Campervan guides

Campervan carbon monoxide poisoning: How to stay safe

Campervan carbon monoxide

In England and Wales, there are about 25 accidental carbon monoxide poisoning fatalities every year and campervan users are an ‘at-risk’ group because they use appliances that create carbon monoxide in an enclosed space. Here’s everything you need to know about campervan carbon monoxide poisoning and how to stay safe.

Often referred to as ‘the silent killer’, you cannot see, smell or taste carbon monoxide.

It is a naturally occurring gas when fossil fuels such as coal, wood, gas and charcoal are burnt.

It’s why, if you’re burning any of these fossil fuels in and around your campervan, it is absolutely vital that you have adequate ventilation in place.

How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning in a campervan

Service campervan gas appliances regularly:

Keep your campervan well ventilated: The areas around gas appliances must be well ventilated to allow carbon monoxide to escape your campervan efficiently.

Do not light or bring barbeques inside your campervan or awning: Even a cooling barbecue will give off poisonous carbon monoxide.

Never use a fuel-burning appliance to heat your campervan: Portable gas and kerosene heaters, should only be used outside. Do not be tempted to use a stove or barbecue as a heat source.

Never run a gas, petrol or diesel-powered generator inside a campervan: This includes in your awning. Make sure fumes from a generator do not blow into your campervan – or anyone else’s.

Buy a carbon-monoxide detector and regularly test it: Available from as little as £15, a campervan carbon monoxide alarm is an essential safety device. Carbon-monoxide detectors should usually be installed somewhere close to your gas appliances inside your campervan – check the instructions. However, a carbon-monoxide alarm does not give you licence to flout any of the above carbon-monoxide campervan guidelines.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

The early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning might present with symptoms resembling food poisoning or the flu, just without a high temperature.

The NHS states that poisoning by carbon monoxide can cause:

  • Tension-type headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea (feeling and being sick)
  • Tiredness and Confusion
  • Stomach pains
  • Breathlessness
  • The symptoms of exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can be similar to those of food poisoning and flu.

Depending on the level of exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning, it is possible to become ill quickly.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Van Life Matters newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest UK Van Life news, tips and advice.

Van Life Matters newsletter

Leave a Comment

Van Life Matters