Why should I get a carbon monoxide alarm?

Carbon monoxide (CO) has no taste, smell or colour, making it impossible to detect without an alarm. Installing a carbon monoxide alarm could save your life.

You are particularly at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping, and may not be aware of the symptoms until it’s too late. Like any alarm, a carbon monoxide alarm will alert you to high amounts of carbon monoxide gas.

What type should I use?

The Chase and Tyler Foundation recommends the use of audible CO alarms that are certified to EN50291 (European standard) or UL2034 (US standard). Always follow the alarm manufacturer’s instructions on placement, testing and replacing the alarm.

Note: There is currently no Australian standard for CO alarms.

Where should a CO Alarm be installed?

Every home with at least one gas or fuel-burning appliance or attached garage should have a CO alarm. If the home has only one CO alarm, it should be installed in the main bedroom or outside of the sleeping area. CO is slightly lighter than air and can move around the room in concentrated areas,  distribute throughout a room (dependent on air-flow). This means a CO alarm can be placed at any height on a wall or ceiling.

  • A CO alarm should be installed on every level of the home and in sleeping areas.
  • Place the CO alarm at least 15 feet away from gas or fuel-burning appliances or humid areas such as bathrooms.
  • Make sure nothing is covering or obstructing the CO alarm unit.
  • Do not place the CO alarm unit in dead air spaces or next to a window or door.
  • Test the CO alarm once a week by pressing the test/reset button.
  • Every month, unplug/pull apart the CO unit and vacuum with a soft brush attachment or wipe with a clean, dry cloth to remove accumulated dust.
  • It is important to refer to the manufactures user manual for specific installation requirements as to where to install your carbon monoxide detector.

If the CO alarm sounds?

  1. Turn off the gas or fuel-burning appliance, if safe to do so.
  2. Open doors and windows for ventilation, and get fresh air immediately.
  3. Call 000 if anyone has suspected CO poisoning, or present to your nearest emergency department.
  4. Do not use your gas or fuel-burning appliance until you have had a qualified gasfitter conduct a safety check and service and you have been advised it is safe to use.
Remember, a carbon monoxide alarm is no substitute for servicing your gas and fuel-burning appliances every 1 – 2 years.