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Old 05-02-2021, 02:41 PM   #1
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Propane explosion below cooktop

I found this thread after having a bad experience this morning.

We have a 2018 5.0 TA with the 2 burner suburban cooktop. I was cooking breakfast when we had a propane explosion. The lower cabinets all blew open with flames that surrounded me. It was really scary! My hair is all burned around my face, eyebrows burned, even my pubic hair as my robe blew open and actually caught on fire. I jumped outside and threw off my robe and poured water all over myself. I now have burns on much of my legs and on one arm. I think that I will be ok. Only one spot has blistered so far. I used lots of cold compresses. After a double dose of Aleve, Iím feeling fine, though I was in quite a bit of pain with the burns earlier.

Meanwhile, my husband is trying to troubleshoot the cooktop. Weíve found that one of the aluminum lines to the burner has separated from the flange, just like others have said. What a dangerous situation! I will be reporting it to both Suburban and ETI. Iím pretty sure that we are beyond warranty at this point.

I had thought that Iíd smelled propane for a few days but the propane detector never went off so I thought that perhaps I was imagining it. Pay attention if you smell propane!
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Old 05-02-2021, 02:49 PM   #2
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I moved this to it's own thread. This is an important SAFETY notice. Didn't want it to get lost in a multi-page thread.

I'm so very sorry to hear this and hope you heal quickly. I often say, make memories, but this ISN'T what I meant!
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Old 05-02-2021, 03:07 PM   #3
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I think it would be worthwhile mounting a propane detector closer to the stove height. Thinking about how my 17b is set up, if there were a gas leak either in the stove or the furnace, likely each time I opened the door I'd be venting any gases that got far from there. Much less air flow down where the CO/propane detector is mounted especially since I leave the bed set up all the time. It would work fine when you aren't using the trailer as the gas would end up at floor level and slowly diffuse towards the detector, but not so sure that's the case when you are in and out and perhaps running an exhaust fan or the vent.
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Old 05-02-2021, 03:22 PM   #4
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Wow, I’m glad you weren’t more seriously hurt.

I suppose we will all be checking our stove connections!

? Does anyone know if this issue (propane line separated from stove) have been discovered by doing a propane pressure check.
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Old 05-02-2021, 03:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by LarryandLiz View Post
...
I suppose we will all be checking our stove connections!

? Does anyone know if this issue (propane line separated from stove) have been discovered by doing a propane pressure check.
Please note that the separated tube as described in the OP is not the service line connecting the stove to the rest of the trailer's propane system, it is a tube within the stove, downstream of one of the burner-valves as the propane flows.

No amount of leak-detection fluid/pressure testing the system up to and including the stove's main connection to the service line and even within the stove to the burner-valves will reveal the separation described in the OP.

Propane would leak from the described separation only when the otherwise properly functioning stove is in-use, a particularly treacherous situation.

I join those thankful that the OP's serious episode wasn't any worse - it could easily have been.

A question is begged: Does ETI install a shutoff valve on the service line to the stove which would allow isolation of the stove from the rest of the trailer's propane system when one has any concern about the integrity of the stove itself?
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Old 05-02-2021, 04:16 PM   #6
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I think it would be worthwhile mounting a propane detector closer to the stove height. Thinking about how my 17b is set up, if there were a gas leak either in the stove or the furnace, likely each time I opened the door I'd be venting any gases that got far from there. Much less air flow down where the CO/propane detector is mounted especially since I leave the bed set up all the time. It would work fine when you aren't using the trailer as the gas would end up at floor level and slowly diffuse towards the detector, but not so sure that's the case when you are in and out and perhaps running an exhaust fan or the vent.
Propane is heavier than air so I doubt a propane alarm at stove level is a good idea, and would quite possibly sound false alarms when the stove is in use. Because the connections are near the countertop, if you smell propane it would probably be advisable to open the cabinet beneath the stove and sniff to see if it is more intense below the stove.

And Beth, thankfully you were not burned more severely, and the ice and pills have alleviated your pain. Hoping you recover quickly, and you do not have (shall I say) PTSD from the incident. Thank you so much for reporting it as your warning may promote others checking their stove and nobody else gets injured.
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Old 05-02-2021, 04:52 PM   #7
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Propane is heavier than air so I doubt a propane alarm at stove level is a good idea, and would quite possibly sound false alarms when the stove is in use. Because the connections are near the countertop, if you smell propane it would probably be advisable to open the cabinet beneath the stove and sniff to see if it is more intense below the stove.
It's heavier than air but by the time it stratifies enough and is down at ground level you have too much propane. Air doesn't just sit still and layer itself into heavier and lighter gases. It constantly mixes, more when the trailer is in use. The cabinet under the stove likely would give false alarms, too. I'm thinking at about 1-2 feet high (recommended for propane is 1-3 feet; current detector is at <1 foot and in what is more likely dead air space.) Since Beth smelled propane but the detector did not alert either the monitor isn't good or the current location isn't adequate.
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:22 PM   #8
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For those of us with the Suburban cooktop, would it be effective to put a CO detector inside the cabinet?


Best wishes for fast healing to NWTraveler.
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:00 PM   #9
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I am very sorry that it came to this point that someone got injured. Hope you get well soon.

If anybody has not read about the potential of stove failure here is a link to a thread you should read.

