Carbon monoxide exposure is one thing that every RV owner should know about-- even if you just bought a new RV for sale. There are many sources of carbon monoxide within your RV, as well as others around you. Taking the time to learn about carbon monoxide exposure in your RV and tips for preventing the gas from making your family sick, or worse, will help to keep you safe.
Where does the carbon monoxide come from?
There are a number of sources of carbon monoxide in an RV. These include:
- Exhaust leaks – from the vehicle, as well as the generator
- Surrounding vehicles while parked in a campground
- LP gas appliances malfunctioning or not properly vented
- Unsafe use of portable gas heaters
How can you protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning?
First and foremost, install a carbon monoxide detector inside the cabin of the RV. There are detectors made specifically for use in RVs. In many cases, these units are powered by batteries, but some can be electrically powered with a battery back-up. This detector will alert your family immediately if the carbon monoxide levels begin to rise in the cabin.
Inspect the RV exhaust system underneath the vehicle. This is the first thing to sustain damage during a trip and you bottom out. Anytime you hear an impact, pull off at the first safe place and look underneath to ensure that it wasn't damaged. Another thing to look for is corrosion. If the exhaust begins to rust, it will begin to leak gasses into the cabin and put you and your family at risk.
Watch the flame on your stove. If the flame ever turns yellow, it means that the oxygen levels within the cabin are low and that something is wrong. Exit the RV immediately, turn off the LP gas supply and call for repairs.
Don't do your own LP appliance maintenance and repair. Even if you have a guide to follow, these appliances can put your family at risk if you do one thing wrong. Do have the appliances inspected and maintained at least once each year to be sure that they are in good working condition and will not cause the cabin to fill with carbon monoxide during use.
Pay attention to how you park your RV. The rear end of the RV should always have several feet of free space so that the exhaust can blow away from the unit. If possible, try to park several feet away from other RVs so that your RV doesn't fill up with the exhaust coming from their engines and generators.
Your travels can be fun, enjoyable and safe if you take the time to learn about the potential dangers of carbon monoxide. Talk with your local RV professional to learn more about safe use of your RV.