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Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide Alarms (CO Alarms)

Carbon Monoxide is highly dangerous, it can be produced when gas appliances are not burning gas correctly, this can be caused by any number of reasons such as ventilation becoming restricted and not allowing enough air to the appliance, too much or too little gas, break down or corrosion on the burner, etc etc.

Carbon monoxide is odourless, colourless and tasteless making it hard to recognise, hense it being called the silent killer, you may only be aware of its presents when you start suffering its symptoms, assuming you know and recognise those symptoms.

Symptoms include;
severe headaches,
general body weakness,
victims' faces can take on a red appearance,
general flu like symptoms
and of course death.

With the exception of death once removed from the source of the carbon monoxide exposure you can expect a full recovery.

There are no actual regulations saying you must install CO alarms but as a responsible landlord and given the dangers of CO it is highly recommended that you do have them installed, in all your properties rented or otherwise.

A CO alarm must only be a secondary safety device meaning it will not replace the annual inspection by a competent gas engineer to ensure your installations are safe.

Placement of CO alarms

Ideally you should have an alarm in every room you have a gas appliance.
CO at the same temperature as air has similar density, however as it comes out of the burner and into the room it will be at a higher temperature and therefore rise toward the ceiling. Placement of the alarm should be a meter away from the appliance just above head height and away from windows and doors to outside.

CO alarms should be audible and the batteries checked regularly.

If your tenants report an alarm going off tell them to turn off which ever gas appliance they are using, open the windows and vent the property. You will need a competent gas engineer to attend the property to investigate why the alarm has gone off.

The crucial thing to remember is carbon monoxide is toxic and can kill, it has the nick name 'the silent killer' and is more common than gas explosions.

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