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Old 12-04-2020, 10:32 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Windsport 27K
State: North Carolina
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THOR #11007
Troubleshooting Furnace (Carbon Monoxide)

Not finding anything specific on the Forum - so here goes....

We live in SE N. Carolina, and rarely if ever use our rig during the winter. However it's nice to have available as a "lifeboat" during an extended power outage during an ice storm (hurricane usage is another thread....).

In the almost three years we've owned it, we've only turned on the furnace once - an early spring trip this year. Fired right up, warmed right up, and set off the CO detector after about 10 minutes. Turned it off, aired out the rig, tried again. After 10 minutes, CO detector alarming again. Repeated the clearing process - third try same results. Turned it off, and dug out a couple extra blankets. I did check exhaust ports after this incident, and found no obvious clogs or such, and haven't pursued since.

I' would like to resolve this early in the winter "just in case" we need to use it to keep warm in February. But where does one even start in tracking CO intrusion into coach from the furnace? What tools/detectors would I need? Is trying this myself (reasonable newbie to RV'ing, w/no background in HVAC) even feasible?

Rig is 2015 Windsport. Don't know furnace model (getting it back from some other service tomorrow if that's relevant info).

All thoughts, experience and recommendations appreciated.

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Old 12-04-2020, 11:30 PM   #2
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I'd probably go to Walmart and buy one of their units and plug it in next to your existing unit.
It'll tell you what's what.
Then plug the Walmart one in somewhere in your garage.
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Old 12-05-2020, 12:18 AM   #3
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THOR #14543
Exclamation

CO is nothing to ignore. Get it professionally resolved.

Somewhat related...CO detectors have a five year lifespan. They sound off and flash the LEDs when it's time to replace. Your rig is a 2015, so the five years are up unless it's been previously replaced. Year of manufacture is usually found on the back of the detector.
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Old 12-05-2020, 12:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PictureTheSouth View Post
Not finding anything specific on the Forum - so here goes....

We live in SE N. Carolina, and rarely if ever use our rig during the winter. However it's nice to have available as a "lifeboat" during an extended power outage during an ice storm (hurricane usage is another thread....).

In the almost three years we've owned it, we've only turned on the furnace once - an early spring trip this year. Fired right up, warmed right up, and set off the CO detector after about 10 minutes. Turned it off, aired out the rig, tried again. After 10 minutes, CO detector alarming again. Repeated the clearing process - third try same results. Turned it off, and dug out a couple extra blankets. I did check exhaust ports after this incident, and found no obvious clogs or such, and haven't pursued since.

I' would like to resolve this early in the winter "just in case" we need to use it to keep warm in February. But where does one even start in tracking CO intrusion into coach from the furnace? What tools/detectors would I need? Is trying this myself (reasonable newbie to RV'ing, w/no background in HVAC) even feasible?

Rig is 2015 Windsport. Don't know furnace model (getting it back from some other service tomorrow if that's relevant info).

All thoughts, experience and recommendations appreciated.
Unfortunately, the leak is usually in the heat exchanger and not the exhaust. Usually you can remove the external cover and check the exhaust. With the propane off if you select heat the furnace will run but not light when you check for exhaust leaks. Be advised this can cause a hard lockout but recycling 12 volts (remove and reseat the fuse) will reset the lockout.
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:11 AM   #5
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THOR #11007
Thanks for the advice all, as usual! Based on replies, I'm going to pick up a name brand battery operated unit. While it may not be a true "diagnostic tool"; it will at least give me a cross-check point of reference and useful for validation. And I can re-purpose it elsewhere if appropriate.

However while researching models, I came upon this guidance from First Alert on placement - which I found interesting....

"not every spot is ideal. The following spots can create false alarms or prevent your carbon monoxide alarm from properly identifying dangerous CO levels in your home:- Too close to any fuel-burning appliance, at least 10 feet away
- Humid areas like your bathroom
- In direct sunlight
- Places where thereís too much air circulation, like near fans or vents"

Between HVAC vents, bathroom, furnace, water heater, propane refrigerator, generator, etc - is there ANY place in an RV not prone to false alarms? Especially if boondocking?
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:47 AM   #6
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Just thinking out load here!
Have you checked the condition of your house batteries?
The furnace pulls a lot of amps when the fan is running & the CO/LP detector will also chirp with low battery voltage. From your explanation of when the detector goes off I'd be inclined to say think it's battery related. If they are 5 or more years old they're also possibly due replacement.
Otherwise check the intake/exhaust ports on the outside to be sure spiders or mud daubers haven't blocked one or the other, this is also a known issue for furnaces that aren't used regularly.
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Old 12-05-2020, 04:18 AM   #7
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Checked the ports after the fact, and seemed ok as best as I could tell. New AGM batteries last year. Regardless, was on 30amp shore power when this occurred. I'm thinking either expired unit, bad placement, or a combination as an "easy fix". If not.... then I'll likely have to call in the "pros from Dover" so to speak.
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Old 12-05-2020, 04:15 PM   #8
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I too would recommend calling in an expert, a furnace repair person, one that knows how to check the combustion chamber and should have a CO sniffer.
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Old 12-06-2020, 12:17 AM   #9
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Other than on your trip have you run the furnace again to see if it is still setting off the alarm after 10 minutes? I had a garage heater that if the wind was blowing just right it would force the exhaust back in and set of the alarm.


