Which? Carbon Monoxide Alarm Testing

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by Alun

Which? CO Alarm Testing

HETAS and The Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring (CoGDEM) are urging customers to purchase audible carbon monoxide (CO) alarms from well-known and recognised brands after a recent Which? report revealed a number of cheap and imported CO alarms to be unsafe and unreliable.

Which? recently put a number of CO detectors through rigorous lab testing based on the EU safety standard (EN 50291) for carbon monoxide alarms. The CO gas detection tests revealed that a group of cheap and imported CO alarms widely available online failed to detect the killer gas in more than a third of the tests.

In contrast, 13 CO alarms from leading brands that carry the BSI Kitemark™ (showing they meet the optimum standards for quality and reliability) passed every one of the tests.

Following pressure from the Which? investigation, Amazon and eBay have removed the defective alarms from sale. Which? has also alerted Trading Standards and CoGDEM regarding its findings.

HETAS CEO Bruce Allen said:

“Carbon monoxide is a highly dangerous gas that has no smell, taste or colour. We urge customers to purchase high quality audible CO alarms from reputable brands and retailers that meet European Standard (EN 50291). This is essential to helping protect individuals and families from the effects of CO poisoning.”

How can you protect yourself against CO poisoning?

  • Fit a quality audible CO alarm that meets European Standard (EN 50291) and is made by a trusted brand carrying the BSI Kitemark™
  • Keep rooms well ventilated when using a heating or cooking appliance fuelled by gas, oil or solid fuels such as coal or wood, and use the appliance correctly
  • Have all appliances, flues and chimneys installed and serviced by reputable and appropriately registered engineers, for example Gas Safe Registered engineers for all gas appliances
  • Never use outdoor appliances like barbecues, camping stoves and paraffin heaters, indoors
  • Ventilate garages when running a car or petrol generator
  • Have your chimney swept at least once a year
  • Ensure your landlord provides the legal annual safety check on installed gas appliances

Part 4 of the HETAS Guide lists a range of carbon monoxide alarms supplied by members of COGDEM which are claimed, or certified, to be manufactured to BS EN 50291 and which are suitable for use with solid fuel heating appliances.

For technical advice relating to carbon monoxide detectors and positioning please contact the HETAS Technical Helpline on 01684 278170 or email technical@hetas.co.uk.

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