Be safe from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide alarms are just as important as fire alarms

In past years, poor upkeep and monitoring of fire alarms has been the tragic cause of injury and fatality. Due to increased awareness, the number of home fires has decreased substantially over the last ten years. However, as the checking of fire alarms becomes more common, it is important that tenants and homeowners check their carbon monoxide detectors also.

According to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, accidental (and therefore preventable) carbon monoxide poisoning results in recorded cases of around 40 deaths and 200 hospitalisations each year in England & Wales.

Every home should have a carbon monoxide alarm. If you are a tenant of a home you are protected under The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 meaning private landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every story of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove).

If you are a homeowner you are responsible to fit a carbon monoxide detector. The more fuel-burning appliances you have in your home, the more carbon monoxide detectors you need.

How to fit a carbon monoxide detector

Dissimilar to a smoke alarm, a carbon monoxide detector doesn’t need to be fitted to a wall and instead can be placed on a shelf as long as you fit/place your alarm high-up in the same room as the potential source of carbon monoxide, around 15cm from the ceiling and at least one meter away from boilers, cookers and fires but do not install directly above a source of heat or steam. If you have other appliances, such as a gas fire, log burner or even a fuel burning like a range cooker, you’ll need to fit a carbon monoxide detector in the room of each of these appliances.

How to check your carbon monoxide detector

Before testing, you’ll want to alert your home security company of the test and place your system on test mode so that the device does not cause a false alarm.

To test a carbon monoxide detector, hold down the “test” button until you hear two beeps. Once you hear them, release your finger off of the test button. Repeat this action but this time hold down the test button until you hear four beeps. This means signal was sent to your monitoring station.

After 10-15 minutes the CO detector will return from test mode back to its original setting. If for some reason the device doesn’t return to its original setting, you’ll need to perform a power cycle.

Other ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Have your heating system, vents, chimney and flue inspected every year by a qualified technician
  • Regularly have vents and chimneys checked for improper connections, visible rust and stains
  • Always install and operate appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Only purchase appliances that have been approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory