Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week
21-27 November 2016
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure?
If you are exposed to CO gas, you may get flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as become confused, tired and lose consciousness. Other warning signs that you might have CO gas in your house include stale or stuffy air, a lot of moisture on your windows and walls, soot build-up around appliances and vents, or a pilot light that keeps going out.
If you or anyone in your house experiences the symptoms of CO poisoning or your CO alarm goes off, you should leave your house and:
- Call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident,or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363
- Don’t go back into the property – wait for advice from the emergency services
- Seek immediate medical help – you may not realise you’ve been affected by the carbon monoxide, and going outside into fresh air won’t treat any exposure by itself
Carbon monoxide alarms
CO alarms provide the only warning of dangerous CO gases in your home. Most commonly, the main source of CO gas in your home is your boiler, but of course you should monitor any household appliances which run on fossile fuels, like natural gas and propane.
Where should alarms be installed?
Install at least one carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home. The most important location for a CO alarm is in or near your bedrooms.
Is their regular maintenance and testing?
Test CO alarms once a month by pressing the alarm’s test button to hear if the alarm will sound. If your alarm uses batteries, be sure to replace the batteries once a year. We offer CO alarms that have a 7 year lithium battery that doesn’t require annual replacement.
Do they expire and when should I replace them?
CO alarms do expire and their lifespan depends on the manufacuter.
Most CO alarms currently last between 5 and 7 years. Docherty offers a Firehawk CO alarm that has a sensor life of seven years, a battery life of seven years and a seven year guarantee! The alarm also gives a warning when it reaches the end of its useful life.
If you wish to not only receive a warning in case of excessive carbon monoxide but an actual readout, even at low CO levels, chose a digital CO alarm.
What should I look for when I buy one?
When buying a CO alarm, look for a product that has been made and properly tested and approved to the latest British or European Standard (BS Kitemark or EN50291).
How to prevent CO build-up in your home
- Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm and test it regularly
- Get fuel-burning appliances serviced annually by a Gas Safe Registered engineer
- Keep ventilation ways clear and have flues chimneys swept at least once a year to identify and remove any blockages
- Check that you have enough ventilation in every room, and that air vents are kept clear
- Be aware of the symptoms: headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapsing and loss of consciousness are all signs of CO poisoning
- Key signs of exposure to carbon monoxide: if symptoms clear up when you’re away from home and come back when you return, or if other people in your household experience similar symptoms