Dodgy co alarms?

Which? investigation finds one in five CO detectors didn’t work

Which? tested 16 carbon monoxide detectors and found that one in five did not work.

The Which? investigation put the carbon monoxide detectors through rigorous lab testing based on the EU safety standard and found that three out of the 16 devices tested were so bad that, between them, they failed to go off 26 times in 72 carbon monoxide tests.

The three defective carbon monoxide detectors were made by ATZ Saviour, Binwo and Mudder. Despite claiming that they complied with the EU safety standard, these devices failed more than one-in-three of our carbon monoxide tests. Which? is warning consumers not to purchase alarms by these brands. In stark contrast, all 13 alarms from well-known brands passed every one of the gas tests and all carry the BSI Kitemark.

Dangerous carbon monoxide alarms to avoid

These three dangerous carbon monoxide alarms collectively failed 26 out of our 72 gas tests. They also come with potentially unsafe instructions advising owners to not install in the kitchen, where in most UK homes you’ll find a gas boiler.

  • ATZ Saviour Carbon Monoxide Alarm, £12.99 – Failed to detect carbon monoxide in six gas tests.
  • Mudder Carbon Monoxide Alarm, £8.99 – Failed to detect the killer gas in five gas tests.
  • Binwo Carbon Monoxide Alarm, £8.99 – Failed to detect the killer gas in 15 gas tests.

Following pressure from the Which? investigation, Amazon and eBay have removed all three defective alarms from sale and seven other identical looking alarms. Additionally, you are unlikely to find these devices on the high street, since many major shops only stock recognised brands.

Which? has alerted Trading Standards and The Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring (COGDEM) regarding its findings.

Richard Headland, Editor of Which? magazine said:

“It’s shocking to uncover the sheer volume of carbon monoxide detectors out there that simply don’t work. Consumers need to be aware that there are dodgy detectors on the market and should only buy products bearing the BSI Kitemark. We urge all other retailers stocking the products that failed our tests to remove them from sale.”

Advice on picking a carbon monoxide alarm includes:

  • Seek out the BSI Kitemark
  • Buy from a well-known shop or website
  • Install correctly – fit the device high up in the same room as the potential carbon monoxide source, 15cm from the ceiling and at least a metre away from boilers, cookers and fires.
  • Pay around £20 – The Which? test showed that detectors costing around the £20 mark were more likely to work. Avoid cheaper alarms. The three that failed in the Which? test, and the additional seven that caused concern, all cost around £10.

as printed in installer magazine

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