Since October 2022, fitting a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector has been a building regulations requirement when installing or replacing a gas fire or stove. Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas, therefore undetectable. The stealthy nature of CO is why it’s vital to ensure that you have a detector fitted when installing a gas fire or wood-burning stove. 

Who needs a CO detector?


The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into force in October 2022. CO alarms are now mandatory in any room with a fixed combustion appliance. Both privately rented properties and social housing are required to have one. A CO alarm is also compulsory when any fixed combustion appliance, including gas fires and wood-burning stoves, is installed or replaced. The regulation applies to all homes, including privately owned, privately rented, HMOs and social housing. 

Although you may not always be legally required to have a CO detector in your home, getting one is wise if you have any gas appliances. 

Purchase a FireAngel CO-9X Carbon Monoxide Detector here. This sealed, battery-powered CO detector features clear LED indicators for power, fault, or alarm status. It's suitable for any room in the home and can be installed wall-mounted or freestanding. It has a manual test/reset button for peace of mind but also has a self-diagnostic function that allows the detector to check its sensor and battery. The alarm mode is activated when CO levels reach 50 ppm. It is CE marked, and Kite marked to BS EN 50291-1:2010+A1:2012 and BS EN 50291-2:2010, making it suitable for domestic home use, caravans, motorhomes, boats and camping. 

What does a carbon monoxide alarm do?

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, colourless, and odourless gas. It’s very poisonous, and exposure to it can cause serious harm to your health. 

A carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm when it detects carbon monoxide in the environment, alerting you to its presence in your home before exposure to the gas harms your health. 

Where to place your device

Carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air. The weight of CO means that it is usually most detectable with warm, rising air. Ovo Energy’s guide recommends placing your CO detector at head height, around 5–6 feet above the floor. You can also place carbon monoxide detectors on the ceiling. Ensure it is at least one metre away from fuel-burning appliances such as your stove or boiler. 

Improper placement can prevent it from working correctly. Avoid putting your CO alarm behind furniture, inside a cupboard, or near ventilation equipment such as an extractor fan. You should also keep detectors away from areas with a lot of condensation. For example, next to the cooker or in a bathroom. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms


Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can vary based on the level of exposure. Exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can cause cold- and flu-like symptoms.  You might experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, or breathlessness. When exposed to higher carbon monoxide levels, you may experience more severe symptoms such as mental confusion, severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fainting. 

According to the NHS website, the symptoms may worsen if you spend time in the affected building or room and get better if you go outside. 

What to do if my carbon monoxide alarm sounds?

If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, then you mustn’t ignore it. The detector will go off before you experience severe enough exposure to CO to be symptomatic.

The first step is to get everybody out of the house and into the fresh air. Ask members of your household if they are experiencing any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If anybody is experiencing symptoms, get medical help. You can call:

  • 999 if it is an emergency. 
  • 111 for NHS Direct.

Stop using your gas fire or stove and switch off any other fixed combustion appliances, such as a boiler or gas cooker. Don't use your device again until a professional declares it safe. Ventilate your home well, and stay outside until the air in the room is clear.

You can also contact HETAS for more advice on CO in your home.

We hope you have found this guide to carbon monoxide detectors useful.

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