CO is produced by the incomplete combustion of gas, which is usually caused due to a lack of maintenance or faulty gas appliance. Oil and solid fuels such as coal, wood, petrol and oil can also produce Carbon Monoxide.
When burning under ideal conditions, LPG or natural gas will only produce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). When using LPG for heating or cooking in a caravan, it’s perfectly normal for every appliance to produce a small amount of Carbon Monoxide. Under normal conditions, and with appliances in good condition, the level of Carbon Monoxide produced is very low and as long as there is adequate ventilation there’s no need to worry. This is especially true when cooking with LPG in your caravan – you should open windows and the door if possible to ensure maximum ventilation.
- If your appliance isn’t installed properly.
- If your appliance hasn’t been properly maintained or serviced regularly.
- If your living area has inadequate ventilation.
- If the chimney or flue is blocked.
- A faulty appliance
As a general rule, the gas flame’s colour is an indicator of how well the gas is burning. A blue flame with no orange present is perfect combustion. A flame which is not burning all the gas will have yellow or orange present; this means that Carbon Monoxide IS being produced.
Any black sooty stains on flue vents, caravan sides or pan bases are an indicator of poor combustion and the production of Carbon Monoxide. If you suspect you have a faulty appliance, turn it off immediately and call a Gas Safe registered engineer. Don’t use the appliance until it has been inspected and given a clean bill of health.
How to avoid Carbon Monoxide poisoning
- Invest in a Carbon Monoxide detector. When you buy a Carbon Monoxide alarm, make sure it meets current British and European safety standards
- Don’t block any ventilation holes in your caravan
- Avoid second-hand appliances
- Choose appliances that meet British or European safety standards
- Get a Gas Safe™ registered engineer to install and check new appliances as appliances work more efficiently and safely with regular checks and servicing
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Have appliances serviced annually
- Keep portable heaters clear of furniture, bedclothes and curtains
- Don’t use portable heaters to dry clothes
- Make sure your living space has adequate ventilation
- Never use or bring a barbecue inside your caravan or tent. Carbon Monoxide will still be released from the hot coals when the barbecue has almost gone out
With safety a first priority at Calor, following our Carbon Monoxide guide will help you to relax and enjoy your holiday, whether you’re caravanning in the wine regions of France or in good old Bognor Regis. If you have any more questions regarding this article or Carbon Monoxide safety, feel free to come and chat to us on the forum and we’ll be happy to help.