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Propane alarms are one of the most difficult things to deal with because it is a safety issue and propane is heavier than air so it will pool and trigger a real alarm with minimal amounts of propane well before it is dangerous, but should not be ignored. If you have one that is 5 years or more old, start by replacing it as the manufacturers suggest 5 to 7 years of reliable life. As has been pointed out, there are other things that can trigger an alarm like flatulence and off-gassing.  But do be careful as you don't want to take a chance. One thing that we found would cause ours was the oven had a pilot light that had to be lighted to use it and if it got turned on but not lit, there could be enough propane supplied to cause an occasional alarm but yet we were never able to detect it by smell. 

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  The other answers are really good.


  But I have seen a pet cause that problem. Hair spray, perfume and glue can do that.  One time I had a service call for a lp detector keep going off in a class c. They had left the southeast of the US headed to Alaska.  They want to make the trip efficiently so said husband redid the shelving so to hold more food for the trip.   My handheld lp detector will pickup molecules of combustible products. Well he made the shelves with particle board.  Yep the glue from the freshly cut wood was letting the smell of the glue trip the lp detector.

  Could be anything that gives off a gas.



   Vern  in a T-shirt 

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Many great answers here.  Many things cause them to go off.  We had the same problem with it going off in the middle of the night, especially on cold nights when the outside temp was at or below 35.  Turns out it was a low voltage in the campground at night for some reason.  I confirmed it with my meter at the pedestal.  I was told by another camper that colder air on those cold nights (below 35 outside) in the RV can set it off if we keep the temp inside too low.  During the colder nights, we usually keep the thermostat set at 64 at night when we are sleeping.  The camper said it dealt with water/ice crystals in the air.  I do not know if that is valid or not. 

Spoke with the RV service center and they said it could also be caused by an issue with the inverter.  They said to check the inverter for loose wires, signs of arching, etc.  

I also had it happen when the house batteries were getting low on fluid.  Low fluid caused low voltage.  I check the battery fluid levels every week now.


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Most of the RV propane detectors only chirp if voltage is low and low shore power voltage would have to fall low enough to discharge the RV battery below 10.5V, since they are powered by the RV's 12V system and designed to operate between 10.5 and 14V. 

Infrared sensors or IR detectors work via a system of transmitters and receivers to detect combustible gases, specifically hydrocarbon vapors. Typically, the transmitters are light sources and receivers are light detectors. If a gas is present in the optical path, it will interfere with the power of the light transmission between the transmitter and receiver. The altered state of light determines if and what type of gas is present. 

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If it truly keeps going off in the middle of the night, then testing should be simple.  Shut off the propane tanks and turn on the stove to burn off any propane in the lines.  If it goes off again you will know for sure it is a false alarm.  

I have had 2 detectors fail over the years and the symptoms were the same.  In both cases I got false alarms in the middle of the night.  Why in the middle of the night I could not tell you except if it went off in the day likely I was not around to notice.

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