6
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I finally investigated my water heater issue and here is what I found. There was a flimsy wooden stand that was built to support the water heater and it was collapsing. The heat exchanger exhaust pipe had slipped towards the interior and the sheet metal around it was tearing allowing fumes back into the coach and thus setting off the CO alarm. I reinforced the stand which positioned the water heater correctly and used 3m metal backed tape to seal off the exhaust pipe and seal and reinforce the sheet metal. I drained the water heater to check for sediment and found none. I refilled it and fired it up and no more alarm. I just came back from a week long trip and had great hot water the whole time and no issues.
Thanks everyone for your responses and concern!
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:16 PM   #7
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Thanks for posting the solution. That will help out someone else!
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for posting the solution. That will help out someone else!
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