How to Replace an RV Carbon Monoxide Detector?

CO detectors, also called carbon monoxide detectors, are devices that detect the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which may be harmful if inhaled. When carbon-containing materials burn incompletely, this CO gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. It is also known as the silent killer.

Carbon monoxide detectors must be replaced immediately after their expiration dates. When you do not replace it, the co gas may be undetectable.

Eventually, your carbon monoxide detector will need to be replaced. It is not enough to just not use these devices. They still have an extremely short useful life.

Check out this guide on how to change an RV carbon monoxide detector.

Let’s start:

What is the Location of the Carbon Monoxide Detector?

The issue can seem simple, but it can be complicated and confusing. Carbon monoxide detectors are often used in conjunction with LP gas detectors. This may save space on your RV’s walls, but it’s not clear why these combinations are so popular.

LPG is heavier than air, which makes this a complicated and confusing issue. The detector must be closer to the floor because the LPG is heavier than air. In contrast, it should be approximately 5 feet above the floor for the carbon monoxide detector.

Gases such as LP have nothing in common with carbon monoxide. Warm rooms tend to make it rise towards the ceiling because it is lighter than air. The gas will remain near the floor when the room is cold.

You need to ensure that the combination detector is placed where everyone sleeps after you have figured out the height issue. Using multiple detectors isn’t a bad idea either.

How to Replace an RV Carbon Monoxide Detector?

In case you have a dual CO detector that uses a 12V battery, you can skip this guide. In this guide, I will change one CO detector.

We highly recommend the Safe-T-Alert RV Carbon Monoxide Detector (which works with most battery-powered models) as well as other models. Check our our guide on Where to Mount a Carbon Monoxide Detector in an RV at the right place.

Step 1: Remove the Old CO Detector:

Before installing the new detector, you must remove the old one from the mounting plate. It is fine to leave the mounting plate on the wall if you are using the same detector model as before. It is necessary to remove the mounting plate if the models are different, and to install a new one that matches the updated model.

Note: Never install the detector near the kitchen or cooking setup or firing place.

Step 2: Install the New Carbon Monoxide Detector:

Connect the CO detector to the mounting plate if you are using the same one as before. The wall mounting plate should be mounted if the detector needs to be installed in a different location or a different model is used. The activation tab can be accessed from a pop-up window.

Step 3: Remove the Pull Tab:

By removing the tab, you can activate the carbon monoxide detector.

Step 4: Test CO Detector:

Finally, we will want to test the CO alarm by pressing the Test button, which is usually right on the face of the detector. Be sure to make visual inspections of the alarm and test it weekly and when taking your RV out of storage.

Tips on Carbon Monoxide Safety:

You can have a great vacation and remain safe by practicing good CO prevention during your vacation. You can prevent carbon monoxide exposure by following these tips:

  • Make sure the detector is functioning properly and is capable of detecting gas every time you use your RV.
  • To be sure your generator is emitting exhaust properly and no leaks are present, you should examine the exhaust system regularly.
  • If you are in an area where there is a high volume of traffic, like rush hour, you should close your windows and vents. You should also stay away from vehicles and generators that are running.
  • Always obey the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings when you operate a gas heater. This will likely result in you creating the very CO situation you intended to avoid.
  • It is a good idea to aim the RV exhaust outlet away from your neighbors’.
  • Whenever you have a malfunctioning oven or range and the RV is cold, use the heater.
  • You will avoid the danger of carbon monoxide escaping if you open windows and vents when you are cooking. A tiny crack can make a huge difference when it’s cold outside.

RV Carbon Monoxide Propane Detector Replacement

The replacement procedure will be slightly different if your detector includes a dual alarm–one that detects propane and another for CO.

The following instructions are for a dual carbon monoxide detector that runs on 12V batteries.

1. Turn Off the Power

The existing detector must first be turned off and disconnected from the RV’s electrical system before the dual detector can be installed. A fuse or switch can usually be removed or flipped.

2. Remove Old Detector

This old detector for carbon monoxide and propane must be removed. The steps are as follows:

  1. Remove the mounting plate and/or the wall from the unit.
  2. Connect the detector to the circuit by cutting the two wires.
  3. If necessary, remove the wall mount.

3. Strip The Detector Wires

Our new detector will utilize these shields, so if necessary, you could cut off about 1/4″ of it.

4. Rewire Your New Detector

New detector wires should connect to the wall wires. Verify the wires (red = power, black = ground) are safely connected.

5. Attach the Replacement Detector To Wall

Once the unit has been wired, install it. The casing is usually closed with two screw holes at the ends.

6. Test the New Detector:

Restarting the unit will take 10 minutes. Once it has been tested, press the “Test” button on the detector. It is now properly installed if it passes the test.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors: How Often Should I Replace Them?

If your CO detector fails, you should replace it eventually. A chirping sound is the first sign that it requires replacement. Carbon monoxide detectors that make this sound has reached the end of their useful lives and cannot function properly.

A malfunctioning device is a second situation. Occasionally, there will be a bad model on the market because nothing in this world is perfect. Another possibility is if you or someone in your family intentionally damage the detector. It is not uncommon for things to break due to accidents.

Carbon monoxide is a gas you do not want to mess with, and RVs have a lot of sources of it. Therefore, you must replace the detector as soon as possible.

You should often check and inspect your RV CO detector to keep you and your camper safe, If you found out Your RV carbon monoxide detector keeps going off or beeping, and you are sure there’s no CO left in your recreational vehicle, it’s the best time to replace the detector.

How to Disable Carbon Monoxide Detector?

It is very important to have a carbon monoxide detector. Because CO gas can be emitted from so many sources, having some kind of alert to let you know when you’re inside your RV is vital. It is a silent killer and it does not emit any odor as well. A detector is a necessity in that situation.

Every good thing has a downside. CO detectors are no exception. In order to repair or replace it, you must figure out how to disable the carbon monoxide detector.

An electrical power source can be disconnected by removing a battery or removing a fuse from the fuse box. A carbon monoxide detector can also be disabled using the third method.

You’ll likely see a bunch of wires when you open the one with the electrical scheme directly attached to it. A pair of wire cutters can easily be used to snip the appropriate wire, and the unit will be disabled.


#1 When should I replace my RV carbon monoxide detector?

Nowadays RV owners prefer to use propane and CO detector alarms and these devices are used in RVs 12-Volt system. These detectors have a lifespan of about five years. They must be replaced after that time.

#2 Do RV carbon monoxide detectors go bad?

RV carbon monoxide detectors go bad when they are beyond their expiration date. They no longer function after they expire. A carbon monoxide detector should last for 5 years. But some good quality detectors can go as long as 10 years.


A motorhome is an excellent method of exploring the country. Tours and vacation packages don’t normally go to these locations, so you get to travel there instead. If you’re not a fan of tourist traps or crowds, that’s a great option.

The best way to enjoy your RV experience, even more, is to learn the basics of detecting carbon monoxide, its triggers, and repairs. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can be prevented with this knowledge.

Carbon monoxide detectors must be replaced regularly to remain effective. It is important to have it disabled to learn if it malfunctions, and it is also an effective way to make sure that your RV is safe and comfortable.

Your RV time could be the best if you practice carbon monoxide safety habits.

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