Caravan annexes rulings

Submitted: Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 19:59
ThreadID: 142643 Views:1746 Replies:7 FollowUps:25
Hello to all members---I have a question mainly directed to forum caravanners rather than our campers, Its in regard to a ruling or law I would like advice on. I'm wanting to install a full annexe on my 2015 Jayco Silverline van, and have been told that because the fridge is on the annexe side of the van and ventilating from that wall , that it's not allowable to have a full annexe. Is this so ? if it is , are there any variables to the rule, or way's around it.----I'm sure there must be a lot of older vans around that don't meet this requirement.---would appreciate any advice on this---Thanks...SapperD
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Reply By: RMD - Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 20:57

Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 20:57
Only presuming, maybe applicable to when fridge used on gas, re emissions/CO are concerned and sealed annexe. 240v can't be the issue.
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Follow Up By: Sapper D - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 10:42

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 10:42
Good point RMD, And one I'd like to throw out there to members.----Does the fact that my van (2015 Jayco Silverline ) has my 3 way fridge on the "wrong" side of the van really mean I cannot -repeat cannot use an annexe (AT All)----even though knowing the rules on (FULLY ENCLOSED) e.g in van park etc I wouldn't use the gas, only 240 or 12V, or perhaps not FULLY enclose the annexe if using gas elsewhere-----surely they can't "blackball" the use of an annexe on a modern day built van without some leeway clause-----keen to hear replies from all.....cheers SapperD
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021 at 08:24

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021 at 08:24
My two cents worth, the law is the law, (regulation) it applies no matter where you are. Now you might ask who is going to know if you are camping in the “boon docks”? Certainly you won’t know if you succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning.

You may also ask if you do not have a “skirt” around the bottom of the van, is the the annex then not fully enclosed? That would be a question for the “legal eagles” to interpret, but certainly it would provide more ventilation for the square “meterage” of the annex compared to the size of the ventilation required for the square “meterage” of the van.

The law or regulation is there for a reason, looking for ways around it is just plain foolish. Better to divert the exhaust gasses elsewhere.

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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021 at 12:15

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021 at 12:15
Regulations like this are generally written in blood. They come about following a coroners investigation into the death of some poor bugger, so the question is; Would you bet your life on a workaround?

You'll probably be fine sleeping in the van, but on a still night with some luggage strategically arranged to block any potential draughts and the grand kids sleeping in the annex might not be so lucky.
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Reply By: Steven G1 - Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 21:40

Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 21:40
Hi Sapper D,
there's a link here, https://www.campsmart.net.au/buying/gas-regulations-for-caravan-annexes Don't know how you're going to get around it. Sorry I can't help much more. Good Luck.

EDIT By Modsquad to make the link work.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 23:45

Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 23:45
The basic rule is that you must draw your combustion air from and exhaust the combustion products to the outside air. When you enclose the space with an annex you are operating your fridge in a room, this is not permitted. Just remember the three people who expired when they operated a portable fridge in a van in the high country in Tasmania.

If you wish to retain the absorption fridge, the only way to overcome this is to get a gas fitter to disconnect the gas line and seal it off. Some people who only camp on power have done this. If you wish to camp off power and require the annex then you need to replace the fridge with an electric one.
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Follow Up By: terryt - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 19:22

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 19:22
Reading that says to me you can't have a gas hob and/or an oven in a motor home. Think I'm in trouble
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 20:35

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 20:35
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Yes terry, you can. But there are specific ventilation requirements.

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Follow Up By: Sapper D - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 20:38

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 20:38
Thanks Peter
A couple of possible solutions for your opinion on. Given the interior of my van has only two small snap vents to air the whole van with,-- Gas stove (4 hot plates etc) , why can't an annexe have the same venting.--the van and annexe are similiar in size etc, so is it not permissable to perhaps install two or more small vents in the annexe walls.
I also thought that without a "skirt" in the annexe there would be heaps of air movement, and even with a "skirt" snap type vents along the length of it would do likewise.
Would either of these scenarios be allowed do you think.........cheers...Sapper D
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 22:11

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 22:11
terryt and Sapper D - The size of the permanent vents in the van are only designed to cope with intermittently used devices like the stove. There is a distinction made between the intermittent use of the cooking appliances and appliances like water heaters, air heaters and refrigerators that are operated over the whole of the day and night. The amount of carbon monoxide produced by the two classes of appliance is considerably different. The link provided by Steven G1 shows the amount of ventilation required when you are using a continuously operating appliance.

Unless you reengineer the fridge installation so that the rear part of the fridge is completely sealed from the annex then the only way around the problem is to divide the annex. If the location of your fridge allows it you can put a dividing wall across the middle of the annex. You can have one end sealed up and cosy. The bit the fridge exhausts into must be open and according to the link above.



