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Old 11-14-2013, 08:04 PM   #1
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RV Antifreeze triggers CO Alarm?

I first put this in a forum on another site, but I thought I might get more relevant answers here at the Jayco site, since I have a starcraft 235fb which is a Jayco 23fb twin.

I've had the camper since I bought it new 2 years ago. Each of the two years I've winterized with RV antifreeze, my CO/LP alarm goes off (and the light indicating its an LP problem goes on. The LP is shut off at the tanks. The shore power is unplugged. I don't have any heaters or other CO generating items operating. The RV antifreeze does emit an odor, and I'm thinking it MUST be what is triggering the alarm. I open the door, the vents and the windows and the alarm goes silent after a few minutes, and it does not come back on.

Is this just some bizarre reaction the alarm has to the antifreeze? Does anyone else have this happen. First time it happened I thought it was a fluke. This last time...I can't believe it is coincidence.
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:12 PM   #2
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No experience with antifreeze but I know that the gas given off during 12 volt battery charging will activate a CO alarm as well as some commercial office cleaning products.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:01 AM   #3
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had the same thing happen to us and i opened door and windows and waved a piece of paper in front of it, also disconnected the batteries on the "a" frame. it cured the problem
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:07 PM   #4
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Nah, the reason your propane/CO detector's alarm is sounding is not because of antifreeze, it's because of low voltage. I'm suspecting that you're winterizing while only on battery power. The water pump is one of, if not the biggest, single item draw on your 12V DC system. If your battery is weak or not fully charged, activating the water pump could cause the DC voltage to drop low enough to trigger the detector's low voltage alarm, which is what I believe is happening here. If you plug your rig into shore power and the alarm still sounds when you run the water pump, then you may have a defective propane/CO detector.

I once worked for a company that had its office inside a self-store. I can't count the number of times I could hear the detectors sounding inside the various RVs parked there because the battery had run down due to the RV sitting unused in the lot for long periods of time.
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Old 11-15-2013, 07:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPM III View Post
Nah, the reason your propane/CO detector's alarm is sounding is not because of antifreeze, it's because of low voltage. I'm suspecting that you're winterizing while only on battery power
Good theory but can't be the answer. The two 6 volt golf carts are new this year and were fully charged at the time of winterization. If running 2 gallons of antifreeze runs down the voltage to the point of a low voltage alarm, then I'd have heard it every time the wife or kids took a shower. Besides, the alarm light lit up showing an LP problem.

Thanks for the reply, though.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:42 PM   #6
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Let us know if you find an answer.
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:35 AM   #7
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Your question has become quite challenging; especially with the additional information you've supplied. According to a thread on another forum on this subject, http://community.fmca.com/topic/3884...-gas-detector/, LP/CO detectors have been falsely set off by a number of gasses from antifreeze to dogs. Interestingly though, human gas was not mentioned, only dogs (Sorry, Fido, but you're in the doghouse for this one!). Fabreze, aerosols, cleaners, solvents and a host of others all are named as potential culprits.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:35 PM   #8
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Thanks for the link FPM III. I'm gonna call it good, attribute it to the RV antifreeze, and just make sure to keep a fan running for a few hours after I winterize. It was no big deal or inconvenience, but I do like to understand WHY things happen.
Don't have to worry about the dog because she's been gone a few years now, but I really understand how she could set that thing off!
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:28 PM   #9
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Don't understand it either but we had the same thing happen this year. It has been set off in the past by different aerosol containers that my wife uses including deodorant. This years RV antifreeze that I bought was particularly aromatic.( it stunk). Soon as I poured some down the kitchen drain, it went off. Was thinking about changing the unit out but it's obvious that I'm not alone. Like the man said, open the door and put a fan on it. It quickly shut up!!!
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:04 PM   #10
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The propane gas detectors in RV's are not sophisticated enough to discern propane from other flammable gases. The basic purpose of the RV units is to warn of the presence of flammable gas, not really detect a specific gas type. Given the fairly basic design there are many things which the detector may respond to. I'm quite certain that some RV anti-freeze makes the list because some do contain alcohol.

As to other triggers. Propane was once a common propellant in aerosol cans. Many manufacturers try to avoid it because it is flammable, but it is not uncommon to find it in your household products. In some cases the products themselves include alcohol in the ingredients.

Some more detail is below for those who may be interested. vic

Caution and Environmental Hazard

Many propellants are flammable, so it's dangerous to use aerosol cans around an open flame. Otherwise, you might end up with an accidental flamethrower. Another possible danger is inhalation: Some aerosol cans, such as whipped-cream containers, use nitrous oxide, which can be harmful if inhaled in mass quantities. To learn more about the propellants used in aerosol cans, check out this site.
Up until the 1980s, a lot of liquefied-gas aerosol cans used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a propellant. After scientists concluded that CFCs were harmful to the ozone layer, 70 nations signed the Montreal Protocol, an agreement to phase out CFC use over the next decade. Today, almost all aerosol cans contain alternative propellants, such as liquefied petroleum gas, which do not pose as serious a threat to the environment.

Typical Propellants

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

Aerosol propellant grade LPG consists of high purity hydrocarbons derived directly from oil wells, and as a by-product from the petroleum industry.
They consist of a mixture of propane, isobutane and n-butane. These propellants are used in most aerosols today, and have been used for many years in household aerosol products.
These gases are flammable, and this is reflected in the classification of aerosols which contain them.

Di Methyl Ether

This is an alternative liquefied propellant, and is more common in personal care products, and some air fresheners.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

These liquefied propellant gases used to be very common prior to the discovery that they were affecting the ozone layer. They are no longer used in consumer aerosols in the western world. They are however permitted in inhalation aerosols, as used in the treatment of asthma.

Non-soluble compressed Gasses. (e.g. Compressed Air and Nitrogen)

These are sometimes seen in consumer products, and are an environmental alternative to LPG.

Soluble compressed Gasses (e.g. Carbon Dioxide)

This is another alternative to LPG, but has limited use, mainly with alcoholic systems, such as air treatment products, deodorants and personal care products.


http://www.yorks.karoo.net/aerosol/link4.htm
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