Stay safe in caravans warns plumbing regulator

Campers heading off on a weekend away need to make sure their caravans, campervans or camper trailers are safe and ready to use, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) warns.

The VBA is warning campers to make sure all gas connections and plumbing is safe to guard against gas leaks and the “silent killer” - carbon monoxide poisoning.

The VBA’s State Building Surveyor Andrew Cialini said it is important to ensure vents are cleaned and not obstructed, as this may contribute to carbon monoxide inside the van because of poor ventilation.

“Owners should make sure they are dealing with a licensed plumber when undertaking gas safety tests,” he said.

Mr Cialini said owners should add gas safety checks to the list of holiday preparations and site set-up.

“All compartments need to have ventilation to prevent excessive condensation, build-up of products of combustion, or other toxic conditions.

“Having proper ventilation makes sure your gas appliances and fluing system work well and maintains a safe caravan.

“If you’re going away for the weekend, don’t underestimate the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning - a silent killer that can quickly turn a much-needed getaway into a family tragedy,” he said.

Checking all hoses, cylinders and connections at appliances for gas leaks with soapy water – bubbles will reveal potential leak points.

Road travel can loosen gas connections so make sure to check these again on arrival.

When replacing a gas bottle, test the connection to the new bottle with soapy water.

When camping, make sure your caravan always has good ventilation – day and night.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if ventilation openings are covered when operating gas appliances installed in the caravan.

Never use external gas appliances inside a caravan or tent, and never use installed gas cooking appliances in the van for heating.

Just like homes, any work on gas in caravans must be undertaken by a licensed plumber with a Type A Appliance Servicing class license.

A compliance certificate must be provided for plumbing repair or alteration work on caravans.

For more information on gas safety and to find a licensed plumber visit the VBA website.