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Trading Standards warns tenants over 'silent killer' Carbon Monoxide

Tests by the Trading Standards Service have found that eight in ten Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms failed British Standards tests.

The Trading Standards Service has issued a warning to tenants to check their Carbon Monoxide alarm is in working order, after the tests showed that many devices were faulty.  

The organisation says that the issue with many Carbon Monoxide alarms stems from having a limited and indeterminable life.

It says that after a few years, up to 45% of CO alarms no longer sense gas.

“To effectively test CO alarms and ensure landlords meet the new legislation by having working alarms they need to test the sensor and not rely on the so called Test Button which just tests the battery, buzzer and electronic circuit.

This can only be done by injecting a specific and safe level of test gas over the alarm,” says John Stones, managing director of Gas Safe Europe.

Later this week the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 come into force.

These will make it a legal requirement for landlords to install smoke detectors on every floor of their property where someone is living and fit a Carbon Monoxide alarm in any room where there is a solid fuel-burning appliance. 

The new legislation is expected to prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year, according to Trading Standards. 

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    Shouldn't this be aimed at carbon monoxide manufacturers? If there is a serious fault, and these do not detect harmful gases up to date stated on the product, it's a manufacturing fault and should be recalled.

  • john stones

    The ball is in the hands of West Sussex Trading Standards, they have the power to do this. There are 25 million CO alarms installed in the UK, around 8 million supplied by a major gas retailer. Based on previous reports at least 45% could not be working, bad enough but the current figure suggest 80% which is shocking.

    CO alarms do save lives but they need to be sensor inclusively tested. We have been a lone voice on this since 1996 but the problem now is the number of alarms out there and the involvement of government and Fire Brigades with the supply of free CO alarms (52,570 paid for by tax payers) and laws now being passed requiring working CO alarms to be fitted.

    I fear that recall will not be an option but provided alarms are properly tested they will be removed from service and replaced. If in warrantee they should be replaced by manufacturers, retailers or utility companies free of charge. If out of warrantee then they have served for 7/10 years and its reasonable to buy a replacement.

    It is a mess, potentially more of a scandal than VW as these devices are supposed save lives. Commercial gain by a manufacturers trade associations influence over authorities has unfortunately prevailed over public safety.

    Common knowledge in the industry. It was only a matter of time before this came to a head.

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