Do I Need A Carbon Monoxide Alarm?

Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is impossible to detect without an alarm and exposure can have serious health implications. Over 100 people in the UK have died from CO poisoning each year since 2010. The importance of having a CO alarm in your home should not be underestimated.

Install a CO alarm in your home to protect your family from the 'Silent Killer'
CO has no taste or smell – without a detector in your home, you cannot know if you are at risk

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO), also known as the Silent Killer, is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas. Highly poisonous to humans and animals, carbon monoxide is produced when fuels are burnt without enough oxygen present. Common sources of CO include faulty gas cookers, gas boilers, chimneys and log burners.

Do I need a CO alarm?

CO is impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. Having your appliances properly serviced and maintained each year is important but it is not a guarantee that you will be safe. Faults can, and do develop between inspections, potentially exposing you and your family to this deadly gas.

If you’re a home owner without a CO alarm, you should strongly consider investing in one to protect your household. Even if your home is supplied and heated only with electrical appliances, the gas can travel through walls. Therefore, your neighbours’ appliances, over which you have no control, could put your home at risk. Adjoining garages that house vehicles and petrol-fuelled equipment such as lawnmowers can also be a source of CO.

In Scotland, it is mandatory for every home to have a carbon monoxide alarm where there is a carbon fuelled appliance or flue. Find out more about the Scottish carbon monoxide alarm regulations.

If you’re a tenant, landlords are legally required to provide CO detection, although the level of protection differs for each country in the UK.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to common illnesses – nausea, headaches, fatigue, weakness, and dizziness can be easily overlooked.

How do I know if I have CO poisoning?

This deadly gas starts with subtle symptoms, which can quickly become fatal if ignored. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, confusion, shortness of breath and chest and muscle pain are the most common signs. They may be intermittent, but get worse the longer the victim is exposed to CO.

Having a CO alarm will alert you to any potential carbon monoxide exposure, and is the only way to know for certain if you are in danger. The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to many other common illnesses, and can easily be overlooked.

If you think you have been exposed to CO, you should switch off appliances you think might be making carbon monoxide if possible. Open as many doors and windows as possible to improve air circulation, and leave the building as quickly as you can. Get medical advice immediately, and do not return to the building until you are certain that it is safe to do so.

What CO alarm should I choose?

Carbon monoxide alarms are affordable and do not require any wiring or installation.

Every device in our CO alarm range is certified to BS EN 50291 Part 1. This defines the standard that CO alarms must be made to for use in the home. We also stock a range that are suitable for camping, caravans and travel when gas cookers and heaters are commonly used (these alarms are certified to BS EN50291-2).

For improved peace of mind, an alarm with a digital display, such as the Kidde 5DCO carbon monoxide alarm, will enable you to see exactly what levels of CO are in your home. That way you can easily spot any issues before CO levels become dangerously high.

Protect your family with a CO alarm

Is Your Holiday Home Protected From The ‘Silent Killer’? Carbon Monoxide Responsibilities For Accommodation Providers

When someone books a holiday, what features do they look for? Maybe a hot tub, fire pit or log burner for that little bit of luxury? A carbon monoxide detector might not be top of the list, but with carbon monoxide (CO), or the ‘Silent Killer’ responsible for around 60 accidental deaths every year in England and Wales, ensuring your holiday accommodation is CO safe should be a priority. Did you know that as a holiday home owner in England, you have a legal responsibility to comply with regulations relating to carbon monoxide safety? Holiday-makers want to have peace of mind that their safety is a top priority when booking a holiday, and carbon monoxide safety is no exception.

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas with no smell or taste and can be difficult to detect without the aid of a carbon monoxide detector. Symptoms such as tiredness, shortness of breath, nausea and headaches can be easily mistaken for flu or food poisoning. However, after exposure to high levels for 2 hours, the person may become unconscious and could die from this poisonous gas. With such sudden consequences, early detection is critical.

Accommodation providers: Your responsibilities

CO gas is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels containing carbon, for example coal, wood, gas or charcoal. A build-up in emissions of CO gas can come from:
• Faulty gas appliances
• Fuel burning stoves, open fires or BBQs used in poorly ventilated areas
• Running a car engine in an enclosed space.

Holiday Home Owners, like landlords, have a responsibility to ensure that their properties are compliant with the regulations Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. These regulations state that a carbon monoxide detector should be fitted in any room that has a solid fuel burning appliance such as a log burner or open fire. Whilst not a legal requirement, it is also advisable to install a detector in any room with a gas or oil burning appliance such as a boiler or oven. You should also check and log all smoke and CO alarms on change-over day for added peace on mind.

