Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that is produced by carbon based fuels such as gas, oil, wood and coal. These fuels are safe to use, it’s only when the fuel does not burn correctly that excess CO is produces, which is poisonous and can kill quickly.
Poisoning occurs when gas appliances have not been properly installed, maintained or are poorly ventilated. Lower levels CO that do not kill can cause serious harm to health.
The following signs on your gas appliances can indicate that there could be a problem which could lead to the production of CO:
- Yellow or orange rather than blue flames (not including fuel fires or flueless appliances which display this colour flame)
- Soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
- Pilot light that blows out
- Increased condensation inside windows
To lower the risks of CO poisoning you can install an audible CO alarm (which should be marked EN 50291) in each room that has a gas appliance installed. You can purchase one from you local DIY store, online or speak to your Gas Safe Registered engineer. Don’t just rely on an alarm – make sure that all gas appliances are checked by a Gas Safe Engineer every year. If you are renting your property your landlord should have all gas appliances serviced once a year.
If you think that your appliance is spilling carbon monoxide:
- Call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999
- Switch off the appliance and shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve
- Open all doors and windows
- Visit your GP and tell them you think you may have been exposed
If you would like to arrange a gas appliance service then please get in touch.