Carbon Monoxide Alarm Going Off in Camper

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A carbon monoxide detector is an essential item for your RV. Whether it’s a camper, trailer, RV, or a campervan too, don’t leave home without it.

The risk to both humans and pets is from the inhalation of harmful carbon monoxide (CO) gases. These can build up to a toxic level. This gas is silent, doesn’t have a detectable smell, and when breathed in excessively, can be deadly.

Over 400 people die from CO inhalation annually and over 40,000 need the ER due to CO poisoning. If you have general confusion, vomiting, dizziness, or a headache (flu symptoms could be another indicator), you may have CO poisoning. Contact 911 without delay. Also, get outside the RV!

CO poisoning can be prevented by owning one or more reliable RV carbon monoxide detectors and checking the battery periodically too.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Going Off in Camper

If you own a camper or another type of RV, you may be irritated to discover that your old RV carbon monoxide detector beeping. Even when you press the button to turn the alarm off, the alarm reactivates soon after.

Why is my propane alarm going off in my camper? Here are some possible reasons for it:

Carbon Monoxide is in Your RV

When the CO alarm is beeping repeatedly usually accompanied by either an always-on red LED light or a flashing one, then it suggests that carbon monoxide has built up inside the camper or RV.

Usually, the beeping is in a batch of four beeps that repeats on a cycle every 4-6 seconds.

Assume for now that there is CO gas inside the camper/motorhome/RV. Follow this protocol to stay safe:

  1. Hit the ‘Test/Reset’ or ‘Mute’ button to turn off the alarm. The wording varies depending on the CO alarm.
  2. If you live with other people and/or pets, get them all together, and exit the camper. Verify the health of everyone and pets too. Look for anything throwing up, feeling dizzy, and having a persistent headache. These all are indicative of CO poisoning, in which case contacting the emergency services is necessary to seek treatment.
  3. Get air circulation going in the camper or RV. This can vent any remaining CO gas outside given enough time.
  4. Disable any gas-fed generators, furnaces, refrigerators, water heaters, or other appliances. Any of these could have a bad valve and a gas leak.
  5. Allow time for the CO gas to dissipate. If it hasn’t and the alarm is still going off, contact an RV specialist to have the appliances checked for bad valves and an ongoing gas leak.

A different beeping sequence is indicative of other potential problems like an RV carbon monoxide detector fault.

An online manual for your CO detector will confirm the range of sounds that the detector can emit and what they each mean.

However, as explained in this article, there are some commonalities across different CO detectors to help everyone understand their meaning easier.

RV Carbon Monoxide Detector Fault

The most common reason why a camper carbon monoxide detector beeping and doesn’t stop is that there is an RV carbon monoxide detector false alarm.

Malfunctioning CO alarms are confirmed either because the indicator LED bulb is shining green or red (or cycling rapidly between the two colors) or it is audibly making sounds every half minute or minute.

Both of these aren’t the same as the CO alarm going off having detected CO gas.

To resolve a malfunctioning CO detector, it’s necessary to either:


  • Change the battery.
  • Refer to the product manual.
  • Replace the CO detector with a new product.

Let’s face it, when your carbon monoxide detector goes off in the middle of the night, it’s a bit of a shock.

Honestly, when a CO detector begins to play up, it should go into the trash. You rely on it to keep everyone safe! For the small expense of replacing it, it’s not worth taking the gamble.

Our recommended CO Detector is the Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector. It is AC connected with a battery backup. Additionally, a digital display, test/reset button, peak alarm button, and an 85 decibel CO Alarm provide all the essential features in this highly regarded model:

Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector. AC Connected with battery backup, CO alarm, and digital display

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Alternatively, if you are wanting to replace a combined CO detector and propane alarm, then Safe-T-Alert 35-742-BL Dual CO/LP Alarm is a good pick. It has different indicators for the alarm, a fault, and to confirm it’s at the end of its life:

Safe-T-Alert 35-742-BL Dual LP/CO Alarm. Flush Mounting. 12V – Black color

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End of Life Indicated on the CO Detector

An RV carbon monoxide detector has a built-in End of Life (EOL) feature. This is designed to confirm when it’s deemed to be either too old or the sealed-in battery is almost dead.

Furthermore, when the EOL indication light pattern comes on, this cannot be disabled forever.

The indication is usually two red lights followed by two green lights. Most CO detectors with the EOL feature will also beep periodically too, usually twice a minute. Most CO alarms allow themselves to be reset for 2-3 days, but then it will provide the same EOL alert.

After about a month, the CO alarm doesn’t allow the EOL feature to be disabled.

Once the EOL feature has come on, it’s time to replace the CO detector with a new one. Reset it until the replacement arrives and then replace it.

Here is the recommended Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector below:

Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector. AC Connected with battery backup, CO alarm, and digital display

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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Also, the combined LP/CO detector from Safe-T-Alert is worth a look too:

Safe-T-Alert 35-742-BL Dual LP/CO Alarm. Flush Mounting. 12V – Black color

Check at Amazon

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Unclean CO Detector

A dusty or clogged-up CO detector can give off false alarms because the sensors are covered. This can be resolved by giving them a careful cleaning.

Be aware though that you shouldn’t use any sprays over them to disinfect them. That will cover the sensor even worse than before.

Instead, use a wet cloth to carefully wipe off any dust or debris, or a simple duster. Dry off any moisture that remains after cleaning too.

Image of a circular, white CO alarm

Other Factors Causing the CO Alarm to Activate

Other items in the RV or campervan can cause the CO detector to see red.

These include the following:

  • Low charge on the 12-volt house batteries.
  • Cleaning chemicals for the carpeting.
  • Hair spray.
  • Sunscreen that’s sprayed onto the skin.
  • Air fresheners.
  • The pet is feeling gassy today (yes, really!).
  • RV fridge carbon monoxide from old refrigerator leaks.

Safe-T-Alert RV Propane Alarm Keeps Going Off

The advice for owners of a Safe-T-Alert RV propane alarm that keeps going off is similar.

The detectable pattern when its alarm is being raised includes an illuminated red light on the alarm – not a flashing one – which does confuse or catch some people out. It means the same thing, so avoid any uncertainty there.

Otherwise, the steps to keep you and your family safe as the same as in the section directly above.

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