Gas systems in caravans can be a great help on holidays, cooking your food and keeping you warm. However, it is vital that your gas systems are maintained carefully in order to prevent them from being dangerous, or even fatal.
Caravans have a mobile gas system, meaning that the gas tank serves multiple different appliances which can increase the risk of potential gas leaks. It is vital that you service any gas appliances regularly to check for any damage to valves or the appliances themselves.
It is also important that you ensure your caravan is well-ventilated. It is now mandatory for caravans to have ventilation panels fitted, which are designed to allow a constant flow of air into the caravan and allow fumes to exit the caravan. These may seem unnecessary and it may be tempting, especially in windy conditions, to block them up. However, they are crucial to the ventilation of the caravan, so you must keep them open.
Carbon monoxide in caravans is especially dangerous as not only are there certain appliances that could produce carbon monoxide, like a gas heater or petrol-powered generator, but the space inside caravans can often be limited, potentially causing higher concentrations if a CO leak occurred.
It is now mandatory to have a carbon monoxide tester in caravans as well as a smoke alarm. When buying a caravan, whether from a private seller or from a dealer it is worth checking that they are both fitted. If there isn't a carbon monoxide tester fitted, it is certainly worth investing in one, as they can save lives. What’s more, if you don’t have a carbon monoxide tester and something happens you may not be covered on your caravan insurance.
It is recommended that you take your caravan to a dealer annually to have a thorough and comprehensive service. This will include a gas check in which they will monitor the way the flame burns (which can be a sign of a leak or problem with a valve), where the carbon monoxide is going and whether the flues are behaving as they should. It is really worth investing in this type of service at least once a year to ensure that everything is functioning properly.
There are a number of basic checks you can do between annual services at a caravan dealer in order to help you spot any problems.
The simplest way to check whether your caravan gas is burning as it should be is to look at the flame on the hob. A healthy flame should be a large blue flame, whereas a yellow flame would suggest that it's not burning properly and could potentially be leaking carbon monoxide. If you notice a yellow flame it's worth getting the gas system checked by an expert to be on the safe side.
The only way you can really check a gas fridge yourself is to check the vent on the outside of your caravan. If you notice a black mark, which would suggest a build-up of carbon, it may be a sign that the gas isn't burning properly, and you should get it checked out.
Ensuring that your caravan gas system works well is not only good practice, it is vital to ensure the safety of you and your family. If you have any doubts about your caravan gas system, it is worth checking with an expert - better to be safe than sorry.
To ensure you are covered should the worst happen, you should take out touring caravan cover.
Find out about our touring caravan insurance online or call us on 0344 892 1413 to speak to a specialist adviser.
Adam Summersby is a respected leader with 11 years’ varied experience in niche personal and commercial lines insurance, including caravan, site operators and excess reimbursement, with proficiency in leadership, sales and account management.
Date: October 23, 2019