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Discussion Starter #1
Hey All :)

I fitted my Propex HS 2000 heater over christmas !

I followed the instructions, applied flue silicone to the exhaust inlet and outlet before putting the pipes on, silicone sealed around where the exhaust goes through the floor, routed the pipes under the van as per the instructions. And installed the heater behind the drivers seat inside a bench which runs down the side of the van, I then built an enclosure around the heater and mounted the air inlet grill within the small enclosure.

When the heater runs it not only sucks air in through the inlet grill but also around the sides of the enclosure (which i thought was a good sign).

That was until friday night when after a few G'nT's I (and a friend) fell asleep with the heater on..... only to be woken at 0130 by my newly purchased carbon monoxide alarm !!!!!!!!

After jumping out off the van !! Turning the heater off and opening all the doors and windows !! We got back in and froze until the morning !!!

The next day after a bit of poking about I decided that what had happened was that the small enclosure i had built around the heater was too small..... and causing suction (from the air inlet) which was not only taking air from the inside of the van but also sucking air in from the holes where the exhaust goes through the floor.

I then dismantled the small enclosure ..... fired up the heater and left it running in the empty van ... along with the alarm !!!
No alarm after 2 hrs !!!

I spose the reason for posting was just to say ... if i hadn't spent the 25 quid on the detector ... I reckon I would now be a statistic !!!!
I nearly didn't buy the alarm but justified it to myself by saying 25 quid spent now .. may save my life one day ! I didn't realise i would have been testing it 2 weeks later !!!

Has anyone had any such problems when fitting a propex ?

I feel like i'm one lucky dude right now:eek: !!!! All I got was a sore throat .... my friend got a splitting headache but she's a light weight and coulda been down to the Gin !!!

If you're burning gas in your van ....... get an alarm !!!!!I:
 

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Great example of how £25 can save lives.
I would check again for leaks, as I´ve fitted lots of these , and they are designed in such a way that the exhaust gases shouldn´t come into the van at all unless the flue is either leaking or blocked in some way.
 

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Great example of how £25 can save lives.
I would check again for leaks, as I´ve fitted lots of these , and they are designed in such a way that the exhaust gases shouldn´t come into the van at all unless the flue is either leaking or blocked in some way.
+1 This really should not be able to happen on a propex :confused: (like lottery winning statistics against there are so many sensors and control systems). If the flue is blocked then they will not start, if its leaking then this could be your problem but seems unlikely :confused:

The cab side is totally isolated from the combustion via a well build stainless exchanger.

Was the heater new? I do not imagine there is a problem with the exchanger but this could be source if the heater is old?

And installed the heater behind the drivers seat inside a bench which runs down the side of the van, I then built an enclosure around the heater and mounted the air inlet grill within the small enclosure.
When the heater runs it not only sucks air in through the inlet grill but also around the sides of the enclosure (which i thought was a good sign).
So you did not duct the air inlet for the hot air supply (this is as per the fitting instructions (well mine anyway LOL:) there needs to be a specified size inlet) and are concerned this suction has somehow pulled in air from outside the van via the holes you cut for the flue?

Depending on how the flues are ducted this is again fairly unlikely unless there is a leak or improper installation.




Top advise with the CO alarm T:
 

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Lucky escape bud, something else all owners of transporters need to check the rubber seals on the back doors,any gaps
between door and seal will cause fumes to be drawn back into the vehicle.
the best way to check is to shine light underneath the the rear door at night and see if you can seeany light from inside.
I found out mine was leaking due to the fumes discolouring the interior upholstery:eek:
 

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Gas alarms should really be mandatory in conversions should they not? I've only got a hob installed but bought one and fitted it after our first trip. Lucky escape.......................glad you got out in time!

JW

PS Can the same thing ever happen with a diesel night heater??
 

