As MPs look to step up public awareness of gas safety, it has been proposed that home insurance could be restricted to properties that have both a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) detector installed.
This proposal was made at a parliamentary reception to launch the 8th annual Gas Safety Week, which is run by the Gas Safe Register as a way of increasing awareness of gas safety and the harm than unsafe appliances can cause.
Efforts have also been made over the last year to introduce a bill that would make CO detectors mandatory in all new build and rented properties.
Speaking about the legislation, MP Eddie Hughes believes that advances in battery technology could really encourage homeowners to not only fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms but keep them operating too. Modern batteries are able to run for a number of years, greatly reducing the number of times they’ll need checking, and most don’t have a high price tag attached to them.
Why Should Homes Have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?
Carbon monoxide is a lethal gas that is odourless so if there’s a leak, you won’t be able to smell it and it’s capable of taking a life in minutes, which is why having a carbon monoxide detector in your home is essential.
This harmful gas is produced when fossil fuels (natural gas and oil) aren’t completely burnt, common in boilers that are:
- Badly installed
- Poorly maintained
Having a carbon monoxide detector installed close to your boiler will make you aware of a leak, potentially saving the life of everyone in your home.
Finding a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Whether the plan to restrict home insurance to properties with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms comes into place or not, you should have both installed to keep your home safe.
There are two types of CO detector, with some having sealed units and some not. When a carbon monoxide leak is detected both will give visual and audible warnings, but the difference between them is that you can’t change the batteries in sealed units. So once a sealed unit stops working, it will have to be replaced with a new detector. This might sound inconvenient but they do come with a 5 year guarantee.
When purchasing your CO detector, look out for the following:
- A clearly displayed Kite mark which guarantees that the model has been independently tested to meet the necessary standards
- That it has met one of the following quality standards – BS7860 or the more common EN50291
What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning so that you’re able to detect them in case of a leak. The symptoms you should look out for are:
- Loss of consciousness
How Can I Make My Home Gas Safe?
In addition to having a carbon monoxide detector installed, you should have your gas appliances serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. A yearly service will ensure that the unit is operating safely and the engineer will be able to spot any potential faults before they occur.
When welcoming an engineer into your home, ask to see their Gas Safe Register ID card which proves that they’re qualified to work on gas appliances.
Gas Safety Week 2018
The 8th annual Gas Safety Week, run by the Gas Safe Register, will be taking place between 17th-23rd September and aims to increase awareness of gas safety in the home.
As ever, we’re getting fully behind Gas Safety Week and you can follow everything that we get up to on the Home Heating Guide Twitter account.