Landlord alert: Test your CO alarm for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness week

Posted on October 27, 2015.

Its every landlord’s worst nightmare – you’ve spent heaps of time and money making your property safe and attractive for your tenants, then a carbon monoxide leak appears, seeping through the house and doing untold harm to anyone inside.

No property is completely safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a silent killer – an odourless, colourless, tasteless gas which causes approximately 50 deaths each year, and sends 4,000 people to A&E.

Left unnoticed, even a small leak can contribute to long-term illnesses such as paralysis and brain damage – a tragedy for the victims, and a disaster for their landlords.

If you are a landlord, it is your responsibility to make sure that your property is as safe as possible for your tenants, and that you have taken every opportunity to maintain and upgrade safety devices such as fire alarms, burglar alarms, exterior doors and, yes, carbon monoxide alarms.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Week (starts 17th November) is the perfect opportunity to help make your tenants aware of the symptoms and causes of carbon monoxide poisoning, and get ahead of any potential gas leaks. We came across this infographic produced by BoilerJuice, a company that provides home heating oil, and thought we’d share it.

If you only do three things to your property this week, do these:

1. Test the carbon monoxide alarms in your properties

  • In a perfect world, your tenants would be testing the alarm themselves every month or two. But let’s face it, you have no control over what happens in the property when you are renting it out, and if the unthinkable happens it is you, the landlord, who will be taken to task. By testing the alarm yourself at least once a year, you are protecting your tenants, your property and yourself.
  • While you’re there, take the opportunity to test the smoke alarm and burglar alarms as well, and change any batteries that are running low.

2. Educate your tenants on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning

  • You can’t be at your rented property all the time (and your tenants probably wouldn’t be too happy if you were!), so make sure that your tenants are equipped with all the information they need to keep the place safe and healthy in your absence.
  • When a new tenant moves in, take some time to show them where the carbon monoxide alarms and the smoke alarms are, and show them how to test them. Walk them through the property and alert them to the tell-tale signs of carbon monoxide leaks. These include:
    • Noticing yellow or brown stains around the boiler or gas-fuelled appliances.
    • The pilot light blowing out again and again.
    • A build-up of condensation between panes of glass.
    • Dark smoke emitting from the boiler area.
    • A low and orange flame on the gas hob (as opposed to a crisp blue flame).
  • Make sure that they fully understand what you are telling them – if need be, write down a checklist that they can read over in their own time, or hand them this infographic so that they can familiarise themselves with the risks and causes of carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Book a boiler service

  • You should be getting your boiler serviced at least once a year, by a qualified professional engineer. Your engineer can check for signs of any possible gas leaks and make sure that all your equipment is in good working order.
  • If the engineer recommends making any upgrades or repairs, you should action them immediately. Faulty appliances are the leading cause of gas leaks, so you can’t afford to take any risks.

Use BoilerJuice’s boiler servicing to find OFTEC registered engineers in your local area.

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