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Old 08-08-2012, 09:27 AM   #1
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Broken Furnace? Alarms!

three weeks ago, when we went out the first time with the new AFrame, I fired up the furnace one morning to take the edge off. After running for a few mins, the CO/Smoke detector went off. I quickly vented and shut everything down.

My hope was it was just maybe some dust/oil burning off a brand-new furnace unit.

I finally got around to following up this morning (was waiting for a cool day). This morning I fired up the furnace in Camp Driveway with all the windows and vents closed up and puttered around in the garage. In about 10-15 minutes, I got an alarm going off and this time it was the propane detector.

I'm assuming one shouldn't have to run the furnace with the windows/vent open, right? I'm guessing I've either got a bum furnace or something else bad going on.

Anything you can think of that I should do, other than contact the dealer for a look-see?
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:50 AM   #2
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...I finally got around to following up this morning (was waiting for a cool day). This morning I fired up the furnace in Camp Driveway with all the windows and vents closed up and puttered around in the garage. In about 10-15 minutes, I got an alarm going off and this time it was the propane detector.

I'm assuming one shouldn't have to run the furnace with the windows/vent open, right?
I would only fire up a furnace the first time with everything open to dissipate the fumes and let it burn for at least 15-20 minutes with the thermostat turned to max.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:10 PM   #3
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So should we always have a window open when running the furnace? We have friends who live full time in the Class A MH and they won't ever run the furnace while they are sleeping. So that just makes me wonder if we should have a window open for fresh air intake.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by aspengirl
So should we always have a window open when running the furnace? We have friends who live full time in the Class A MH and they won't ever run the furnace while they are sleeping. So that just makes me wonder if we should have a window open for fresh air intake.
I've never opened windows in our campers while furnace is running
The exhaust is vented outside well enough.

New furnaces or ones that haven't been used in awhile sometimes let off a very lite smoke or odor from manufacturing oils and or dust collected on the burner.

Do your friends have co detector's st home ? Bet not . So I'm wondering if they don't run there furnace at home when they sleep ?

You'll be fine
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:20 PM   #5
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It's fine. We've never worried about the furnace running with the camper buttoned up. Our ceiling vents are usually open, but thats just for fresh air; not because of any other concern.

First, the recommendation to run it while open is to let the burning-oil smell air out. This happens with any new trailer when you first run the furnace.

Second, you have alarms in case of the off chance there is a leak. Always maintain those as they are lifesavers.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by f1100turbo View Post
I've never opened windows in our campers while furnace is running
The exhaust is vented outside well enough.

New furnaces or ones that haven't been used in awhile sometimes let off a very lite smoke or odor from manufacturing oils and or dust collected on the burner.

Do your friends have co detector's st home ? Bet not . So I'm wondering if they don't run there furnace at home when they sleep ?

You'll be fine
Thank you for the information. Our friends thoughts about not running their furnace worried me into thinking we wouldn't be ok. But if we wouldn't be ok, why would RV's have furnaces in them? Appreciate your help!
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by aspengirl

Thank you for the information. Our friends thoughts about not running their furnace worried me into thinking we wouldn't be ok. But if we wouldn't be ok, why would RV's have furnaces in them? Appreciate your help!
Cheers and have fun !
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:38 PM   #8
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It's fine. We've never worried about the furnace running with the camper buttoned up. Our ceiling vents are usually open, but thats just for fresh air; not because of any other concern.

First, the recommendation to run it while open is to let the burning-oil smell air out. This happens with any new trailer when you first run the furnace.

Second, you have alarms in case of the off chance there is a leak. Always maintain those as they are lifesavers.
We did notice the burning oil smell when we tested it in our driveway. We'll open up the first time we use it. Great idea!

The alarms do give me some peace of mind. I need to read about them so we can maintain them correctly.

