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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Replacing an Outdated RV Propane Leak Detector

A previous LP gas detector in our RV had a third electrical connection that apparently connects to a wire that goes to a solenoid valve in the gas line to stop flow of gas if propane is detected inside the RV. I need to change this LP gas detector out due to age. The replacement models I've seen apparently do not make a gas detector that connects to a wire that controls the solenoid valve. Is it better to remove the solenoid valve from the gas line or to find an LP gas detector that does connect to a wire that controls the solenoid valve? If it is better to install a LP gas detector that will control the solenoid valve, what LP gas detectors are currently available to do this? Also, will I need to replace the solenoid valve currently in the gas line or only connect the new LP gas detector to the current wire in the RV to control the solenoid valve? Morris W.

Morris, I'm glad to hear you are aware that propane leak detectors, as well as carbon monoxide and smoke alarms all have a limited, effective life-time and should be replaced every five years or so. Many RVers, unfortunately, are not aware of this and quite likely there are many leak detectors out there that have been rendered ineffective due simply to age.

That said, it is not a requirement to have a safety solenoid valve in conjunction with the leak detector. An audible alarm is typical for many. Safe-T-Alert makes a direct replacement for the older CCI Controls leak detector, but if you still want the solenoid valve, you’ll have to purchase a whole new kit. In other words, the new detector is NOT compatible with the older solenoid valve. In this case, the Safe-T-Alert model you’ll want is Model 70-742-R.

If you just want to replace only the detector inside the coach, I recommend you totally remove the existing solenoid valve in the piping. You’ll need some additional fittings and it necessitates a timed pressure drop test after the removal, but this is the least expensive route to take. Many people, however, feel more comfortable knowing that a solenoid valve will indeed shut the flow of propane off completely, but again, it is not a safety requirement.


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