Households across the country urged not to ignore carbon monoxide warnings

Households across the country urged not to ignore carbon monoxide warnings

Tuesday, May 07, 2024 By OFTEC

Households across the country urged not to ignore carbon monoxide warnings


Households in England must do more to protect themselves against the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning following reports that many are not taking the potential dangers seriously enough, an industry body has warned.


Research* shows over a third of homeowners still haven’t installed a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm, with more than half of those saying they don’t believe detectors are important. A further one in ten could not identify the purpose of a CO alarm.


After a change made in October 2022, regulations state that landlords must ensure a CO alarm is installed in every room which is used as living accommodation and contains any appliance which burns, or is capable of burning, fuel such as gas boilers, oil boilers, wood burning stoves and open fires.


OFTEC, which runs a registration scheme for off gas grid heating technicians, has issued further guidance for households on the steps they should take to protect themselves from carbon monoxide poisoning:


  • Be Alarmed – CO Alarms should be to British Standard EN 50291 and can typically be purchased for less than £20. Any fuel burning compliance can potentially emit carbon monoxide, which is an odourless gas, making it hard to detect.


  • Check the batteries – CO alarms should be regularly inspected to ensure they are working properly by pressing the ‘test button’ and carefully clearing out any dust or debris which could impact how they function. You should also check the alarm can be heard in upstairs bedrooms in case people are sleeping when it sounds. To prevent ‘false alarms’, ensure they are located as per the manufacturer’s instructions.


  • Know what to do – if your CO alarm does sound, the advice is to open the windows and leave the room immediately. Once safe, you should contact GasSafe or OFTEC. If you experience any symptoms of CO poisoning, or have vulnerable people in your house, call 999 immediately.


Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC, said: “Whilst smoke alarms are a common sight in our homes, there continues to be a lack of awareness over the risks associated with CO poisoning. With heating systems now being left on for longer, especially as more of us now work from home, the dangers this year are higher.


“The long term effects of CO poisoning can be fatal and devasting. Fortunately, there are simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves. The installation of CO detectors should be viewed with equal importance as having a working smoke alarm.


“As well as installing a CO alarm, it’s important to have your heating system serviced annually by a competent GasSafe or OFTEC technician who will ensure everything is working correctly and safely.”


More information about OFTEC’s carbon monoxide safety can be found:

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