RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Keeps Going Off? Do This!

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that is highly poisonous. If your CO detector goes off, you need to take it seriously.

With that said, if your RV carbon monoxide detector keeps going off, it could be a false alarm for a few different reasons.

So, let’s learn what you should do when your RV carbon monoxide detector keeps going off, the reason for false alarms, and how to replace your CO detector when it reaches its end of life.

Did you know… More than 430 people die in the U.S. annually from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. And roughly 50,000 people visit the emergency room yearly due to accidental CO poisoning, according to the CDC.

Why Does My RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Keep Going Off?

If your RV carbon monoxide detector keeps going off, a few different things could potentially be causing this.

Related: RV Propane Detector Keeps Going off? Do This!

Carbon Monoxide is Present

If you hear a series of 4 beeps and see a flashing or solid red light on the detector (common with the Safe-T-Alert CO detectors), assume there is carbon monoxide present and do the following:

  1. Press the Test/Mute button on your alarm.
  2. Gather all persons inside the RV and immediately exit the vehicle. Check that everybody is accounted for. If you or your fellow campers show signs of CO poisoning such as dizziness, headache, vomiting, etc., you should call 911 immediately.
  3. Do not re-enter the RV until it has been aired out and your alarm continues its normal operation.
  4. Shut down anything that would cause carbon monoxide in your RV, such as gas-powered generators and gas-powered appliances like the furnace, water heater, refrigerator, stove, etc.
  5. Call a certified RV technician to have your vehicle and its appliances inspected.

Important: Your specific CO detector might have a different beeping pattern that signals high levels of CO, so be sure to read the owner’s manual of your specific model. In other words, know your beeps!

If your RV carbon monoxide detector keeps beeping, but it’s making a different sound than the high CO level sound of 4 beeps every 5 or so seconds, then it’s likely due to one of the following reasons.

Alarm Malfunction

If your alarm makes a chirp every 30 seconds and the LED indicator light is alternating between red/green, then you likely have a malfunctioning alarm.

To fix this issue, your options include:

  1. Check the battery voltage
  2. Contact customer support for your CO detector
  3. Replace the unit

If the voltage is correct, I would recommend replacing the unit immediately. Do not put your and your family’s safety at risk any longer than needed. You can always contact customer support after replacing your unit for refund options, assuming the detector was still under warranty and hasn’t reached its end of life.

Safe T Alert 65-542-WT Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Safe T Alert 65-542-WT Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

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If you are replacing a combination carbon monoxide/propane alarm, then we recommend the Safe-T-Alert 35-742-BL Dual LP/CO Alarm by MTI Industries.

Safe-T-Alert 35-742-BL Dual LP/CO Alarm

Safe-T-Alert 35-742-BL Dual LP/CO Alarm

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Detector is Dirty

A dirty carbon monoxide detector can lead to false alarms. And while they are designed to be relatively maintenance-free, you still will want to keep it in good working order by:

  1. Testing the CO alarm weekly.
  2. Vacuuming dust off the detector cover at least once a month with the soft bristle attachment.
  3. Hand washing the alarm cover as needed with a damp cloth.

Important: Do not use spray cleaning agents or waxes on your alarm as that can damage the sensor that is used to detect carbon monoxide and lead to false alarms.

Detector Has Reached End of Life

Every quality CO detector will include an End of Life (EOL) signal, which indicates that the detector has reached the end of its service life. Their lifespan is usually 5 years, but some models may go as long as 10 years.

Again, for the Safe-T-Alert CO detectors, the signal is the LED flashing red twice, then green twice with a beep every 25-30 seconds.

You can reset the Safe-T-Alert RV carbon monoxide detector by pushing the Test/Reset button on the alarm, resetting the EOL signal for 72 hours for up to 30 days. After 30 days, it cannot be reset again and must be replaced.

Safe T Alert 65-542-WT Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Safe T Alert 65-542-WT Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Again, if your unit has reached its EOL, and you are replacing a combination carbon monoxide/LP detector, then we recommend the Safe-T-Alert 35-742-BL Dual LP/CO Alarm by MTI Industries.

Safe-T-Alert 35-742-BL Dual LP/CO Alarm

Safe-T-Alert 35-742-BL Dual LP/CO Alarm

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

How to Replace an RV Carbon Monoxide Detector

Once you’ve got your new RV carbon monoxide detector in hand, you can safely uninstall your old one and replace it with a new one.

Note: The following are general instructions for how to replace an RV carbon monoxide detector. Your specific brand and model of CO detector may be slightly different. If you have a combo carbon monoxide and propane detector, you will need to follow your manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Step 1: Remove Old CO Detector

Remove the old detector from the mounting plate on the wall. If you are installing the same model of detector you can leave the mounting plate as-is. Otherwise, you will need to unscrew the mounting plate and remove it from the wall.

Important: If you install a CO detector in a new location, be sure it is on the ceiling or the wall at least 4 inches off the floor. Do NOT install within 12 inches of any outside opening (door, window, etc.) or 5 ft of a cooking appliance. Outside of bedrooms is an ideal location. Check out our guide on where to mount a carbon monoxide detector in an RV for more information.

Step 2: Install Replacement CO Detector

If using an existing mounting plate, attach the alarm to the plate. If not, screw the new mounting plate to the wall, then attach the replacement detector to the plate. Be sure the pull tab to activate the alarm is still visible.

Step 3: Remove Pull Tab

Finally, remove the pull tab to activate the detector. You can now test the CO alarm by pressing the Test button. Be sure to test your new alarm weekly and after storing your motorhome for extended periods of time.

Tip: The testing feature on some CO detector models will only test the electronic components, not the sensors. In this case, you will need to test the carbon monoxide sensor using a can of test gas. Do not intentionally create carbon monoxide in your RV to test the detector.

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