Detect carbon monoxide
Installing a carbon monoxide alarm could save your life.
Alarms are no substitute for prevention, but if there is carbon monoxide in your home, you need an alarm to detect it and alert you.
Buying an alarm
Alarms are available in most hardware or DIY shops and some larger supermarkets. Basic models usually cost between €20 and €30.
Your alarm should:
- be audible. A visual indicator is no use if you're asleep.
- carry the CE mark and comply with the European Standard EN 50291.
- have an ‘end-of-life’ indicator to tell you when it needs to be replaced.
- carry a mark of independent certification such as a Kitemark. It is recommended that you do not purchase an alarm that does not have this.
Installing your alarm
Follow the manufacturer instructions when installing your alarm or have a qualified installer fit it for you. If anything is unclear, contact the manufacturer for guidance.
Install an alarm in every room that has a fuel-burning appliance and one within 5m (16ft) of every bedroom.
Alarms should also be fitted in caravans, boats and any other location where fuel is burned.
Where you position your alarm is important to ensure that it works properly and provides the protection it is intended to provide. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidance with regards to placement of the alarm.
For general guidance on alarm positioning see the interactive house or watch the video below.
Maintaining your alarm
Clean the alarm with a damp cloth.
Do not use any cleaning agents or polishes.
Avoid spraying aerosols near your carbon monoxide alarm.
Do not place an air freshener near the carbon monoxide alarm.
Make sure your carbon monoxide alarm is working properly by testing it monthly.
To test your alarm, push the test button until the alarm reacts (normally it will sound).
Replace the alarm if it does not sound or displays an error when tested.
Replacing your alarm
Carbon monoxide alarms have a limited lifespan (normally 5-10 years depending on the make and model).
It is recommended that you buy an alarm with an audible end of life indicator which will sound when the alarm reaches the end of its usable life.
Even if your alarm does not have an audible end-of-life indicator, it should still have an expiry date printed on the outside of the alarm casing.
Replace an alarm that has reached its end-of-life. Never continue to rely on an alarm after its expiry date has passed, even if still appears to be working.
In some properties the flues from some gas appliances can run for long distances behind ceiling or wall panels. If a hidden flue becomes disconnected it will not be visible and could present a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Irish Standards now require access panels and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in locations where there are hidden flues. Your Registered Gas Installer will advise you if this is required in your property.
What to do if your alarm goes off
- Open doors and windows to ventilate the area.
- Stop using/turn off any fuel-burning appliances immediately.
- Get everyone out into fresh air.
- If you're not suffering any symptoms related to carbon monoxide poisoning, call a qualified service agent to check your appliances before you re-use them.
- If you're still worried, call the Carbon Monoxide Awareness Line on 1800 89 89 89.