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...tml#post306623

I found the factory did not install the nuts and washers behind the knobs properly and the valves come loose. This allows the two thin tubes that feed the burners to break off. If your valves feel loose...stop using your stove immediately.

This was pasted onto Escape along with photos that they requested. They are fully aware of the problem so donít let them tell you otherwise. I am very surprised that we have not heard about a recall.
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:38 PM   #10
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Can you please share those photos? I'd like to be sure what I'm looking for if I check mine.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:11 PM   #11
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For those of us with the Suburban cooktop, would it be effective to put a CO detector inside the cabinet?

Best wishes for fast healing to NWTraveler.
That's terrifying. Fast recovery!

Propane is much heavier than air and flows downwards through gaps and openings. Her description of the deflagration points to gas accumulation in the cabinets under the stovetop. Imagine pouring water through the cooktop and track where the liquid flowed, the propane would follow similar paths, especially protected from convection or ventilation mixing in the main open space of the trailer.

The detector location in the 5.0 would require a propane leak that could spill over into the passageway.

A detector inside the cabinet under the cooktop is what I'd suggest. When we pick up our 5.0 that's one of the things I was going to assess (need to look at the stove/oven layout to assess possible leak flow. (past job I investigated fires and explosions, spent lots of time looking at gas deflagrations)
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:28 PM   #12
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That's terrifying. Fast recovery!

Propane is much heavier than air and flows downwards through gaps and openings. Her description of the deflagration points to gas accumulation in the cabinets under the stovetop. Imagine pouring water through the cooktop and track where the liquid flowed, the propane would follow similar paths, especially protected from convection or ventilation mixing in the main open space of the trailer.

The detector location in the 5.0 would require a propane leak that could spill over into the passageway.

A detector inside the cabinet under the cooktop is what I'd suggest. When we pick up our 5.0 that's one of the things I was going to assess (need to look at the stove/oven layout to assess possible leak flow. (past job I investigated fires and explosions, spent lots of time looking at gas deflagrations)
I agree- it could flow downward and collect below the stovetop in a closed cabinet. It is much less likely to collect in the open air spaces when the trailer is in use, though. But I think a detector inside the cabinet might go off too often. But worth a try and just move it around until regular use of the stovetop does not set it off.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:38 PM   #13
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I think it would be worthwhile mounting a propane detector closer to the stove height. Thinking about how my 17b is set up, if there were a gas leak either in the stove or the furnace, likely each time I opened the door I'd be venting any gases that got far from there. Much less air flow down where the CO/propane detector is mounted especially since I leave the bed set up all the time. It would work fine when you aren't using the trailer as the gas would end up at floor level and slowly diffuse towards the detector, but not so sure that's the case when you are in and out and perhaps running an exhaust fan or the vent.

Would a hand held detector be advisable? Amazon has several.
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Old 05-02-2021, 09:07 PM   #14
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Thanks for posting your very unfortunate experience. I read this thread, and the previous thread referred to by Eggscape. Is the stovetop concern with the two burner model, or with both the two and three burner models? We have a three burner model and I am wondering what to look for on our cooktop.

Thanks
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Old 05-02-2021, 09:47 PM   #15
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Would a hand held detector be advisable? Amazon has several.
Probably if you think you would smell it (as she did) and want to locate the source. But for warning- you'd have to know to use it, so probably not as good.
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Old 05-02-2021, 09:58 PM   #16
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Meanwhile, my husband is trying to troubleshoot the cooktop. Weíve found that one of the aluminum lines to the burner has separated from the flange, just like others have said. What a dangerous situation! I will be reporting it to both Suburban and ETI. Iím pretty sure that we are beyond warranty at this point.
Being beyond warranty should be the last of your concerns. You were injured and it could have been much worse. This is a serious issue that users have clearly pointed out starting as early as late 2019. Not a lot of traveling in 2020 so these these cooktops got a rest but I feel like they are literally a ticking time bomb. Suburban needs to step up and issue a recall !!!
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:03 PM   #17
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I agree- it could flow downward and collect below the stovetop in a closed cabinet. It is much less likely to collect in the open air spaces when the trailer is in use, though. But I think a detector inside the cabinet might go off too often. But worth a try and just move it around until regular use of the stovetop does not set it off.
Basically, exactly what I said. Sniff in the cabinet below the stove because that is where it is likely going. Beth did say the propane ignition blew the door open.
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:34 PM   #18
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Defects in products are an unpleasant reality, but defects in products that cause injury to the user are completely unacceptable, and they rightly subject the manufacturer to legal liability. I'm very glad to hear you're relatively OK. At the risk of sounding litigious, I'd advise getting a good lawyer, and having them correspond with Suburban. Fact is, you're injured due to someone else's negligence, and it could have been far more tragic. They need to make it right, and they need to recall their defective products and fix them.
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:35 PM   #19
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A detector inside the cabinet under the cooktop is what I'd suggest.

I suggest venting the cabinet. Doesn't require batteries and directs gases out to where the detector is located. Vent could be located just above the floor.
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Old 05-02-2021, 11:33 PM   #20
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I suggest venting the cabinet. Doesn't require batteries and directs gases out to where the detector is located. Vent could be located just above the floor.
That's a good call. Close to bottom of the cabinet so it wouldn't be possible for propane to accumulate internally.
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