Where to Mount a Carbon Monoxide Detector in an RV (Important)

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that can be deadly if not detected early. This is where RV carbon monoxide detectors come in!

However, if your detector is installed in the wrong location, it might not detect carbon monoxide at all!

So, let’s learn exactly where to mount a carbon monoxide detector in an RV, where not to mount it, plus the best location to mount a dual CO and LP detector!

Where to Mount a Carbon Monoxide Detector in an RV

A carbon monoxide detector should be placed outside of the sleeping area, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and on a wall or ceiling at least 4 inches off the floor.

Typically, you’ll install your CO alarm in the kitchen area of the RV.

Just as important as where to place your CO detector is where not to place it. A carbon monoxide detector should not be placed:

  • Behind any furniture, drapes, inside closets, or other areas that will physically block the carbon monoxide gas from reaching the alarms sensor.
  • Within 12 inches (30 cm) of windows, exterior doors, heaters, and vents. Basically, anywhere that can produce a draft.
  • On an outside wall. Especially in older RVs which may have little or no insulation and are potentially draftier.
  • Within 5 feet (1.5 meters) of any gas-powered appliance.

Placing a CO detector in any of these locations can lead to a false alarm or, worse, no alarm at all when dangerous levels of CO arise.

Typically, if you’re looking to mount an RV carbon monoxide detector replacement in an existing location chosen by the manufacturer, you should be fine.

However, if your RV carbon monoxide detector keeps going off (making a beeping noise when you’re certain there’s no CO gas), or the location isn’t within the recommended locations above or as stated in the owner’s manual, you may need to move the device to the proper location.

Where to Mount a Dual RV Carbon Monoxide Propane Detector

Choosing the right location to mount a dual CO/propane alarm is extremely important.

Important: Ensure your dual CO/ Propane gas alarm is UL® listed for installation in recreational vehicles.

The rules for installation are a little more stringent for this type of alarm as it’s designed to detect propane, as well as CO gas. And propane gas is heavier than air, so the alarm needs to be placed near the floor. In other words…

A dual RV carbon monoxide propane detector should be mounted between 4 and 20 inches off the ground and near sources of a potential gas leak.

These potential sources may include:

  • Furnace
  • Water heater
  • Stove or oven
  • Refrigerator

Tip: If you have gas sources in several areas of your motorhome, it’s recommended to install a separate carbon monoxide alarm in each of these areas.

And just as with the standalone carbon monoxide detector, there are certain places to avoid when mounting your dual CO/LP gas detector, including:

  • Behind furniture, curtains, inside closets, and other areas where airflow from the alarm will be blocked.
  • In close proximity (12 inches) to exterior doors, heating or return vents, windows, and other drafty areas.
  • In or on outside walls.
  • To a power line that is controlled by a wall switch, ground fault circuit, or circuit breaker.

If you have a flush mount model, you’ll also need to ensure sufficient clearance for the unit in the wall.

Important: Whether you have an Atwood, Safe-T-Alert by MTI Industries, Kidde, or another brand of leak detector, always be sure to follow the instructions in the owner’s manual.

Do RVs Need Carbon Monoxide Detectors?

No matter what type of RV you have, from a campervan to a Class A recreational vehicle, you need to have a carbon monoxide detector installed. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States, so it’s important to keep you and your family safe with a CO detector.

If your vehicle doesn’t have a 12v carbon monoxide detector already installed, you can easily install a battery-powered model to alert you when carbon monoxide levels are high and protect your vehicle’s occupants from this deadly gas.

Furthermore, CO detectors should be tested weekly and after pulling your RV out of storage to ensure they are in good working condition. This routine maintenance is as simple as pressing the “test” button on the face of the detector (on most models). If your unit has reached its end of life (typically after 5 years of use) or started malfunctioning, be sure to replace your RV carbon monoxide detector as soon as possible.

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