propane smell

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by jsc1648, May 4, 2014.

  1. Nandy

    Nandy Active Member

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    I do have a problem with your finding... The burner section is supposed to be isolated from the inside of the pup. If your valve is wide (and no ignition happened) open no gas should flow to the inside of the pup except for when it goes out in the atmosphere and could be pushed back in via a window. In other words, if your valve is stuck open you should not smell propane.
    Having said that, I don't mean than that valve is not defective, you just proved it wrong BUT you might have something else....
    Let us know what you find after you replace the valve.
     
  2. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

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    This can't be correct. Combustion air is supplied from the "indoors", aided by a combustion fan mounted concentric on the motor shaft with the ventilation fan. Therefore the burner air inlet is open to the interior of the camper.
     
  3. Nandy

    Nandy Active Member

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    No sir, you are wrong. I have fixe and installed a few furnaces, including Atwood. The heating element which contains the burner does not use the inside air to heat up. You have an intake and outtake port in the back of the furnace leading to the outside of the camper. The blower sucks air in the heating element for the burner to work via the intake port and the CO is expelled via the exhaust port. That heats up the heating element then the second blower (both are powered by the same motor) inside the pup forces the cold air from inside the pup to go around the heating element. The now hot air goes out the furnace to heat the pup. If the combustion happened with air from the pup then you will have CO inside the pup, lots of it.....
     
  4. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

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    deleted
     
  5. Sonshine

    Sonshine Member

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    Glad you found the bad valve and replaced it. Nandy is correct in that you should NOT be smelling it inside the pup in front of the heater. I would be checking for an air leak in the chamber that allows the propane to seep inside. This would also allow Carbon monoxide into the camper when the furnace is running. This is not good. CO is odorless and deadly.
    You said your pup is a 2006 and lightly used...ie. it sat not used for long periods of time. It is possible that some water got in through the exhaust and puppled in the chamber and rusted a hole in it over time. I would have an RV shop check it out or replace the chamber.
     
  6. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

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    Wrong, combustion air comes from outside and the exhaust exits outside on a modern forced air furnace. The combustion/burner area is isolated from the interior of the RV.
     
  7. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Ain't there a short section of plumbing between the valve and burner that is outside the combustion chamber?
     
  8. Nandy

    Nandy Active Member

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    yes, there is. Actually, I would expect that the leak is where this pipe goes in the heating element. They use gaskets there and also they could have use a putty like substance to seal that pipe going in. Other than that either the valve was so messed up that was leaking from somewhere else too or it is the heating element. Those heating elements don't get a lot of love from mother nature. Humidity, insects and even water itself could rust the element inside to the point that it makes a hole. In that case this is a time bomb....

    Lastly, depending on the system the heating element intake/outake might not be sealing properly and since the blower is not running it will be easier for propane to leak inside while if the blower is running the pressure of the air will keep that from happening.

    To the op, check this system, if you have a hole in your heating element this could get ugly. If you have access to a good air compressor go to the outside port and blow on it, it dont matter which of the two holes you blow then see if you can feel the air inside the pup. The best would be a physical inspection but you would have to take it all out. If yours is half as dirty as the one i got for my large pup you will have to take it out anyway to clean it.

    Good luck and Be very careful.
     
  9. jsc1648

    jsc1648 Member

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    The reason I smelled it inside before was from the open window above the furnace exhaust. I have done rigorous testing before and after replacing the valve. The leak is officially no more. No other issues that a can detect.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  10. Nandy

    Nandy Active Member

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    Awesome! Glad you got it solved. Now the add the windows open it makes all sense.
    Happy camping!
     
  11. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    I think some terms might be getting mixed up here

    Cold air from the inside is sucked into the heater, warmed up, and then expelled back into the pup.

    Air for *combustion* (the actual burning of the propane flame) comes from the outside, and the products of combustion (exhaust) are expelled outside, via a secondary fan. If you have the windows closed, this should be totally external to the inside of the pup.
     
  12. beachrats2

    beachrats2 New Member

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    We have a 2005 sequoia and are experiencing the same thing. We'll have to check it out.
     

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