What's a good carbon monoxide (CO) alarm specifically for campervans, MHs, caravans etc? | MotorhomeFun | The Motorhome Support and Social Network

What's a good carbon monoxide (CO) alarm specifically for campervans, MHs, caravans etc?

Oct 11, 2019
264
491
Cheshire
Funster No
65,289
MH
Converting a Van
Exp
I'm a Total Newbie!
Hi all.

I've started fitting a diesel heater today. Obviously fresh air intake and exhaust go to through the floor of the van to the outside, and the pipes point in opposite directions. The pipes fit their holes quite snugly and I will tomorrow seal them up with exhaust putty as well.

However it goes without saying that, in the interest of safety, I want to fit both a carbon monoxide and smoke alarm.

I would like one that can be hard wired into the 12v fuse panel so it runs off my leisure battery. (Not powered by AA batteries or similar small batteries.) In addition it should be one designed specifically for use in a campervans, MH, or caravan etc. For those that don't know a household one will probably say somewhere that it is unsuitable for campervan use. I think this is because they aren't made to withstand the temperature fluctuations and rattling of a van being driven.

Obviously having a good CO detector could save your life. I hope never to hear it go off but I bloody want it to if it should do. So I thought I'd ask you knowledgeable people with more experience which you have.

I urge everyone to check theirs while we are at it!

Thanks in advance.

Jack. 👨‍🚒
 
Sep 13, 2020
55
161
Fife
Funster No
75,807
MH
Bailey 70-6
Exp
2019
Go for a brand name, honeywell, kiddie or fire angel for example, something you know and can trust. You will find that the alarm (sensor) will have a lifespan of 5, 7 or 10yrs, depending on which brand and price. Test it on every trip and then dispose of it after its expiry date as you can no longer trust it to save your life. It will likely still produce a test beep when tested after its expiry date but don't be tempted to think that means its ok, it only means the batteries are still working

Some will have a sealed battery unit and some will have replaceable batteries. Dont bother with hard wired.
 

TheBig1

LIFE MEMBER
Nov 27, 2011
14,086
24,998
Dorset
Funster No
19,048
MH
A class
Exp
many many years! since I was a kid
I have always used a well known brand for smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide CO alarms. Preferably the long life 10 year version. Positioning is everything and essential that you follow the instructions fully. With a big van, with the batteries one end and the cooking/heating the other, I fit 2 of each. CO detectors will also detect hydrogen from bad batteries

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Riverbankannie

LIFE MEMBER
Mar 11, 2016
6,690
20,157
Bristol
Funster No
41,967
MH
IH 630 RL PVC
Exp
12
Ours is a 12v one produced by CBE similar to this, we also have their lpg alarm . Both are fitted low down. We then have a smoke detector on the ceiling.
 
Sep 16, 2016
4,629
12,179
Near the junction of the A14 and A1, Cambs
Funster No
45,145
MH
Elddis Autoquest 175
Exp
Since 2010
Our original CO alarm decided to throw a wobbly, so I replaced it with a Fire Angel CO monitor which has a readout of the CO level as well as an alarm.

 
OP
CamperJack
Oct 11, 2019
264
491
Cheshire
Funster No
65,289
MH
Converting a Van
Exp
I'm a Total Newbie!
Ours is a 12v one produced by CBE similar to this, we also have their lpg alarm . Both are fitted low down. We then have a smoke detector on the ceiling.
That's the sort of thing. Thanks! One that can be wired to the battery. Does that on light stay on all the time though? Would drive me mad at night!

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OP
CamperJack
Oct 11, 2019
264
491
Cheshire
Funster No
65,289
MH
Converting a Van
Exp
I'm a Total Newbie!
Seems from the link posted by rb62 what we should all be looking for in our homes on wheels is an alarm that has BS EN 50291-2

A quick Goolgle shows this... "specifies general requirements for the construction, testing and performance of electrically operated carbon monoxide gas detection apparatus, designed for continuous operation in a fixed installation in recreational vehicles and similar premises including recreational craft."

I'll be shopping for one with this number on it tomorrow!

Thanks.

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OP
CamperJack
Oct 11, 2019
264
491
Cheshire
Funster No
65,289
MH
Converting a Van
Exp
I'm a Total Newbie!
Any will do.
It's no different in your van than in your kitchen at home.
Quite a few for houses don't operate below 0°C and it might get that low in winter inside a van? Also my home doesn't shake like my van does while I drive it down a dirt road.

BS EN50291-2 don't appear to be any more expensive than any others. As these meet the kite mark standards for MHs I think I'll get one of those. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:
 

Wombles

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 28, 2013
8,303
6,309
SW England
Funster No
28,783
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
A few years now
We have this one Amazon product - as others have said best to buy a well known brand from a reputable seller & buying one targeted at motorhomers isn't necessarily better.

