The importance of carbon monoxide alarms

Mon, Dec 16, 2019

Alarming facts

In a recent survey of 2,000 people, 94% didn’t understand the importance of having a carbon monoxide alarm in place if their home had gas or solid fuel appliances.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is known as the ‘silent killer’. It’s a colourless, odourless emission which can be given off by faulty or incorrectly ventilated gas, oil and solid fuel (wood and coal) appliances. You can’t see, smell or taste it, but it kills up to 50 people every year with around 4,000 more needing hospital treatment.

While landlords must, by law, fit properties with carbon monoxide - and smoke - alarms, and have a gas safety check carried out by a professional annually, there’s no similar ruling for owner-occupiers. But when an alarm costs around £12 and needs no fitting, it’s a simple but potentially life-saving precaution. Click here for advice about choosing an alarm which complies with safety standards.

We recommend that you:

  • Place a detector in every room containing a gas appliance, at least a metre away from the appliance itself and ideally at head height – maybe on top of a kitchen cabinet or bookcase (follow the instructions supplied with the alarm).
  • Make sure your alarms are somewhere accessible as you need to test the batteries regularly.
  • Have all gas or solid fuel appliances serviced annually to prevent problems, and make sure there’s proper ventilation in rooms where they’re sited.

With the cold weather we’re all turning up the heating so please – stay safe this winter.


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