Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous, tasteless, colorless, and odorless gas, and it’s very important to take care of your RV CO detector, especially when it goes off! Sometimes if the detector goes off, it may be a false alarm, and you shouldn’t worry. But that is not always the case. In this article, we will talk about the main reasons why your detector could be going off, what to do and how to replace it if it’s false. So, let’s start!
RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Keeps Going off?
Why RV carbon monoxide detector keeps going off? Usually, the most common reason for an RV carbon monoxide detector to keep going off is because it has drained or low-power batteries. This can be recognized by a beep signal every 15 to 30 seconds. Another reason is that your carbon monoxide detector is broken and needs to be replaced.
While there are some other things to look out for, these are the most common reasons. If you are curious about why your carbon monoxide detector might be going off for no reason and if you want to learn how to react in that situation, be sure to read the whole article.
Did you know: As stated by the CDC, carbon monoxide is responsible for more than 430 deaths and about 50,000 visits to the critical care facility every year!
We recommend that you also read this article, How Long Does Propane Last in an RV?
Why Does My RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Keep Going Off?
If the carbon monoxide detector is going off, there might be a few serious reasons for that, or it can just be a faulty alarm. These detectors can be very sensitive and can be triggered if you spray too much bug spray inside the room. Old, drained RV batteries where the hydrogen was drained off can also be the alarm trigger. Therefore, these two harmless reasons can be the trigger for your detector to go off.
Another reason why your detector could be falsely triggered is if it is connected to the LPG gas detector, and anytime your home animals like dogs or cats release some gas, the detector can go off. Condensation and moisture can also trigger the detector to go off. The important thing is, that whenever your detector goes off, do not ignore it! Here are the four main reasons:
1. There is Carbon Monoxide In The Room
If there really is CO present inside your RV, the detector should be flashing the red light, or the red light would be solid red and you should be hearing a sequence of 4 beeps. If that happens assume that carbon monoxide might be present in your RV and do the following steps:
- Push the Test button on your detector.
- Make sure that everyone inside RV leaves the vehicle as soon as possible. When everyone is outside RV, be sure to check that no one has symptoms of CO poisoning which include headache, vomiting, and faintness. If symptoms occur, call 911 at once!
- Make sure not to re-enter your RV until it’s fully aired out and the detector starts working normally again.
- Any carbon monoxide devices in the RV need to be turned off. Those are usually boilers, fridges, stoves, gas-powered generator,s and appliances.
- Call in an expert with a certificate to check your vehicle’s appliances.
Important: Always be sure to read your owner’s manual or go on the manufacturer’s website to study your detector, as the beeping sequence and the red light beeping can vary from the detector to detector.
Here are a few reasons why your CO detector can keep beeping but in a different sequence than the one which alerts of dangerous CO levels (usually 4 beeps every 5 seconds)
2. Alarm Malfunction
You will detect a malfunctioning alarm by the following signs: You’ll have a beep every 30 seconds while the LED light is shifting between red/green.
There are a couple of ways how you can fix this:
- Get in the touch with the customer support for your RV detector
- Inspect your battery voltage
- Change the unit
If the battery is not drained and the battery voltage is normal, we recommend that you replace the unit as soon as possible. Your own safety and the safety of your family are most important, do not put them at any unnecessary risk. If your warranty is still valid, you can call the customer support and get your money back.
3. Dirty Detector
Another common reason why your detector of carbon monoxide could be going off is because of dirt! Although, they are built to be maintenance-free (don’t require maintenance), if you want them to work properly, follow the next instructions:
- Be sure to do weekly testing on your CO alarm.
- Vacuum the dust off the detector cover every month.
- Hand washes the detector cover with a cotton cloth piece.
Important: Cleaning agents and waxes can cause damage to your detector sensors. Therefore be sure not to use them when cleaning the carbon monoxide detector. It can cause false alarms as well.
4. Detector Is Old
An average lifespan of a CO detector is around 5 years, while some top-quality models can last for up to 10 years. When the detector reaches the end of its service life, it will indicate an EOL (End of Life) signal. If we are talking about Safe-T-Alert CO detectors, they are using the flashing red LED light that blinks twice, then the green LED light will blink twice, and then you’ll hear a beep every 30 seconds.
