When it comes to the safety of your home, a carbon monoxide detector is essential. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas. Excess CO is produced if carbon-based fuel does not burn properly or in cases where gas boiler flues are incorrectly installed.
CO is known as the ‘silent killer’ as humans can’t naturally detect it and there are around 50 deaths a year in the UK due to carbon monoxide poisoning. What’s more, in extreme cases where low levels are inhaled over a prolonged period it can cause paralysis and brain damage as it starves cells, tissue, the brain and organs of vital oxygen.
Low level exposure to carbon monoxide can cause symptoms similar to flu or food-poisoning, such as:
However, carbon monoxide poisoning won’t cause a high temperature. Symptoms may subside a little when away from the CO source.
Higher levels or prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause:
As ever, we believe that prevention is key and although sometimes carbon monoxide leaks can’t be helped, there are ways in which you can try to prevent them from happening:
Generally, the more fuel-burning appliances you have in your home, the more CO alarms you will require. Whether you have a log burner or gas fire in your living room or a gas boiler in your kitchen, you will need a carbon monoxide detector in each of these rooms.
CO detectors should be installed high up in any room with a fuel-burning appliance. They should be placed around 15cm from the ceiling and least 1m from any boiler, fire or cooking appliance but not directly above any appliances that gives off heat or steam.
Many carbon monoxide alarms don’t need to be fixed to a wall and can be set on a shelf while still meeting the criteria for being high up, avoiding heat or steam and being 1m away from the appliances mentioned.
Before you begin to fit your carbon monoxide detector to the wall, ensure that you are installing your carbon monoxide alarm as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Some detectors will be unsuitable for wall-mounting, or won’t require it, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before following this guide.
Keeping your CO alarm in perfect working condition and testing it regularly could end up saving lives. We recommend:
We hope that you’ve found this guide useful and that you’ll follow the steps outlined in this guide to keep your home and family safe.
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