I have a friend who was asleep in their camper with his family when his Carbon Monoxide, detector went off.
He awoke confused, but had enough presence of mind to get his family up and outside. Luckily, he had recently added the Carbon Monoxide detector which operated correctly and saved them from disaster. They quickly recovered as clean air replaced the carbon monoxide gas that they had been breathing.
When oxygen is replaced by carbon monoxide due to faulty stoves or heaters in a camper or RV, suffocation becomes a real danger. Large amounts of CO gas can overcome you in minutes without warning — causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate.
In this case, the culprit was a dirty burner in the furnace and a restricted vent that didn’t allow a complete burn of the fuel and allowed CO back into the camper. A little preventative maintenance would have stopped the drama that night!
I’m certainly no expert, but since then I’ve learned that carbon monoxide is dangerous when breathed because it replaces the oxygen in your blood which deprives the brain, heart, and other vital organs of oxygen.
My friend awoke with confusion, and a serious headache. Other symptoms could include fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea and a loss of consciousness. Symptoms can vary widely from person to person.
It is worth your time and money to do preventative cleaning and maintenance, and to have a simple inspection done of your camper appliances prior to each camping season.
Here are a few additional hints to stay safe and comfortable:
- Never use the burners in your camper to heat the camper.
- Always keep a window cracked to allow fresh air flow throughout the camper.
- Burning charcoal produces CO gas. Never burn it in an enclosed space.
- Purchase a battery powered CO monitor for your camper or RV. (It is recommended that batteries are changed every 6 months).
Like my friend, it could save your life!
Stay safe and happy camping!