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Smell of Gas

Sep 1, 2019
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I have only been caravanning for about a year now and towards the end of the season last year I could smell gas towards the front of the van. It was serviced a few weeks ago and they said it had a gas leak that they said they fixed.

When using the van over the last few days I could smell gas for a few minutes in the evening, usually after the hearing clicked on. I have been hooked up to mains electric and so only have been using the gas for the oven. Yesterday I didn’t use the oven and turned the valve on the gas bottle to closed but in the evening I could again smell gas for a few minutes in the front of the van. I don’t understand where any gas could be coming from because I was not using anything that was connected to gas and the valve was closed on the gas bottle.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks
 
Sep 5, 2016
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James, before someone comes on here and gives you an in depth technical answer, you say it comes from the front so if the smell is coming from the front locker make youself a soapy mixing of washing up liquid and water and have a spray round the gas joints from the gas bottle and the regulator and see if any bubbles appear but professional advice is the best advice.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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If you can smell gas but can't tell where it is coming from I would suggest removing the cylinder from whatever locker it is in and leaving it away from the van, then see if the gas smell is still there a couple of hours later - the smell should be gone as the locker will be vented to air and Propane (assumed) is heavier than air.
If there is a gas smell around the cylinder get the cylinder replaced and warn whoever that it may be leaking; if you can't smell gas around the cylinder call a gas technician as you clearly have a potentially dangerous problem.
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
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You do not say how old the van is, which would be helpful.
Apart from the advice already given, like using soapy water on the various connections you can get to then with the cylinder turned on see if any bubbles appear where you have soaped, and turning the cylinder off until it can be checked with a pressure test.

I would also ask the service agent who did your service where the gas leak was that he found, and what he did to fix it, it may be that he has overtightened a union nut and split it, whatever he has done I would also get him to retest the system as it plainly is not right.
 
Jun 1, 2019
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In addition, check your leisure battery isn't being cooked by the charger and giving off fumes. Feel it to see if it's getting hot.
 
Sep 5, 2016
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I bought a new regulator of that well known auction site and when I connected it to the gas bottle I started to get a smell of gas ,I contacted the seller and he said that he had never had a complaint before he said you have really tighten it up, I managed to get that little bit of movement and the smell of gas disappeared , so in my case the regulator needs to be fully tight on the gas bottle,
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Camels suggestion of using a soap solution is a simple and effective way of finding a leak, spraying or brushing, and watching to see if any bubbles grow.

Even if you turn the cylinder valve off, the following pipe work will initially have gas in it under some pressure, so if the problem is with the pipework you may still get some release of gas until the leak reduces the pressure.

As your service agent had found a leak, I hope they would be competent enough to not damage any compression couplings, but it has been known to happen, but there is of course the connection to your gas bottle which is remade every time you change the bottle. Are you sure you have made a good connection?, The bubble solution is a good way of checking here because the gas will be at its greatest pressure and will quickly make bubbles.

Just to clarify Woodentop's comment, both Propane and Butane gas are heavier than air, and will sink to the lowest point.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Some years ago I had exactly this problem which I traced to the BBQ point in the front locker. I found the compression nut to the tap was cracked, not entirely surprising as the factory fittings were of poor quality.
I have also had a propane pigtail to cylinder leak - this is the bullet shaped type that is metal to metal - which had to be tightened somewhat excessively to achieve a seal.
Incidentally, you can buy gas leak detector spray for making these tests.
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
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chrisn7 said:
Some years ago I had exactly this problem which I traced to the BBQ point in the front locker. I found the compression nut to the tap was cracked, not entirely surprising as the factory fittings were of poor quality.
I have also had a propane pigtail to cylinder leak - this is the bullet shaped type that is metal to metal - which had to be tightened somewhat excessively to achieve a seal.
Incidentally, you can buy gas leak detector spray for making these tests.
I fully agree with you about the poor quality of gas fittings used by the industry, they are cheap and nasty and have to be handles with great care to try and avoid damaging them.
The decent UK made fittings made specifically for LPG are excellent.

As far as leak detector spray is concerned , yes it is available but soapy water is a good emergency medium to use, just make sure to wash it off after !!
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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When we bought our then brand new Valencia, the handover people at the dealership swapped the gas cylinder from our trade in van over. Put the new van on our seasonal pitch and went inside. After an hour or so I could smell gas when I was sitting on the sofa end next to the gas locker (which is on the side of a Bailey van.) Went to investigate. Soapy water test. The handover muppets had cross threaded the pigtail connection on the bottle and had compensated for this by screwing it on so tight that we couldn’t get it off and had to unscrew the pigtail from the regulator end. It was clearly leaking badly because the cylinder was nearly empty and had been about half full when we did the handover. Fortunately the seasonal site did new cylinders and we had a spare pigtail. We swapped the old gas bottle with the pigtail still attached!
Fortunately we keep the vents in the gas locker clear so nothing untoward occurred; but I was surprised at how long it was before we smelt gas in the van, and then only because I was sitting in the right place. :unsure:
Mel
 
Mar 14, 2005
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LPG has an additive to deliberately produce the smell as a safety feature. This Organic additive is know to be detectable by nose at concentrations down to parts per million in air. The sensitivity of the human nose varies considerably with age,health, and genetics to a considerable extent.
So there may be some cases where the smell of gas does not indicate a leak, but the residue of an earlier connection, or a previously opened joint or the failure of a burner to ignite immediately.
BUT it i always better to assume a leak and take precautions accordingly. Once a possible cause has been found and rectified allow copious ventilation for some time to clear and residual odour, but this may cling to things like soft furnishings.

( by unhappy chance, one of the pharmaceutical processes with which I was concerned produced the same organic agent as a bi product and we had a problem since it was produced in a coastal factory subject to onshore winds distributing it over the nearby town)
 
Oct 3, 2013
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Hi James66,
Check your pigtail to see if it has a washer fitted.Sometimes they fall out and cost only pennies to replace.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Where’s James 66 now???
Frustrates me that we go a lot of trouble to suggest solutions and no feed back!
Rant over :whistle:
 

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