What are the main CO monitor features?
Recommended monitors are certified to British Standard and have an audible alarm. These typically have batteries which will last for up to five years and have a loud alarm which goes off when carbon monoxide is detected giving you time to evacuate the room. You should avoid the cheaper monitors which have a coloured spot which will change in colour when high carbon monoxide levels are detected. These are not recommended as they have a life of around six months and you must remember to replace them regularly. The lack of the audible alarm in a chemical detector means that this type of monitor cannot alert you at night when you are asleep. Many types of shops carry these detectors and smoke alarms also.
Can the general public purchase carbon monoxide detectors?
CO monitors are important household aids in detecting carbon monoxide and giving early warning of potential problems. In recent years there are several types of detectors becoming available for purchase on the high street. CO monitors track the accumulation of carbon monoxide over time and are triggered at a predetermined level. Smoke detectors have become a standard feature in homes and the technology is reliable, CO detectors are not yet as reliable but the technology is making rapid strides. Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors can be used as a backup but not as a replacement for proper use and maintenance of your fuel-burning appliances.
The advantages of installing a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home
Early advice of rising levels of CO can give people enough time to leave a building before the symptoms of CO poisoning occur. The installation of CO detectors gives this warning. Installing a detector will give a healthy adult early warning of carbon monoxide emissions before they reach the levels at which an adult would be displaying symptoms of poisoning. Carbon monoxide detectors have installation requirements separate from those of smoke detectors and do not need to be installed at the top of a wall or on the ceiling. Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed where the alarm can be heard from your bedroom, you need to be woken quickly should the alarm be triggered.
Test your CO Detectors
Make a note to test your detector on a regular basis to ensure it is working. Detectors should come with instructions detailing the steps to take to check the effective functioning of the detector. Check your detector each month to check that it is working satisfactorily, replace it if any faults are found. The ‘test’ feature on many detectors checks the functioning of the alarm and not the status of the detector. Be aware that the average life span of many carbon monoxide detectors is about 2 years Some detectors last up to 5 years and operate off the mains or battery. You will need to select a model that meets your needs. Combination smoke detector and CO detectors are available and should also be installed in accordance with the manufacturer instructions.
Carbon Monoxide and boilers, what to be aware of
Carbon Monoxide is one of the most poisonous gases and it is undetectable with no smell or taste. It can be produced by a boiler when there is a lack of oxygen in the air supply to the combustion chamber, it is also produced by faulty gas fires and other gas appliances. The standard flue gases from a boiler, or other gas appliance such as a gas fire, contain Carbon Dioxide, this is displaced by Carbon Monoxide when the oxygen levels are reduced. Tragically there are 30 carbon monoxide poisoning deaths every year and many more injuries although this could be worse without the implementation of ventilation guidelines and adoption of regular boiler servicing.
How can I see I have a carbon monoxide problem?
One way of visually checking for potential problems is to check for signs of staining, sooting or discoloration on or around gas boilers, fires and water heaters. A yellow pilot light is an indication of a problem in the gas combustion chamber which may be caused by a lack of oxygen through poor ventilation. If the pilot light in your system starts burning yellow you should have the boiler serviced by a trained engineer without delay.
What should I do to protect myself and my family from carbon monoxide poisoning ?
Carbon monoxide is output from a boiler when there is not enough oxygen available for the flame to burn all the gas in the combustion chamber. Gas appliance engineers will check the ventilation and combustion efficiency of your gas appliances during the regular maintenance visits eliminating the causes of poor combustion. Any engineer you contract to service your gas appliances should be CORGI-registered which will ensure that they have the training required to complete the task to the required standards. Carbon monoxide detectors can give a warning of abnormal carbon monoxide levels, models with a loud alarm are the most effective at warning the inhabitants of the home. Provision of the recommended ventilation to gas appliances is essential and you should regularly inspect any ventilation vents to ensure that the flow of air can be maintained. Garden plants can also be a danger to you as growth throughout the summer can block air vents to a boiler which may not be in operation until the cold weather returns. And make sure your chimney doesn’t become blocked with birds’ nests or other debris. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors make different sounds. You should ensure that your family are aware of the differences so that they take the correct action when one of your detectors is triggered.
What will Carbon Monoxide Poisoning result in?
Carbon monoxide kills so do not take any risks if you suspect you may be suffering from inhalation of the gas.Do not read this or other articles and form your own judgement. Quick action can save your and your family’s lives. Any member of the family can be affected by carbon monoxide regardless of their age. Your pets could also be injured or worse.
Are there any warning signs of the presence of carbon monoxide?
You may observe common flu like symptoms in someone who is actually suffering from Carbon Monoxide inhalation with features like: -
- persistent headaches
- light headiness
- loss of energy
If you notice symptoms such as these when you have gas appliances in the home, stop using the appliance without delay, increase ventilation to the rooms, take any inhabitants outside and ensure that your gas appliances are inspected by a CORGI registered gas engineer.