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Old 12-02-2008, 06:48 PM   #1
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Carbon Monoxide

I am on the maiden voyage with my newly acquired 1995 Ford Sportsmobile. I bought one of the plug in type with 9V battery backup carbon monoxide / gas detector. At night we are staying in a friends house with the van parked outside plugged into AC power. In the morning the detector alarm is going off reading around 80ppm. The only thing running in the van is a Norcold refrigerator that is about a week old. I open the vent and side window, turn on the fan and it drops to zero in a few minutes. Does anyone have any ideas what may be generating the carbon monoxide overnight? Thanks for the help!
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:56 PM   #2
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Could it be a defective sensor? Sensitive to CO2? Or was it picking up other gases? Mexican dinner?

We almost always have at least one window open a little. Just like the fresh air when we sleep.

Mike
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:24 PM   #3
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Carbon monoxide is serious business. Here is a good source for information: CPSC.gov

I would say your most likely subjects are a propane furnace that was not fully shut off, thus ran in the night, or your fridge is a 3-way- just because it was installed last week does not guarentee it was done correctly.

Also, are you sure it was CO and not another gas, like a propane leak?
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:06 AM   #4
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This makes me want to install a brand new wall sensor just to make sure. We ran the propane furnace for the first time ever last trip out 3 nights in a row, all closed up and didn't even think about it. I was more worried about the propane flame igniting something on fire. Im glad im here to type. Guess its all working fine.
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for the ideas. The furnace was not running and I'm sure the propane was off. The refrigerator is DC/AC only no propane. The detector says "gas" when it detects propane or natural gas so I am pretty sure it is CO. Any other ideas suggestions would be really appreciated.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:12 AM   #6
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You typically only get CO in high levels as a by product of combustion. Was you vehicle parked near the exhaust of a furnace of hot water heater at you friends house? The only other thing I can think of is that in your first post you mentioned your fridge was a week old. Maybe your fridge has a refrigerant leak. I am not sure this would trip your detector, just throwing out ideas.

Have you tried to recreate the circumstances since you got home?

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Old 12-04-2008, 11:46 AM   #7
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If the propane wasn't off, or wasn't off all the way and the termostat was down but not off, that could lead your heater to run.

If you can't recreate the situation parked at home, you might try running the heater on low (60º?) one night in your driveway with the van shut and you safely in your house.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adventureduo
This makes me want to install a brand new wall sensor just to make sure.
My CO sensor expired a few months ago so I just bought a new one on Monday...and it arrived today! It is the same CCI controls model that came with my SMB. I found a great site that had a killer price, even spoke with the owner, Barbara: Safe Home Products.

It only cost me $57.95 for the black one (white was a few bucks more). The same unit from the manufacturers preferred vendor was $89. I was very impressed with Safe Home products. http://www.safehomeproducts.com/shp2...?category=1230

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Old 12-13-2008, 07:32 PM   #9
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Hairspray and paint will also set off a CO detector. I'm sure there are more, but that is what I have personal experience with in hotels with hardwired co detectors.
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:20 PM   #10
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I had an 'oh crap' moment this year on my memorial day camping trip. We were in the sierras near loon lake and it rained pretty much non stop all weekend to some extent or another.

I happened to borrow a friend's 2.5kw gennie to try it out and it ended up really being handy that weekend, when the rain got really bad we could go inside and play xbox or watch movies without having to budget our electrical reserves.

I set the gennie up under the van to keep it dry. After running about 15 minutes our co2 sensor went off. I was about half a mile away at the creek and I could very easily hear it through the forest. Glad to know it's not a weak alarm!
Of course I had to hustle back to the van because the GF was pulling her hair out trying to figure out how to deal with it.

the gennie was only barely running on minimal throttle mode, but that was enough to set off the alarm.
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