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How To: Test Carbon Monoxide Detector

A simple but essential component to any home. A device that is often overlooked and do we really know what to look out for or how to test it is working correctly? Keep reading for some advice that could well save your life.


What is a Carbon Monoxide detector?

A carbon monoxide detector should be installed in any home or business that burns gas as a fuel. Carbon monoxide is an invisible gas that is incredibly dangerous and can ultimately cause death if left undetected and so inhaled.

Carbon monoxide binds with the red blood cells in your body resulting in your lungs starving themselves of oxygen. There are several symptoms that could mean you have early onset of carbon monoxide poisoning.  These include headaches, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, etc. However, it is far safer and easier to not wait that long to find out! Carbon monoxide detectors are inexpensive and can literally save your life.

If you do not already have carbon monoxide detectors in your property and you have gas-fuelled central heating, cooking hobs, etc, fit them now!  They are available from most DIY and hardware stores plus online sellers.

If you need help, please give us a call on 020 8287 7194 and we can arrange to have one of our fully qualified gas safe registered engineers assess your property and install the detectors required in the correct locations. We advise installing one detector near each fuel-burning appliance, i.e., gas fire, log burner, gas boiler, hob, etc.


How do I test my Carbon Monoxide detector is working?

First off, make sure that the detector is in the correct place relative to the fuel-burning appliance. The detector should be at least one metre away from the appliance and ideally 1½ metres from the floor (this is because carbon monoxide is a lighter gas than air and is often found in the warm air that is found nearer the ceiling). The monoxide detector can be placed on the ceiling.

With the device in the correct location, it is essential to check the device every so often to ensure it is still working. The last thing you want to do is to rely on a device that is no longer protecting you or your family.


Follow these simple steps to test your device:

Whilst manufacturers design their detectors slightly differently, they generally all have a test button.

  1. Push the ‘test’ button. On doing so you should then hear four beeps with a brief pause before another four beeps.
  2. If you hear the correct number of beeps and the device does not continue to beep, then the device is working and has returned to normal operation.

If you do not hear any beeps after pushing the test button, try pushing the test button again. If still no beeps occur, then the detector is not working.

Try replacing the batteries. In actual fact, the device should have beeped every minute or so when the battery was getting low. It is likely the device needs replacing at this stage.


What do I do if the Carbon Monoxide alarm goes off (and not when testing)?

The carbon monoxide detector will sound if the sensor detects levels of carbon monoxide. If the ppm is over 150 the alarm will sound within just minutes of the leak occurring. Therefore, it is important to act fast.

First off, try not to panic. Ensure all your family are accounted for and vacate the property as soon as possible. Once outside, check how everyone is feeling and whether they have any of the main symptoms linked with carbon monoxide poisoning. If anyone is showing signs of poisoning, call the emergency services.

The chances of carbon monoxide leaking are relatively slim, but it is still a deadly threat that needs to be taken seriously with approximately 60 people dying every year across England and Wales.


Need a carbon monoxide alarm or interested in one of our other services?

Please head to our Contact page and fill out the online form, or alternatively, if you are in the heat of the moment you can call us directly on 020 8287 7194.

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