Sadly, every year in England and Wales there are 60 deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Many thousands end up in Accident and Emergency suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Many of those deaths could be avoided if householders fitted a carbon monoxide detector. As it is getting colder and more people are beginning to use their heating and boilers to heat their homes, there is a greater risk of carbon monoxide leaks. Installing a carbon monoxide detector will help detect a carbon monoxide leak and keep families safe this winter.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas which has no taste, colour or smell. A carbon monoxide leak can make an individual feel seriously ill and it can kill quickly without warning. You can find out more information about the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning on the NHS website. Symptoms include a tension type headache, dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath.
Causes of a carbon monoxide leak
A carbon monoxide leak can come from many home appliances such as oil and gas boilers, gas fireplaces, gas cookers and other appliances.
What are the signs of a carbon monoxide leak?
Carbon monoxide can be produced when poorly maintained, incorrectly fitted or badly repaired appliances do not burn gas completely. Look out for the following signs that could indicate that a gas appliance is not working correctly, and CO may be present in the house:
- Floppy yellow or orange flame on your gas hob, rather than a crisp blue flame
- Dark, sooty staining on or around gas appliances
- Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- Increased condensation inside window
What to do if you suspect Carbon Monoxide poisoning
- Don’t delay – get fresh air immediately.
- Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house.
- See your doctor immediately or go to hospital. They can do a blood or breath test to check and can advise if you need treatment for CO poisoning.
- If you think there is an immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999 (GB) or the relevant service for your area.
You can also visit the NHS website for detailed information on the symptoms of CO poisoning, what action to take and the treatment that’s usually provided.
How can I prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning in my home?
You can minimise the risk by ensuring your gas appliances are safety inspected once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The Gas Safe Register is the official list of business legally permitted to carry out gas work. Remember not getting gas appliances checked regular, or using an engineer who is not on the Gas Safe Register, could put you and your family at risk.
Alongside regular gas inspections, it is recommended that we install carbon monoxide detectors, or audible alarms, in our homes. They rely on detecting the presence of carbon monoxide, so we shouldn’t rely on the alarm alone.