Detect the Presence of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is completely invisible and undetectable to human senses. It has no colour, smell or taste and because the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be easily mistaken for the flu it is extremely dangerous and hard to recognise. An audible CO detector is the only certified way to detect carbon monoxide and keep yourself and your family safe.

How to Choose a CO Detector

Carbon monoxide alarms are available in many different shapes, sizes and variations and buying one can sometimes be confusing. We have put together a buying guide to show you the features you should be looking for when buying a carbon monoxide detector.

Audible Alarm

Always buy a CO detector with a loud 85dB audible alarm that can alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide.


Make sure your CO detector complies with BS EN 50291 and carries a British kitemark or European approval mark.


Look out for carbon monoxide detectors that are supplied with a 5, 7 or 10 year manufacturer's warranty.

Low-Battery Warning

Choose an alarm that has a low battery warning. This will give you an audible signal when you need to replace your batteries.

Sealed Lithium Battery

CO alarms with sealed lithium batteries provide additional peace of mind that your unit will be powered for its entire life.

Digital Display

A digital display alarm can give you an early visual warning if the level of carbon monoxide is creeping up.

Dual Sensor

If you want to have a single unit that can detect smoke and carbon monoxide, combined alarms are available.

Trusthworthy Supplier

Always buy your alarm from a trusted supplier and be aware of alarms that do not comply with European standards.


Where to Buy Carbon Monoxide Detectors

You can buy a carbon monoxide detector that complies with the BS EN 50291 and carries a kitemark or European approval mark for around £10.00. You can usually find alarms in your local DIY store or supermarket but we have compiled a list of trusted online retailers below:


Where to Place Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in all rooms that have fuel burning appliances and can be wall or ceiling mounted at a horizontal distance of between 1m and 3m from the appliance. Ideally you should have an alarm on each floor of your property and additional alarms should be located in bedrooms.

Don't place CO alarms above windows or radiators; the natural air flow can interfere with the alarms ability to detect carbon monoxide.

Essential CO Alarm Cover

You should have an audible carbon monoxide alarm installed in any room that has a fuel burning appliance, especially areas such as:

Additional Cover

We recommend installing additional carbon monoxide alarms in common areas and areas that are close to fuel burning appliances such as:



(doc:545 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Many people are unaware of the devastating effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide has no colour, smell or taste and cannot be detected by the human senses. It is extremely dangerous, binding itself to the haemoglobin in red blood cells and preventing them from transporting oxygen around the body.


Estimated Number of Deaths Every Year

According to statistics released by the Office for National Statistics, throughout England and Wales, there are an average of over 60 deaths every year due to accidental exposure to carbon monoxide - up to 45% of which occur in the home.

Source: ONS, User Requested Data, Refs 006780, 007476 & 009122


People Treated for CO Poisoning Every Year

Figures from the Department of Health and Social Care show that there are around 4000 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning treated in A&E Departments across England each year - even mild cases can exacerbate existing conditions such as respiratory illnesses, leading to fatalities.

Source: Department for Health and Social Care


Number of People Hospitalised Every Year

According to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, around 200 per year are hospitalised in England and Wales as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Source: Department for Health and Social Care


Percentage of UK Households with a CO Alarm

A study of more than 27,000 properties by the Liverpool John Moores University, supported by the Merseyside and West Midlands Fire Services, found that less than 10% of homes have a single carbon monoxide alarm to protect occupants from this deadly gas.

Source: Liverpool John Moores University

Share Your CO Story

We share real-life stories of our customers to help raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide. Hearing about a near miss can sometimes prompt you to think about your own situation and may highlight a risk within your own home.

If you share your CO story with us, and it is posted on our website, we will give you a free carbon monoxide alarm. Help us spread the word and save lives.


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