Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide fumes are silent and highly fumes produced by the incomplete burning of fossil fuels.

This can happen when gas appliances such as cookers, heaters, gas fires and solid fuel burners have been incorrectly fitted, or poorly maintained.

It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents have faults and why regular maintenance is essential.

Symptons of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

You can't taste, see or smell carbon monoxide which can kill very quickly.

A CO alarm will alert you to carbon monoxide fumes within your home potentially giving you valuable minutes to ventilate and get out to fresh air.

If you do not have an alarm fitted it is essential you know the symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Breathlessness

  • Collapse

  • Loss of consciousness


Carbon monoxide is literally a silent killer.

Signs Carbon Monoxide may be present in your home

  • Symptoms above that only occur when you are in your home relieve when you are out.

  • Pets displaying the symptoms listed above in addition to visitors.

  • Black and sooty marks on the front covers of gas fires.

  • Sooty, yellow or brown stains on or around boilers or stoves. 

  • Yellow instead of blue flames coming from gas appliances such as cookers.

  • Flames that are not fully formed all way round the gas cooker hob.

  • Symptoms that appear when a gas appliance is in use ie the boiler or cooker.

  • An increased level of condensation on the windows.

  • Boiler pilot light the keeps going out on a regular basis.

What should I do if I suspect Carbon Monoxide?

  • Open doors and windows around the home to ventilate your home if possible.

  • Switch of gas appliances if it is safe to do so.

  • Get outside into the fresh air quickly as you can.

If someone is showing signs of poisoning or has collapsed get them to fresh air where possible and ring 999 asking for an ambulance letting the operator know you suspect CO poisoning.

If you suspect poisoning, always seek immediate medical advice as soon as possible either through the NHS Helpline or your GP.

Call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 informing them of what has happened before you return to your home.

You may need a gas engineer to inspect your appliances and flues to check that all is well. Ensure they and anyone you have working on your gas appliances are a Gas Safe registered gas engineer (formerly Corgi).

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