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How to fit a CO alarm

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Please find below some important information about fitting a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm.

This information come courtesy of The Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign (www.co-bealarmed.co.uk) run by Energy UK on behalf of Britain’s six major gas and electricity companies in partnership with the Dominic Rodgers Trust. It is supported by more than 40 other organisations.

When placing and using an alarm in the home it is best to follow the instructions that were supplied with the alarm. However if you can’t find these then here are a few guidelines that will help you as where to place an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm in the home:

  • Place the alarm in a central location in the home (e.g. the hallway or landing if you have an upstairs) where it will be heard if activated
  • If you want to fix the alarm to a wall then position it at head height ( i.e. your breathing level), however the alarm does not need to be fixed on a wall (e.g. it can be placed on a table, shelf or bookcase)
  • If you have a portable battery alarm you could place this in the room that you spend most of your time such as a lounge or bedroom – you can even move it from room to room with you
  • As with smoke alarms, test your Carbon Monoxide alarm regularly with the test button (follow manufacturer’s instructions) and replace the batteries annually or when the low battery signal sounds
  • Do not place the alarm in a cupboard, behind furniture, near an outside door or ventilation ( e.g. extractor fans or cooker hoods)
  • Do not place alarms directly next to fires, boilers, cookers or heaters – the alarm should be at least 1 meter away from any of these appliances
  • Do not place an alarm in an area of high condensation and steam such as a bathroom or kitchen or sources of steam and condensation
  • A celing mounted alarm should be at least 300mm from any wall and for a wall mounted alarm it should be at least 150mm from the ceiling

Further mounting guidance can be found in the British Standard EN 50292:2002 and for solid fuel appliances in the Building Regulations approved document J.

You should never ignore a Carbon Monoxide alarm. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you can recognise the alarm sound emitted when Carbon Monoxide is present as well as the low battery signal to avoid any confusion. If the alarm sounds, call the relevant fuel advice line for help; Gas Emergency Service (24 hours) 0800 111 999; Solid Fuel Advice Line 0845 601 4406; Oil (OFTEC) 0845 658 5080 and seek medical advice urgently if anyone is feeling unwell. For details, see in an emergency.

For more technical information and help about alarms and their use contact CoGDEM (the Council for Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring) on freephone 0800 1694 457.

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