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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Sep 30, 2021 at 10:31

Thursday, Sep 30, 2021 at 10:31
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Re that link that Steven provided above to "Campsmart", a commercial business, They make expressions about Gas Regulations and refer to the Standard AS/NZS 5601. Unfortunately they quote snippets from the Standard that are incomplete. In particular they refer to "30% mesh ventilation" being acceptable in annexes. No such expression exists in the clauses of the Standard. They have placed their own interpretation on the Rules. The requirement is more complex than that and is spelled out in the Rules.

It can be unwise to take advice from unauthorised sources which is why I have said you should consult a Licensed Gas Fitter,
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Reply By: tonysmc - Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 22:21

Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 22:21
A friend of mine use to install annexes and said he couldn't do it on the older vans with the fridge on the annexe side due to it venting into the enclosed area. Not sure if you could put in a 2 way upright compressor fridge to get around it? I use to like being able to load up my fridge on my camper by just opening the camper door and without having to put the roof up. Great when driving through a town and just grabbing supplies. Now all fridges are on the opposite side.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 20:42

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 20:42
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Tony, there are no constraints to using a compressor fridge in a van or motorhome. The only discharge from them is warm air.
The constraints are with 3 way fridges operating on LPG. The discharge of burnt fuel contains carbon monoxide that can kill you if released into closed spaces. They are permitted only when the flue discharge is exhausted to the outside in an approved manner.
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Follow Up By: tonysmc - Friday, Oct 01, 2021 at 17:17

Friday, Oct 01, 2021 at 17:17
Allan, I know there are no constraints with a compressor fridge, that why I said he may be able to use one. I was saying I was not sure if he could put one in, was more to do with numerous variables and costs that come into play such as suitable fridge sizes available, whether he has a dual battery system that would cope with extra draw of power, does he need to upgrade, or solar or if he wants do something different.

Tony
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Oct 01, 2021 at 17:32

Friday, Oct 01, 2021 at 17:32
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Ah, right Tony. I see what you are getting at. It would be a solution.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 23:34

Monday, Sep 27, 2021 at 23:34
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Hi Sapper,

That constraint is from the AS/NZS5601 'Gas Installations' Standard and is only applicable when it is the flue vent from a 3-way fridge using LPG. Even then it is possible but each case must be referred to a licensed Gas Fitter who will specify appropriate ventilation arrangement.

There are no constraints to using electric-only fridges in annexes or having a vent from an internal electric fridge venting into an annexe.
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Follow Up By: Sapper D - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 10:14

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 10:14
Thanks Alan,
A question if I may, on the permission to actually have, carry, and use the annexe only when on 240 or 12V power, but not have the ENCLOSED annexe up when using gas.---(i.e maybe only side wall) A common sense approach if you like.----where do I stand there
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 11:20

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 11:20
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Sapper, like most Aust. Standards, they can be sometimes difficult to interpret unless you are experienced with them. I am not a gas fitter but have been using the Standard to design my motorhome.
The Standard does prescribe that a gas fridge flue discharging into an external enclosed area (annexe) may only be permitted if "at least 2 sides are open". And they would mean permanently open. Even then it requires inspection and approval by a Licensed Gas Fitter.

Generally, these Standards are contrived so as to actually prevent people doing things they should not. Accordingly it would not accept an annexe where the gas is simply 'turned off' because it could be 'turned on'. They would require that it is impossible to be turned on either by not being there in the first place or by being interlocked in some manner that prevents its operation when the annexe is erected.

The only way to be certain is to consult a Licensed Gas Fitter.
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Follow Up By: Brenton B2 - Thursday, Sep 30, 2021 at 11:55

Thursday, Sep 30, 2021 at 11:55
Also why the Bar-b-q gas bayonet is placed outside of the awning arms, its so you cant cook inside the annex "IF" you get one
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Follow Up By: Sapper D - Thursday, Sep 30, 2021 at 20:17

Thursday, Sep 30, 2021 at 20:17
Allan----You seem to be very versed on the rules and regs on this issue-so if I can ask one last question for your opinion, and then not annoy you and the other helpful "replyees" any further with my dilemma.
The only three options being mentioned of either replacing my fridge, extending the exhaust through the roof, or disengaging the gas line are not the answer, so one theory out of the square came to mind.---It may be crazy!
Considering air intake and circulation is the issue to the problem, would an annexe of shade mesh suffice to adhere to the rules ?---made exactly as a semi sealed annexe, but totally with breathable material

In ending this problem of mine thanks to you and all the other members for their imput Next time I buy a caravan I'll check which side the bloody fridge is on...........Regards all ....Rex (SapperD)
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Sep 30, 2021 at 22:58

Thursday, Sep 30, 2021 at 22:58
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Hi Sapper,
No, I am not "well versed" on this subject. I just happen to have a copy of the Standard that the regulations are founded on. I also have needed to understand and work to the requirements of other Standards and have learned how to read and understand them.

