Remember – quality is all-important with carbon monoxide alarms 
By Tim Jack, Business Development Leader for Carbon Monoxide Alarms, Honeywell

Think of spring and what comes to mind? Easter eggs and longer days are certainly up there, but it is fair to say that checking your fuel-burning appliances is not high on the list.  
It is easy to think that as the weather improves, you won’t be using the gas fire or the central heating as much.
However, if you have gas appliances in your home, you need to think about safety as well as maintenance. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can come from any fuel-burning appliance. 
You can’t see it or smell it and everyone should take it seriously. Don’t just take my word for it. 1The NHS and the Department of Health estimate that between 40 and 50 people die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning every year. Another 4,000 people go to hospital casualty departments suffering from its effects, with 200 having to be kept in for treatment. 
And don’t be fooled into thinking it is a problem you don’t need to worry about until winter. Gas appliances like combi-boilers and gas cookers are still working all summer. If they didn’t, where would hot water and cooked meals come from? Think about this too – CO can leak between properties. Who’s checking on how well-maintained your neighbours’ fuel-burning appliances are?
Protection against this deadly killer is best provided by people who know what they are doing. You need specialist alarms fitted by professional installers. So if you are having a spring visit from an engineer to service your gas boiler, fire or cooker, ask him or her to install a CO alarm. It only takes a few minutes and won’t cost much.
The key is to avoid cheap alarms, because many won’t detect a leak when it starts. Instead, ask the engineer to install a make available to professionals through a plumbers’ merchant. It needs to be stamped with a Kitemark that ensures it has been tested to meet the safety standard EN50291. This will make sure the alarm reacts quickly to any leak. Such alarms may cost a bit more, but they will give you peace of mind.
And by using a professional installer, you can be sure the alarm will be put where it will provide the best protection, according to the appliances you use and your own lifestyle. 
Here are some further points you should consider when having a CO alarm installed:  
  •  If your gas or combi-boiler is upstairs, then an alarm should be nearby to prevent the danger of a leak occurring while everyone in the household is asleep. CO is odourless and colourless. 
  • Official guidance is to have an alarm in every room with a fuel-burning appliance, plus one in every bedroom.
  • Sadly, children are more at risk from CO because they are smaller. So it is definitely a good idea to have an alarm where they sleep.
  • Ask the engineer for a CO alarm with a warranty that covers its whole life. It is worth having in case of any fault. Some alarms can last ten years.
  • Once the alarm has been fitted, remember to register it with the manufacturer so it’s covered by the warranty. 
  • Make sure you read the instructions and keep them in a safe place. Knowing just a bit about your alarm could save a lot of time and worry.
  • The main thing is to make sure your family is protected. It’s not worth gambling with their safety by cutting corners to save small amounts of money.

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