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Carbon Monoxide (CO) Testing Explained

You can test a carbon monoxide detector to ensure it can identify the level of carbon monoxide (CO) in the air, measured in parts per million (ppm). However pressing the 'Test' button on the detector will only tell you whether the device has adequate electrical power from an outlet or batteries. Below is the correct method of testing your carbon monoxide detectors ensuring that the sensors within the unit are still effectively detecting the poison before the levels become lethal.

Step 1: Install the Carbon Monoxide Detectors Correctly

Carbon monoxide detectors need to be installed in the correct location and one must be fitted in every room that contains a solid fuel appliance (now legal requirement for rented properties in the England), we would also highly recommend that one be installed where an Open flued Gas appliance is fitted i.e. a gas fire.

Step 2: Test Each CO Detector for Proper Function

Press the 'Test' button on each CO detector to ensure it is drawing electrical power. It will emit high-pitched, loud beeping, usually louder than a smoke detector.

Step 3: Use a Carbon Monoxide Detector Test Kit

Carbon monoxide detector test kits include a small container full of gas at a high CO concentration, usually up to 1000 ppm and a plastic housing that you put around the detector for the test. This test will enable us to establish if your CO alarm sensor is identifying CO levels within the lethal range.

Step 4: Know When Your Carbon Monoxide Detector will Sound an Alarm

The alarm must sound within 10 minutes to 1 hour of constant CO levels of 150 ppm. At 200 ppm, the alarm must activate within half an hour. Your CO alarm must buzz (if applicable) within 15 minutes of a CO level of 400 ppm as an air concentration of CO above 400 ppm will be fatal within 3 hours.

London Property Services always check CO alarms using manufacturer approved methods and testing kits. Please call us on 0207 186 0270 for more information, or to arrange your checks at low cost.

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