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What are the carbon monoxide detector building regulations?

Changes were made to some of the building regulations in October 2010 including those relating to carbon monoxide detectors presumably driven by health and safety concerns for the appliances that the changes now cover.

One of the most significant changes now requires that a carbon monoxide detector be fitted in any rooms that have either a replacement or new fixed solid fuel-burning appliance installed.

Alarms must be placed anywhere between one to three metres horizontally away from the solid fuel heating appliance. The preferred place for it to be located is on the ceiling and a minimum of 300mm away from the wall. However, if the carbon monoxide detector is not attached to the ceiling, it should be fitted as high up the wall as possible (above any windows and doors) but not within 150mm of the ceiling. Further guidance about the installation can also be found in the manufacturers instructions issued when you purchase a carbon monoxide detector.

The carbon monoxide detector must comply with BSEN 50291:2001 and the battery must be capable of powering the detector for its working life. A warning device should be incorporated within the design of the carbon monoxide detector that will warn users that the battery’s life is fast approaching its end.

Alternatively, a mains-powered carbon monoxide detector that complies with BSEN 50291 Type A can be fitted as long as it is of the fixed wiring type (plug-in types are not acceptable) and has been fitted with a device that warns if the sensor fails.

The changes to the building regulations also make the following observation: -

"Whilst for the purposes of requirement J2A it is considered appropriate to require carbon monoxide alarms only with solid fuel appliances, such alarms can still reduce the risk of poisoning from other types of appliances"

Furthermore the changes to the building regulations also made the following comment: -

"Provision of an alarm should not be regarded as a substitute for correct installation and regular servicing."

Bearing in mind a carbon monoxide detector can be purchased for anything between £15 to £40 that is, surely, a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing that you and your family are protected from carbon monoxide poisoning in your own home. Whilst it may not be a legal requirement to install a detector if you only have a gas appliance it is surely a sensible course of action to take.