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Jane Louise

Petrol smell in caravan

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Hi all

I'm really worried. All day and night I smell petrol in my caravan. I'm temporarily living in it. It's a second hand Swift challenger 520 SE. I have turned off the gas in the gas locker so it isent the gas I don't think. My electric water heater is broken so it runs on gas. My water pump is connected to the battery. I've checked the battery it isent hot but it looks quite old. I've opened all locker doors on the outside of the caravan to air it. I really don't understand what it could be. I don't know much about caravans. Could anyone give me some advice please.

 

Thank you

Jane

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Petrol? is it possible it is coming from outside? are you anywhere near a garage/petrol station.  

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How long have you had the van and when did the smell start?

Is it possible for the smell to be coming in from outside?

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I am not near a petrol station . I've had the van for 4 months it's a second hand one. It's worst late at night and I hear knocks and clicking noises too

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Are you on a caravan site?

Can neighbours smell petrol in their units?

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Jane, a petrol smell isn't what you'd normallly associate with a caravan.   Are you sure it isn't coming from outside somewhere - a nearby car or even someone's generator?

 

If that's not the case, then it may be worth another check on the battery - I suppose the 'rotten egg' smell given off by a 'boiling' battery could be mistaken for petrol fumes.

 

Failing that you really need to get your gas appliaces checked out.

 

Have you got a Carbon Monoxide alarm?

 

John

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I trust that you have had gas safety check carried out by a properly qualified engineer before sleeping in the 'van? Petrol vapour smells and any spark producing electrics are also a very bad combination.

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4 minutes ago, Jane Louise said:

I am not near a petrol station . I've had the van for 4 months it's a second hand one. It's worst late at night and I hear knocks and clicking noises too

Has the smell always been there? A petrol spillage will hang around for a long time if it has soaked into the woodwork.

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Yes I am on a caravan site. I don't really know my neighbours but will try and catch one later to ask. I'm wondering if it could be a generator. I'm about 3 miles from a small airport could it be from there. I've emailed gas safety I am waiting for them to contact me for a free check. Yes I have a carbon monoxide alarm but I took the batteries out as it gives false alarms it's quite old too

9 minutes ago, DeeTee said:

I trust that you have had gas safety check carried out by a properly qualified engineer before sleeping in the 'van? Petrol vapour smells and any spark producing electrics are also a very bad combination.

I'm waiting for them to contact me for an appointment.

6 minutes ago, Stevan said:

Has the smell always been there? A petrol spillage will hang around for a long time if it has soaked into the woodwork.

Only for about a week now.

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2 minutes ago, Jane Louise said:

Yes I am on a caravan site. I don't really know my neighbours but will try and catch one later to ask. I'm wondering if it could be a generator. I'm about 3 miles from a small airport could it be from there. I've emailed gas safety I am waiting for them to contact me for a free check. Yes I have a carbon monoxide alarm but I took the batteries out as it gives false alarms it's quite old too

I thought the free check applied to residences connected to gas mains or if there is a gas main nearby?  Doubt if they will check a caravan but you could live in hope.  

In the meantime I recommend that if the gas appliances have not been serviced in the past year, that is done as soon as possible.   Remember that at a service they only check the appliances and do not service them.   That is extra.

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7 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

I thought the free check applied to residences connected to gas mains or if there is a gas main nearby?  Doubt if they will check a caravan but you could live in hope.  

In the meantime I recommend that if the gas appliances have not been serviced in the past year, that is done as soon as possible.   Remember that at a service they only check the appliances and do not service them.   That is extra.

They seemed ok about it. How do I get hold of a gas service ? I'm in Cheltenham. Is it pricey? 

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13 minutes ago, Jane Louise said:

 Yes I have a carbon monoxide alarm but I took the batteries out as it gives false alarms

 

That's a slightly worrying comment Jane - how do you know they are 'false' ?

 

John

 

PS, it reminds me of the old joke - "I took the batteries out of my carbon monoxide detector today because the loud beeping was giving me a headache and making me feel sick and dizzy."  !!

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3 minutes ago, Johnaldo said:

 

That's a slightly worrying comment Jane - how do you know they are 'false' ?

 

John

 

PS, it reminds me of the old joke - "I took the batteries out of my carbon monoxide detector today because the loud beeping was giving me a headache and making me feel sick and dizzy."  !!

I am waiting on support to show me how to run everything. . I have a disability. The carbon monoxide alarm would always go off at 3 in the morning. I don't know. I wish I had a home really. I didn't choose to live in here.

14 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

I thought the free check applied to residences connected to gas mains or if there is a gas main nearby?  Doubt if they will check a caravan but you could live in hope.  

In the meantime I recommend that if the gas appliances have not been serviced in the past year, that is done as soon as possible.   Remember that at a service they only check the appliances and do not service them.   That is extra.

They seemed ok about it. How do I get hold of a gas service ? I'm in Cheltenham. Is it pricey? 

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I’ve sited my caravan on a hard standing where the previous occupant (motor home?) must have had a fuel leak as there was a constant smell of diesel around the caravan. Not my towing vehicle as it was petrol fuelled at the time.  

