Winter is prime time for cold weather campers to light up RV furnaces and heaters. If you’re hearty enough to head out in your rig this winter, don’t let carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning ruin your day – and end your life.
Experts estimate that over 500 people each year unnecessarily die because of malfunctioning or improper use of fuel burning appliances in the home. Here are six tips to avoid becoming a carbon monoxide poisoning statistic:
- Meet the silent killer. You can’t taste or smell it, but carbon monoxide can kill when a fuel-burning appliance is improperly used indoors without adequate ventilation, or when it needs repairing. The longer the appliance is used, the more that unsafe CO levels build up and cause symptoms like:
- Irregular breathing
You may not even know this is happening but if enough CO builds up, the results can be lethal in pets and people. Follow the next five tips to avoid a trip to the hospital (or the morgue!):
- Annually service all fuel-burning RV appliances like catalytic heaters. A qualified technician can ensure that thermostat controls and automatic safety devices are in working order.
- Buy a carbon monoxide detector. This carbon monoxide detector alarm for RVs can save your life if CO levels exceed safe limits. These detectors need occasional maintenance and eventual replacement since dirt can clog sensors. Consult the product manual for care and shelf life.
- Vent your living space. When you’re using a RV appliance like a furnace or catalytic heater, have some fresh air coming into the rig. Consult your heater’s owner’s manual for your appliance’s best ventilation strategy, but ideally you want to crack one window that’s up high, and one that’s down low. If that isn’t possible, open two windows for cross-ventilation.
- Inspect your RV for floor cracks or wall openings where generator exhaust could penetrate the living space.
- Watch where you park. Make sure that tall weeds, boulders or other items aren’t blocking your RV generator’s exhaust from flowing out and away from your rig.
Enjoy winter camping. Stay warm and safe out there!