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Having a quality carbon monoxide detector in your RV is not only essential, but it could also save your life. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless gas. In fact, carbon monoxide is often referred to as “the quiet killer”. CO is produced any time a fossil fuel, such as propane, gasoline, wood, or coal is burned. Inhaling these toxic fumes can cause sudden illness or death. According to the CDC, at least 430 people die and approximately 50,000 people visit the emergency room every year from carbon monoxide poisoning. So, protecting yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning should be at the top of your safety checklist.
In this post we are going to answer a few questions about carbon monoxide and why it is extremely important to make sure you have a good, quality RV carbon monoxide detector.
What Makes Carbon Monoxide So Dangerous?
As stated above, carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no taste or smell. When you breath in CO, it enters your bloodstream and mixes with the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body. When this occurs, your blood is no longer able to carry the much-needed oxygen to your body, which causes the cells to fail and die.
Symptoms Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are not usually obvious, at low levels. The most common symptom is a headache. Other symptoms might include:
- Feeling dizzy
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain
- Being tired and confused
If you experience any of these symptoms, move to a well-ventilated area, outside of your RV or camper. In addition, if you feel like you may have been exposed to higher levels of carbon monoxide, call 9-1-1.
Carbon monoxide is called the quiet, or silent killer because you have no idea it’s present until it’s too late. That’s why it is so important to make sure you have a good RV carbon monoxide detector.
Carbon Monoxide In Your RV
Most, if not all, RVs and campers are equipped with appliances that use propane. These appliances include the stove, fireplace, generators, and water heaters. If there is a propane leak that goes undetected, you could be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Where Should An RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Be Mounted?
You should mount your RV carbon monoxide detector in a common area outside of the bedrooms. Typically, you will install the detector 4 to 5 feet above the floor. Why? Because carbon monoxide can stay close to the floor in cooler environments and rises as the air warms up. If you have a large RV or 5th wheel, it might be a good idea to install more than one carbon monoxide detector.
Why Is My RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeping?
If you have an RV carbon monoxide detector that is beeping, this could be caused by several things. It could be beeping because it is detecting CO, the batteries are dead, it is faulty, or it is near the end of its lifespan.
Carbon Monoxide Detected
The worst-case scenario is the detection of carbon monoxide. If this is the case, evacuate your camper immediately. Get yourself, your family, and your pets out of harm’s way. Once outside, turn off your propane, generator, or anything else that could be producing the carbon monoxide.
Another common reason your RV carbon monoxide detector is beeping is because of low batteries. Your carbon monoxide detector relies on these batteries in case of loss of power. In that case, replace the batteries as soon as possible.
If you feel the beeping is from a faulty carbon monoxide detector, contact the manufacturer to see if there is a way to reset it, or get a replacement.
End Of Usable Lifespan
As with most things in life, an RV carbon monoxide detector will need to be replaced eventually. Most CO detectors have a lifespan of around 7 to 8 years and will beep, or chirp on occasion when that time is near. If this is the case, replace it as soon as possible.
Best RV Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If your RV or camper doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, it’s time to get one. You can head down to your local hardware store and pick up a couple of battery powered detectors. I have also listed a few recommendations below.
There are a couple different types of RV carbon monoxide detectors, such as plug-in, battery powered, and dual purpose. Let’s take a look:
Kiddie Nighthawk CO Detector
The kiddie Nighthawk carbon monoxide detector plugs into a wall outlet making installation a breeze. This detector also features a battery backup in case you lose shore power, or if you’re not plugged into shore power.
The easy-to-read digital readout detects from 30-999 PPM of carbon monoxide and sounds off with an 85-decibel alarm to alert you when levels become dangerous.
Safe-T-Alert Dual LP/CO Alarm
We have the Safe-T-Alert mounted in our camper and it is one of the easiest RV carbon monoxide detectors to maintain. First, there are no batteries to worry about replacing since it is hard-wired to the RVs 12V system. Second, it is a dual detector. What this means is that it not only detects carbon monoxide, but it also detects propane leaks.
The downside to this RV carbon monoxide detector is finding available 12V power if you don’t already have power available. In that case, you can either DIY or have it professionally installed.
If you are looking for a carbon monoxide detector that does not require hard wiring, the Forensics Detector might be what you’re looking for. This CO detector begins alarming at just 9 PPM, where the standard carbon monoxide detectors will alarm around 70 PPM. That’s a huge difference. In addition, this detector will alarm after only 60 seconds of exposure, as compared to 60 minutes and up in other models.
Kiddie Carbon Monoxide Detector
This is your typical, wall mount, battery powered RV carbon monoxide detector. Not only does it alarm when CO is detected, it also alerts when the batteries are low.
The LED light will flash red with 4 beeps when it detects CO and will flash green every minute to let you know the alarm is working properly.
Conclusion On RV Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide is nothing to play with. The scariest part is you can’t see it or smell it. Having a good, quality carbon monoxide detector in your RV is key to the safety of you and your family. If you already have them installed in your RV, be sure to test them every time you use your camper.
What are your thoughts on RV carbon monoxide detectors? Do you have suggestions not mentioned in this post? If so, please leave us a comment below and let us know.
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