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An RV propane detector is a crucial part of your RV that needs to be correctly maintained and checked to ensure it functions properly. Propane detectors can tell if there is propane gas in the air inside your RV and alert you if this is the case. Knowing how to test your RV propane detector is very important to ensure optimum safety for everyone inside your RV.
So, how do you test an RV propane detector?
To test an RV propane detector you need to first check the expiration date and if the detector is out of date, replace the device. Then you should turn off any gas appliances, switch the propane detector on, and press the test button. An alarm will sound if the detector is working correctly.
Testing the propane detector in your RV should be part of your regular maintenance, as having an alarm that doesn’t work correctly would be no use if you were to have a gas leak.
Testing your detector is easy and can be done in a few simple steps, as we’ll discuss below. We will also talk about the steps you can take in case your RV propane detector goes off and why it might happen!
How To Test An RV Propane Detector
You only need to complete a few steps to test your RV propane detector, but before you begin, be sure to turn off any gas appliances you may have such as your RV water heater that can use a substantial amount of propane. As this process will involve the alarm sounding, it’s best to warn friends and family as it could scare them!
Step 1: Check The Expiration Date
Most propane detectors and alarms have expiration dates that indicate the lifespan of the device. These dates are not to be ignored, as using a detector when it has expired could render the device useless if ever it needed to sound the alarm for gas detection.
Step 2: Switch The Detector On
To know if your propane detector is working correctly, you’ll need to first turn it on. You’ll know if the device is on as manufacturers use an indicator such as a flashing light to indicate power.
If your propane detector doesn’t turn on, you may need to replace the batteries or buy a new unit. Either way, it’s best to resolve the problem of a faulty detector as soon as possible as a device that doesn’t work won’t be any good in an emergency.
Step 3: Press The Test Button
You should be able to see a test button on your RV propane detector, and it’s this that you’ll need in order to see if the unit works properly. The test button is normally somewhere on the front of the device, and once you’ve found it, you’ll need to hold it down for a second or two and wait for an indication that the device is working correctly. This could be a loud alarm sound or a change of color in the light on the device.
Step 4: Test Gas Sensor (If You Have One)
For some types of RV propane detectors, you may have to use either propane or butane gas to check if the device is working. If this is the case, you’ll need to look at the specific instructions in the manufacturer’s manual and follow the advice provided.
Step 5: Test the RV Propane Detector Regularly
Although they are an incredibly important part of RV living, it can be easy to forget to test your RV propane detector. It may be useful to set a reminder in your phone to check your detector each week if you’re living full-time on the road or are on vacation for a few weeks. Otherwise, check the device before you set off on a trip, once each week while you’re away, and a final time when you get home and you should be good to go!
It can be daunting if your RV propane detector needs to be replaced, and if you are not confident doing the job yourself, it’s best to contact professionals to do it for you. If you are confident and want to change the unit yourself, the video below provides a very simple run-through of how to replace your RV propane detector.
Once you have replaced your detector, it’s wise to check and make sure it works correctly before packing away your tools. There are many different types of RV propane detectors available on the market, so be sure to choose the one that will work well enough in your RV.
What Is The Lifespan Of An RV Propane Detector?
Although the lifespan of an RV propane detector can vary from brand to brand, typically, a detector will last 5-7 years. Some models may sound an alarm or beeping noise to indicate they are at the end of their life and need replacing.
Carrying propane on board in your RV has its risks, but these risks can be made far less likely by having a propane detector that is working perfectly. If you have even the slightest doubt about your RV propane detector, it’s worth replacing the device as soon as possible.
Propane regulators can be useful for ensuring the gas pumped through the lines is pressurized correctly, and they can also be a good indicator of a fault if something is wrong with the system.
What To Do If RV Propane Alarm Goes Off?
The job of a propane detector in your RV is to sound an alarm if it indicates gas, which will likely be caused by a leak. When your alarm goes off, it can be a bit disorientating, but there are a few things you need to remember to do if your unit has detected a gas leak.
1. Turn Off Gas Supply
Turning off the gas supply is something that needs to be done quickly otherwise gas may continue to leak into your RV indefinitely. By making sure the gas supply is turned off, you are immediately preventing any further gas from entering the RV.
2. Open Windows and Vents
Ventilating your RV is very important and if there are other people in the RV with you, it can be useful to get them to help out and open up all the windows and vents. Creating lots of airflow in the RV will help get the gas out of the vehicle pretty quickly, but if there is a sufficient leak, it could be a good idea to stand outside the RV until the gas has cleared.
3. Identify The Leak
You won’t be able to repair the gas leak until you’ve identified where the leak is, so once the gas has cleared from the RV, you’ll need to do a leak test and see where the problem is. It’s important to not use any gas appliances until the leak is fixed, as this will cause the gas to leak inside the vehicle and it will need to be ventilated again.
4. Replace the Unit If It’s A False Alarm
Occasionally, some models of propane detectors may issue a false alarm and activate a sound even when there isn’t a gas leak. If this is the case, your device may need new batteries or may need to be replaced with a new system. One of the more frustrating sides of propane detectors is when your alarm is sounding but you have no idea what’s causing the problem.
Why Does My RV Propane Alarm Keep Going Off?
Propane detectors are brilliant pieces of kit when they work correctly, but if your alarm keeps going off when no gas is present, something else is likely going on. There could be several reasons why your propane alarm keeps going off, and they are all easy to identify.
1. Cooking Spray
When an RV propane detector is in or near the kitchen area, it’s not uncommon for cooking oil spray to cause issues with the unit and make it activate and sound a false alarm. When using cooking spray, be sure to try and keep as much spray away from the detector as possible, and keep the area well-ventilated.
2. Blocked Monitor
An obstacle blocking the propane detector in your RV could set off the alarm as the system may not be able to sense any fresh air. This can happen if your alarm is low to the ground and goes without being seen and therefore blocked by accident.
Spraying deodorants and other aerosols near the propane detector can set off the alarm, so it’s best to use these in a well-ventilated area where the unit won’t get set off. Detectors can be very sensitive, so as a general rule, try and avoid spraying anything around them.
4. Low Battery
Many propane detectors will sound an alarm to indicate low battery, and if this is the case the unit likely won’t stop beeping until the batteries are changed. This can be frustrating but it’s best to have a detector that works than one that fails to detect gas in your RV.
Life is busy, and when you’re out on the open road having fun, the last thing on your mind will be your RV propane detector. These systems are essential for your RV to remain a safe space, however, so it’s important to stay on top of your detector’s maintenance.
Testing your RV propane detector to see if it’s still working is a very simple process and should only take a few minutes. You must replace your detector if you find out your system isn’t working optimally as you can never be too sure of when a gas leak might happen and safety always comes first.