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Old 09-17-2012, 08:50 AM   #1
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Propane smell

Used the propane heater in 1985 sunline. It has the electric spark to light pilot, heater ran fine. However when just the pilot was on during the day, we smell a faint propane smell. I put a match around all connections but found no leaks. Tighten all connections. We ran it again for awhile. Turned it off, left pilot on, closed doors. Checked on it later , no smell. So we left for a few hours. Check on it , the oder was very faint. I could not smell it all, lauri could however. To me it just smelt like heat. The uint has not been used i belive for a coulpe years.
Since the smell seem to be less as we used it, any thought it maybe just needs to be used.
Again I put my nose right in it and could not smell anything. Used a match over all connections, nothing.
Any thoughts???

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Old 09-17-2012, 09:27 AM   #2
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First thought would be not to use a match to check for propane leaks, soapy solution painted on connections would be less explosive. An unlit pilot would create a strong smell if left for a while and could be the source of your smell. Put some dish soap in a little water, mix up with a small paint brush and check all your connections for peace of mind. A gas leak will create a bubble.

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Old 09-17-2012, 09:38 AM   #3
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First thought would be not to use a match to check for propane leaks, soapy solution painted on connections would be less explosive.
Definitely no open flames as leak checkers. RVs don't take well to that combination.


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Old 09-17-2012, 01:29 PM   #4
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jim, The propane fire for the heater should only be vented to the outside of the camper. Are you smelling the odor inside or out? If inside you should recheck all LP lines with the soapy water solution and brush method. I mean all lines, even stove and refrigerator all the way to the LP tanks. If outside the odor may be leftover residue from bleeding the LP lines during the first use startup.

LP gas is odorless so they add some stink to help notice leaks. That stink will take time to dissipate sometimes, so even though you smell the LP odor there is no LP leak. If you finish checking all the connections and appliances and still smell the stink you might need to just give it time.

I hope your problem is only leftover stink.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:02 PM   #5
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Hi Jim,

I agree with the others, use a gas leak solution in place of the match method.

Now past this to your problem.

If many years have gone by, dust may accumulate in the heat chamber and it can smell after the first fired up and sometimes a few others but should get less each time.

Since you have an 1985 model there is a possibility of a rusted pin hole or 2 in the heat chamber. This could allow a wiff of propane to come into the camper before the main burner lights. Or that a gasket where the burner attached has a void in it. If either of these are the cases, they really need to be corrected as fumes can then come into the camper as well.

There is another areas that can create a LP smell inside the camper that is not a pipe connection, the stove if you have one has a separate regulator on it. It takes 11" WC down to 10" WC gas pressure. The regulator can have a leak inside the regulator that comes out the vent port of the regulator.

See here where a real fine leak was one one of mine.

I use this solution to check for leaks, it works better than the soap water. You can find it at Lowes/Home Depot.

If you have not had a LP pressure drop test done in a while, this would be a good time to check it out. Here is a thread which may be helpfull

The main pressure drop test will look for fine leaks, including the appliance shutoff valves themselves. If you fail a pressure drop test there is a leak somewhere. It then becomes a hunt on where.

If you suspect the furnace may have a rusted pin hole, if you find a LP service guy who even works on home gas equipment they have a very high end sniffer that can find these really fine leaks. He may also be able to tell you carbon monoxide is coming through and if it is, then you have a leak in the heat chamber or chamber gasket and that really needs fixing before using the unit.

Hope this helps

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Old 09-22-2012, 07:22 AM   #6
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Thanks for the in put. Bought a continer of leak detector. Found small leak coming off regulator inside furnace feeding pilot and burner. Finding a wrench to get on line is not next. Do no want to slide out furance if I do not have do.
How is vent connected?

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