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Old 10-05-2014, 08:43 PM   #1
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Any full-timers or long-timers have advice?

I'm living full time in my camper and have some regular maintenance questions that I hope you all can help with. thank you in advance.

1. the fridge, (dometic 2310)-the freezer and the back (inside) of the fridge, along the metal slats on the backwall, have ice buildup over time. i just took everything out, put it in coolers, and defrosted and cleaned it. now, just a few weeks later, the ice has already begun to build up again. how can i delay this buildup, and are there any other ideas as full-timers, for where to put your displaced food so it doesn't spoil? last time, i ate through all my frozen stuff first, but in the future i don't want to have to wait on that to be able to defrost if needed.

2. toilet talk! can i use one of those toilet cleaners that "cleans each time you flush?" i've never used one before, but it seems that after 1 or 2 days after i clean the toilet bowl, it begins to have an odor and it's frustrating. would a cleaner like that damage anything, or would it be too destructive for the happy camper i use to mix these 2 things? other suggestions?
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:08 PM   #2
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3. in the winter when i use the furnace, the propane burning smell is so strong, it's a deterrent to when i need to use it, only when its below 10 degrees usually. or, for a quick warm up. is this due to something being dirty that can be reduced with a cleaning? i always have a window cracked somewhere, and because i'm in a small camper, the smell fills up the whole place. any advice how to improve this? i'm very sensitive to this smell and it gives me a headache real quick.
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:57 AM   #3
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Your heater should NOT make your trailer smell like propane at all, and your trailer could actually blow up. You need help with this, and to not use the heat at all until it's fixed!
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:08 PM   #4
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I strongly agree with Pam (Tweety), there should NOT be any smell from the furnace.

The combustion section gets air from outside and exhausts to the outside. It should be completely isolated from the camper internal air that drawn through the heat exchanger and blown through the internal ducts. Even the ouside exhaust should not smell like propane.

PLEASE have someone check your furnace.
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:48 PM   #5
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Noralee,

Your furnace combustion chamber may have a rust hole in it and letting the exhaust gases come inside. This is dangerous. As was said, do not use it anymore until it is checked out.

There are other things that can cause the furnace to smell bad but they also require the furnace to be removed from the camper and cleaned out. The same process to clean is the same to check the combustion chamber for leaks. This is an involved process.

Can you describe the smell?
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Old 10-13-2014, 08:41 PM   #6
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Noralee,

Ditto what Tweety, Gene, and JohnB said about that furnace! Those headaches are a warning sign.

About the toilet, you had replied to Kathy (Poppy & Nana) on another thread that you have a permanent hook-up for the black tank. Forgive me if this is something you already know but it's recommended when hooked up to "sewer" that you keep the black tank valve closed and dump where there's some accumulation in the tank. It needs the mass to dump effectively because there's no real flushing action in the black tank, at least not like there is in a sticks-and-bricks toilet. Happy Camper can be rendered ineffective when something chemical is mixed with it; on their website, it says HC is "stand alone." We use the HC also to scrub the toilet bowl, it seems to do a good job. We also bought one of these:

Amazon.com: Camco 39062 Dual Flush Pro Holding Tank Rinser with Gate Valve: Automotive

It was amazing what came out of the black tank the first time we used it and we thought we were flushing it clean before we got it. We use it regularly now.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-18-2014, 08:16 PM   #7
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thanks everyone. Please don't worry-i'm not using the furnace. and, the smell seems to me like it is the pilot light. it's not the exhaust or anything like that. i wouldn't be typing this right now if it were the exhaust. it doesn't smell like that. it smells like the pilot light, and the reason i say that confidently is because it smells the same as my water heater pilot light--when i have the window open and the water heater pilot light is lit, sometimes i get wafts of it inside.

am i wrong, or is this not a huge deal, ie dangerous? isn't it normal for the pilot light to give off an odor when burning?

@wannabes re: the toilet. yes, i leave my tank valve closed and flush it when it's full. thanks for that suggestion. i actually sent happy camper guys a note and they suggested that i use awesome from the dollar store, and that that would be a safe option to mix with happy camper.
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Old 10-19-2014, 06:55 PM   #8
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Noralee,

Thought you probably kept your tank valve closed but you never know. Thanks for the info from Happy Camper. We use it too and it's good to know that it can be mixed with Awesome, another product we heard about here on SOC and use all the time. Do post how the HC-Awesome combination works for you, if you get a chance.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post

Can you describe the smell?
not specifically, but i do know that it is the same as when the hot water heater pilot light is lit--sometimes i get wafts of the burnoff through the window. the furnace smells just like that, and so that's why i didn't think it was deadly (blowing up camper per se). it does give me a headache, but so does the water heater pilot light. btw, the water heater is brand new, so the burnoff from the pilot light would be normal and not due to being excessively dirty or anything like that.

i just smell the pilot light burnoff from the furnace.

does this still sound dangerous like folks were thinking?
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Old 10-23-2014, 08:23 PM   #10
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You smell the HW heater pilot burning. H'mm, is there a window near by the HW heater? Even if not open?

On the HW heater all gas smell and fumes should be outside unless they are sneaking into the camper through an opening etc.

Same goes for the furnace. Though it seems this one is more of a problem with the smell if I understand your post correctly. There should not be an odor from pilot fumes coming inside. I'm trying to think how this could happen short of a hole in the combustion chamber or furnace to camper flange leak allowing outside air to come into the camper. Again if there is a window in the area of the furnace, fumes outside could rise up and work there way in the window. But this would not be a smell blowing out the vents inside the camper.

Do you notice the smell blowing out the furnace vents where the heat comes out inside the camper? If the unit has a lot of dust build up I can see heat making that have a smell but that smell is unique.