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Jan 3, 2018
597
1,182
Suffolk
Funster No
51,836
Quite a few for houses don't operate below 0°C and it might get that low in winter inside a van? Also my home doesn't shake like my van does while I drive it down a dirt road.

BS EN50291-2 don't appear to be any more expensive than any others. As these meet the kite mark standards for MHs I think I'll get one of those. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:
Do you plan on being in a van when it's below 0 C inside? Any detector will be fine.
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
26,183
41,884
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
Our original CO alarm decided to throw a wobbly, so I replaced it with a Fire Angel CO monitor which has a readout of the CO level as well as an alarm.

Always fit that one in our vans and have two in the house.
Recommended by the Fire Brigade, a lot of domestic ones fail their tests.

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OP
CamperJack
Oct 11, 2019
264
491
Cheshire
Funster No
65,289
MH
Converting a Van
Exp
I'm a Total Newbie!
If it gets that cold inside your van your obviously not using any heating appliances so won’t need to detect co2 or smoke surely 🥶 🥶 🥶
Do you plan on being in a van when it's below 0 C inside? Any detector will be fine.
I mean it will be that low when I leave it parked between trips and it may break it. Or I may get in the van when it's that cold and think blimey lets crank the heat up and may start producing CO before the alarm warms up and starts working.

Both perhaps unlikely. But I think, personally, if I have to buy one I'd be a total moron not to get one that meets the British Standards for the application I will be using it for when there is literally no difference in price!
 
Aug 4, 2019
1,178
5,665
North East Riviera
Funster No
62,993
MH
Low profile
Exp
Enough to Survive
Both perhaps unlikely.
What would be even more unlikely would be that an installation of a monitor meeting any standard in your van could comply with BS EN 50929:2013 ....for several reasons.

I think you might be overthinking this.

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Last edited:
Nov 3, 2020
24
75
Funster No
77,452
MH
Ace Siena
Exp
Since 2019
Ours is a 12v one produced by CBE similar to this, we also have their lpg alarm . Both are fitted low down. We then have a smoke detector on the ceiling.
Whoa. CO detectors and smoke detectors need to go high, gas detectors need to go low. For years I thought CO was heavier than air but then I read the instructions :giggle:
 
Sep 13, 2020
55
161
Fife
Funster No
75,807
MH
Bailey 70-6
Exp
2019
Whoa. CO detectors and smoke detectors need to go high, gas detectors need to go low. For years I thought CO was heavier than air but then I read the instructions :giggle:
Yup, if your carbon monoxide alarm is low down, you might be dead before it goes off
 
Jun 5, 2020
1
2
Funster No
71,456
MH
Elddis Accordo
Exp
Since 2017
Just to add what I found out when my CO detector fell off the ceiling when I went over a really nasty pothole in the Lakes...
Btw, it's a Kidde CO alarm model 7CO factory fitted by Elddis to the ceiling.
It needed a new backplate - I rang Kidde and they sent one, no charge - great service - but I got talking to them (as you do!) and they said:
1) this one must not be fitted to the ceiling - the batteries are heavier than a smoke detector's. In fact they were a bit fed up - they keep telling the motorhome manufacturers not to but they keep right on doing it. If you have a look at m'homes at shows, yes, they're still doing it.
2) so I asked them where to put it (seriously), and they said wall mount about waist height is best. Apparently CO rises very slowly, but by the time it gets to the ceiling it's at dangerous levels. So if you look into the molecular weights (hey, I'm retired, what else am I going to do), it comes out as:
Air is: Nitrogen 80% N2 mol.wt. 14+14 = 28
plus Oxygen 19% O2 mol.wt. 16+16 = 32
plus Carbon Dioxide .4% CO2 mol.wt. 12+16+16 = 44

and Carbon Monoxide is CO mol.wt. 12+16 = 28, ie exactly the same as Nitrogen.

Only thing is, if the CO comes from combustion with insufficient oxygen, it's going to be hotter than the surrounding air and rise. Also waist height's a bit impractical in a small m'home, so I fixed mine about shoulder height on the wall opposite the hob. And I was thinking if the space heater comes on in the night it'll churn all the air around anyway.
Well, hope that helps, and hope I haven't offended anyone (!), and anyway, just passing on what Kidde said, so blame them!
cheers all...
 
Jan 3, 2018
597
1,182
Suffolk
Funster No
51,836
I fitted a new CO detector a few months ago, the instructions (yes I did read them) said to mount at shoulder height.

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Feb 9, 2018
12
4
West Yorks
Funster No
52,339
MH
Chausson 630
Exp
10 years
I have been told Honywell are the best as they give fewer false alarms the info came from British gas
engineers and corgi registered gas fitters all the co alarm i have in my home and rentals houses are fitted on the wall following the instructions in the box
 
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