Thanks for your help. We've learned sooooo much reading the forums!!
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:40 PM   #9
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Thanks for bringing this up. I had forgotten to burn ours in, will open all the windows and roof vents tomorrow and turn it on. Hate to get to FL and have to use it and get smoked out.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:12 AM   #10
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I also agree that burning off the oil and such is a good idea on a new camper. When I went to pick our camper and go through the walk through, the sevice tech actually had the furnace running and burned off the oil before we went through it. Was surprised to see that but was glad he did it, one less thing for me to do.
Good Luck.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:44 AM   #11
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Thanks for bringing this up. I had forgotten to burn ours in, will open all the windows and roof vents tomorrow and turn it on. Hate to get to FL and have to use it and get smoked out.
Me to ! Good reminder !
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:13 AM   #12
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I cheat when needing heat in the camper. I run a sperate heavy extension cord out to the power pole, and plug it into the 15A plug, then I have a seperate dedicated power source for my 1500W heater. Keeps our camper nice and warm even with temps down around 30 degrees.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:55 AM   #13
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While we are talking about CO detectors, Lysol aerosol spray will make a detector go off, and it may not be right away.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:17 AM   #14
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ThunderRoad - our Aframe took a long time for the propane furnace to 'burn-off'. Eventually I had to let it run overnight in the driveway for 3 nights. Now it finally has lost that new smell. During the burn in period the ceiling smoke detector would go off quite often (for the overnight runs in driveway I pulled the battery - no one was in the trailer but I didn't want to disturb the neighbors).
One thing I have noticed - the large back window has to be shut when the propane furnace is running otherwise the smoke detector will still occasionally go off. Since the furnace exhaust vents to the back side I think given the right wind conditions some of the exhaust was coming in the window and triggering the alarm (the distance between the furnace exhaust vent and the large window is minimal as you know). So if we want a little ventilation when running the furnace we use only the small front window and the ceiling fan vent.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:40 AM   #15
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I would only fire up a furnace the first time with everything open to dissipate the fumes and let it burn for at least 15-20 minutes with the thermostat turned to max.
Yep, this is right out of the manual and should have been mentioned during your PDI.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:43 AM   #16
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Each season when the furnace is needed I turn it on with the windows open for about an hour due to dust settling in the unit. I do the same with the AC unit with the Strip Heaters. Dust gets on the element and once it's energized the dust burns off. It's the same for a residential Gas or Oil Furnace or even a Heat Pump System when that Aux. Heater comes on the first time you'll know it by the scent of the dust burning off. I call it the smell of first heat.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:32 AM   #17
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heck, after we built our house and moved in, the first 2-3 times i ran the furnace (which is electric btw) it set off my fire/co detectors....they came and inspected and said they coils had a lot of manufacturing residue....and no they didnt tell me not to run the furnace...just to crack a door the next few times i ran it....

so its not just new campers or even propane that can set those things off in the begining...now if you have been running it everyday for a month with no problems, then alarms start going off, i would be worried....
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:48 AM   #18
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Yep, this is right out of the manual and should have been mentioned during your PDI.
It was and we've done it on the 7 campers we've had, I just forgot to do it on this one. The tech had started it, but didn't let it run long enough to complete the task. I just fired it up about 10 minutes ago and will let it run for about an hr with the windows open, roof vent open and stove vent fan on.
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:13 AM   #19
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As the one that posted the original thread, I let mine run for about 3 hours in the driveway with the windows open and the roof vent on low. Then I sealed it up and let it go another hour with the smoke alarm no longer going off.

You can run the furnace fine with all the windows closed, but I found that the camper is so well sealed, I didn't feel that I got a lot of fresh air. I prefer to crack the small window and either crack the the large window a little, or open the roof vent just enough to power the fan on low. Yes it makes the furnace run a little less efficiently, but it gets really stuffy otherwise.
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:20 AM   #20
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You can run the furnace fine with all the windows closed, but I found that the camper is so well sealed, I didn't feel that I got a lot of fresh air. I prefer to crack the small window and either crack the the large window a little, or open the roof vent just enough to power the fan on low. Yes it makes the furnace run a little less efficiently, but it gets really stuffy otherwise.
It can get stuffy and leaving a little air flow helps to control condensation. This is why we installed vent covers. We rarely close our vents now preferring to have a bit of air flow. Its only really a challenge in the spring and fall for us when it drops way down at night.
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