Carbon Monoxide Awareness

You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but CO (carbon monoxide) can kill quickly without warning.

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  • Close up of gas hob.

According to the HSE statistics around 14 people per year die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated.

Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long period. In extreme cases paralysis and brain damage can be caused as a result of prolonged exposure to CO.

Signs to look for which indicate incomplete combustion is occurring and may result is the production of CO:

  • Yellow or orange rather than blue flame (except fuel effect fires or flue less appliances which display this colour flame).
  • Soot or yellow / brown staining around or on appliances.
  • Pilot lights that frequently blow out.
  • Increased condensation inside windows.

There are a number of simple steps that gas consumers can take to keep themselves safe Carbon monoxide can be produced by any combustion appliance, including those that burn fossil fuels eg oil, wood and coal. If you have one of these appliances you should make sure that it is serviced and maintained by a competent person and the chimney is regularly swept.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused with food poisoning, viral infections, flu or simple tiredness. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tiredness
  • Pains in the chest or stomach
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Visual problems

What should I do if I think my appliance is spilling carbon monoxide?

  • Call the National Gas Emergency Service 0800 111 999.
  • Switch off the appliance and shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve.
  • Open all doors and windows to ventilate the room

The Landlord / Home Owner Gas Safety Record The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 place duties on gas consumers, installers, suppliers and landlords. You must ensure that any gas appliances (permanent or portable) and gas flues that you own and provide for use by your tenants have regular gas safety checks by a competent person who is registered with the Gas Safe Register, always remember to check their registration.

Contact us for further help and advice.