Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the “RV Handbook” and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.) Today Dave discusses a beeping LP leak detector.
My r-pod keeps beeping. I read the manual and I believe it has to do with the propane. Do you think I’m right? How do I fix it? —Janice
Per RVIA code, since the early 1990s all RVs are required to have an LP leak detector device. Most are located at the lower level of the kitchen cabinet, as LP is heavier than air and will settle if there is a leak.
This is an early model LP leak detector that was installed in a 1992 Itasca Suncruiser. The sensor inside this leak detector will create an 85 dB alarm if it detects LP present. It also would shut down the 12-volt system in the rig to prevent any LP appliance from trying to light if there was a leak. It would also sound the alarm if the house battery system dipped below 10.5 volts, which created quite an issue with units on dealers’ lots and in storage.
Older leak detectors would go off for a variety of smells
Another issue with the older units is the detector would go off not only with LP present but also from some perfumes, cleaning products, and even tales of a dog passing gas! I did not personally witness it but have had several owners claim it was true. They may need a new dog?
Newer LP leak detectors use advanced microprocessors that not only detect LP, but also butane, gasoline, alcohol, and acetone. These can also be dangerous in an RV. The alarm will sound when explosive gases are present at a lower explosion limit (LEL) – in most cases <25% of LEL of propane.
They also have a “recheck” feature. It is a slight delay to prevent a false alarm if the LP detected is just a brief incident. It will work in low battery situations down to 8 volts. Whichever type you have, if there is an alarm sounding, you need to press the test button and immediately leave the RV. Shut off the LP supply at the outside cylinder on trailers or ASME tank on motorhomes, if it can be done safely. Leave the door open to help ventilate the inside of the rig.
Determine if a certified technician is needed for the LP leak
Determine the cause/repair of the leak to evaluate if a certified technician is needed. It is always a good idea to periodically test the alarm to ensure it is working properly. Most alarms have a 5-year service life.
It is also a good idea to periodically check all LP connections with a handy LP tester to verify the connection to the stove, refrigerator, water heater and other appliances is safe.
Read more from Dave here.
Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.
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