Get a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem
Don’t assume your gas appliances are safe: get a Gas Safe registered gas engineer to do a check. This is the only safe way to prevent yourself and those around you from incurring serious illness or death due to carbon monoxide exposure.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous substance produced by the incomplete burning of gas and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).
This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when you breathe in even small amounts of the gas.
When you breathe in carbon monoxide, it gets into your bloodstream and prevents your red blood cells from carrying oxygen. Without oxygen, your body tissue and cells die.
Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health when breathed in over a long period of time. Long-term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning include Paralysis and brain damage. Such long-term effects occur because many people are unaware of unsafe gas appliances and subsequent gas leaks.
How do I avoid a carbon monoxide leak in my home?
Your home may show signs of carbon monoxide. Anyone of the following could be a sign that there is carbon monoxide in your home.
The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue. Lazy yellow or orange flames mean you need to get your cooker checked
Dark staining around or on appliances
Pilot lights that frequently blow out
Increased condensation inside windows
If you have a faulty appliance in your home, it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Get your gas appliances checked to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Why should I get a carbon monoxide alarm?
Because carbon monoxide has no taste, smell or colour. Gas Safe Register strongly recommends you fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm in your home.
While an alarm will alert you to carbon monoxide in your home, it is no substitute for having an annual gas safety check and regular servicing by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
A carbon monoxide alarm looks similar to a smoke alarm and is very easy to fit by following the manufacturer’s instructions. You can purchase a carbon monoxide alarm from £15 at your local DIY store, supermarket or from your energy supplier.
Before purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm, always make sure it is marked to EN 50291. It should also have the British Standards’ Kitemark or another European approval organisation’s mark on it. Follow the alarm manufacturer’s instructions on sighting, testing and replacing the alarm.
You are particularly at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping, as you may not be aware of early carbon monoxide symptoms until it’s too late. Do not use the ‘black spot’ detectors that change colour when carbon monoxide is present. These will not make a sound to wake you up if the poisonous gas is present while you are sleeping.