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Do I need a carbon monoxide detector for a woodburner?

If you’re wondering, ‘Do I need a carbon monoxide detector for a woodburner?’, the short answer is yes.

That’s because carbon monoxide is such a deadly gas, your household’s lives so valuable and a carbon monoxide detector so relatively inexpensive that it would be foolish not to get one.

The legal requirements:

That was the common sense answer to the question. Now onto the legal interpretation.

If your wood-burning stove was installed after October 2010 then you must have a carbon monoxide detector installed, too. It is a legal requirement. In October 2010, Document J of the Building Regulations, which covers the installation of wood-burning stoves and multi-fuel stoves, was updated and made carbon monoxide alarms compulsory with all new installations.

If your stove was installed before October 2010, you are under no legal obligation to have a carbon monoxide detector with your woodburner. But for the reasons we have already touched upon, it makes sense to get one.

The alarm must be located in the same room as the appliance. It must be either on the ceiling and at least 300mm from any wall or on a wall, as high as possible and certainly above any doors or windows, but not within 150mm of the ceiling. Whether on the ceiling or the wall, the horizontal distance between the carbon monoxide alarm and the woodburner should be between 1m and 3m.

The dangers:

For anyone who isn’t aware of the grave dangers posed by carbon monoxide, it is a silent, odourless and potentially fatal gas. Any heating appliance that involves burning fuel poses a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the event that a leak occurs.

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