If you didn’t know, you could also reset the EOL signal on your detector before you buy a new one. Pressing the detector Test/Reset button will reset the signal, and you’ll need to do that every 72 hours. After 30 days, you’ll buy a new one and can’t use the restart button again. If you are replacing the CO/LPG detector, our personal recommendation is to go for the Alert 35-742-BL Dual LP model.
Replacing Carbon Monoxide Detector on Your RV
After buying a new carbon monoxide detector for your RV, just uninstall your previous one and replace it with the new one you just bought.
Note: Before taking any action, check your owner’s manual or go on the manufacturer’s website for installation instructions. For those who own a propane or combo carbon monoxide detector, be sure to also read the instructions on the owner’s manual. Specific brands can be wary of the installation/uninstallation process.
Step 1: Remove Your Old Detector
Your old detector needs to be removed from its position before the new one is installed. If your new detector is the same model as the old one, the mounting plate can be left on the wall. If the models are different, remove the mounting plate and set up a new one, that fits the new model.
Note: If you want your detector to work properly, it has to be set no less than 4 inches off the floor and not less than 12 inches outside doors/windows. Do NOT place your CO detector near cooking appliances as well, unless you want false alarms.
Step 2: Replace Your CO Detector
If you are using the same CO detector, attach the detector to your current mounting plate. If you want to install a detector in a new location, or you’re using a different model, be sure to use a new plate and attach it to the wall. Keep in mind that the activation tab of the alarm is visible and reachable.
Step 3: Pull Tab Needs to be Remove
When you have set up your new detector, all that’s left to do is to remove the pull tab. Be sure to test your new detector. This can be done by locating the TEST button and pressing it when you are done with the installation and continue doing that on a weekly basis or after you have stored your RV for a longer period of time.
Tip: There are CO detector models that can be used on the electronic components, where sensors are not included. Under no circumstances do NOT let carbon monoxide in your RV to test the sensors.
Why CO Detector Goes Off in the Middle of the Night
Keep in mind that this will happen, if not now, then sometimes in the future. If this is the case, it means that something is wrong with your CO detector, and you’ll need to find out what it is. If you have replaced your batteries recently, or the detector is plugged into your home’s electricity, you know that the batteries aren’t the problem.
If batteries are not the problem, there are 2 other options. First, if your detector really detected CO in the air, you should follow all the preventative steps to make your RV safe again. The second option is that your detector malfunctions and gives a false signal.
Nonetheless, if your detector does go off, it is always better to think it is because of a real threat, as you are dealing with dangerous gas here. If you are an optimist, you can just take out the batteries during the night or turn off the detector till morning. We are kidding, don’t do that!
Tips to Deal With RV Detector False Alarm
If your carbon monoxide detector really is broken and is giving you a false alarm, the best thing you can do is to remove the batteries, unplug them from the electricity, or cut the wires. Sometimes these devices can activate an alarm when the batteries are dead. If you think that your alarm is going off for no reason, make sure to check it.
Keeping your detector clean is another easy way to avoid false alarms. Moisture and dust can also trigger false alarms, so do not place the detector near bathrooms/showers. Also, do not place your detector near kitchen appliances, because the smell of even the slightest burnt food can trigger the detector as well. Therefore, be sure to keep the CO detector at least 10 feet away from different appliances.
For those who want to know more, be sure to read How To Turn On Electric Water Heater in RV?
FAQ: People Also Ask
What are the main reasons why carbon monoxide detectors keep going off?
Kitchen appliances such as boilers, fridges, and stoves, as well as any kind of exhausts that lead to incomplete combustion, are usually the reason for your detector going off. Humans expel carbon dioxide during breathing, and that can not trigger the detector.
What can falsely set off a carbon monoxide detector?
The CO detectors can become unpredictable once their lifetime expires, and dampness and humidity from bathrooms or even from outside can trigger them. We recommend that you don’t install them in areas where is steam.
Can carbon monoxide alarms go off for no reason?
Even though these detectors are extremely sensitive, they should not be going off for no reason at all. If there is beeping every 30 seconds or so, it’s probably because of the low battery. Your detector can have a manufacturing error as well, but it is extremely rare and it should be diagnosed by a professional.
Your safety should be your top priority. Therefore, having a carbon monoxide detector in your RV is very important. This gas is tasteless, odorless, colorless, and extremely fatal, and that’s why it is important to keep it running all the time. If your detector goes off, never ignore it. I hope that this article has helped you, and for any additional questions, feel free to contact us.