Carbon Monoxide Alarms May Save Your Life

Carbon Monoxide can be produced where faulty equipment or faulty installations are used to burn any fuel, such as solid fuel, oil or gas.Carbon Monoxide alarms can make a very effective contribution to secure the safety of you and your family. However, there are some points you need to be aware of to use these alarms effectively.

What type should I use?

Many different alarms are available but we recommend that the alarm you buy should comply with EN 50291, and this should be marked on the box. We recommend that it also carries the Kitemark from BSI (or an equivalent), who test and certify that it does conform to EN 50291. Also, we only recommend those alarms that have an "end-of-life" indicator - this is an option that only some alarms offer. This indicator should not be confused with any "fault" indicator.

One alarm may not be sufficient

If all your fuel-burning appliances (including their exhaust flues and air supplies) are in the one room, then one detector in that room may suffice. If the appliances/flues are located in more than one room, then an alarm should be fitted in each of those rooms. An alternative strategy, particularly more suited where the appliances and/or flues are spread across too many rooms, is to locate the alarms in the living rooms and bedrooms. In this situation, note that the manufacturers usually recommend installing the alarms at breathing height rather than at high level.

If the alarm(s) cannot be heard in any living rooms and in all the bedrooms, more advanced alarms that include the provision for interconnecting them can be used. In this case, if one of a set of interconnected alarms detects CO, it will trigger the other units to also sound an alarm, allowing you position extra ones close to the living rooms and bedrooms, where they will be audible.

You MUST test the alarm regularly and replace it when it reaches the end of its life. Carbon Monoxide alarms have a limited lifetime, and the manufacturer will specify when it should be replaced. We recommend those units that incorporate an end-of-life indicator. Examples of Carbon Monoxide alarms that comply with these requirements are the Honeywell SF450EN, the Ei Electronics Ei204EN & the Kidde Night Hawk 900-0259.

Where can I get one?

Carbon Monoxide alarms are available from many heating equipment suppliers, hardware stores, DIY outlets, etc. You can also obtain an alarm from many main gas suppliers.

Do not use a Carbon Monoxide alarm as a substitute for the proper installation and regular servicing of appliances, vents and flues. Always follow the alarm manufacturer's instructions and if any aspects are unclear, contact them directly for further guidance. For more information on Carbon Monoxide, go to

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