It is clear to me that this Gas Installations standard is endeavouring to ensure that people are protected from the hazards of harmful discharges from gas appliances. In its preface, the Standard states....."This Standard is not to be regarded as a design specification or an instruction manual for untrained persons."
Accordingly, to be sure about your safety and compliance with the legislation, you should seek the opinion of a Licensed Gas Fitter. I would expect that one would give you advice of your options without payment provided that you did not engage in argument. Phone one in your area and politely ask.... Google gas fitter in (your suburb).

However, from what I read and have expressed earlier in this thread, I would think that an annexe with two open sides would satisfy the regulations. Having those sides covered with shade mesh would probably still satisfy the Standard as they are still essentially 'open' and would still provide ventilation. If the whole annexe was shade cloth then even better.
Hope that satisfies your question.
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Allan

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Reply By: Kazza055 - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 08:33

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 08:33
One solution is to re-plumb the exhaust out through the roof and close off the existing top fridge vent using something like this one.



Dometic Roof Vent Cap Suit Roof Vent Base
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Follow Up By: Sapper D - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 10:05

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 10:05
Kazza the roof vent you have shown is exactly whats on top of my Jayco, but there is also a small wall outlet which I assume is a exhaust of some sort.----Does the roof vent as youve shown make it legal ?
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Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 14:42

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 14:42
Sapper D, if it is not venting the exhaust into the annex, I can't see why it wouldn't.

Maybe with yours, the top vent may just be to get the heat out.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 21:49

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 21:49
The thing that kills you is the carbon monoxide from the gas burner, not the cooling air for the heat exchange fins. That top vent only takes the cooling air in a normal installation. Whilst you have the exhaust from the burner you are pumping carbon monoxide into the annex and thus transgressing the ventilation requirements.

You have also forgotten the air intake to the burner. It also has to be taken from the outside air and not the annex. The noxious gasses can also escape downwards through the bottom vent into the annex. The combustion area of the fridge has to be isolated from your enclosed living space, exactly the same rule as having that backspace of the fridge sealed from the inside of the van.


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Reply By: Notso - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 08:51

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 08:51
There is another way around this issue. It requires a modification to exhaust the combustion products through the top of the van. There were a few vans produced with the Flue exiting through the roof.
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Follow Up By: Sapper D - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 10:07

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 10:07
Hello Notso, --As per my reply above to Kazza, is perhaps my van one of the type you refer to ?--i.e with the big dome on the roof
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Follow Up By: Notso - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 13:59

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 13:59
Yep, that's the type I mean. Only seen a couple and not sure how it all worked. Worth chatting to an expert.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 14:35

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 14:35
Sapper,
It is getting to what is like in home heaters which have a 'Power Flue" and it may be the hot flow carries the CO up and out, BUT, there is always condensation in power flue systems, had a bit to do with them recently. The port in the side of the van is probably a moisture drain for that flue system. A gas plumber of some note may be able to verify that. Unfortunately many don't have a clue. Finding that "expert" Notso mentioned is the difficult bit.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 22:32

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 at 22:32


The above is the recommendation for the different Dometic fridge installations. If you look at the bottom of page 2 (Option Two........... Fig 2 Common motor home ventilation system) you will see how fridges with the top vents are installed. You will note the bit labelled "Gas flue kit3776" on the outside, that is the exhaust for the gas burner. That will probably have to be replumbed to the top of the van (contact Dometic regarding that.) You will also have to block off the bottom wall vent and provide sufficient alternate ventilation through the bottom of the van.

The requirement of the gas regulations is that the combustion area of a continuously operating gas appliance must be sealed from an enclosed living space. You may remember the recent case of the gas water heater that lost its gas approval. There was a problem of the build of the later units that caused a lacking of sealing of the unit from the internal cabin space. There was a report in another forum where there was a smell in the van whilst the heater when it was operating.


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Follow Up By: Sapper D - Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021 at 14:17

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021 at 14:17
Thanks for that Peter...........looking at the diagrams, it looks like it wouldn't be a scientific experiment to just extend that exhaust flue to the roof exit. It would obviously need a water proof capping tip, but one would think it would be easy for Dometic to manufacture.
Awkward work I suppose with the inbuilt flu, but might be worth a call to the Dometic people, I'd be surprised if it hadn't already been brought up with them, but worth a call-----thanks again, it's got me thinking.........cheers Sapper D
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Reply By: RMD - Friday, Oct 01, 2021 at 12:19

Friday, Oct 01, 2021 at 12:19
Sapper.
Jayco had to make the van compliant to sell it! Simply ring them and quote the chassis number and they can tell you all the legals and performance/safety are covered OR not. Simple. Everyone here has an opinion and can quote pages of Googled stuff but the maker KNOWS.
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