Starting in October, we are giving away 1,000 free carbon monoxide (CO) alarms through our Which? Trusted Traders scheme.
Selected Which? Trusted Traders heating engineers will be leaving a free CO alarm with any of their customers who don’t currently have one.
There are between 25 and 50 CO deaths every year, and Which? is calling on the gas boiler manufacturer and servicing industry to do more to protect its customers from the deadly odourless gas.
A CO alarm will alert you to any dangerous appliances that are emitting the deadly gas, and could save your life. But not all CO alarms will do the one job they’re supposed to do: sound the alarm if they detect CO. In our tests, we’ve uncovered alarms that you can’t trust to keep your family safe.
Make sure your alarm isn’t a Which? Don’t Buy carbon monoxide detector.
How to stay safe from carbon monoxide
According to our own exclusive research*, nearly four in ten British households do not have a CO alarm. If you don’t have a CO alarm, you should.
Even if you live in a household clear of appliances that emit CO (any appliance that burns gas or solid fuel can emit the deadly gas), there is still a risk that the gas can leak through walls from neighbouring properties.
To protect yourself, you should install a Best Buy CO alarm. We’ve tested many alarms that don’t detect CO. A Best Buy CO alarm has passed all of our extensive lab tests and will warn you if a potentially deadly CO leak occurs.
You should also make sure that your boiler, and any other appliance in your home that burns gas or any type of solid fuel, is serviced annually by a trained professional.
See our Best Buy CO alarms.
CO alarms and the law
In England and Wales, landlords need to supply a working CO alarm in rooms containing a solid-fuel appliance, but not in rooms that have a gas appliance.
In Scotland, renters are better protected. Landlords must provide a CO alarm if there are gas, as well as solid fuel, appliances. The Scottish government recently ruled that, from this autumn, it will be a legal requirement for all homes (privately owned or rented and social housing) to have a CO alarm.
Following a recent review by Which? of the private rented sector in England, we have called for the government to grant renters in England the same protection as renters in Scotland.
We have also invited boiler manufacturers in the UK to better protect their customers by providing a free CO alarm whenever they install a new boiler, or service an existing one.
Boiler manufacturer Viessmann has already said it will match our commitment and is giving away 1,000 alarms, and we are calling on others in the gas industry to do more to protect their customers.
Ferroli has also committed to giving away a free CO alarm to owners of any of its boilers that need replacing in the month of October.
What is a Which? Trusted trader?
Which? Trusted traders are comprehensively vetted by a trading standards professional before they are accepted onto the Which? Trusted Traders scheme.
The satisfaction of their customers is also monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure that the quality of work and service they provide is the best you can get.
Only traders that meet our standards get our Which? Trusted Traders endorsement.
If you need a trader, or you just want to know more, visit Which? Trusted Traders.
*(Online survey: 2,057 members of the British general public, July 2018.)