🕑 10 minutes read

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent, invisible killer. This colourless, odourless gas can be fatal if inhaled in large quantities, making it essential for every home to have a carbon monoxide alarm. Understanding what carbon monoxide is, how it can affect your health, and the importance of having an alarm can save lives.

This blog will provide you with all the information you need to keep your home safe from carbon monoxide.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas created when fuels like gas, oil, wood, and coal are burned. Common sources in the home include:

  • Gas boilers
  • Fireplaces
  • Wood-burning stoves
  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Water heaters
  • Car engines

When these appliances are not properly ventilated, maintained, or used incorrectly, they can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Why is Carbon Monoxide Dangerous?

Carbon monoxide is hazardous because it prevents your body from transporting oxygen effectively. When inhaled, CO binds to haemoglobin in the blood more effectively than oxygen, forming carboxyhemoglobin. This reduces the blood's ability to carry oxygen to cells and tissues, leading to oxygen deprivation.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

In severe cases, exposure can be fatal. Even low-level exposure over a long period can lead to serious health issues.

The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Alarms


Carbon monoxide alarms are crucial because they can detect the presence of CO before it reaches dangerous levels. Here's why you need one:

1. Early Detection: A Carbon Monoxide detector chirping or beeping is an early warning that gives you time to ventilate your home and evacuate if necessary.

2. 24/7 Protection: These devices monitor CO levels continuously, providing round-the-clock protection for you and your family.

3. Peace of Mind: Knowing you have a functioning CO alarm can provide peace of mind, allowing you to feel safe in your home.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Regulations for Landlords (2022)

“Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in any room with a fixed appliance that burns fuel, like gas, oil, coal, or wood, to generate heat. This includes gas or oil boilers and log-burning stoves but doesn't apply to gas cookers.”

If you’re a landlord, it's essential to choose the best smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for your properties, keeping your tenants' safety in mind. Proper installation is crucial to protect tenants from these dangers.

These regulations apply to all homes rented by private landlords or social housing providers, with some exceptions. If the landlord or their family shares the accommodation with the tenant, these regulations do not apply.

How Do CO Detectors Work?

CO detectors can be operated by batteries or by being wired directly into the electrical system of your house. They use a silicon microchip, sensors, and semiconductors to detect carbon monoxide. When CO is detected, the detector emits a beeping or chirping noise to alert you to the danger. Detectors with LCD screens also show CO levels and system statuses, including inspection deadlines.

These detectors warn of carbon monoxide buildup before you experience symptoms. For instance, at low CO levels around 50 parts per million (ppm), the detector won't beep for several hours. However, at higher levels, like 150 ppm, the detector will sound almost immediately.

Choosing the Right Carbon Monoxide Alarm

When selecting a carbon monoxide alarm, consider the following factors:

  • Certification: Ensure that the alarm satisfies safety standards and has been approved by an accredited testing facility.
  • Power Source: Alarms can be hardwired with a backup battery, plug-in with a backup battery, or battery-operated. Choose one that fits your home's setup.
  • Digital Display: Some alarms come with a digital display that shows CO levels in real-time, which can be useful for monitoring.
  • Interconnectivity: If you have a large home, consider interconnected alarms that can alert you throughout the house when one detects CO.
  • End-of-Life Indicator: CO alarms have a lifespan, usually 5-7 years. An end-of-life indicator will notify you when it's time to replace the unit.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Beeping & Chirping Signals

Carbon monoxide can be deadly. If your CO detector keeps chirping, you should leave your home or business immediately and call emergency services. This gas may be present, and it's important to act quickly.

Read our blog to learn more about chirping carbon monoxide alarms.

What Does a Low Battery Chirp Mean?

The battery life of your CO and gas alarm varies based on the type you have. It's essential to ensure the alarm is working and the battery is still good. Some alarms plug into an outlet and have a battery backup that can last the alarm's lifetime, giving you peace of mind during a power outage.


Additionally, First Alert provides alarms that come with a sealed 10-year battery that lasts the whole alarm's lifespan.

Different beeping patterns mean different messages:

  • Four beeps and a pause: CO is present. Leave immediately and call emergency services.
  • One chirp per minute: The batteries need to be replaced.
  • Five beeps per minute: The detector itself needs to be replaced.

What Does an Emergency Alarm Chirp Mean?

If your carbon monoxide detector chirps four times in a row and then pauses, it has detected dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

You should immediately evacuate your home and get to fresh air. Headaches, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, dizziness, chest discomfort, and disorientation are some of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. After leaving your house, call 9-1-1 and wait for the fire department to handle the situation.

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Immediate Actions When Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Sounds

If your carbon monoxide (CO) detector beeps four times in a row, pauses, and repeats, it means there are dangerous levels of CO in your home. Here's what you need to do:

  • Evacuate Immediately: Leave your house right away and get outside for fresh air.
  • Keep an eye out for symptoms: Recognise signs such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion, which can indicate CO poisoning.
  • Call for Help: Once you're outside and safe, call 999 and inform them of the CO alarm. The emergency services will arrive and take care of the situation.