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Im fitting a propex in my 'old' work van tomorrow, now retiring as a camper van. Im a HETAS registered wood burner installer and since Oct 2010 we must fit a CO alarm on every installation. The alarms should be installed above the 'stove/propex' but more than 6'' below celing and 12'' from corners, these are dead air areas. In a van this would not be so critical as its a contained space, but definately above as potential fumes will rise with the heat generated. My Co alarm going in before the propex. Get them in Tesco £18. No brainer, last 7 years.
 

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I've got a multi gas alarm which covers Co2, it's going under the bed screwed onto the boards above the heater and gas bottle, so if anything gets high enough to get to the alarm then it's 4" under my mouth....

Lesson Learnt here though, if you have gas in your van, get one, it's the most important thing on your van after the brakes....
 

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LOL: Been holding my keyboard on this one a bit as I feel this thread is slightly promoting a CO alarm as a save all when the real error was the install I:

The key point here is install the heater properly

I am not disagreeing with the premise of getting an alarm DO GET ONE IN FACT GET TWO* THEY MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE T: but..........

* 1 x CO and 1 x Methane or a multi one

If the heater was installed properly then there would be no problem propex ensure that the combustion is sealed from the cab so no CO can enter its only an improper install that caused the fault :* the CO can only come from a pipe which should be ducted well away from the heater.

How do we know the alarm was not faulty or overly sensitive to the sleeping environment (head ache could have been the gin) (CO alarms going off randomly in the night with no external forces is hardly unreported). Two hours running on the drive does not prove this :ILU: Admittedly it is fairly unlikely this is the case but it is not unheard of.

If the install is not done properly you are just as likely to blow yourself and everyone around you up as have CO poisoning.

Really the moral of the story is ensure the install is done properly and checked, ensure you have a CO alarm and methane alarm, ensure you have the correct drop outs for the gas, ensure you have a visual leak detector for the methane system (e.g. a pressure gauge or bubble leak detector)

The OP has gone out his way to share this (aside I am sure the rest of his install is tip top) and the moral has to be don't muck around with gas unless you understand it 100%.

A genric blown air diesel heater is just as likely if not more so to produce a similar CO entry fault if improperly installed T:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Dude !!!

The point that i am making by starting this thread (and thus admitting a poor install) is that :

For whatever reason .... bad install, leaky pipes, hole in the flue, atmospherics...... particularly bad fart !

Whatever !!!! BUY an alarm ..... It can and will save your life.

Yup I am slightly promoting alarms ..... because It can save your life !!

And whilst i agree with your post my experience (for bad or worse) should promote awareness .... and if one accident is avoided by us discussing it in this forum then it has been worth it :)

Muz
 

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Dude !!!

The point that i am making by starting this thread (and thus admitting a poor install) is that :

For whatever reason .... bad install, leaky pipes, hole in the flue, atmospherics...... particularly bad fart !

Whatever !!!! BUY an alarm ..... It can and will save your life.

Yup I am slightly promoting alarms ..... because It can save your life !!

And whilst i agree with your post my experience (for bad or worse) should promote awareness .... and if one accident is avoided by us discussing it in this forum then it has been worth it :)

Muz
Totally agree, I was adding is a CO alarm is only part of it. Also you should have a visual pressure gauge so you know if there is a methane leak, drop outs in case there is a methane leak and a methane alarm in case there is a methane leak T:

Finally once again (if my posts did not come across as so) thank you for sharing this story.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Carbon Monoxide Update

Hi All

Firstly ... I'm still alive I: Phew !!

But I have been become slightly Carbon Monoxide obsessed !

Following my initial CO scare I contacted Richard from Bluebird to ask if he had ever sold a faulty unit ... could this be the problem ? Obviously he had not ... and suggested I got in touch with the Propex technical guys.

I figured as this was a self install that the assumption and advice would be not to attempt a self install and/or always get a qualified certified pro to do the install.

