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Carbon monoxide detectors must be fitted with all newly installed stoves. (new regulation)

Carbon monoxide detectors must be fitted with all newly installed stoves. (new regulation)

Wood burners and multi-fuel stoves can provide an efficient, attractive and economic way to heat the home. Indeed, in an economically and environmentally conscious era, they are proving to be a popular and rewarding addition to suburban homes, city pads and rural retreats alike.

The increasing popularity of stoves is accompanied by warnings from local authorities that suitable appliances should be fitted by experts with the experience and qualifications to ensure a newly installed stove is safe, efficient and complies with building regulations.

A recent addition to these building regulations (available to download or order through the government’s Planning Portal), states that ‘where a new or replacement fixed solid fuel appliance is installed in a dwelling, a carbon monoxide alarm should be provided in the room where the appliance is located’ (Document J, p41).

But why are these alarms necessary? Why is there a danger of carbon monoxide emissions from a stove?


 What produces carbon monoxide?

When carbon is burnt, (whether it is in the form of oil, gas, coal or wood) carbon monoxide can be produced if incomplete combustion occurs because there is not enough oxygen to allow the complete oxidisation of carbon into carbon dioxide.

In domestic heating, incomplete combustion may occur if there is not enough oxygen reaching the burning fuel, either through a fault in the appliance, the chimney and flue or the installation process. This is why it is so important to ensure your stove and chimney are designed, installed and inspected by experts.


 What are the effects of inhaling carbon monoxide?

Inhaling carbon monoxide can have serious health implications, as it reduces the blood’s ability to supply blood to the tissues. Mild symptoms include dizziness and nausea but inhaling high levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal.

As carbon monoxide is invisible, tasteless and odourless, people can be exposed to fumes for long periods of time without being aware of the danger. This is why carbon monoxide alarms are so important and, as of October 2010, mandatory for the installation of new or replacement domestic appliances.

Taking precautions

Wood burning and multi-fuel stoves can provide a safe and enjoyable way to heat your home. Simply ensure your stove is suitable for your home, installed efficiently, inspected regularly by experts, and monitored by a carbon monoxide alarm, to have peace of mind and maximum efficiency.

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