Carbon monoxide alarms

Carbon monoxide alarms

11:34 AM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago 10

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As a responsible Landlord, Non HMO, I’ve fitted Carbon Monoxide Alarms in the boiler room and where there is either a gas fire or gas hob. I’ve just recently had an annual gas cert and service. carbon monoxide

The Gas engineer passed everything apart from my C M alarms saying they are not up to date with current legislation, although they are 7 year alarms fitted 3 years ago. Not convinced he was strictly correct I went onto Gov. co that states alarms must be fitted into rooms that use solid fuel etc etc, which gas isn’t included. Although I will fit the correct alarms I just want to know where we are with C M alarms, please advise.

Best regards, Phil


Neil Patterson View Profile

11:40 AM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Hi Phil,

This was a while ago, but an article from our Insurance Expert Jason. See >>

What are the requirements?

Every floor of a property requires a working smoke alarm and a test must be carried out at the start of every tenancy. Equally, carbon monoxide alarms will be required in any room used for living accommodation that contains a ‘solid fuel burning combustion appliance.’ Failure to meet these requirements means possible sanctions and a civil penalty of up to £5,000, as well as potentially putting your tenants at risk.

What can be a source of carbon monoxide poisoning?

It is common knowledge that gas appliances such as boilers and cookers are sources of carbon monoxide. However, there are many potential sources of carbon monoxide including any fossil fuel appliances such as open fires, wood burners, petrol generators and improperly sited charcoal barbecues. Carbon monoxide can also leak in to your property if chimneys become blocked or corrode over time.

Which alarms should I buy?

CE marking on an alarm means that the manufacturer meets the minimum legal requirement to sell it. A Kitemark means that the alarm has been tested by the British Standards Institution (BSI) – the manufacturer must have a quality system in place which the BSI will audit regularly. It is advisable to buy an independently tested product.

Do I need to test the alarms?

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be tested weekly and cleaned monthly. It is also important to ensure that tenants are aware of how to check the alarms and that emphasis is placed on the importance of proper maintenance.

Where should I put the alarms?

As opposed to smoke alarms, there is not the same level of common knowledge about carbon monoxide alarms and where to place them. Carbon monoxide alarms should be located in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to work effectively. This will typically be situated on a wall, higher than doors or windows and not in the vicinity of a gas cooker.

Can alarms be obtained from the local fire department?

Fire and rescue authorities are expected to provide free alarms to support private landlords in meeting their new legal obligations, so before you buy your alarms, check in with your local authority first.

Harlequin Garden

12:12 PM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago

In my experience this is a little side line for gas fitters and they are always far more expensive then the ones we can buy ourselves.

Gunga Din

12:23 PM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Why does the legislation specify ‘solid fuel burning combustion appliance’, which does not appear to include gas appliances?

Gary Nock

12:29 PM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Phil - Ask him what he means by "not up to current legislation" as I am sure not only I but others on this thread would be intrigued to hear his rationale.

The Enforcer

14:30 PM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Solid fuel burning devices are more likely to cause CO poisoning because they have a single combustion chamber and, for example, if the door isn't closed properly and the wood is smouldering before going out then the CO can leak into the living room. Also chimneys are more likely to get blocked by bird nests etc.

Gas boilers have a sealed combustion chamber so there is less chance of the CO leaking back into the room and the flue is less likely to be roosted on by a pigeon. As opposed to the little hot water boilers you hear of that cause deaths as they are old style with no sealed combustion chamber. Gas burners also burn fully and then go off, rather than smoulder on.

I seem to remember somewhere that there is a legal requirement to do an annual service on solid fuel (or at least open fireplace) installations similar to that required for gas appliances, but I can't remember which legislation (possibly Section 11 of Landlord and Tenant Act 11985).

Gunga Din

15:57 PM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Indeed, and thanks for the review. My pondering is academic, as I've joined the herd and put CO detectors in all my flats, but my point was - were we actually required to, since the legislation specifies Solid Fuel Appliances?

Jack Craven

16:19 PM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be tested weekly and cleaned monthly.
Hi Neil,
Obviously my alarms are always tested when we do the annual inspection, so how do we ensure that the tenants test them weekly ? not to mention clean them monthly. Laugh out loud

Brian Dinsdale

16:29 PM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago

It is only a legal requirement to fit co alarms for gas in Ireland and Scotland not in England but it will eventually at some time be introduced in England. I charge £25 to supply and fit a co alarm, these are made by Honeywell and I have not seen them in DIY stores. They have no batteries to change and last for 7 to 10 years. I am a gas safe registered installer and I fit them in all my properties.As a landlord it is not your responsibility to check them weekly. The co alarm is checked when the annual gas safety check is carried out.

Gary Nock

16:35 PM, 12th December 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gunga Din" at "12/12/2016 - 15:57":

Gunga the legislation on this was shambolic and at the last minute it was changed from solid fuel and gas appliances to solid fuel only - after I and thousands of other landlords had put them in. So the answer is legally no- morally yes.

Rob Crawford

15:24 PM, 13th December 2016, About 6 years ago

From experience most Gas Safe fitters are not experts on legislation. They comply with guidelines provided by Gas Safe. Reading the Gas Safe, HSE, LACORS Fire Safety Guides and any housing act legislation or other associated legislation will give you a better understanding of what is legally required, what is considered as best practice, the nice to haves and also how to conduct your own risk assessment to establish what is actually required for your given situation. This is essential as unbiased advice is very difficult to come buy in this day and age. One thing for certain is that irrespective of what decisions are made, the landlord is responsible!

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