In our '15 27K the CO detector is on the side of the bed about 12" off the floor, and close to the night stand. Last season we replaced our smoke detector with a combination CO/smoke unit for a little more safety. In our mh there is a 110 outlet on the back side of the bed base that you could plug a household CO detector in to see if it also alarms.
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Old 12-06-2020, 03:51 AM   #10
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In our house rooms that have fuel or wood fire places i use detectors that have a digital CO ppm display and battery backup

About 6 years and they will remind you to replace them

When we had propane in RV's the detectors never made 5 years prior to replacement
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Old 12-06-2020, 04:00 AM   #11
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That could be it.
It isn't actually going off due to CO, it's screaming about being replaced.
Mine in the garage did that right to the month of manufacture, in the five or six years it promised.
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Old 12-06-2020, 03:29 PM   #12
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CO detectors are prone to go off on fumes other than CO. A new/never used furnace needs to run awhile to burn off dust, oils etc. Crank that puppy up at home and let it run for an hour or so without anyone inside, might even want to vent the MH while it's running. Then close her up and do your testing.
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Old 12-06-2020, 07:49 PM   #13
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THOR #11007
Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
CO detectors are prone to go off on fumes other than CO. A new/never used furnace needs to run awhile to burn off dust, oils etc. Crank that puppy up at home and let it run for an hour or so without anyone inside, might even want to vent the MH while it's running. Then close her up and do your testing.

Now there's a plan, AND an idea! I can't say whether prior owners used the furnace or not - but we've only fired it up that one time. Trusty USPS should bring my new detector on Wednesday. Troubleshooting will commence on Thursday.
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Old 12-09-2020, 10:57 PM   #14
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THOR #18658
First Alert Failure Rates

Just last week while my unit was being picked up from a massive roof repair
my First Alert Detector decided to sound off.
My unit is approximately 2 years old from manufacture and the light combination intimated failed power. The RV tech that researched said the same thing and replaced the unit. He also stated that the typical 5 year for these devices is quickly evaporating down to a 2.5-3.5 year life. Out of warranty, but electronic box and install came to $99+ change.
I feel better, annoying chirp is eliminated, and my baby is back home.
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Old 12-18-2020, 04:48 AM   #15
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Model: ACE 30.1
State: Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PictureTheSouth View Post
Not finding anything specific on the Forum - so here goes....

We live in SE N. Carolina, and rarely if ever use our rig during the winter. However it's nice to have available as a "lifeboat" during an extended power outage during an ice storm (hurricane usage is another thread....).

In the almost three years we've owned it, we've only turned on the furnace once - an early spring trip this year. Fired right up, warmed right up, and set off the CO detector after about 10 minutes. Turned it off, aired out the rig, tried again. After 10 minutes, CO detector alarming again. Repeated the clearing process - third try same results. Turned it off, and dug out a couple extra blankets. I did check exhaust ports after this incident, and found no obvious clogs or such, and haven't pursued since.

I' would like to resolve this early in the winter "just in case" we need to use it to keep warm in February. But where does one even start in tracking CO intrusion into coach from the furnace? What tools/detectors would I need? Is trying this myself (reasonable newbie to RV'ing, w/no background in HVAC) even feasible?

Rig is 2015 Windsport. Don't know furnace model (getting it back from some other service tomorrow if that's relevant info).

All thoughts, experience and recommendations appreciated.
We had problems with our furnace a few years ago. We have a 2017 ACE 30.1 and we live on the Oregon North Coast. It seemed whenever there was a hard rain the furnace would work right. I took it a couple of times to Camping World and they said they fixed whatever the cause was - at one point they told me they had put some baffles in the furnace to keep out any water. Anyway, when the factory warranty was up one morning we woke up because the CO alarm was alarming. My wife wanted to get out of the rig right away and drove to our daughter's apartment. I took the rig to another Thor dealer and they told me the furnace was full of soot. Good Sam - our extended warranty wanted the dealer to clean out the furnace and call it good. The dealership said they wouldn't do that due to liability and said the furnace needed to be replaced. Good Sam gave up the fight and we got a new furnace for $500 (our detectable). We haven't had any problems since the furnace was replaced.
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