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From 1 October 2015, private sector landlords must have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their property and carbon monoxide alarms where any solid fuel is used i.e. coal or wood-burning stoves. Carbon monoxide gas is not a natural atmospheric occurrence, but the result of oxygen-starved combustion and is the result of improperly ventilated fuel burning appliances. It is also generated by any gasoline engine that does not use a catalytic converter.

Note: In the view of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a decorative fireplace (non functioning) would not constitute a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.

Gas appliances can also emit carbon monoxide, so in the words of Government ‘we would expect and encourage reputable landlords to ensure that working carbon monoxide alarms are installed in rooms with these.’

Where there are no inspection hatches within flats, Gas Safe engineers will carry out a simple risk assessment to ensure that any carbon-monoxide risk is minimalised in the short term because a flue in poor condition, combined with a boiler that is not working properly, could create a danger from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Engineers will look for signs of leakage from the flue route and carry out a flue-combustion analysis check and will also check for the presence of suitable audible carbon monoxide alarms and installing such alarms where they are not fitted.

Warning signs that gas appliances are not working correctly are lazy yellow flames, black marks or stains around the appliance as well as too much condensation in the room.

The 6 main signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  1. Headaches;
  2. Dizziness;
  3. Nausea;
  4. Breathlessness;
  5. Collapse;
  6. Loss of consciousness.
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