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Old 10-03-2016, 12:50 PM   #1
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CO detector

Considering a portable carbon monoxide detector that's on sale at Canadian Tire. But, wondering if there is much point in having one. What source for CO would there be in the trailer? The furnace combustion takes place outside, as does the water heater. I suppose that the fridge could produce CO but it would have to find its way into the interior of the trailer.
Have the propane gas detector and smoke detector.
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:01 PM   #2
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I've always questioned that too Glenn. It makes sense in a Motorhome perhaps, since a carbon monoxide leak or build up from the engine could potentially enter the living area. But in a tow behind? I see no need.

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Old 10-03-2016, 02:14 PM   #3
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[QUOTE=gbaglo;162787
The furnace combustion takes place outside, [/QUOTE]

The furnace can make CO if it's not burning cleanly. For the CO to be exhausted to the exterior the heat exchanger must be in perfect condition. Any perforations will allow the CO to leak into the air being heated and then blown into the interior.

This is probably the greatest source of CO related incidents relating to home furnaces and the major reason CO detectors are encouraged/required.

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Old 10-03-2016, 02:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
The furnace can make CO if it's not burning cleanly. For the CO to be exhausted to the exterior the heat exchanger must be in perfect condition. Any perforations will allow the CO to leak into the air being heated and then blown into the interior.

This is probably the greatest source of CO related incidents relating to home furnaces and the major reason CO detectors are encouraged/required.

Ron
Ah, that makes sense. Partial combustion could mean CO potentially leaking to the interior. Thanks for the info.

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Old 10-03-2016, 02:31 PM   #5
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A CO detector is cheap insurance, given the potentially deadly consequences of CO poisoning.

The most likely CO source probably would be a defect in the furnace heat exchanger, allowing combustion gas to enter the trailer. Other potential CO sources are the gas stovetop (incomplete combustion creates CO) or exhaust from a vehicle, hot water heater or fridge that enters through a vent or window.

FYI, I experienced CO poisoning from a defective furnace in our college apartment, and it's nothing to take lightly. Unfortunately the symptoms (headache and nausea) mimic the flu, so people often do not realize what is going on. Now, I maintain CO alarms in my home and in my trailer.

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Old 10-03-2016, 02:36 PM   #6
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Since CO is a byproduct of all fire it is possible that a CO detector can alert before a smoke detector if there is a smoldering fire in the upholstery. I am also planning to investigate a catalytic propane heater for winter camping and if I had one of those I would put an additional CO detector in the sleeping loft of the 5.0 TA.
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:38 PM   #7
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After the stove the furnace is the biggest risk in the trailer as it has the largest heat output. It also would run most frequently during the night which is also the highest risk time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
The furnace combustion takes place outside
I pulled up the install manual for the furnace in my trailer and the heat exchanger is between the blower and the interior of the trailer.

The biggest risk would be from a cracked furnace heat exchanger. This would allow products of combustion to enter into the blower and into the living area while it is operating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
as does the water heater
The heat exchanger for the hot water heater is a tube immersed in the water tank that has a burner tube on the outside end - install manual on page 10. It looks like the hot gases travel into the tube on the bottom and exhaust out on the top. The hot water tank is usually pressurized so if this heat exchanger cracked than water would likely start running out and either extinguish the flame or give you a warning sign of failure.

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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I suppose that the fridge could produce CO
The propane cooling system on your fridge is indirect. The flame heats a solution of ammonia that starts a reaction in a set of sealed tubes - found this article that describes the process. This should keep the flame and combustion gases on the outside of the trailer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
wondering if there is much point in having one
Better to be safe and have a detector. CO is a silent killer because you can't smell it and it just puts you to sleep. My family lost 4 people due to a faulty propane heater while they were sleeping in a cabin back in the 70's.

