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Old 05-12-2022, 09:18 PM   #1
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CO and Water Heater

It was a dark and very windy night. We were primitively camped on the shores of beautiful Seminoe Lake State Park in Wyoming with the wind blowing against the camp side of our 2019 21RD. I thought I could smell aldehydes from burning gas (I know CO is odorless, but not all combustion products are) Suddenly, the CO detector alarm went off. It's located in the sleeping area of our coach. We opened windows, shut the gas heat off and switched to electric for hot water to vent our ORV and clear the alarm. NEVER REMOVE THE BATTERIES TO CLEAR AN ALARM! I checked the water heater and all of the sealant appears to be OK. I think It may possible the wind blew the exhaust in through the range hood vent. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced anything like this. Is there some sort of sheild to divert the exhaust from the heater?
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Old 05-13-2022, 09:43 AM   #2
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I've never had a problem in 30+ years but it doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Keep your CO detectors current and with fresh batteries and test them. In the odd/weird circumstance you might be able to get the products of combustion coming into the unit from the outside vents; I would close any windows and openings that are near the HWT and furnace vent and open windows on the other side or away and or roof vents. Shouldn't be a common issue. The much bigger concern is that there is a crack or hole in your furnace HXR - your unit is fairly new so it shouldn't have rusted out but that doesn't mean there couldn't be a crack or defect - I'd have it checked out.

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Old 05-14-2022, 06:30 AM   #3
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In three RVs I've had two of these sensors go bad. The symptom was that they alarmed often and there were no signs of any gas leak.
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Old 05-14-2022, 12:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by vpelacol View Post
I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced anything like this. Is there some sort of shield to divert the exhaust from the heater?
Yes. I had a similar scenario in Death Valley NP this year. The wind was blowing for a couple of days. Rugs had to be put away and sand collected in all the window wells. It was blowing especially hard one night when the alarm went off. The water heater was the only gas appliance running at the time. I responded in a similar way.
I've owned my 21RWS for 2 years and this is the only time this alarm sounded. The high winds were definitely the source of the problem and I don't think I'll encounter this situation often.
I don't know about a shield to divert the exhaust, but I'm fairly certain that if I created any kind of wind break to slow the direct wind, I could have solved the problem.
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Old 05-14-2022, 01:01 PM   #5
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Windy conditions blowing against side of RV when WH is located.
Window was cracked open and CO alarm in bedroom went off

Aired out RV....closed window near WH more alarm

Water heater combustion/exhaust chambers are submerged in water so only exhaust fumes exiting can be pulled back inside the RV

Furnaces.....heat exchanger pressurized and if cracked fumes can be blown inside RV via floor registers

Fridge less likely due to Fridge top/bottom/sidewalls sealed and flue is directed upward
*Course that is IF RV MFG installed it correctly
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heat, heater, water, water heater

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