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Caravan Gas and Carbon Monoxide Safety Checks

Learn how to carry out basic gas safety checks on your caravan and why they're important. This video and guide includes tips and advice on maintaining your caravan's gas safety system and detecting a gas leak in your caravan.

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Why is caravan gas safety so important?

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.

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How can I test for carbon monoxide in my caravan?

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.

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How often should you have your caravan serviced?

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.

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What basic caravan gas system checks should you do?

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.

  • Visual checks - Simply look at the pipes, the joints and the valves. It is also important you look at the connection between the regulator and the gas bottle. Bending the rubber tubing and applying a little pressure can reveal any cracks which will need replacing.
  • Tubing check - If you think you are using gas more quickly than you should be you can check by turning the gas on, getting a cup of soapy water and applying it to the joints in the caravan. If you have a gas leak, then bubbles will form and you need to get your caravan booked for a service.

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How do you tell if your caravan gas isn't burning properly?

Check your caravan hob

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.

Check your fridge isn't leaking

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.

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Caravan insurance from Towergate

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.

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About the author

Adam Summersby, caravan insurance articles author

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.