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How to Detect Carbon Monoxide in Your RV

Posted on Jan 06, 2021

This is must-know information to make sure that you are safe in your RV. When gas is as invisible and odourless as Carbon Monoxide, it can be an immediate danger to your health, and some of your RV appliances do emit it. 1stChoice RV wants you to be aware of the risk of CO poisoning and offer some tips so you can prevent it.

There is also a need for more established RVers to get a refresher course on the subject. So here are some helpful tips on detecting carbon monoxide and on how to make sure that all CO emitting appliances are properly maintained.

The Clear and Present Danger of Carbon Monoxide

Each year it is estimated by the CDC that about 50,000 people are treated in an emergency room for CO poisoning, and about 430 of them die. Fuel-burning appliances pose a serious risk, wherever they are, but in an enclosed space like an RV, it can be even more of an urgent problem. An RV is, in itself, a fuel-burning machine, containing many fuel-burning components.

Let’s start with a list of some notorious sources:

  • Lanterns: A good rule to follow is to never bring them inside.
  • Grills: Fuel-burning grills are responsible for as many as 10 to 17 deaths annually, charcoal grills for as many as 15 to 27.
  • Heaters: The most common source of carbon monoxide poisoning is the unvented space heater.
  • Camping stoves: Kerosene camping stoves produce carbon monoxide and deliver harmful doses in small spaces.
  • Refrigerators: A refrigerator needs proper ventilation to clear out the harmful CO gas. Refrigerators are also known to emit chlorofluorocarbons which are harmful to the environment.
  • Ranges: CO escaping a poorly installed gas range is also a killer.
  • Generators: Generators are definitely another major source of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If your RV is a trailer, the towing vehicle is a source of carbon monoxide.

Make Sure That Your Air is Fresh Mountain Air

Camper rental in Southern California is a good way to breathe the fresh mountain air. Sometimes the air you breathe, even in the mountains, has a lot of carbon monoxide that can be generated outside and around your RV (like your neighbour’s RV).

Step one, of course, is to identify and be are of the potential sources of CO, in and around your RV. The second is probably to make sure that you have detection equipment with you. Humans are not able to detect carbon monoxide in the air, that is why it is called “the quiet killer.”

Sensors are critical. Make that investment now, they are only about $15 to $30, and your lives are worth it. When amounts reach a certain level, the alarm sounds which is louder than the battery-low alarm. The carbon monoxide alarm is loud because it may need to wake you up!

The Tips

  • Keep up with the maintenance on all of the RV and camping components.
  • Be careful when using your gas-powered heater to follow the directions and warnings.
  • When using your range, open a nearby window and use your range fan.
  • Range burners are not meant to heat your RV. Never use them for that.
  • Close any windows or vents that are in proximity to a running vehicle or generator.
  • Run your generator away from your RV and that of your neighbour’s and point its exhaust away from your RV and your neighbour’s, and make sure that your neighbours aren’t doing the same to you. Also, inspect your generator’s exhaust making sure it isn’t damaged.
  • Clear debris away from your vents.
  • Replace the batteries. Your detector’s batteries need to be replaced every 6 months.

Glamping is Not Without Risk

When you rent a motorhome in California, make sure your experience is uneventful. Even though RVs are glamorous, these are important precautions to take. 1st Choice RV is here to make sure you have a great time. Check out our highly competitive Los Angeles area RV rental prices. Call us, we’ll answer any questions you have.


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