The maintenance of gas appliances in all properties is also of paramount importance. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outlines the legal duties of self-catering accommodation providers to ensure the safety of any guests. All gas appliances should be installed and checked annually by a Gas Safe Engineer. Accommodation providers need to ensure adequate ventilation throughout the holiday accommodation. This is of particular importance in caravans, lodges and tents or glamping pods.

Provide information for your tenants

With frequent change-over of tenants and short-term occupancy, it may also help to provide a factsheet with guidance on carbon monoxide safety. Information such as how to locate and turn off the mains gas supply, what to do if the carbon monoxide alarm goes off or who to contact in an emergency may prove invaluable. Some tenants will be unfamiliar with gas appliances and general advice on how to use them safely could be useful.

Furthermore, unlike some smoke alarms that are prone to false triggers, a CO alarm is very unlikely to go off unless it detects carbon monoxide. False alarms are very unlikely and residents should be advised to act immediately and assume it is an emergency situation. Many people are not aware of the CO emissions from BBQs and camp fires. Cosy fires and family BBQs can prove deadly if emissions are allowed to accumulate in a tent, glamping pod or caravan. Campsites or caravan sites are advised to alert campers to the possible dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from these activities.

Confidence in the UK holiday market

With the trend in UK ‘staycations’ looking set to continue into next year, ensuring the safety of guests in all accommodation will only help to increase confidence in UK holidays. Families should have peace of mind that their safety is of the utmost importance. There are many options for carbon monoxide alarms including combined or separate smoke and CO alarms, audible and visual cues and fixed or portable units. The requirement of each accommodation type varies depending on size, risks and structure.

The Kidde 7DCO alarm is a great solution for most providers as it is Kitemarked as safe for use in all domestic situations as well as in caravans, boats and tents. Its 10-year lifespan, digital display and option for free-standing or wall-mounting makes it a reliable and flexible option. And, with readings taken every 15 seconds and displayed on the digital panel, guests would have complete peace of mind that they are protected from the ‘silent killer’.

A suitable carbon monoxide alarm
Digital Display Carbon Monoxide Alarm 10 Yr Warranty – Kidde 7DCO

If you are an accommodation provider and would like more information, please contact our customer care team on 0800 612 6537.

Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.

CO Alarm for Caravans and Motorhomes

Prepare for the summer season by installing a CO alarm for caravans. Because caravans are a confined space, the potential for the build-up of deadly carbon monoxide gas is greater. If you have already fitted a CO detector, ensure that you carry out your pre-holiday safety checks. This should include checking or replacing the batteries and testing smoke, heat and CO alarms. It is also advisable to check when your alarms need replacing. Sensors in these types of alarms become less effective over time and will need to be replaced after 10 years.

Kidde 7DCO for caravans and motorhomes
The Kidde 7DCO CO Alarm for caravans and motorhomes

Choosing a CO alarm for caravans and motorhomes

Not all carbon monoxide alarms are suitable for use in caravans or motorhomes. Choosing a suitable alarm is important because if the CO alarm you have isn’t recommended for use in camping environments, you may not be alerted to dangerous levels of CO gas. Choose an alarm that is:

  • Kitemarked to British Standard BS EN50291-2
  • Certified for use in caravans
  • Suitable for wall mounting
  • Battery operated
  • CE marked

Kidde 7DCO

The Kidde 7DCO is ideal for caravans. It can be easily wall mounted using the fixings included in the pack. The digital display shows readings taken every 15 seconds and will indicate any changes to the level of CO gas detected. The alarm is supplied with 3 x AA batteries that are easy to replace when the warning chirp indicates that the power is low.

The Kidde 7DCO is certified for use in caravans and has a warranty for the full 10 year lifespan of the product.

Caravan fire extinguisher and CO alarm
Kidde 7DCO can be easily wall mounted in your caravan or motorhome
Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm - 7DCO / 7DCOC
Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm - 7DCO / 7DCOC
  • Product Life: 10 years
  • Battery: replaceable AA alkaline batteries included
  • Warranty: 10 year warranty
  • Displays CO levels from 10ppm
  • Peak Level Memory - recalls highest CO levels
  • Ideal for domestic use and camping, caravans & boats
  • Kitemarked to BS EN50291-1 and BS EN50291-2
  • Also suitable for the 2022 Welsh legislation
£15.21 ex VAT
£18.25 inc VAT
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