A look at how anyone with one or more Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors may need to deal with a false alarm on occasions.

CO Detection

Although it is essential for all property owners – both residential and commercial to ensure they have a reliable fire alarm system installed on their property, there are other potential safety issues to consider. One of these all too common hazards to be aware of in homes and business premises is carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. However, there are some very reliable systems we can have installed to detect the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) on our property. A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the carbon monoxide (CO) gas in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately, it is not unknown for these devices to go off when there is actually no dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the immediate environment – something that can lead to a lot of fear and confusion in homes or workplaces.

False Alarms

One of the reasons given by leading authorities involved in CO detection for false alarms in detectors is that the devices are still not as fully developed as other systems such as smoke and heat detection alarms. Moreover, it is has been recorded that some of these devices not only fail to sound their alarm when there are toxic levels of carbon monoxide in the space they are located but also sound a false alarm when there is no threat of CO poisoning. With regards to possible causes of false alarms, there are many theories presented to safety governing bodies such as design flaws and electronic malfunctions. It is also believed that installing a carbon monoxide detector in rooms that are not heated, such as basements, garages and attics can result in false alarms. Because CO detector false alarms are harder to identify compared to smoke detector false alarms; we need to be more vigilant in our efforts to stay alert to the possibility of false alarms for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Nonetheless, If our carbon monoxide detector sounds, we should ventilate the room and leave the property immediately.

Familiar Sounds

Homeowners or business bosses that have had a CO detector alarm installed at their property should make sure they become familiar with the different sounds their device or devices will make. Indeed, although the CO detector should give off a series of four beeps to alert the buildings’ occupants of dangerous levels of CO, these units can emit other sounds too. By learning that the screeching or chirping sounds made by many of these devices is to make people in the vicinity aware of a possible fault with the detector, people with these systems may be able to avoid unnecessary panicking.  

That said, rather than always thinking there is no problem when you hear a sound from a CO detector, it is best to take every incident with your alarm system seriously. Consulting helpful resources turns out to be a good source of information for homeowners and factory proprietors that use CO detection systems. And even though many people react quite negatively to CO detector false alarms in their home or when at work, it is always important to follow any instructions or guidelines given by the HSE or heed the advice of other experts in these situations.

British Standards

Due to rigorous testing and other quality control procedures that all reputable UK manufacturers of various alarm systems for homes and offices will carry out, we can rely on the products we buy for CO detection systems. In fact, the manufacturing standard for carbon monoxide detectors is divided into two parts. The previous guiding standard BS 50291 :2001 was superseded in April 2011 resulting in the British Standard being divided into two parts — part one covering domestic grade CO detectors BS EN 50291-1:2018, and part two covering detectors intended for use in recreational vehicles such as caravans or boats BS EN 50291- 2:2010. In addition to this standard which basically maps out the required quality and performance levels of alarms for manufacturing purposes, there is a standard which defines best practice in terms of installation and maintenance BS EN 50292:2013.