Do you have a carbon monoxide detector in the camper? This is a need to have even on a good working system.

While I do have an explanation on a "new" Hydroflame furnace for a real bad smell that can overcome you, that smell should be long gone if your furnace is a 1983 original.

I had the issue on our new T2499. The stink inside the camper would make your eyes tear up. I finally called Atwood direct on this and they switched me to the plant engineer at the combustion chamber plant. BTW, I speak highly of Atwood. Their after the sale help is outstanding. The new furnaces have a forming die lube on them on the combustion chamber and I was the lucky one to get one that was really bad. I had thought they all stunk until we got the T310SR where there was zero stink coming out the vents. And I put my nose right at the vents.

Before I sold the T2499 I took the entire furnace apart and burned off with a hand torch all that die lube. The metal coating would leave and I saw shinny metal once it was gone. Then I put it in my BBQ grill and cooked it at 500F for over an hour to get ride of the lube trapped in the nooks and crannies. Then the furnace burned clean inside the camper. Atwood never heard of one taking this long to ever burn off. I really doubt this is your issue being an 83 camper. Unless no one ever used the unit since it was brand new which odds are very low this is going to happen on a unit that old.

If you have a friend or furnace service guy who works on oil or gas fired furnaces, they have meters that measure the exhasut gases to tell if the unit is burning clean and if fumes are getting inside the camper.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
You smell the HW heater pilot burning. H'mm, is there a window near by the HW heater? Even if not open?

On the HW heater all gas smell and fumes should be outside unless they are sneaking into the camper through an opening etc.

Same goes for the furnace. Though it seems this one is more of a problem with the smell if I understand your post correctly. There should not be an odor from pilot fumes coming inside. I'm trying to think how this could happen short of a hole in the combustion chamber or furnace to camper flange leak allowing outside air to come into the camper. Again if there is a window in the area of the furnace, fumes outside could rise up and work there way in the window. But this would not be a smell blowing out the vents inside the camper.

Do you notice the smell blowing out the furnace vents where the heat comes out inside the camper? If the unit has a lot of dust build up I can see heat making that have a smell but that smell is unique.

Do you have a carbon monoxide detector in the camper? This is a need to have even on a good working system.

While I do have an explanation on a "new" Hydroflame furnace for a real bad smell that can overcome you, that smell should be long gone if your furnace is a 1983 original.

I had the issue on our new T2499. The stink inside the camper would make your eyes tear up. I finally called Atwood direct on this and they switched me to the plant engineer at the combustion chamber plant. BTW, I speak highly of Atwood. Their after the sale help is outstanding. The new furnaces have a forming die lube on them on the combustion chamber and I was the lucky one to get one that was really bad. I had thought they all stunk until we got the T310SR where there was zero stink coming out the vents. And I put my nose right at the vents.

Before I sold the T2499 I took the entire furnace apart and burned off with a hand torch all that die lube. The metal coating would leave and I saw shinny metal once it was gone. Then I put it in my BBQ grill and cooked it at 500F for over an hour to get ride of the lube trapped in the nooks and crannies. Then the furnace burned clean inside the camper. Atwood never heard of one taking this long to ever burn off. I really doubt this is your issue being an 83 camper. Unless no one ever used the unit since it was brand new which odds are very low this is going to happen on a unit that old.

If you have a friend or furnace service guy who works on oil or gas fired furnaces, they have meters that measure the exhasut gases to tell if the unit is burning clean and if fumes are getting inside the camper.

Hope this helps

John
John,

Thank you. I've answered your questions below.
No, the smell from the water heater is only when the window is open. not coming from the system inside.

Yes, I am only concerned with the furnace fumes. i believe the water heater is working properly. I;m confused though...the pilot light for the furnace is inside the camper. why should there be no fumes from that inside? there is not a window directly next to the furnace vent, so the exhaust fumes from that are not an issue. plus in the winter the windows are covered. It is only the pilot light fumes that I smell inside. i hope that clarifies any confusion.

Yes, I do notice the smell from the furnace vent outside, so that seems to be working properly.

I do have a carbon monoxide detector inside. it hasn't been an issue the few times i used the furnace.

my water heater is brand new, last year. the furnace is original, 1983. it is possible that the furnace was never used, or only seldom. definitely not used in the last 5 years before i bought the camper. i/techs replaced the pilot light coil at the furnace since it was leaking before. no more leaks now.

any new thoughts?
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Old 10-24-2014, 08:32 PM   #12
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Noralee, Do you have a model number for your furnace? I will explain what I think may be going on in your furnace, but I want to make sure I know which model it is.

The model number may be in a manual if you by chance have it. Or post some pics of the inside the camper what it looks like and outside vent and we can try and back into it. On your little camper, it may not even be a ducted unit, an all contained unit where the inside heat vent is all in one place as part of the main unit.

Does it look like the all in one 7900 series unit? The tan grate is inside the camper.


Thanks

John
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Old 11-15-2014, 08:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Does it look like the all in one 7900 series unit? The tan grate is inside the camper.


Thanks

John
Hi JohnB,

Yes, my furnace looks like the one in your picture. The outside vent is a small rectangular vent with a pipe in the center and a small space on each side of the pipe. The inside has the grate over the ignition pilot light.

Does that help? If not I can rummage around and see what I can find.

Thank you
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:37 PM   #14
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Well just installed brisk air 2 heat pump , CCC2 mult zone, CCC2 multi zone thermostat, love it, no propane usage. Far less condensation. Best improvement yet.
Would highly recommend this upgrade, go for thermostat w dehumidifier programing allows you to program percentage of humidity.
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