3 myths busted about carbon monoxide safety

Although practising carbon monoxide (CO) safety may seem obvious to experienced installers, it’s vital to bear in mind that the public at large may need guidance. By explaining misconceptions to customers, installers can ensure safety and build trust. Ahead of Gas Safety Week, Adrian Keats at Honeywell Home Safety business breaks down the need-to-know facts.
Nearly half (46%) of the nation’s homes currently don’t have a CO alarm, which could leave more than 12 million households across the UK at risk from CO poisoning.
In fact, half (52%) of those without a detector say they are aware of what one is, but don’t feel a need for one at home. Clearly misconceptions around this odourless, colourless gas – aptly dubbed the ‘silent killer’ – are putting a staggering number of lives at risk.
As a key point of contact for the consumer, the installer has the opportunity to help homeowners understand CO and how to protect themselves. With this in mind, we’ve debunked the top three myths surrounding CO so installers know how to separate fact from fiction and pass this crucial knowledge on.
Myth #1: A CO alarm guarantees safety
While everyone needs a CO alarm, the reality is that the alarm’s ability to detect CO depends on where it is in the home. If CO is building up in one part of the home but the detector is in another, it may not detect the gas until it is too late, or at all. The solution to this is to have multiple detectors throughout your home, and to ensure that they are connected as part of a wider safety system.
A connected system offers full scale protection by linking every smoke, heat and CO alarm in the building together, so that if one is triggered all the others will also activate. This ensures that every occupant is alerted to the danger no matter where in the home they are.
Honeywell’s X-Series sealed alarms can all be connected wirelessly using a plug-in module to form a full alarm system. The XW100 module simply clicks into any X-Series alarm, offering full protection to a house within minutes and features easy-to-understand LED indicators to ensure the homeowner can be confident that the residence is protected.
Myth #2: Any alarm will do
The alarm market is flooded with cheap units that are poorly manufactured and ultimately, unsafe. While purchase price is low, they often will not work correctly and don’t tend to last long and therefore could leave homeowners without adequate protection. In fact, last year, there was a report of CO alarms being removed from online sale due to safety test failures.
A quality, well designed alarm that is officially approved and kitemarked to the EN50291 performance standard can also come with useful features. Data extraction, for instance, is beneficial in providing installers with genuinely useful information such as the last test date, battery usage and details of any alarm activations. Honeywell’s X-Series Alarm Scan app enables users of an X-Series CO alarm to download data from the alarm to a smart device, allowing on-the-spot incident investigation and effortless report generation.
Myth #3: CO poisoning is only the result of a faulty boiler, so a new one means you’re safe
Many homeowners think that if they have just bought a new boiler, or indeed had their existing one serviced, then they’re safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Though this does reduce the risk, it does not eliminate it as boilers can break down or the flues become blocked at any time between service dates. So while customers may feel they don’t need a CO alarm – ultimately they’ve just had a brand new boiler installed so nothing should go wrong –  installers must help householders prepare for every eventuality. After all, every new boat has lifejackets in case of an emergency…
What’s more, these are not the only household appliances that can emit carbon monoxide. All fuel burning appliances such as gas cookers, heaters, coal fires and woodburners can cause a leak and create danger for the homeowner. Therefore, it’s important that they are educated on the wider dangers of CO, and the importance of having working alarms within the property, no matter the age of their appliances.
The UK is becoming more aware of the importance of home safety, but there is still much more to do. Installers can make a real difference by educating customers and dispelling damaging myths, all whilst adding another service to their offering.
For more information, please visit www.homesafety.honeywell.com.

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