Social landlords are investing in carbon monoxide detectors
8th February, 2010
Social landlords are responding to the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning by fitting carbon monoxide detectors to supplement their annual gas servicing checks.
A recent HouseMark survey found that most landlords are fitting detector devices in the homes they judge to be at greatest risk. However, there may be weaknesses in the systems and procedures they have in place to respond when an alarm is sounded.
The research found:
• 86% of organisations responding to the survey fit carbon monoxide detectors to some or all of their homes with gas or solid fuel heating.
• Most organisations (86%) use a risk assessment to decide which properties should have a detector with priority given to factors such as solid fuel heating, and homes where tenants are sleeping in the same room as gas fires or positive pressure gas boilers.
• A few organisations (5%) have fitted detectors to all gas and solid fuel heated homes, or plan to do so.
• Landlords are usually fitting battery operated detectors, but a significant minority are using mains operated devices, particularly in newly built or refurbished homes.
It is common for organisations to arrange for carbon monoxide detectors to be checked as part of the annual gas service visit or, in the case of mains powered devices, alongside periodic electrical testing. However, housing repairs and maintenance contractor Mears highlighted the importance of landlords responding correctly when contacted by a tenant whose carbon monoxide detector had gone off.
The Gas Safety Trust welcomed the findings of the survey saying, "We're delighted that HouseMark's research has highlighted the good work being done by many social landlords to reduce the dangers posed by carbon monoxide, the silent killer. However, we agree with Mears that it is important to give householders clear guidance on what to do if their alarm goes off and ensure that a landlord's internal procedures and staff training ensure the correct response to an alarm activation."
HouseMark has a long track record of supporting landlords to improve their gas safety performance. It will be launching a free gas safety benchmarking service for its members later this year and will run a programme of gas safety workshops in the summer.
In response to Members' requirements PfH has negotiated prices on carbon monoxide detectors with a number of nominated suppliers including Eyre & Elliston and Wilts Electrical at under £10 through Unimer, as well as Grafton Group and PTS.