Carbon Monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no smell, colour or taste. Any appliance that burns oil, solid fuel, wood or gas, including boilers, if they are not properly installed and maintained, can release it.

Do not ignore these symptoms:

CO symptoms

  • Other people in your home or building are having similar symptoms.
  • You’ve recently moved into your home.
  • Symptoms disappear when you go out or go on holiday, but return when you come back.
  • Symptoms tend to be seasonal e.g. headaches during the winter when the central heating is used more often.

Other danger signs include:

  • Sooting or staining on or around the appliance.
  • Excessive condensation in the room where the appliance is installed.
  • Lazy yellow/orange coloured gas flames on cookers or boilers, rather than a sharp blue one.

How can I protect myself?

  1. All boilers and fuel-burning appliances MUST be serviced annually using a qualified engineer registered with the appropriate organisation.
  2. You can buy detectors and alarms which measure the CO at home and warn you if it’s too high. You can also get portable, battery-powered ones to use if you go camping, caravanning and travelling.

What should I do if affected? 

  • Open doors and windows for ventilation and go outside into the fresh air.
  • Go to your GP or nearest Accident and Emergency department.
  • If it is urgent, call 999 for an ambulance.
  • If you smell gas, ring the National Gas emergency number: 0800 111 999

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