I decided to first take the heater out, check everything then put it all back in .... taking it all out was not as easy as the initial install as I had used flue silicone to make a seal around the external exhausts where they attach to the heater body, as well as the holes that go through the floor. Surely I thought as i was taking it all out ... there could be no way the CO was getting back in here ?

After satisfying myself that the heater had been installed as per instruction and that I had not allowed anywhere for exhaust gasses to get in through the floor I put it all back together.


The following weekend the girlfriend and I were wild camping in cornwall using the heater .. and the alarm went off again .. ?? I had made sure all the windows were shut tight (no way the exhaust was getting in here). We turned the heater off, opened all the doors ventilated the van ... and used a blanket for the remainder of the night.

This was the last straw !!! I bought a new CO alarm this time with a PPM digital display, and started testing !!

I have pretty much tested anything and everything over the last couple of weeks ..... gas cookers, car exhausts, incense sticks, work mates cigarettes , farts.......... i digress.

More importantly readings in and around the van...

Outside the van near the sliding window 285 ppm (which would ordinarily be open)

Inside the van with no propex running 0 ppm
I then ran the heater for 20 mins
Inside middle of the van (on the table) propex running 18 ppm (windows closed)
Inside rear of the van 8-10 ppm (windows closed)
Front of van on dash 18-20 ppm
Front of van over the front window vent 45 ppm

My findings would seem to suggest that the exhaust fumes a pooling under the van in the engine bay and then getting into the cab through the air vents.

Subsequent testing around the windows (near the sliding window as well as at the top of the driver & pass windows) give significantly high readings.

I then got thinking that this theory would explain why some nights the alarm went off and not others....... windy nights no alarm !

I did follow the install advice and did site the exhaust away from the front of the cab however obviously not far enough away.

Does anyone know if fitting an exhaust extension will work or wether it will make the airflow alarm believe the exhaust is blocked ?


I'm sure most reading this will say "Yup ! I knew a bad install was to blame" ...... well I followed the instruction and did quite a bit of reading before I put the heater in..... also I know if it weren't for the CO monitor I wouldn't have known there was an issue..... all the readings I have taken so far have been well below the safe limits.

Ok so if I was a certified pro.. I would have known all this already and probs bought an extension ?? Or I would have sited my heater nearer the back of the van ?

But I just got to thinking that how many others have their heaters near the front ? Indeed I have seen some threads where people have them sited under the front bench seat.

The first CO alarm that I bought "Fire Angel CD-9X" alarms at 50ppm . The Max allowable concentration for continuous exposure for health adults as recommended by OSHA is only 35ppm over an 8hr period.

So what is getting into my van over night through the air vents while not life threatening is still in my opinion too much, CO is accumulative although flushes naturally through non exposure with time.

But in my opinion my max preferential concentration is ZERO ppm !!

I realise this is quite a long thread ... but I thought If folks are informed they can draw their own conclusions !!

Cheers Muz :)
 

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According to the Propex manual the combined length of both inlet and outlet pipe should not exceed 2000mm.

Also be wary of shortening the pipes, they shoulod be no shorter than 750mm. I learned this the hard way, I cut approx 100mm off mine and the unit kept faulting out on the aiflow sensor.

Have you got the pipes orientated as per the instructions. Make sure exhaust is sticking out slightly from under the van. That way the fumes should not be able to collect.
 

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A slight thread hijack here but I have a question about having a drop out vent under or near a propex.

Is this a good idea or not?

It would seem like a good idea from a gas perspective, if there were a gas leak on the connection to the propex any gas would sink out through the drop out.

But the other thought that occured to me was about when the propex sucks in cool air from inside the van to put through the heat exchanger to blow back into the van. If you have not put ducting on this inlet (it does not say to do this in the installation instructions) then there is a possibility that some of the sir sucked in through this inlet could come up through the drop out vent and then could potentially contain some exhaust fumes / CO. This is more likely to happen if the heater is mounted under a bed box etc where the air supply from the rest of the interior of the van is restricted.

Any thoughts on this?
 
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