Category - Boilers
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Ryan Gill, Engineer

31 Jan : Updated 14 Nov ● 5 min read

The importance of a carbon monoxide tester & detector

Carbon monoxide is often described as the ‘silent killer’. As dramatic as it sounds, it’s an accurate description for this invisible, toxic gas. It can be released in many ways via a number of appliances in your home. If they're that working as they should or that release waste gases. Knowing about it early on could save someone else’s life as well as your own.

In this guide, we’ll explain the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and how you can detect it using a carbon monoxide tester before it causes any damage to you or the people around you.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is colourless and odourless. In fact, it is so difficult to detect that sometimes, it can be too late. Damage can be done very quickly if it isn't identified in time. The only real way of detecting it is through a specialist tester or detector. Thankfully, they are very easy to come by. We’ll explain how to get a carbon monoxide detector later on in the guide...

Carbon monoxide gas can be produced if an appliance is faulty or if a flue is blocked. The types of appliance that may give off carbon monoxide gases include fireplaces with wood burners, water heaters, boilers, and ovens. 

Find out more on what is a boiler flue

What are the dangers of carbon monoxide?

Unfortunately, the dangers of inhaling carbon monoxide gas can be fatal in high levels. It is therefore essential to know how to spot the signs if you have any appliances that could give off the gas.

If a high level of gas is inhaled, it can kill very quickly - within a couple of minutes. There are many symptoms to show inhalation, such as feeling sick, dizzy, or disoriented. As well as shortness of breath or stomach pain. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult to diagnose as once you are out of the gas infected environment - the symptoms can clear.

When carbon monoxide is breathed in, it enters your bloodstream, mixing with haemoglobin, the red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. When both of these things mix together, the blood can no longer carry oxygen. As a result, the body’s cells and tissue begin to fail.

A quick test for carbon monoxide.

The easiest and quickest way to test for carbon monoxide gas is by using a carbon monoxide tester or detector. There are three main types of sensor on the different carbon monoxide detectors:

  • The biomimetic sensor – this sensor has a colour changing pad or gel. When it detects carbon monoxide in the air - the colour will change and trigger an alarm.
  • The metal oxide sensor – when the chip in this detector senses the carbon monoxide gas, it will lower the electrical resistance and trigger the alarm.
  • The electrochemical sensor – in this sensor, electrodes inside a chemical solution can sense when they come into contact with the gas, which then triggers the alarm.

The cost of a carbon monoxide detector can vary, but they are usually relatively inexpensive to purchase. The higher end detectors can cost around £25. When buying a safety product, is well worth it and won’t burst the bank.

If you buy a much cheaper detector, the chances are they won’t work as effectively, putting you at risk of inhaling the gas without knowing it is there. If you get your carbon monoxide tester or detector installed by a professional alongside another service, you may be paying much more.

If you're a fan of smart technology, the Google Nest Protect has been designed to detect any carbon monoxide as well as it being a smart smoke alarm.

Carbon monoxide and boilers.

Do I need a carbon monoxide detector with a gas boiler?

Building Regulations state that a carbon monoxide alarm should be fitted whenever a new or replacement gas burning appliance, such as a gas boiler, is installed. This has been a requirement since October 2022. 

When you upgrade your boiler with BOXT, we provide and fit a brand new carbon monoxide alarm with a 10 year battery life as part of your fixed price, so you can be confident that your home is safe.

Can a boiler leak carbon monoxide when switched off?

If your system is turned off, it won’t be able to produce carbon monoxide. However, to be safe, and to ensure you’re not ‘risking it’, it’s recommended that you purchase a carbon monoxide tester for your home. If you have a poorly maintained appliance for example, there is still a risk of the gas being present.

Carbon monoxide boiler check.

If you’re worried about your boiler or would like to see if you are more at risk, get in touch with your boiler manufacturer or energy provider. They may even suggest that they take a look at your boiler and carry out a safety check to make sure your system is safe. They can even install a carbon monoxide tester and alarm for added peace of mind.

A carbon monoxide tester is a crucial purchase to keep you and your family safe.

With so many carbon monoxide dangers, it’s always worth taking the necessary precautions to ensure safety for everyone in close proximity to the gas. Look into purchasing a carbon monoxide tester to detect the harmful gas before it becomes fatal.

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