You can get combo smoke detector and CO alarm to replace the existing detector in your trailer. Smoke detectors need to be replaced every 10 years.
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Partial combustion could mean CO potentially leaking to the interior.
Furnace combustion normally takes place inside a sealed heat exchanger. Poor or partial combustion would only increase the risk of CO poisoning if the heat exchanger was cracked or if the exhaust gases were being drawn back into the trailer through another opening.
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave&Jane View Post
A CO detector is cheap insurance, given the potentially deadly consequences of CO poisoning.
Agreed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave&Jane View Post
FYI, I experienced CO poisoning from a defective furnace in our college apartment, and it's nothing to take lightly. Unfortunately the symptoms (headache and nausea) mimic the flu, so people often do not realize what is going on. Now, I maintain CO alarms in my home and in my trailer.
We had a squirrel climb down our hot water tank flue - we think it smelled the bird seed (stored in the mechanical room) in the flue gases. It died right at the hot water tank flue connection and slowly bloated over the next few days. This sealed off the hot water tank flue and allowed combustion gases to pour directly into our house. I noticed the smell of the combustion gases before the CO detectors went off so I replaced them immediately.
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Old 10-03-2016, 03:09 PM   #10
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Well, I bought it. Was only $26 and included two AAs.
I question those combo smoke and CO detectors since the CO detector is supposed to be about 3' off the floor and the smoke detector is supposed to be near the ceiling.
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Old 10-03-2016, 03:10 PM   #11
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Generators are another potential CO source for trailers, although I believe most users place them well away from the trailer to reduce the noise. CO poisoning from generators in houseboats has been a serious but under-appreciated problem.

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Old 10-03-2016, 03:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave&Jane View Post
Generators are another potential CO source for trailers, although I believe most users place them well away from the trailer to reduce the noise. CO poisoning from generators in houseboats has been a serious but under-appreciated problem.

-Dave
Whoa! I just read the houseboat article. I wouldn't have expected that considering the people were on a lake with what seems like unlimited amounts of outside air to breathe.

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Old 10-03-2016, 04:03 PM   #13
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Found this info from Kiddie:

"There is no specific height for carbon monoxide. CO weights almost the same as air so it spreads pretty evenly. As well, CO alarms measure for the overall exposure to CO, not just its presence. They simulate the absorption rate into the human body because low levels of CO over a long period of time is as dangerous as high levels in a matter minutes. If you are unsure about the potential for CO, consider gettting a digital display alarm that lets you know of low levels of CO, well before it gets dangerous."

On the other hand, the CO alarm instructions for the one I have at home said to place it 3' from the floor.
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Old 10-03-2016, 04:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave&Jane View Post
Generators are another potential CO source for trailers, although I believe most users place them well away from the trailer to reduce the noise. CO poisoning from generators in houseboats has been a serious but under-appreciated problem.

-Dave
my experience has always been that generators are usually placed closer to my camp spot, rather than the user/owners camp spot.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:16 PM   #15
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My 2005 17b had a totally unsealed fridge. When the sun was at the right angle, I could see sunlight on the control panel (shining through the exhaust vent).

I have also had bad luck with MTI co/gas detectors. Bought two recently and both failed within 3 days.
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Old 10-05-2016, 01:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
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my experience has always been that generators are usually placed closer to my camp spot, rather than the user/owners camp spot.
Yah, a couple of times I've been tempted to say, "for me, how nice of you"

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Old 03-13-2017, 03:35 PM   #17
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So it's been 2 yrs on the smoke detector.Thing is beeping.No smoke around just checking for while the 21 is in storage.So how do you change that battery.Thank-you Don't want to break it.Pushed in on the indentation ,on the side.It won't budge...
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:41 PM   #18
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If it is like most, you rotate it counter clockwise.
It's a bayonet mount on a plate screwed to the wall.
Battery door is on the back of the detector.
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Old 03-13-2017, 04:08 PM   #19
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So it's been 2 yrs on the smoke detector.Thing is beeping.No smoke around just checking for while the 21 is in storage.So how do you change that battery.Thank-you Don't want to break it.Pushed in on the indentation ,on the side.It won't budge...
Counter clockwise to remove from holder. Pull OUT. On the indented tab. Replace with 2 AA. This is for most since 2012.
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Old 03-14-2017, 03:45 PM   #20
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Thanks for all your help.I think allot thought the s/alarm combo was Kidde [not].Anyways this may help,the next frustrated camper.My trailer has a 1st alert combo.To change the batteries,you don't have to unmount it from the wall.Next to the test sensor button.Is a convex shaped dent in the side.Well it slides out,as apposed to,flipping up.Therefore no dismantle of your wall.pull out like you would opening a drawer.happy camping..
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