RVs can make great homes, but they can also hide hazards
RVs are a ticket to fresh air and the outdoors. At the same time, road trippers often spend extended periods in their RV. The indoors are never healthy for too long, but RV owners run their own set of risks. Here’s how to identify, mitigate, and avoid them.
The toxic threats in RV construction
Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable compound potentially deadly member of the toxic aldehyde family. It can be found in products used for cosmetic or cleaning purposes. The sad fact is that formaldehyde is everywhere in an RV: in counter tops, upholstery, furniture, and carpets to name only a few.
Ventilating your RV is crucial to mitigating the effects of toxic fumes. Keep your doors and windows open at every opportunity. Whenever you cook or fry food,you should do so in optimally ventilated conditions. Cooking can release aldehydes (as can any smoke-producing item like candles or incense). There are test kits available that can help monitor the quality of your RV’s air for this and other toxins.
Hydrogen sulfide in your RV
RV holding tanks carry hydrogen sulfide, a gas that can be as fatal as formaldehyde. Hydrogen sulfide signs can start small. Irritated eyes, nose, and throat may occur as might loss of appetite and headaches.
More serious exposure can affect your breathing and vision or even induce a seizure. To prevent this from happening, check to make sure your stack pipe vent caps are in working order.
The RV risks of carbon monoxide, mold, and mildew
Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless gas but has plenty of symptoms associated with it. A carbon monoxide detector is an essential piece of equipment. If you don’t have one, we thoroughly recommend picking one up. Keep a close eye on your exhaust for any signs of smoke or unusual noise. A faulty exhaust can lead to the worst.
Mold and mildew are microscopic problems that can endanger your health. The two rely on moisture to really get a grip, so RV owners should be wary of any spills, leaks, or condensation which may occur.
A well-ventilated RV helps to keep things dry; as does quickly tackling any spills or leaks. Regular vacuuming if you have any carpeting inside also helps handle this issue. If you do find that mold or mildew has taken hold,you should deal with it immediately using some of the healthy cleaning options below.
How to play your part in keeping everyone safer
It’s best to limit the number of chemical-based products you take along for the trip. You can find greener products to help you keep your RV spic and span. Check out this great top ten list for healthier alternatives to running a spotless rig.
There are further risks to be aware of; ones that may impact other people, animals, and ecosystems. RV owners always have a responsibility to their fellow travelers and the environment. The EPA provides a list of harmful chemicals travelers may be using, and irresponsible disposal of these could put everyone at risk.
The use of these chemicals in your RV’s sewage holding tanks can quickly become damaging to onsite septic tanks, the surrounding soil, and surface water. This not only pollutes the environment and endangers people and wildlife, but it may also even result in an RV campsite being shut down. Always consult the site owners for the safest way to handle your waste disposal.
Be careful with used RVs, or invest in a green one
Finding a great deal on a used RV can be hard to pass up. No matter how tempting it might seem, we recommend you check any second (or higher) hand vehicle thoroughly for all operational issues, especially those that may impact your health. What you’re saving with your initial purchase won’t be worth it if your expenses or well being start to suffer as a result. Have the previous owner of the RV let you know about any instances of anything we’ve mentioned in this blog.
DIY enthusiasts out there may be interested in detoxing their RV by themselves. If so, this in-depth blog will help you build a greener RV.
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