John

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Possibly a smell of aviation fluid if your down wind from a small airport but your neighbours would also smell it .

 

I would guess more someone has been using petrol to clean something in the caravan in the past or carried a gen in a locker or inside .

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Thank you all. I've set up my old carbon monoxide alarm for now which states on the inside of the panel it had to be replaced in 2011. I've ordered a new gadget and carbon monoxide pads to stick on the wall. I think it could be to do with previous owners or airport fuel. I shall ask around if anyone else can smell the petrol. Thank you for your help.

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55 minutes ago, Jane Louise said:

 Yes I have a carbon monoxide alarm but I took the batteries out as it gives false alarms

 

 

If your caravan battery is starting to fail, the charger will try to keep it up to its correct voltage.    It won't be able to but it will start to give off gas, which in turn will start your carbon monoxide alarm chirping.     

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1 hour ago, Jaydug said:

 

If your caravan battery is starting to fail, the charger will try to keep it up to its correct voltage.    It won't be able to but it will start to give off gas, which in turn will start your carbon monoxide alarm chirping.     

 

:goodpost:

I was thinking the same about the battery gassing and setting the CO detector off, also could the charger be getting hot and giving a smell off.

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The battery is constantly on charge to run the water pump. I checked it. It wasn't hot but did look a bit rusty. There is also some silver foil around the top. Should I switch the battery off in the control panel when I am not using my water pump? to see if there is any change. I think it runs a couple of lights too. It's awful at night as I sleep above the water heater and next to the battery. I've started turning the gas off now at night.

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Jane, as this petrol smell has only been evident in last week or so I'd say it must be from outside but if your neighbours haven't detected it then either you are smelling something else inside the 'van or the ground you are pitched on has had petrol or similar spillage in the past.

 

Try to ask if someone could take a look for you and check in all cupboards and hidey holes, it would be useful to get someone elses take on it.

 

We have an older Swift Challenger type 'van and the battery charger is built in the waldrobe amongst the 12volt fuses and switches etc.

 

As already said, you're maybe mistaking the smell of petrol with sulpher dioxide that comes off a poor lead acid battery that smells like rotten eggs, in that case if possible keep your battery compartment door opened slightly to keep it ventilated. Use a piece of wood or stick to prop thxxe door slightly open until you have this smell identified.

 

If you were nearer me I'd take a look and for you.

 

Hope you get it sorted soon.

 

Matt.

Edited by Signature

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If it's the battery on it's way out then you run the very real risk of a explosion - turn it off, turn everything off, give it plenty of ventilation and then disconnect it. Do not disconnect it with stuff turned on because you'll create a spark which could ignite any hydrogen gas that's being given off. . An exploded battery can make a hell of a mess, sprying acid all over the place.

 

Whether it's hot or not dosen't neccesarily indicate that it's OK,  You need to get it & the electrical system checked and possibly the gas system as well if you cant identify the smell.

 

We can all have a guess as to what it is, but non of us can know whats actually caussing it or what it might be without actually seeing it - get someone who knows what they are doing to check it properly

 

 

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Your water pump and the 12volt lights are powered by the battery.    The charger just keeps the battery voltage maintained.     So if you switch off your charger, you should still get lighting, and be able to get water at the taps for quite a while before the battery needs charging again.     Turning off your gas at night is ok because you don't need the water hot overnight.      You'll only miss the gas if you also use it for heating.

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Hi Matt it has been recently gravelled on my pitch. The work men were using all kinds of machinery. I haven't seen anyone yet to ask . Some people live on this site in their caravans and motorhomes. If I keep the battery door opened a little would the rain harm it? I've just opened the batter locker slightly now.

 

Do I have to turn off my electric too matelodave? I'm freezing without my electric heater on. I would leave the skylight open at night for ventilation if it wasn't so cold. I have these ventilation air blowers near the floor and I  keep them on continuously but I'm sure they are blowing in the petrol smell. I can't smell petrol outside.

 

Jaydug I have just switched off the charger in the control panel. A few of the lights don't work but I don't mind that. When do I turn it back on again to charge?

 

Oh no I've had to switch the charger back on because my gas cooker won't light

Thank you all so much for your help.

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If the 12V isn't working with the charger switched off, then the battery isn't holding any charge at all.

This is nearly definitely the source of the smell, the carbon monoxide alarms and a real explosion risk.

The charger should be switched off and the battery replaced as a matter of extreme urgency.  

It may be possible to operate the 12V systems from the charger without a battery connected,  providing the battery cables are disconnected and insulated from each other.

It will depend on the model of charger fitted, some, particularly older ones are not designed for operation without a battery connected.  

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2 hours ago, Jane Louise said:

Jaydug I have just switched off the charger in the control panel. A few of the lights don't work but I don't mind that. When do I turn it back on again to charge?

 

 

If some of your 12volt lights stop working when the charger is switched off, it sounds as though your battery has died.    As others have said, it is dangerous to keep trying to maintain the voltage in it.      To keep charging it will lead to it exploding.    If you always have mains voltage available, you don't need a big, heavy leisure battery.   A  battery such as those found in small cars will do.   If you change it yourself, make sure you have the positive and negative terminals the correct way round.

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