Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbonbased fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. Carbon-based fuels and appliances are safe to use if correctly installed and maintained. It is only when the fuel does not burn properly that excess CO is produced, which is poisonous. When CO enters the body, it prevents the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but CO can kill quickly without warning. 

Which Carbon Monoxide detector should I buy and where should I purchase one from?
Audible* Carbon Monoxide detectors come in many varieties and are manufactured by a wide range of companies.

Where should I fit the detector?
Always read the manufacturers instructions for the correct and safe location for installation of the detector.

Which Room?
Centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. The Alarm should be located at least 6 inches (152mm) from all exterior walls and at least 3 feet (0.9 meters) from supply or return vents.

Ideally CO Detectors/Alarms should be fitted in every room where a fuel burning appliance is installed. Further Detectors/Alarms may be fitted in other rooms to ensure adequate warning is given to occupants such as;

  • Areas that are frequently occupied but may not hear a remote alarm.
  • All rooms where people sleep; Installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom(s) in dwelling units and on every level including basements within which fuel-fired appliances are installed and in dwelling units that have attached garages.

However, if there is a fuel burning appliance in more than one room and the number of detectors is limited, the following points should be considered when deciding where best to put the detectors:

  • fit the detector in a room containing a flueless* or open-flued* appliance, and
  • locate detectors in a room where the occupant(s) spend most time.

If the domestic premises is a bed sit or studio apartment (a single room serving as both sitting and bedroom) then the detector should be located as far away from the cooking appliances as possible but close to where people sleep.

If the appliance is in a room not normally used (for example a hot press or cupboard), the detector should be put just outside the compartment so that the alarm may be heard more easily should it sound.

Alternatively, some detectors can be fitted with remote alarm sirens or interlinked (wired and wirelessly) so that should a detector alarm other detectors are activated to alert people in other areas.

Where in the room?
It should be possible to see any lights or flashing indicators on the detector when in the room.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Early symptoms of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused with food poisoning, viral infections, flu or simple tiredness. Symptoms to look out for include:

 

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Collapse
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pains
  • Visual problems
  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciosusness
  • Drowsiness
  • Pain in the chest
  • Erratic behaviour

 

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