Poorly Installed Gas Systems in VW Campervans: Potential Consequences

Converting VW Campervans is a fantastic way to design the vehicle of your dreams and create a truly unique travelling environment. Whether you’re planning on touring Europe for months on end or exploring the UK via a series of mini breaks, a VW campervan gives you the freedom and flexibility to see the world on your own terms.

However, you’ll want to ensure that your VW campervan conversion provides you with a vehicle that’s safe, reliable and roadworthy. On-board gas systems are useful in a campervan for cooking and heating, but they’re also potentially hazardous. Read on to find out what the risks involve and how you can ensure your gas system remains safe and compliant.

The Importance of Properly Installed Gas Systems

A properly installed gas system allows you to use gas-powered appliances within VW Campervans, such as cookers and heaters but an improperly installed gas system can put your health and safety at risk.

If the system leaks, for example, gas could escape into the cabin of your campervan, potentially leading to a rise in the level of carbon monoxide in the air. Furthermore, an on-board gas leak could lead to a fire or explosion, particularly if a spark or flame is present.


Risks of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the major risks when it comes to using gas with VW campervan conversions. As carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless, you may not be aware of a leak straightaway. Despite this, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause a wide range of symptoms, including dizziness, fatigue, headaches and respiratory issues, and may be fatal if unresolved.

Due to this, it’s vital that your gas system is properly installed and meets relevant regulations, and that you have a functioning carbon monoxide alarm in your campervan. Of course, commissioning a professional VW campervan conversion is one way to ensure that your on-board gas system is safe and compliant.

Dangers of Gas Leaks in Campervans

Gas leaks can occur at any time if your on-board system hasn’t been properly installed. However, gas leaks can also happen if LPG bottles aren’t stored or transported safely. Similarly, inadequate ventilation or degraded hoses and connectors are also a primary cause of gas leaks in VW campervan conversions.

Campervan gas explosion fire


The Importance of Adequate Ventilation

Adequate ventilation allows gas to escape from your campervan before it causes any harm to you of other passengers. The right kind of ventilation is important for gas appliances, as improper ventilation can lead to incomplete combustion in gas appliances, which causes sooting and carbon monoxide poisoning.

During the conversion process, it’s also essential to incorporate adequate ventilation into the design of your campervan. As LPG is heavier than air, it will pool around the floor before rising upwards. Due to this, any VW campervan conversions should feature vents in the floor to ensure sufficient ventilation. Remember – make sure these vents remain unobstructed!

Effects on Resale Value of your VW Camper

When we consider the consequences of an improperly installed gas system, it’s easy to focus on the health and safety implications. However, the practical, legal and financial implications should also be considered.

If you decide to sell your VW campervan at any point in the future, a gas system that has been installed by a Gas Safe registered engineer could significantly increase its resale value. Conversely, buyers may be dissuaded from purchasing a second-hand campervan with a DIY gas system installation.


The Impact on Insurance Coverage for VW Campervans

Getting the right insurance coverage is essential after a VW campervan conversion, so be sure to consider this if you’re planning on installing your own gas system. Some insurance companies may refuse to insure a vehicle if its gas system hasn’t been installed or signed off by a Gas Safe registered engineer, so be sure to talk to potential insurers in advance.

Legal Consequences of Non-Compliant Gas Systems

If you’re installing or using gas in a campervan, you’ll need to ensure that the system meets BE EN 1949: 2011 + A1: 2013 standards, as well as the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 (GSIUR).

Although the GSIUR is usually associated with rented properties, it can be applicable to VW campervan conversions too. Failure to comply with the relevant regulations and standards can have serious consequences, both legally and in relation to your safety. If you disregard the regulations when installing a gas system, for example, your actions may be unlawful, and you could face both criminal and civil action as a result.


Costs to Repair or Replace

All campervan gas systems should be regularly monitored and maintained to ensure they are in good working order. As you might expect, poorly installed systems typically require more frequent repairs and may need to be replaced to bring them up to spec.

Inevitably, owners tend to spend more repairing and replacing an improperly installed gas system than they would have if they had simply hired a Gas Safe registered engineer to undertake the installation.

Conversion Company Responsibility

If you’re planning to have your conversion carried out by a specialist company, you’ll certainly want to discuss your power requirements in advance. Choosing a conversion company with in-house Gas Safe registered engineers (like Sherwood Campers!) will give you peace of mind that all aspects of your conversion will be carried out professionally, safely and reliably.

Signs of a Faulty Gas System in Your VW Camper

Knowing how to recognise faults in your gas system is important. In fact, it could save your life! Signs of a faulty gas system may include:

  • Smell of gas present in your campervan
  • Whistling or hissing sound
  • Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Loose connections in gas system
  • Damage or deterioration in cylinders, hoses and connections

Planning Safe and Compliant VW Campervan Conversions

There’s lot to consider when planning VW campervan conversions but gas safety should always be a top priority. With professional conversions from Sherwood Campers, you can be sure that your campervan meets all relevant regulations and provides you with a safe (and stylish!) way to travel.

To find out more on the ranges specifically designed for VW Campervans, contact our experienced team now on 01623 862951 or email us at info@sherwoodcampers.co.uk.


Gez Meehan's career, from The Parachute Regiment to leading Sherwood Campers Ltd, showcases a remarkable blend of discipline and craftsmanship.
His background as a plumbing and gas engineer laid the foundation for his transition into the camper van industry, sparked by his own experiences with camper conversions.
Since becoming the Managing Director in October 2013, Gez has been pivotal in designing and building each of Sherwood Campers' bespoke conversions. His hands-on involvement ensures that each vehicle meets the highest quality standards, tailored to the unique needs of his customers.