Search This Blog

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Overlooked Safety Items

Occupying an RV is already living on the edge, fortunately there are some safety items installed to protect us from hazards.


Two of those hazards are fire and and even more deadly, carbon monoxide (CO).  CO is an invisible gas, does not smell and is produced by engines and generators.  Properly vented, it is not a problem, but a loose exhaust pipe, or when boondocking, a change in wind direction can introduce CO into the interior of an RV.  RVs are not air tight.

Installed on our Journey, we have both a smoke detector and a CO detector. 

(Click on the pictures to enlarge.)



We all have heard and most of us do change the batteries in the detectors every six months.  But did you know that CO and smoke detectors have a specific life span and they need to be replaced?


They have a five year working life.  On the CO detector, there is a tiny atomic particle in the mechanism to sense the presence of CO and activate the alarm.  The atomic particle breaks down after five years and no longer works.

I’m not sure what is used in the smoke detector to make it function, but mine had a five year replacement date on it, too.

A trip to Home Depot provided me with two detectors, a plain smoke detector and an upgraded dual CO and smoke detector (for the bedroom).


Simple installs and I’m good for another five years of happy travels.  I’ll replace this unit five years from the date of manufacture.


Also, in my military mind, I like redundancy of systems, always good to have a backup.  I purchased an additional small CO detector for the bedroom that has dual voltage, you plug it in to a regular wall socket and it has a battery backup for off the grid times.


We worked a long time to get to the place where we can live our dream. Just like to be sure that we’ll be around to enjoy it.  :c)

Next project:  Checking out the LP gas detector.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. When we bought this used fiver last year, the first thing we did was replace all the detectors. Sure helped to ease some of the worrying I did.

  2. Really great safety information Paul. Thanks!

  3. Don't eat any beans on the day you are going to check the gas detector. :)

  4. Thanks for the safety lesson. We really appreciate all you share with us!!!

  5. I'm not sure why they picked the spot they did for our smoke detector but it's right above the stove and it goes off frequently. Like every time we cook bacon and eggs! That's pretty much everyday for Steve. We now have a small fan clipped nearby. We automatically turn it on before heating up the pan.

  6. Thanks for the heads up - I didn't know that. After almost 7 years, it's time to change them.

  7. Great reminder -- safety first if we want to live to enjoy!

  8. Thanks for the tip! WE know ours is only 1 year old, so 4 more to go!

  9. Good advice Paul!

    I had the dealer replace both units in our rig upon walk through pre-purchase inspection.

    Like Steve and Joan our detector is just right of the fridge and if use the toaster it will sing. I noticed if we turn on the hood fan, I don't wake my Bride or the neighbors when making breakfast. :)

  10. Craig moved our smoke detector from right above the stove to just behind the Driver's seat. It still goes off from time to time when I cook, but not as often if I turn on the fans. I also keep a paper hand fan handy and just wave it around the detector to turn it off.

  11. Good idea. We need to check ours. I like adding the little extra one in the bedroom too.

  12. great advice Paul..ours are brand new..and I set the smoke detector off when we were on pancakes..darn griddle got too least we know it works!

  13. I've read some news stories of folks here in apartments who have had some bad experiences with CO. Nobody died, but there were a couple close calls. Seems when it gets really hot out and apartments get closed up, a negative draught can be created, bringing CO back into the dwelling from a gas fired hot water heater.
    Doesn't matter what the source of combustion is to end up with CO either.

  14. great tips. We like redundancy too!

  15. Thanks for the tip - I'm on my way to Home Depot...

  16. Great reminder. I never thought about the life span of those detectors. Guess we better replace ours too.