Detectagas have launched a simple new way of testing whether carbon monoxide detectors are working which they believe could save thousands of people who may be at risk from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Available in both a professional version for gas installers and plumbers, and as a domestic kit for householders to carry out their own tests, Detectagas is a specially formulated aerosol which exposes a CO detector sensor to a pulse of calibrated test gas, alerting householders if their carbon monoxide gas detection unit is faulty for a cost of just £1.20 per alarm.
CO detectors have been widely on sale in the UK since 1992 but have been the ongoing subject of industry and government based reports raising doubts about their reliability. A recent spate of product recalls has again underlined their vulnerability.
John Stones, managing director of Detectagas says: “There are many people in danger. Fitting a CO detector and alarm is an important line of defence against this deadly gas that can be given off by gas heating and other appliances. The detectors are triggered when the concentrate of CO passes a safety threshold and an alarm is sounded – just as the smoke alarm goes off when you burn the toast.
“At the heart of the problem, however, is the fact that on most CO detectors, the test button only checks the alarm bell but doesn’t test the sensor, which can rapidly deteriorate with age and may be completely ineffective if the device is over five years old.”
The new Detectagas product is a patented method to test sensors in domestic CO detectors. It comprises a hood that fits over the device and an aerosol that introduces a measured dose of calibrated test gas. If the alarm fails to sound in six minutes (the maximum sample interval for the sensor) then the sensor has failed and a new alarm is required.
Stones adds: “Most manufacturers are still selling on a ‘fit and forget’ sales pitch, even though CO detectors, unlike smoke alarms, have a limited life cycle of between three and six years. The number of product recalls issued by manufacturers in recent years is, in itself, enough to suggest there remain thousands of detectors in the market that are far from safe.
“There is increasing evidence that people are still dying every year as a result of CO alarms not responding to CO gas, despite the so called ‘test button’ showing the alarm is working perfectly. As industry and consumer awareness of this issue continues to grow, we anticipate significant trade take up of our simple safety test kit.”