It couldn’t be simpler! Remember the Key Safety Checks and preventative measures to keep yourself and those you are responsible for from the negative effects of a carbon monoxide leak. Find out more about carbon monoxide detectors in our Buying Guide.
The Key Safety Checks
Check – Maintain – Install CO detector
- Ensure you have an annual gas safety check carried out, including a visual inspection of the pipework, to ensure the installation is in good working order. Please note this is a legal requirement for all landlords!
- Keep gas appliance and air vents uncovered or unblocked
- Ensure fixed ventilation grilles or airbricks are not blocked or obstructed by furniture
- Ensure outside flues are not covered up.
- Ensure your appliances are checked annually and maintained
- Ensure your chimneys and flues are checked regularly.
- Make sure boilers and heaters are serviced annually by qualified Gas Safe registered engineers
- Ensure there is plenty of fresh air in each room
- Have a carbon monoxide detector installed according to manufacturer’s instruction
- Buy a Carbon Monoxide Alarm
What will a carbon monoxide detector do?
A carbon monoxide detector will measure the concentration of carbon monoxide in a room and sound an alarm if the carbon monoxide concentration is higher than permitted.
What duty of care should I carryout when making alterations to a home?
It is of the upmost importance that when considering any alterations to your home, that you go over these Key Safety Checks. Whether you are extending your accommodation, moving a wall, adding or removing radiators, converting a garage or replacing windows with double-glazing, you will need to:
- Ensure all new space has ventilation in accordance with building regulations
- Ensure that your boiler’s capacity is suitable to add extra radiators or showers. You may need to change your boiler for one with a larger capacity.
- Ensure that a building inspector or other professional has advised on ventilation and flueing.
- Add additional carbon monoxide detectors accordingly
What’s the difference between a safety check and a service?
Prior to any work being carried out it is important to agree with your registered engineer their scope of the work so that everyone is clear. For example, there are differences between an appliance service and a safety check and equally between a safety check of appliances and a safety check of the whole installation, which includes all pipework and appliances.
What is an appliance safety check?
An appliance safety check ensures that the appliance is safe to use, by testing and checking the safety aspects of the appliance, for example:
- The gas is burning correctly
- The product is suitable for the room size and location
- The appliance is secured to the gas pipework and is stable
- There is plenty of fresh air in the room
- The flues or chimneys are not blocked and operating efficiently
- All safety devices are in good working order
What is an appliance service?
An appliance service includes an appliance service check and it also carries out a more in-depth inspection of the appliance according to the manufacturer’s instruction.
- Undertake an analysis of the combustion exhaust gases to ensure the appliance is burning the gas safely
- Check the efficiency of the appliance, ensuring any seals or gaskets are not leaking and that the system is not overheating, etc
- Clean certain parts of the system to ensure efficiency and safety
What is a gas installation safety check?
- A gas installation safety check will check every appliance as well as the pipework.
- The accessible gas pipework will be visually checked to ensure the installation is in good condition and has no leaks
- The engineer will follow the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP), which is in line with best practice, guiding engineers on how to deal with specific gas safety concerns.
- The engineer may issue you with a report detailing the checks they’ve carried out.
Where and how to install carbon monoxide protection?
Firstly, installing a carbon monoxide detector in the right place is paramount. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that a carbon monoxide detector be installed on each floor of a home. The number of detectors/alarms will depend on the number of gas burning appliances on each floor – one additional detector placed between 1-3 meters from any fuel burning appliance, no closer.
By ensuring the right number of detectors are installed in these areas will alert residence immediately if there is any concern with regards to CO safety. Remember each detector/alarm will be slightly different and should be installed according to manufacturer’s instruction.
Installing your alarms in the home correctly is easy:
- Ensure you use the manufacturer’s instructions and place alarms in rooms with fuel burning appliances, such as; fires in living rooms and dining rooms, boilers in kitchens, utility rooms or bathrooms, other heaters in additional rooms, chimney flues in rooms regardless of whether it is in use.
- Ensure the alarms are between 1-3 meters away from fires, boilers, cookers or heaters
- Ensure the detector is stable and placed at least 5 inches from the ceiling and a foot away from the corner of a room. It can be sat on a shelve or bookcase or it can be fixed on to the wall.
- Ensure you change the batteries annually or when the alarm signals ‘low battery’ and make a note of the expiry date, so that you know when you need to renew your product. All detectors will have a shelf life!
- Ensure the alarm is not obstructed or near to either ventilation fans or high condensation areas, like showers.
- Check the alarm as soon as you have installed it to ensure you know what the alarm should sound like – read your manufacturer’s instruction.
If you require further information about alarms and their use contact CoGDEM (the Council for Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring) on freephone 0800 1694 457.
What type of detector should I use?
With so many detectors to choose from it can be a little overwhelming. The most important factor to consider is that you need to be able to hear the alarm if you are asleep in bed. Therefore ‘black spot’ detectors that change colour when carbon monoxide is detected are ineffective. The alarm has to be loud enough to wake you up. Remember, dependent on the size of your home and the number of gas fuelled appliance, you are likely to need more than one detector – at least one per floor. There are advanced alarms available, which will connect to other detectors in the house. Having interconnecting carbon monoxide detectors is highly efficient in larger homes. If one detects carbon monoxide, it will trigger the other units to also sound an alarm, alerting all residence. Ensure each detector is in ear’s reach. See our Buying Guide for more information and guidance on getting the right detector for you.
A good standard carbon monoxide detector will:
- Comply with European Standard EN 50291 – look on the box
- Carry the CE mark
- Have an ‘end of life’ indicator
- Carry an independent certification mark to show it has been approved by an accredited organisation.
Testing your carbon monoxide detectors
You must do this using manufacture’s instructions. Check the product’s battery life regularly.
What to do if your carbon monoxide detector alarm sounds:
- Ensure you open all doors and windows to increase flow of fresh air
- Ensure all fuel appliances are turned off
- Check that everyone is the household is well and leave the home together, immediately
- Once you are out of the building, call Gas Emergency Services: 0800 111 999 or if you think it is not related to gas call Oftec (oil) – 0845 658 5080 or HETAS (solid fuel) – 0845 634 5626
- Make sure that every person seeks immediate medical help if they are showing signs of carbon monoxide poisoning (headache, nausea). Even if no one is showing signs of CO poisoning, ensure they are checked over by a medical professional.
- Find somewhere else to stay until the property has been declared safe.