An RV LP Detector Is A Must Have
Here’s some useful information regarding your RV’s personal safety equipment. Today’s modern recreational vehicles are all equipped with LP detector, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher. Today we’ll discuss the LP detector.
RVs are equipped with tanks (motor homes) or bottles (towable RVs) that contain liquid propane under high pressure. This energy source is regulated down and then supplied to the appliances (water heater, refrigerator, stove and furnace) in the form of a vapor.
LP detectors are capable of detecting the vapor in very small quantities and will alert with a shrill siren if an unsafe concentration accumulates in the interior of the RV. Propane is colorless and odorless. An odorant (ethyl mercaptan) is added so the occupants can smell the vapor and be alerted. LP detectors are hard-wired into the 12 volt battery system of the RV and is protected by a fused circuit.
Consider these tips:
- If battery voltage drops too low, the device will alert signaling low voltage. This problem usually corrects itself once the RV is plugged into shore power and battery charging resumes.
- When in storage, if the house battery is not disconnected, the LP detector remains a parasitic drain on the battery and will deplete the battery within several days.
- LP detectors expire after 5 years from the date of manufacture. If not on the front of the detector, the manufacture/expiration date is stamped on the rear of the device. They should be replaced when expiration is reached.
- LP detectors “sniff” the air for a family of gases. Aerosols like Lysol, cleaners, hair spray, paint, etc. can contaminate the sensitive components of the detector and make it alert erroneously and continuously. Do not spray anything near the LP detector.
- Today, many RV detectors are combination appliances, which includes both LP and carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is toxic and dangerous to humans. The most common source of CO for campers is generator exhaust emissions.
- In the event of a genuine alert, exit the RV and turn off the LP gas source. The vapor dissipates quickly in fresh air with adequate ventilation.