Reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is invisible, odourless and has no taste. 
It is, therefore, extremely difficult to detect without a fully maintained, working audible CO alarm. Just like a smoke alarm, which alerts you to the presence of smoke, a CO alarm will warn you of the presence of CO.

What causes carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is released when fossil fuels do not burn completely. In your home, heating and cooking equipment are possible sources of CO. A vehicle left running in a garage attached to your property can also produce dangerous levels of CO as can portable heaters, barbeques and generators.

You can protect your family by fitting a Blue Watch approved carbon monoxide alarm.

Appropriate servicing and maintenance of all appliances is very important and would be strongly encouraged by Blue Watch not just to importantly protect the well being of tenants but also to keep landlords safe from fear of prosecution in the event of any incident which results in loss of life.

Which carbon monoxide alarm?

4 things to look out for

  1. Always install an audible carbon monoxide alarm. There are ‘black spot’ detectors that change colour when CO is released but these are silent and will not wake you up when you are asleep.
  2. All CO alarms should be marked with EN 50291 and also carry the British Standards’ kite mark or another European approval organisation’s quality mark.
  3. Most CO monitors use batteries that last for around 5 years. Blue Watch products have a 7 year battery life. Make sure you purchase an alarm with a long battery life and test the alarm regularly.
  4. Each room with a gas appliance should have a CO alarm installed. A CO alarm should always be installed and tested in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.

Be prepared - know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is tasteless, colourless and odourless and very difficult to detect. Installing a CO alarm is vital for the safety of your family. But so is knowing the symptoms of CO poisoning.

People exposed to carbon monoxide may display the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness

Be prepared - know the tell-tale carbon monoxide signs

There are some early warning signs of a potential carbon monoxide (CO) leak:

  • Yellow or orange cooker flames - gas flames should always be blue
  • Soot or yellow-brown staining around or on an appliance
  • Inconsistent boiler pilot lights that frequently blow out
  • More condensation than usual inside windows

Fitting a carbon monoxide alarm

Fitting a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm is a straightforward DIY task; a CO alarm should always be installed and tested in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. Ideally an alarm should be installed in every room containing a fuel burning appliance. Additional alarms may be installed to ensure that adequate warning is given for occupants in other rooms by locating alarms in remote rooms where it may be hard to hear other alarms and in every sleeping room.

For best practice always:

  1. Do not fit a CO alarm in a cupboard or an enclosed space.
  2. Fix a CO alarm to a wall at head height or place one on a shelf or bookcase.  Alarms in sleeping rooms and in rooms remote from fuel burning appliances should be located relatively close to the breathing zone of the occupants.
  3. Fit a CO alarm at least one metre away from a boiler, fire, heater or cooker in every room where you have a gas appliance.
  4. Test your CO alarm regularly once you have installed it by pressing the test button and sounding the alert system.
Be aware that alarms will only indicate the presence of CO at the sensor.  CO may be present in other areas.

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