Author Topic: Mysterious Propane Leak  (Read 2918 times)

Offline wagwar

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Mysterious Propane Leak
« on: January 22, 2013, 09:27:21 AM »
On our return trip from Arcadia, we noticed the smell of propane in the kitchen area one evening before we went to bed. I have a propane monitor and it is always on when the propane is on, but it did not alarm. So, I shut down the propane and went outside to close the valves at the tank. I could smell propane outside also. It was very cold and dark, so I really couldn't investigate right then.  We had to turn the refrig. off as it runs on propane when we are parked and on AC when we are running.

THe next morning, with the refrig. still turned off, I turned the propane back on to use the stove. Later, when I went outside, I could smell propane again so I turned it all off.

After I got home, I started investigating where I might have a leak. I can't find any leak now. The propane is on, the refrig. works on propane, the stove works and I don't smell any propane. A squirt bottle of soapy water at all connections/valves also revealed no leak.

Any idea what might have been going on?


Offline Len Silva

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Re: Mysterious Propane Leak
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 10:05:55 AM »
An overcharging battery can have a similar smell.

One way to check is to turn on the system and light everything, then turn all the appliances off.  After you have done that, turn off the main supply at the tank.  Wait at least 24 hours, then without turning the main valve on, try lighting the stove.  If there are no leaks, it should light and burn for a short time.

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Offline Lin

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Re: Mysterious Propane Leak
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2013, 10:23:34 AM »
I just went through something similar; there was a propane smell in the coach.  I checked and tightened whatever I could inside, but that did not solve the problem.  I then checked in the bays and found a tee that was leaking.  Since one nut seemed reamed out, I replaced that nut.  Now all seems okay.  My point is that even a connector leak in a bay can seep into the coach.

One thing that would be interesting to know would be if the propane odorant separates and can rise rather than drop as the bulk of the propane does.  For example, I smelt the odorant in the coach.  If the ordorant remained stable and did not separate and rise, it would seem to imply that the propane, after filling the bay, was then intruding into the living area.  If that were the case, it would have been very noticeable when I opened the bay, which it was not.  The smell was stronger in the coach, and I had to put my nose up to the fitting to smell it at all.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 10:38:18 AM by Lin »
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Offline chessie4905

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Re: Mysterious Propane Leak
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2013, 12:26:04 PM »
check your regulator at the tank/s to be sure that the diaphragm has not started leaking.
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Offline Utahclaimjumper

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Re: Mysterious Propane Leak
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2013, 01:06:05 PM »
A common problem is the "spitter" valve not being tightened at the last filling operation.>>>Dan
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Offline grantgoold

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Re: Mysterious Propane Leak
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2013, 01:16:21 PM »
How about a propane leak from someone or something besides your bus? Could you have been parked next to a "leaker"

I would think a gas under pressure that was leaking would cause some kind of bubble?

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Offline sledhead

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Re: Mysterious Propane Leak
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2013, 02:21:25 PM »
If we forget to turn off the water heater switch on our suburban water heater when driving the smell of propane comes through the heater to inside ? As far as I can tell every thing is sealed unless it comes in through the water heater its self ?    dave
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Offline dickegler

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Re: Mysterious Propane Leak
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2013, 02:57:07 PM »
Interesting comment about the battery overcharging

I was on shore power and gone for the day. Returning home I was met by an awful smell, and the propane alarm going off.  Checked the propane system,and everything looked ok, then noticed the inverter was charging way too many amps.  Opened the battery bay and found one hot hot battery.  Cooked one battery.  Isolated it from the others, left the bay door open to air out..the next morning, reset the propane alarm, and all was well.

So apparently an overcharged battery fools the propane detector. Maybe Since hydrogen gas is flammable,the detector sees it as combustible.
dick egler  atlanta, in  92 prevost/beaver conversion, N5333L

Offline gus

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Re: Mysterious Propane Leak
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 03:22:12 PM »
Utah has a good point, my gas co often leaves the pressure relief (spitter) valve loose when they fill my home tank and it smells even outdoors.
Ash Flat, AR