Carbon monoxide leaks are dangerous, but having a working CO detector can help keep your family safe.

Check your alarms frequently to make sure they are functioning correctly, and change the batteries as needed.

Carbon Monoxide Installation Tips

Proper installation of your carbon monoxide alarm is vital for effective protection:

  • Placement: Install alarms on every level of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. They should be at least 5 feet above the ground (since CO is slightly lighter than air) and away from vents, appliances, or areas with high humidity.
  • Avoid Obstructions: Ensure alarms are not blocked by furniture or curtains, which could impede their ability to detect CO.
  • Combination Alarms: Consider alarms that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide for comprehensive safety.
  • Testing and Maintenance: Test your alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year. Clean the alarms regularly to prevent dust and debris from affecting their performance.

What to Do If Your Alarm Sounds

If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off:

  • Ventilate the Area: To let in fresh air, open your doors and windows.
  • A-homeowner-is-opening-his-kitchen-window
  • Evacuate: Leave the house immediately and call emergency services from a safe location.
  • Do Not Re-enter: Do not go back into the house until emergency responders give the all-clear.
  • Seek Medical Attention: If someone shows symptoms of CO poisoning, get medical help right away.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Buildup

In addition to having alarms, take these steps to prevent CO buildup:

  • Regular Maintenance: Have your heating system, water heater, and any gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Ventilation: Ensure that your home is adequately ventilated. Do not block vents and chimneys.
  • Proper Use: Use appliances only for their intended purpose. Never use a gas stove to heat your home; avoid using generators or charcoal grills indoors.
  • Install a Chimney Cap: Ensure your chimney is properly ventilated and has a cap to prevent blockages.

A carbon monoxide alarm is a small investment that can save lives. By understanding the dangers of CO and taking proactive steps to install and maintain alarms, it is possible to protect your family from this invisible threat.

Remember, early detection is key, so don't delay in making your home a safer place today. For more information and guidance on choosing and installing carbon monoxide alarms, consult with a professional or visit your local hardware store.

A carbon monoxide alarm is a small investment that can save lives. By understanding the danger of CO and taking proactive steps to install and maintain alarms, you can protect yourself.

Regularly Maintain & Inspect CO Detectors


To ensure your home remains safe, it's crucial to regularly maintain and inspect your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. These devices are essential for detecting harmful CO gas, which can be life-threatening if not identified promptly.

However, there are two types of CO detectors: those with replaceable batteries and those with sealed lithium batteries. Detectors with replaceable batteries need regular battery changes, while those with sealed lithium batteries have a lifespan of up to 10 years and will emit a beep when they need to be replaced.

Here are some important tips for maintaining your CO detectors:

Know the Age of Your Detector

Be aware of how old your CO detector is. Most detectors have a lifespan of five to seven years, after which they should be replaced to ensure continued reliability.


To make sure your CO detectors are operating correctly, test them once a month. Most detectors have a test button—press it to confirm the alarm sounds.

Battery Replacement

For detectors with replaceable batteries, change the batteries every six months. A good reminder is to do this when you change your clocks for daylight saving time.

Sealed Battery Units

If you have a detector with a sealed lithium battery, it will last up to 10 years. When it emits a beep indicating the end of its life, replace the entire unit.

Professional Inspections

Include a professional inspection of your CO detectors as part of your annual home maintenance routine. This ensures a thorough assessment and guarantees that all units are functioning properly.

These maintenance recommendations will help to guarantee that your CO detectors are always ready to alert you to any dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in your home, keeping you and your family safe.

Serviceteam Smoke and CO Alarm Installation Service


We offer competitive pricing for the supply and installation of smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, starting at just £57 plus VAT. Our professional installation ensures that your alarms are correctly placed and fully operational, providing you with peace of mind and enhanced safety for your home.

Combined Services for Added Convenience

To make things even more convenient, you can combine the installation of your smoke and CO alarms with other essential services, such as an annual boiler service or a Gas Safety Certificate inspection. By scheduling these services together, we can complete all tasks in a single visit, saving you time and reducing any disruption to your daily routine.

When you book your service, please confirm the type and quantity of alarms you need.

Here's how to proceed:

  • Select Your Alarm Type: Decide whether you need smoke alarms, CO alarms, or both. We offer a range of high-quality alarms that meet safety standards.
  • Specify the Quantity: Indicate the number of alarms you want to be installed. Our team will ensure you have adequate coverage throughout your home.
  • Combine with Other Services: If you wish to combine the alarm installation with an annual boiler service or Gas Safety Certificate inspection, let us know. We will coordinate the services to be completed efficiently in one visit.

So you may relax knowing that your house is safe with reliable smoke and CO alarms installed by experienced professionals.