The importance of a carbon monoxide alarm or detector in the home really shouldn’t be underestimated, and with alarms costing less than a Friday night takeaway, there really is no excuse to be without one…
Every home or property with at least one gas appliance should have a CO alarm, and in the home, it should be positioned near the main bedrooms, perhaps alongside a smoke alarm.
If you have one, make sure it’s working by testing it. Many models will have a ‘test’ button which will check the batteries or make sure it is receiving sufficient power from the mains.
If you need a new one, there are a few things to consider before making a purchase.
Firstly, ensure you budget for as many detectors as you might need. A larger property might need four or more so you’ll need to bear this in mind when making a selection.
Also bear in mind that CO sensors have a limited life span and will need to be replaced every five to ten years. It might be worth working out how long you’ve had yours and whether you might need a new one. Many detectors will have an end-of-life alarm, and if the batteries need replacing, the alarm may produce a constant chirruping sound.
The alarm’s sensitivity is also important depending your needs. Standard detectors measure levels from around 30-40 parts per million, and the alarm will sound if CO2 levels consistently reach over 70 ppm. This is fine for most, however, if you have respiratory illness, are pregnant, or an older person, then you might want to consider a more sensitive option.
If you can, choose a model with a digital display. This will allow you to look through the history of CO levels since the last time you reset the detector – this is useful for seeing if you have low levels of CO, as though an alarm may not be triggered, the exposure could be harmful in the long term.
Finally, make sure you pick a reputable brand and ensure that your detector is certified by BSI (British Standards Institution – this includes Kitemark) or the EU with the CE mark.
There are various options available on the market, but Diamond Gas & Heating offer a great CO2 sensor for just £25, which can be fitted at the same time as your new boiler or retrofitted depending on your needs.